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Thread: Thoughts on minor repair (?) to my drill press

  1. #1
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    Thoughts on minor repair (?) to my drill press

    I was using my old Craftsman 15" 12-speed drill press this week to make some clamp racks for the shop. I've had it a long time. I've known since I bought it used off CL decades ago that I needed to lubricate the mechanism to lower and raise the table. Somehow though I just never got around to it. Even though cranking the handle was a bear I was always able to get it moved the few inches I needed. Everything seemed like it always was on Thursday until it wasn't. I just wasn't able to crank it down then I saw the "rack" had bent outward from the column below the table. See the pic. I'm hoping I can put some type of collar or clamp in a couple of places such as near both ends of the distortion. I don't believe I'll ever need to use the drill press with the table that low anyway. My first thought after putting the bailing wire back up was to try some large hose clamps but I'm not sure they'll be strong enough particularly when I lower the table. If I had some that large in the shop I would have tried it anyway. This is a model 113.213850. Made in Taiwan. I am guessing it's a late 70's or 80's model. If I could buy a new rack I might just do that but I highly doubt I could find the part. Anyone got any thoughts on clamping the distorted portion of the rack to the column in such as manner as to actually "fix" it.

    I did use some lube trying to get the table raised again - PB Blaster Dry Lube with Teflon. What's everyone's preferred lubrication for machine parts like these in a hobby wood shop?

    IMG_0673.jpgIMG_0674.jpg

    Thanks!
    Mike

  2. #2
    The rack is fairly easily removable. Either remove the drill press head from the column, or you may be able to remove the base from the column. Either way, the rack and the table mechanism should easily come off the column, then you can just hammer the rack back to flat.

  3. #3
    I would suggest replacing the rack with new instead of pounding it flat. Mcmaster-Carr sells rack material in various lengths.. You may also want to replace the pinion. Buy some Scotchbrite pads and buff your column, then apply a coating of paste wax. Do this about once a year or when you think about it. A third or fourth screw to attache the rack to the column would improve the design significantly.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    A third or fourth screw to attache the rack to the column would improve the design significantly.
    If the rack is anchored to the column you will no longer be able to rotate the table around the column.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    I would suggest replacing the rack with new instead of pounding it flat. Mcmaster-Carr sells rack material in various lengths.. You may also want to replace the pinion. Buy some Scotchbrite pads and buff your column, then apply a coating of paste wax. Do this about once a year or when you think about it. A third or fourth screw to attache the rack to the column would improve the design significantly.
    Lee, your comment regarding "a third or fourth screw" implies there are already two screws attaching the rack to the column but that is not the case. The rack is beveled at both ends and fits into the base and into the collar at the upper end of the column both of which are also beveled to receive and hold the rack. With the current distortion when trying to lower the table the top end of the rack drops down below the collar and is free at that point.

  6. #6
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    Here's the upper end of the rack and the collar that in intended to hold it in place. The lower end of the rack is set up in exactly the same way.

    IMG_0675.jpg

  7. #7
    Yep, this way the table can swing left/right and the rack slides around the column.

  8. #8
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    Take it apart, straighten the rack, clean and lube everything and put it back together. No need to replace or re-engineer anything here, it worked just fine for decades just like it was.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    Lee, your comment regarding "a third or fourth screw" implies there are already two screws attaching the rack to the column but that is not the case. The rack is beveled at both ends and fits into the base and into the collar at the upper end of the column both of which are also beveled to receive and hold the rack. With the current distortion when trying to lower the table the top end of the rack drops down below the collar and is free at that point.
    You are correct, I wasn't aware that the table rotated. A new rack would end up straighter than one that has bent and straightened.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    You are correct, I wasn't aware that the table rotated. A new rack would end up straighter than one that has bent and straightened.
    No doubt it would Lee. And my bad on not providing the details that the table rotates. Didn't realize how relevant that little detail is in this case.

    Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions guys!

  11. #11
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    I have bent mine several times. Take it apart and rebend it slightly past straight the opposite way it is now, and then put back together and wax.

  12. #12
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    1. Always help the table along by lifting it with your other hand while cranking the handle.

    2. One way to stiffen the rack against buckling is to shorten it. Probably a pipe dream, but if you could find another collar like the one on top, or find someone to make one for you, you could put it below the table and shorten the rack as much as you think you can live with.

    3. Maybe ... stiffen the rack by getting a rib tack welded to the teeth. A piece 1/8 x 1/2 or 3/4 on edge would help. Again, as long as you can live with. I don't know how practical this would be, I'm not a fab guy. I know it's gonna warp and need straightening though.

  13. #13
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    Adding a gas strut or counterweight will take most of the load off the rack and reduce the forces trying to bend the rack.
    Bill D

  14. #14
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    Thanks guys.

    The concern I have with taking it apart is that I've got a bad right wrist (right handed to boot) so there's no way I'm going to be able to remove the head assembly. I notice in the manual the column is shipped assembled (column support, table support, rack & column collar). I am hoping I can manipulate the table support and both ends of the rack utilizing that upper end of the rack with no teeth to get it off.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    Thanks guys.

    The concern I have with taking it apart is that I've got a bad right wrist (right handed to boot) so there's no way I'm going to be able to remove the head assembly. I notice in the manual the column is shipped assembled (column support, table support, rack & column collar). I am hoping I can manipulate the table support and both ends of the rack utilizing that upper end of the rack with no teeth to get it off.
    Looked at mine (same type) Run table as far up as you can, clamp table in place. Loosen top ring, with table clamped, slide ring up, then crank rack up enough to clear bottom ring. Only takes a quarter inch, and you have about 3" to work with. Bend rack outward so as to create a slight inward bow. Crank rack back down into bottom ring. I would hold bottom of rack in place with a hose clamp, or zip tie. FYI, my bottom ring is the base that column fits into. Because rack teeth don't extend to either end, you can't remove rack without pulling head off. On top side of casting near handle, you have an oil port. Looks like a steel ball sticking up through casting. Press down with oil can spout and give it a shot of oil.
    Last edited by Bruce Wrenn; 05-31-2020 at 9:19 PM.

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