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Help me with more shop equipment choices?

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  • Help me with more shop equipment choices?

    My little shop here at work has been growing over the last couple of years with people realizing how valuable it is, and how much we save in money and time having this equipment here vs. having the work done by an outside vendor.

    For a little background, we had a fixed budget last year to acquire some new equipment to upgrade from out crappy mill/drill unit. So within our budget constraints, I ended up getting a Jet 4VS mill with x-feed and dro, and a Grizzly G4003G lathe along with some basic tooling for both. After getting this stuff, of course my cabilities for doing more work went way up. And with that came more little work projects that proved to be quite valuable.

    We've had a old Jet little bandsaw that I actually like quite a bit. Has the blade cutter/welder on it, and is quite beefy for its compact size.

    Here's a few pics to get an idea of what I have going:

    The problem (or blessing) is that our drill press died last week in poof of smoke and a few sparks when turning it on. I knew the head bearings had been dying over the last year and needed a new set anyway. Plus I really dislike having to change belts for speeds and coming away with pitch-black hands each time. This press had been abused before I got it, and I could find a replacement motor and new bearing sets and get the thing working again, but I approached my manager about this....

    I got the green light to find a new drill press! AND, he mentioned we have some money in our budget for new equipment to use by the end of the year (goofy system, I know), and I should 'put a list together'.

    Now I didn't get a budget to work with quite yet, but I can always shoot high and have them tell me no, rather than shoot low and not get as much as I could have.

    So, I'm looking at variable speed drill presses. Either variable belt drive or electronic control, and of course I have to be concentrating on 'band fer yer buck models'. I have been looking at the Wilton and Jet models:

    I know nothing about Baileigh, and see they have several models also- good/bad?

    comments on these?
    Last edited by T.Hoffman; 09-16-2010, 09:14 AM.

  • #2
    An arbor press is always handy.


    • #3
      Forgot to mention, we do have a smaller arbor press already.

      And a sheet metal corner shear/notcher similar to this:

      What I don't have is a smaller sheet metal brake, and really would like one.

      We also have a basic bench grinder. But I'd like to get something dedicated for shaping HSS bits and cutters.
      Last edited by T.Hoffman; 09-15-2010, 12:15 PM.


      • #4
        Baleigh gets lots of thumbs up from the folk over on Pirate4x4...



        • #5
          highly valuable little shop

          Hi there

          Really impressed with your little shop and the great house keeping.

          Allow me to suggest you acquire anti-fatigue mats for the lathe, mill, bandsaw and drill press. Should also your work bench.

          Following the topic.

          Veteran - I served our country because it was the right thing to do.


          • #6
            That looks like it was a decent drill press at one time. Maybe see if they'll let you haul off the carcass, add some bearings, a 3 phase motor and a VFD and it could be a real decent drill press. Jim


            • #7
              I would reccomend looking at Allen drill presses.

              I don't know if they are still making them or not but we had a couple of them in our tool room and they did a great job.

              The ones that we had utilized a built in tapping function. Slide a collar back on the quill handle and start tapping.

              They also had a wide range of RPM's, from about 100 to around 1000 as I recall, plus a built in foot start stop switch.


              THINK HARDER




              • #8
                The links to both the Jet and Wilton drill presses listed models with 2 speed gearboxes, those are the ones you want. Without a lower gear, the drilling capacity's listed will be fiction, there just won't be enough torque available. Also make sure the drill you get has Morse taper, otherwise you are more restricted in the size of drills.


                • #9
                  thanks for the info!

                  The links I posted were from Southern-tool company, and the reason I posted them is that Southern Tool is on our "approved vendor" list. I work for a VERY large company, so it's not like I can find some awesome deal on craigslist and have our company purchase it. It doesn't work that way here....

                  The wheels here turn very slowly, and everything has to be done by the company process. To get a supplier put on our approved vendor list, it can take a really long time and be quite painful. McMaster is on our approved list, and so is Southern-tool. So I'm almost limited to buying from them if I want to make this happen within a reasonable time frame.

                  Two-speed gear boxes are a good idea. And the anti-fatigue mats, nice...

