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View Full Version : the mother of all drill presses is in my garage



andy_b
02-23-2004, 12:09 AM
this is the story of my latest old tool acquisition. it may be boring to some of you who have been around this stuff a while, but i seem to find something new in the machine world almost every day. if you'd rather not hear a story about another old drill press, then this probably won't interest you....


first let me say i am rarely at a loss for words when i'm looking at old machine tools. i've seen some pretty big pieces, and usually they are as big as i expected them to be. i've also seen my fair share of drill presses, and they look like what a drill press should look like. and i've seen a lot of pictures of drill presses, and they seem to be of a "normal" drill press size. until today.

so my dad and i head up north to pick up this old Excelsior 20" drill press this afternoon (yes, i'm the guy who bid $203 on ebay for it a few days ago). the guy says it weighs maybe 1000 pounds, and i think, "yeah right. maybe 500." i've seen a picture, and there's no way this old thing weighs that much. well when my dad and i walk into this guy's storage building i see this towering piece of cast iron sitting on a dolly. i walk over and i just can't believe a drill press can be this huge. i've seen some things called drill presses, but they look more like automated vertical mills and most folks would never call them a drill press. but this thing was a real honest to goodness antique line-shaft powered drill press. so the guy brings in this huge boom forklift and lays the drill press in the back of my truck.
i get back home in my garage and i'm thankful for the overhead steel beam and trolley so i can get this thing out of the truck. after about 45 minutes i have it unloaded and standing upright, all 6+ feet of it! i just couldn't believe the size of this thing. i hear you guys talking about them all the time, but this thing is huge. some of the babbitt bearings need to be replaced, but otherwise it is 100% there and functional. i mean it has power downfeed with automatic stop, it has eight speeds (4 ultra-slow when the backgear is engaged), i bet it has at least 9" of quill travel. amazing. i can't guess what a modern one would cost.
did i say i can't believe how huge this thing is? here's one somebody restored:

http://www.owwm.com/PhotoIndex/detail.asp?id=1047

i think if i went with Dave/ibewgypsie's metal flake flamed paint scheme it would hurt my eyes and set my garage on fire. i may have to go with basic black on this bad boy. did i mention how huge this thing is?

well, off to bed and visions of monster drill presses in my dreams.
:-)

andy b.

Mike W
02-23-2004, 12:13 AM
Interesting, I wonder how big a hole you can drill with that.

BillH
02-23-2004, 12:20 AM
You should see the drill press they have over at Steam Town for working on the old steam locomotives.
Wow, that is a nice drill press, great find.

[This message has been edited by BillH (edited 02-23-2004).]

x39
02-23-2004, 12:30 AM
Very cool. Pisses me off when I think of the fate a lot of great old stuff like this has met through the years. I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.

Carl
02-23-2004, 02:04 AM
Last time I was in Chama New Mexico to visit the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad there was one of these big drillpresses out in the weeds in back of the shop. Next to it is a large lathe with the headstock sitting on the ground. Seems to me there was an old horizontal milling machine and several other machines and parts of machines as well.

J Tiers
02-23-2004, 09:57 AM
That one in the link is a tiny little thing. Turned one of them down a while back, that won't happen again.

I went to look at one DP a while back. Old Buffalo, don't know the number. I had to look up to see the top of it, it must have been 9 or 10 feet tall with the quill retracted. Took at least a morse #5 taper in the spindle. I literally could not fit it under the overhead in the shop.

G.A. Ewen
02-23-2004, 10:21 AM
andy,
The link that you posted has shamed me into thinking that I better get off my lazy ass this spring and paint mine. You've got yourself a good machine there.

