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Thread: How hard is it to replace bearings in a drill press?

  1. #1

    How hard is it to replace bearings in a drill press?

    Hi everybody!

    I have a Craftsman benchtop drill press/drum sander unit I got used off of CL some time ago. I haven't used it a lot, but part of that reason is because it seems to have a lot of runout (visible). I actually got the manual with the drill press, and it stated to re-mount the chuck first, and if that doesn't work I need to replace the bearings (I think--don't have the manual in front of me).

    It's the same looking model as Grizzly's drill press/sander, and although I'd like to have a nicer one for some of their features, I don't really want to spend the money on a new one (and this one says "made in the USA with US and Chinese parts").

    So, how hard is it to find bearing parts, and how hard is it to replace in a small benchtop drill press? Are there special tools required? I haven't tried to remount the chuck, and I will try that first (it's bolted in instead of press-fit). If that doesn't work, is it worth spending the money and effort in fixing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Cincinnati Ohio
    Can't answer your question on how to replace them but you can often get bearings at an auto parts store behind the counter.
    The link below is also a very good source for bearings and other parts you may need.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  3. #3
    It isn't as hard as you think. You have to remove the return spring (careful, don't let it free-spin). Now you can typically remove the advance gear from the right-side of the press (hold onto the quill so it doesn't fall out). Now lower the quill down until the splines are out.

    There should be a top and bottom bearing. If you tap the splines through the top bearing, you can remove the spindle from the quill and the bottom bearing can be removed.

    When you replace the bearings, make sure you only apply pressure to the inside race. For removing bearings, this isn't so important.

    BTW, measure runout w/ the chuck REMOVED. You may have a bad chuck. I did.

    Also, if your press only uses a single bearing (I don't see how they do this but some presses don't have a top bearing, just a bottom), then nothing you can do will reduce runout.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New England
    It's hard for bearings to be so bad that they cause visible runout. Most likely causes are a misaligned chuck, a damaged chuck, or a bent spindle shaft. As Paul recommended I'd start by removing the chuck and measuring runout at the taper (assuming this chuck goes into a taper.
    Some DPs are easier to service than others. I'm not familiar with this model but it should be on the easier end. However most DPs are more complicated to take apart and reassemble than a table saw arbor, for example. An exploded view would help you to figure out whether there are any retaining rings involved and where they are.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    The Garden State
    You can probably find a thread with a description of replacing bearings in that DP on OWWM.

    It's a good resource for machine rebuild/repair.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the help, everyone. I will check out OWWM. I thought that site mostly specialized in "old arn", and this isn't!

    Hopefully it is just the chuck. I don't know how exactly it is mounted, other than I know it has a bolt inside the chuck to hold it to the drill press, because it oscillates/sands as well.

    For some reason I thought bearings would be more expensive than that. I'm saving this thread until I have some time to check it out.

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