                  Also, I have yet to grind my own HSS lathe bits. Don't have a wheel for that yet. We already have a stand-mounted grinder that is setup for doing steel grinding. Would it be a good idea to get a dedicated grinder setup for HSS bits?


                  • #10
                    Common situation to have money come available at year end. To avoid having a last minute rush to determine what to get, maintain a list of tools in three categories. List immediate need, near future needs, and nice to have and the approximate cost of each with necessary accessories and tooling. Any time you think of a tool to add to the list, put it down. Review the list at least twice a month so that if any money becomes available you can have a PO filled out within 24 hours.
                    North Central Arkansas


                    • #11
                      Anti Fatigue mats were suggested.
                      I prefer-recommend homemade wooden catwalk type things.
                      They are flexible and they are easily moved for sweeping. Mine are made of 3/4" board strips, so they are 1 1/2" tall.
                      I move them around and stand in different positions as I work on a job. Toes up, heels on floor, toes down, heel on carwalk. Left leg on and right leg off and vice versa.
                      That way my lower body geometry and posture would change conttinually. It was better for my fet and back.
                      I have been standing for 42 years and it hurts.
                      K Lively


                      • #12
                        Floor mats

                        I like the black rubber mats with a yellow border that taper down to the floor on all the edges. The mats with holes in them are a royal PITA to clean up in a place that makes chips. The metal shavings get stuck in the holes. You can never get them all out. The smooth mats that taper down to the floor are super easy to sweep up on top and around. They are really good to stand on all day too. I just put one foot or the other on the base of the machine if I need to change positions. Or you can put a short piece of 2 x 4 down for that too.
                        Last edited by Toolguy; 09-16-2010, 04:33 PM.
                        Kansas City area


                        • #13
                          This video about half way through explains the features of a pretty decent drill press and may give you an idea of what to look for:
                          Though that is on the mucho bang, mucho bucks end of the spectrum. Variable speed, power down feed with auto release, removable XY table, etc. Don't remember if it had tapping and I am pretty sure it didn't have oscillation (for sanding). That series as a whole will let you see a lot of good equipment actually being used in a shop that has been around for a long time and seen a lot of use.

                          But now that I have looked at your links and the price tags and capabilities, lets look at it from a different perspective. Time for a sanity check? Obviously you are spending someone elses money and not your own to even consider those at this stage of your shop's evolution, but still you could get a lot more "bang for your buck" by spending it on something other than a drill press.

                          I am of the more mill, less drill press mind set, unless you have a lot of people using the shop concurrrently or need to keep unskilled people off the mill - and you don't need an expensive drill press for those purposes. The drill press is for drilling in the ends of long bars/rods (and should be able to clamp long work like that) that won't fit on the mill very well. The rest can be done on the mill. Far better use of money to put CNC or accessories on the mill or lathe or a surface grinder or than spend lots of money on redundant capability on the drill press. Or horizontal bandsaw, a good articulated belt sander, or brake/shear/slip roll, welder, measuring equipment, etc. A drill press is the last thing I would blow $2K to $4k on. And those don't even look that good.

                          Black hands is a minor annoyance (and one which could be alleviated by using a rag or gloves to grab the belt) but to not have the equipment to make something, that is more serious.

                          You have a knee mill, not a bench mill, so you don't even need to use a floor drill press to drill holes in the end of long stock; you should be able to clamp the work to the back of the table and swing the ram over. Aside from drilling holes in the end of something that is 3'x1'x1' (and how much of that work does it do and does it honestly require a $2K to $4k drill press to do), there is about nothing a drill press can do that a knee mill can't do better. One justification for a drill press is to save wear and tear on your mill but if it costs as much as a mill, that goes out the window.