I didn't get along to well with the flat belts on mine so I mounted a transmission with a single 'v' belt and a 3/4" motor. The bigest hole that I have drilled with it is 1-1/2". (if I could find a 2" bit I would try it just for fun)

http://img4.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/a0978554.jpg

shaque
02-23-2004, 11:28 AM
G.A.
You beat me to it, I was going to ask if the drill press you had and I seen was the same http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
Jim

andy_b
02-23-2004, 01:50 PM
George,

that's what i mean. i see pictures like you posted all the time and i think to myself that maybe the DP is 5' or so tall. when i walked into the guy's shop and saw this thing that towered over me, i just couldn't believe it. maybe i need to ask from now on that the owner of the equipment stand next to it in pictures to see how big this stuff is.
:-)

i probably would've thought twice about bidding on it if i knew it was that big, but now i'm glad i ended up with it. the funny thing is, the guy told me he was going to scrap it but his friend told him to put it on ebay just to see if anyone would bid on it (he said it had been in his garage for at least 25 years). i think we were both pleased by the outcome.

andy b.

vinito
02-23-2004, 02:19 PM
xx

[This message has been edited by vinito (edited 02-23-2004).]

vinito
02-23-2004, 02:19 PM
That drill press has more than its own weight in charm too.
I picked this one up for a song from a shop I used to work in.
http://home.kc.rr.com/vinchenzo/DP.JPG
It sat unused for about 3 years and they wanted the floor space. After I got it home, I showed it to a friend and he said, "Damn... Welcome To The Machine", which I promptly painted across the head. I figured it was too big for my needs and thought about selling it, then one of my co-workers said, "I wouldn't... sometimes it just comes in handy to be able to poke a big hole through some steel." It doesn't take up much more space than a small one anyways, so I kept it.
It doesn't have near the charm of yours, but it's still a conversation piece. Soon it will be getting some much needed TLC.

Congrats on your find.

[This message has been edited by vinito (edited 02-23-2004).]

x39
02-23-2004, 02:24 PM
There was a shop that burned to the ground not far from here that had a large Buffalo drill press on the floor which was ruined. The thing had already been hauled off to the scrap yard before I got the idea of acquiring, sand blasting and painting it and using it for a lanw ornament. My wife was relieved.

irnsrgn
02-23-2004, 02:32 PM
andy_b, on the other end of the spectrum is this little baby DP, its bigger brother like yours is to the left of the picture. sorry about the poor dark picture. I have 4 of these camel back DP's but only the biggest and the littlest are under power.
http://img27.photobucket.com/albums/v81/irnsrgn/baby_drill.jpg

irnsrgn

irnsrgn
02-23-2004, 02:44 PM
G.A. Ewen try this site, I have one of these they are much cheaper than when they came out. and you can drill up to a 3 inch hole with a drillpress that has a No. 3 morse taper.
http://wttool.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=2010-9980&Category_Code=

irnsrgn

irnsrgn
02-23-2004, 02:48 PM
sorry wrong url this one has the morse taper shank.
http://wttool.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=2010-9960&Category_Code=

irnsrgn

[This message has been edited by irnsrgn (edited 02-23-2004).]

Tomzhere
02-23-2004, 03:10 PM
Great buy. That's a nice DP! I'd settle for it's distance cousin if I could find one.

G.A. Ewen
02-23-2004, 04:46 PM
irnsrgn,
I have looked into these drills before. They look like a really good outfit but I don't think that I could justify the cost for to amount of large holes that I am likely to drill.
My Royersford Excelsior 21" has a MT # 4 taper.

metal mite
02-23-2004, 06:07 PM
THat would look really cool in my front garden with pansies around it.
mite

G.A. Ewen
02-23-2004, 07:05 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by metal mite:
THat would look really cool in my front garden with pansies around it.
mite</font>


Blasphemy. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

John in OH
02-24-2004, 12:53 AM
Andy, I just saw the photos of the antique Excelsior drill press that you linked to on the Old Woodworking Machines site. I have an old drill press that appears IDENTICAL to this Excelsior machine; however, mine was built by the Champion Blower & Forge Co. of Lancaster, PA. D. Thomas from the Practical Machinist board found a page in an old catalog that showed the Champion machine and gave all the spec information. If I don't forget (and I'm finding that to be more and more of a problem !!) I'll get the electronic copy of this page off of my computer at work and send it to you. Lots of good spec info that you should enjoy, and, as I said, the 20" Champion appears to be a carbon copy of the Excelsior in the link. I noticed that the Royersford company that made the Excelsior is/was also in PA ........ wonder if Royersford and Champion are/were one and the same ????

