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Picture of DIY column drill UPGRADES!
My DIY column drill, which has been unbelievably in the top ten chart of most viewed Instructables of that month, deserved a good upgrade, what do I say, let's not be stingy, Top Ten deserves at least three great upgrades!
So here they are: an addictional rail to easily shift up and down all the mechanism, a twin LED lamp to light better the working surface and, last but not least, an integrated automatic power switch connected to the teethbrush-lever! Does this lever type seem strange to you? read the first Instructable!
 
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Step 1: Tools and b.o.m.

Picture of tools and b.o.m.
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For these upgrades we don't need many components, other than the second macro photography rail and the cheap led light, only a few electrical pieces, a pair of wood little blocks (I exceeded them from the first project), an aluminium bar (I've luckily found one of the right lenght with already two holes), and two screws/bolts. Here is the complete list:
  • a second macro photography rail
  • a tactile switch (better with a metal lever) with a little screw
  • a shucko socket
  • a wall plug with wire
  • an aluminium bar abouth three inches lenght
  • a bolt with nut
  • a short bipolar wire for swich connection
  • some hot-shrinking tubes
  • and of course some tools, a welder, a welding support (maybe with a lens), hot glue (mine is black), a double elements glue, pliers, a screwdiver, etc.

Step 2: A new rail

Picture of a new rail
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There is not too much to explain about how the new macro rail should be mounted. You see in first image the little locking knob, which you have to loose to shift the rail with the bigger knob. As always we find two little hex screws in the holes, which act as friction. You can tight them if the rail falls too fast when you loose the locking knob. I've shot two photos to show you upper and lower positions.

Step 3: The spring stand...

Picture of the spring stand...
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As I said my aluminium bar already had the holes, but maybe you've to drill these. Note that one has to be threaded screwed so that it links with the 1/4" screw of the macro rail. The other only has to receive the metal bolt, but you could screw it too. Distance between the holes should be about 2-3 inches.

Step 4: ..is mounted!

Picture of ..is mounted!
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Mounting this new accessory let us change handy the tension of our spring. Indeed as you see in photos the upper screw of the rail is able to move in the slot up and down, so you have a (little) allowance, this should be greater if you choose to make the aluminium bar longer than mine.

Step 5: The automatic toothbrush level sensor and power actuator (alias the switch from the junk)

Picture of the automatic toothbrush level sensor and power actuator (alias the switch from the junk)
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This is the tactile switch I had in my junk, it's perfect because is very compact, it has three pins and its specifications say 3A at 250V (so 750 watts, much more than our little drill). Of the three pins one is common, the second is normally open circuit (NO), and the third is normally closed circuit (NC), which is the one we care, because we want that, when the lever is in rest position and it pushes the switch, the circuit should remain open.
The screw should be the right size and thread to join the little holes in the rail. I had to enlarge a little one hole of the switch, which was too narrow for that screw. Beware to not brake the plastic box of the switch.
Put the switch in position and measure how much bend the lever so the nail touch it, then keep it out, bend it and cut and round the extremity with a file.

Step 6: The AC plug...

Picture of the AC plug...
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To keep a separate circuit and not cut the wire of my drill, I decided to add to my stand a shuko socket at which connect the drill plug. Then I've used two wood blocks of the right size to glue this socket in the space between vertical wood column and rear rail. And I've cutted the three plugs of the socket to spare space.
You need some of heat-shrinking tubes to insulate the wires. I've then decided to envelop everythink in hot-glue, and so they're not essential but it's always better be cautious.

Step 7: The power circuit

Picture of the power circuit
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Here you see how I connected the wires of my wall plug at the shuko socket, and how one of the wires goes onto the swith NC pins. Then I insulated everything with shrinking tubes. After checking the simple circuit works good, I've glued it on two wood blocks, with addiction of a thin wood shim, with double components glue.

Step 8: Glue it

Picture of glue it
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This block of pieces has to be glued at bottom of the cubical wood part of the drill support. In this way the column drill can still easily be dismantled if you need to add something else ;-)
Here you see the mounted parts. The shuko socket fits exactly in the space, and on the other side the black glue element doesn't interfere with the toothbrush. The wire which goes to the switch is long enough to let the rail moving up and down.

Step 9: The lamps...

Picture of the lamps...
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This is a cheap twin LED lamp I've found specifically for this project. It's handy because the two arms can reach the side of the drill bit, and they have a push-switch each to turn them on. I've decide to keep the battery holder as is and lock it on the beck of the column with a nylon band.

Step 10: ...and the light

Picture of ...and the light
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You see that the leds light the drill bit from opposite sides and make the working zone really visible, also if ambience light is blocked from the drill itself. You can adjust the flexible arms to avoid interferences with the lever.

Step 11: Done!

Picture of done!
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I've kept the old aluminium bar at top of the column to link the power cable and keep it far from the drill bit. The thick wood board is useful as a cheap surface which you can change easily, and avoids you to drill the black painted base.
So this is my full-optional column drill, I think now I've a complete tool which will help me to drill all next boards. 
This time I show you a video too, forgive me for bad quality, maybe I could make a better one in future.