                          Take your existing drill press and replace the bearings. Take the motor and toss it and buy a cheap 3 phase motor and take it to a motor shop to be dipped and baked and add a VFD. With minor maintenance the motor should last you decades and the drill press at least a decade. Inspect the rack and pinion. If it looks worn, buy or make a replacement. Can you make those? Do you have gear cutting ability? If not, why are you looking at spending that kind of money on a drill press when you are lacking essentials? Do you have everything in your shop that would be required to build such a drill press from scratch? Even if you have non-skilled users in your shop, you would be better off spending that money on a cheap second knee mill, a tooling plate (with a bore part way down in the center for drill press peck through type operations) to protect the table, way covers (sawdust and way oil aren't a good combination), and some good clamps. If you first knee mill breaks, will the drill press be able to do its job or make the parts to repair it? No. Consider one which is the same as your existing mill for parts interchangability (ok, your existing model is a little spendy in this compariosn). Or if you want to spend $4K to replace your drill press look at The grizzly G9959 - already has a hole in the center of the table - of course you can do that with a tooling plate or bore a hole in the table of any cheap mill. Even a round column mill mounted on an appropriate stand so you can clamp long work to the back of the table is likely to be more useful than a drill press. Realistically, with good bearings and a good motor, what else is going to break on the drill press? The rack and pinion, maybe, the woodruff key on the cone pulleys when you abuse it, maybe a bushing, and a few other minor parts. Maybe you will eventually wear the quill out from travel or twist the shaft from abuse. Any major parts that are likely to fail should already show some significant wear.

                          Honestly, what will you be able to make or repair with a $2K to $4K drill press that you can't do with equipment you already have? If you had no drill press at all, let alone a $2K to $4K one, would it really prevent you from doing anything? Will it honestly affect productivity enough to justify its expense? And can you honestly say that there is nothing else that you could spend the same amount of money on that wouldn't improve productivity even more? Some of those drill presses are in the G4003G lathe price range; are they even half the machine it is? A little redundancy can be good but a cheap mill would give far more redundancy than an expensive drill press. For small parts, there is some redundancy between the lathe and mill if you have the right accessories.

                          If and when I have a Monarch 10EE, a 24 foot lathe, a knee mill the size of texas, a 24' long 5 axis CNC gantry mill/planer, a shaper, a 24' long surface grinder, an automated tubing bender, a horizontal boring machine, a horizontal mill, centered and/or centerless grinding, big hydraulic press, CNC on all of them, and a climate controlled metrology lab, then, maybe, I would consider spending $2K to $4K drill press. And I would probably still find something better to spend it on. Until then, a $250 cheap POS with the motor dipped and baked and maybe a VFD would be good enough. Maybe a separate tapping head that can be used on it or the mill.

                          Sure a drill press can be one of the most used tools in the shop if you have low precision jobs and/or low skilled users but it probably shouldn't be except in the low skill case. It is the least important machine in the shop because it is redundant and not that capable. If it is all you have, you will use it like crazy. If you have better tools and know how to use them, then why aren't you? Sacrificial machine can be a good reason but you aren't talking sacrificial prices.

                          You might be worried about equipment breaking since it is slow to order a replacement in your organization. But these are Jets or their sister company Wilton not Rockwells we are talking about. Maybe you should be thinking about whether you can make replacement parts and if you can't why are you buying expensive drill presses instead of something that would give you the capability to do that. Ok, you might want to stock some bearings rather than make them. Gears, leadscrews, cams, bushings, shafts, levers, detents, collars, keys, handles, etc. you should be able to make if it is intended to be a good general purpose shop and not a specialized one.

                          If it gets used a thousand hours per year then $4K is chump change per hour and is a good return on investment. But $4K will also get you a CNC upgrade for the mill or lathe or possibly even both that lets your mill drill the holes itself and may be an even better return on investment. Depends on what work needs to be done.

                          It is your shop and your choice. You know what goes on there far better than I. In some cases an expensive drill press could be well justified. And sometimes the politics don't let you do what makes sense. Just make sure you are looking at the big picture. If it turns out a spiffy drill press makes sense, then good luck finding one. Sounds like you spent around $14K+tooling on your last shop upgrade and management was happy with the results, so spend another $14K .


                          • #14
                            The 2 x 4 on the shop mat is a good idea too. I have done that in some shops with anti-fatigue mats.
                            What else is nice to stand on is corrugated cardboard. It is a wonderful insulator on cold floors, and when you are done, you throw it away.

                            K Lively


                            • #15
                              nice little shop..........very clean.........