John Stevenson
02-24-2004, 04:41 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by metal mite:
THat would look really cool in my front garden with pansies around it.
mite</font>

I cleared a school out of the machine tools a while ago, amongst all the stuff was a forge, anvil and all the tools. I was going to sell this lot on but Ower Gert took a fancy to it as an ornament.
I thought this was a small price to pay for some of the stuff I haul back so it's now sat at the bottom od the garden doing sterling service as a bar-b-que.
Turbo burgers -- 1.86 seconds.

Getting back to the drill presses I came across of of these old US models a while ago and saved it from the scrap but I wasn't sure what to do with it.
I then managed to find a working museum in the Midlands and gave it to them on the understanding they did it up and used it, not just to have as an exhibit.
Pic at
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stevenson.engineers/lsteve/files/olddrill.jpg

John S.

metal mite
02-24-2004, 01:01 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by G.A. Ewen:

Blasphemy. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif</font>

But my garage if full!

Almost bought one like that myself.

You guys would be better off getting more current machines that won't need rebuilding and with no source of spares.

Those relics take too much space unless you have a job sitting waiting to run on it.

That table will just collect more junk.

A nice Bridgeport with dro, or clone thereof would be a better buy.

But they sure are pretty(the relics).

My $.02

mite

JCHannum
02-24-2004, 01:11 PM
I see those big old drill presses frequently at auction. Unfortunately, they usually go for scrap. One last Saturday had probably a double reduction gear box, power downfeed and was in good but dusty condition. It didn't bring $50.00.
I accumulated this one a while back, it is a little different. 14" tall, maybe a companion to the Manson lathe? It is a real machine, made of aluminum castings with ball bearing spindle and Jacobs 1B chuck, round leather belt to drive it. It doesn't appear to ever had a motor installed.
http://members.aol.com/jchannum/dp

andy_b
02-24-2004, 01:41 PM
Mite,

I think i can see a touch of green in the font in your post. you're just jealeous.

andy_b
02-24-2004, 02:08 PM
mite,

i think i see a touch of green in the font in your post. you're just jealeous.
:-)

seriously, i was originally thinking of getting the drill press, repainting it, wiring it with a swing-out lamp on top and a wood tabletop on the metal table, and using it as a writing stand coming into the front door of my house. once i saw the size of it, i realized my wife would not appreciate a 1000 pound piece of furniture blocking the door.

this will obviously not be the most-used machine in my shop, and i'll admit part of the reason for wanting one was for the character. but that's why i got into this hobby. i love anything with old mechanical movements, the more exposed, the better.

as for spare parts, the soft babbitt bearings will wear out long before the shafts or bearing housing. there's really nothing else to go wrong on them (no electronics or plastic), and it would take some serious effort to break any of the castings.

andy b.

John in OH
02-24-2004, 02:14 PM
As a follow-up to my post of last night, I have attempted to link the Champion catalog cut to this posting -- never done this before so please bare with me if it crashes!

http://www.metalworking.com/DropBox/Champion%2020%20Inch%20Drill%20Press_2.jpg

I bought my 20" Champion drill press at an auction two years ago. Last year I attended another auction and in a pile of scrap being sold lay another identical machine! I noted who bought the scrap and offered $20 for the old drill press - he agreed and even helped load it into my pickup. I took a couple of non-critical parts off the second machine that were missing from mine, sketched and dimensioned the parts, and gave the second drill press and the sketches to a buddy. Now two of these fine old machines have been saved from the melting furnace!!

G.A. Ewen
02-24-2004, 02:34 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by G.A. Ewen:

Blasphemy. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif</font>

Mite, no offence was intended.