Let me know your impressions, sorry to have bothered you again with this drill! ;-)
Goodbye to next instructable!
kdaskalakis7 months ago
First pic is a thin strip of UHMW. I inserted between the base and rail. There was slight movement between the two parts. This stopped the back to front movement. Second pic is the drill straps I also made from UHMW. The base or back piece I tapped for the screws. Third pic is a crank from an old craftsman table saw. It fits perfect and its a great way to control movement. By inserting the UHMW between the base and rail, not only did it stop the slop in movement but it also restricts the drill from dropping from its own weight. I also tightened the two tiny rail screws. Works like a dream...thanks for the instructable. Im not going to do the on/off switch. Im contempt.

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andrea biffi (author)  kdaskalakis7 months ago

awesome! my rail has two little screws to set up the movement between two parts, so I don't need the strip of UHMV. I love the 3D printed parts.

PLEASE DO the on/off switch, it's the best upgrade you could make!!

kdaskalakis7 months ago
First pic is a thin strip of UHMW. I inserted between the base and rail. There was slight movement between the two parts. This stopped and back to front movement. Second pic is the drill straps I also made from UHMW. The base or back piece I tapped for the screws. Third pic is a crank from an old craftsman table saw. It fits perfect and its a great way to control movement. By inserting the UHMW between the base and rail, not only did it stop the slop in movement but it also restricts the drill from dropping from its own weight. I also tightened the two tiny rail screws. Works like a dream...thanks for the instructable. Im not going to do the on/off switch. Im contempt.
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kdaskalakis7 months ago
What is the second rail you added. I ordered the first rail yesterday before I saw the upgrades.
andrea biffi (author)  kdaskalakis7 months ago

it's in the intro: "an additional rail to easily shift up and down all the mechanism" ;-)

crazypj made it!1 year ago

Picture of the high precision counterweight version. I don't have a finished picture with cable guide and operating lever. Counterweight means pressure/weight is the same over 100mm of travel

Almost finished Almost finished -2.JPG
crazypj1 year ago
I'm about 70% done. Ended up pretty heavy duty welded 2"x1" aluminium box section I picked up at local 'surplus store (my wife calls it the 'junk shop' )
It's at 90 degree angle for base/upright
I've put some extra screws into macro rail to prevent twisting as I though of a few extra uses, I can drill base and mount it to my 7x10 mini lathe to use as a high speed mill or grinder
I had to build to a certain stage to take measurements for the final stage
I should probably make an Instructable about it?
andrea biffi (author)  crazypj1 year ago
you have to ;-)
Did a bit more work, almost done.
Still have to make a 'table' and melt some lead for a counterweight
Found some stainless steel nylon coated wire I bought for a different project (total diameter is 1/16", about 1.5mm)
I will post everything up when finished.
I did forget to take pictures of some of the latest 'work' and maybe too many of the 'beginning'
I also found out that spinning a 2" diameter aluminium disc @8,000+ rpm causes enough vibration for the tiny adjuster screws fall out and get lost ( I'm also 'playing' with an electronic ignition for my 1974 Honda 360) I was hoping to test hall effect sensor and see if there is an rpm where it can't trigger fast enough (LOL)
Luckily they are 3mm so will get replaced with longer screw and locknut
Thanks for the encouragement

you must make an instructable!! :)

Just spent hours writing up a word doc with pics but find I can't upload it and should have done everything directly here. Eventually I'll get it uploaded as a 'Precision high speed micro drill press'

crazypj1 year ago
Those upgrades are a great idea.
Thanks for all the details.
I would never have thought of making something like this, I've always bought tools or modified things for specific purpose, this is much better ;)
I really like the micro-switch idea and the plug/socket upgrade
andrea biffi (author)  crazypj1 year ago
Good, I like them too, I really use it a lot, and after almost one year I can tell for certain that it works great!
crazypj1 year ago
Just made an offer on 2 adjusters, great idea
I need to drill some0.016" holes in brass rod and normal drill press isn't even close to fast enough
iscovell2 years ago
cool use of a toothbrush!
donkeyknee2 years ago
Magnificent...!!
Great hack! I was curious if you thought about using hose clamps instead of wire ties to hold the Dremel in place, so that it could be removed if needed.

Also, I don't recognize that plug configuration. What country are you in?
andrea biffi (author)  Aingon Atelia2 years ago
Mmm, yes I'm still thinking about that, maybe a fast and handy way to remove the drill is better, but I don't like the solution of hose clamps... they're too rough..
I still have to find the right solution..
The plug is a Shuko plug, very common for tools here in Italy..
frenzy2 years ago
Whoa! Great Project!
andrea biffi (author)  frenzy2 years ago
Thanks! :-)
RMHayes19542 years ago
Great idea using the plunge lever to operate the power switch. And the LED lights are also a good addition. I may add those mods to my Proxxon drill press.
samern2 years ago
Hello Andrea,

I was interested to see both your instructables and had a thought: it seems that you could extend your design slightly to add even more capability to turn it into a Dremel (or equivalent) milling machine. I imagine that you can add the same platform twice (one on top of the other at 90 degrees to create an X-Y table). Then, steppers controlling all 3 axes can a suitable circuitboard would get you a CNC machine too!

Thanks for the great instructable!

Samer
andrea biffi (author)  samern2 years ago
WOW! still science fiction for me... but maybe in future...
schumi232 years ago
Awesome!
I hadn't seen your first instructable for building it -Opening it now :D
Your pictures are wonderful!