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the mother of all drill presses is in my garage

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  • the mother of all drill presses is in my garage

    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.

    The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

  • #2
    Interesting, I wonder how big a hole you can drill with that.

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    • #3
      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).]

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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.
          THAT OLD GANG 'O MINE

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          • #6
            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.
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

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            • #7
              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)

              To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison

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              • #8
                G.A.
                You beat me to it, I was going to ask if the drill press you had and I seen was the same
                Jim
                Jim

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                • #9
                  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.
                  The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

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                  • #10
                    xx

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

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                    • #11
                      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.

                      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).]

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                      • #12
                        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.

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                        • #13
                          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.


                          irnsrgn
                          Necessity is the mother of Invention

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                          • #14
                            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...Category_Code=

                            irnsrgn
                            Necessity is the mother of Invention

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                            • #15
                              sorry wrong url this one has the morse taper shank.
                              http://wttool.com/Merchant2/merchant...Category_Code=

                              irnsrgn

                              [This message has been edited by irnsrgn (edited 02-23-2004).]
                              Necessity is the mother of Invention

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