These old machines are of great value to the HSM. As was mentioned they can be had for a song and they will out drill any Asian POS on the market. After you try one nothing less will do.

metal mite
02-24-2004, 03:55 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by G.A. Ewen:
Mite, no offence was intended.

These old machines are of great value to the HSM. As was mentioned they can be had for a song and they will out drill any Asian POS on the market. After you try one nothing less will do.</font>


G.A. Ewen

none taken; just for fun!
Do it your way.
I'll do it mine.

Still may get one for the garden, and an old shaper to go with it.

mite

win worm
02-24-2004, 04:01 PM
Hello I started as a helper in the 60's at Alamo Iron Works in San Antonio and remember theses old drill press the ran off a large belt they worked great I learned my trade on one of theses the picture bring back some great memories me full of oil and hot shavings down the front of my shirt it was great.

Alistair Hosie
02-24-2004, 04:31 PM
what is the basic advantage over a modern drill press? and why are drill presses called drill presses why not just ,bench or floor standing drills Alistairp s I have an good copy of this drill press on one of my shelves from a German steam toy company to go with their marklin steam machined toys

John Stevenson
02-24-2004, 05:08 PM
Alistair,
Drill press is an American term, another of these "seperated by a common language" things.
With us being smarter over here http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif we call them bench drills or Pillar drills to denote if they are floor or bench mounted.
The cousins, because they lump them all as Drill presses have to fall over one first to find out what it is.

John S.

PS - just joking guys..............guys ?

JCHannum
02-24-2004, 05:40 PM
John;
Anybody who drives a vehicle equipped with wings, a scuttle and boot hardly has room to be critical of another country's language.
I won't even begin to get into gudgeon pins here, except to ask justwhatinthehell is a gudgeon anyway?

John Stevenson
02-24-2004, 05:58 PM
JC,
Vans don't have wings, scuttles and boots.
Vans are for collecting machine tools,

A gudgeon pin is the pin that connects the con rod to the piston. In the US you call this a wrist pin. In SF according to todays news your new govenor calls it a limp wrist pin. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

John S.

JCHannum
02-24-2004, 06:45 PM
I know what a gudgeon pin is, I know what circlips and sticky pins are too, but I still don't know what a gudgeon is.

John Stevenson
02-24-2004, 06:47 PM
It's a fish.

John S.

JCHannum
02-24-2004, 06:51 PM
That's a grunion.

John Stevenson
02-24-2004, 06:57 PM
Oxford English dictionary:-

Gudgeon
• noun 1 a pivot or spindle on which something swings or rotates. 2 the tubular part of a hinge into which the pin fits. 3 a socket at the stern of a boat, into which the rudder is fitted. 4 a pin holding two blocks of stone together.

Gudgeon

• noun a small freshwater fish often used as bait by anglers.

Gudgeon Pin

• noun a pin holding a piston rod and a connecting rod together

Grunion doesn't come up with anything.

John S.

x39
02-24-2004, 07:03 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by andy_b:


i realized my wife would not appreciate a 1000 pound piece of furniture blocking the door.
</font>

Why is it most women have such poor taste in furniture? LOL! I met a guy last year who is building a new house that will have a Coliss steam engine and an antique dynamo in the living room! I didn't have the pleasure of meeting his wife, but she must be a peach!

JCHannum
02-24-2004, 08:40 PM
A grunion is a small salt water fish, found in the Pacific Ocean. It has runs when great quantities beach themselves and are scooped up for food.
I remember an early Dragnet episode, which is one of the funniest bits on early television where Joe Friday and his partner at the time discuss the grunion run at Pismo Beach.

x39
02-25-2004, 08:43 AM
The grunnions also figured into the "Beverly Hillbillies". I remember an episode in which the Clampetts armed themselves and built fortifications on the beach in anticipation of the arrival of the grunnions, which they thought were foreign invaders bent on an amphibious assault. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif Good stuff.