Note; This is my first instructable and my first attempt to rebuild a drill press

I have been itching to set up a shop again after many years without one. One of the first items any good shop needs is a drill press. I am on an extremely limited (near zero) budget, and the cheap presses I have come across do not inspire confidence in their capabilities. Then I came across this instructable:


marshon did a lovely job with his restoration project, and I felt up to a similar challenge especially if it came at a similar price!

I had only been searching for about a month when I came across the press by accident. My girlfriend and I were walking home from the beach when I spotted a gorgeous '60 Chevy, so of course I went over to drool on it. It was parked in front of a garage sale, and I found the press rusting away on the bottom of an old metal cart. For 15 bucks, I now had a drill press, sort of.

It took quite a bit of work, and I got lucky finding a motor, but I now have the drill press restored and operational. See the before and after photos below.

My goals for this project were not to build a "museum quality" artifact of antique equipment, but to have a fully functional piece of workshop kit. I am satisfied that I have accomplished this, and the build quality of the unit appears superior to anything new I could have afforded.

Step 1: Taking Stock

First Things First

The first thing that needs to be done is find out what exactly I have. I took a quick peruse when I bought it, made sure the spindle turned, the chuck opened and closed, etc.  But now I need to know the details of what is here, what is missing, and what is needed for the restoration.

What Is Here

Starting with the base you can see from the photos that it is unusual. The person I bought it from said that it was meant to be attached to a table saw, and that base bolted to the side of the table, and the belt ran from the saw motor, out to the two pulleys on the back of the drill, and then turned the pulley on the spindle. The base is hinged at the bottom with two bolt holes where it once attached to the saw. I thought I could work with this in some alternate arrangement, and I even entertained the idea of using the hinge to allow the press to "lay down" and act like a lathe. I discarded that plan fairly soon, I may go back and revisit that idea at a later date.

The rest of the press looked fairly straightforward except for the pulleys where the motor normally sits. Everything seemed to function, but everything also was very stiff and a little gritty when turned by hand. What lubricant was left had obviously turned to glue, wherever it was exposed was black and greasy, while what I could see of the inside it was dark brown. Rust was on every part, most of it was patina but some was pretty deep.

What is Missing

The most important thing missing was the manual, and to make matters worse the two spec plates did not have a model number on them, nor did the stampings on the upper casting (once I got enough rust off to read them). A Google search turned up several comments that proved useful such as:

This press is a Delta Homecraft, but Delta put a different model number on for each little change in options, color, etc. The only way to identify it is really to match photos/drawings against what you have.

Once matched against photos, more information can be found along with manuals and part diagrams. Some sites offer reprints for a small fee, sometimes you get luck and find one for free (I got lucky).

This particular model, an 11-120, was quite popular, and some original parts are available.

After getting what I could from the net, I was able to get a parts list. For a start the base is wrong, I had to work with it but eventually it will need a proper benchtop base. The pulley assembly will need to be replaced with a motor, which means a motor mount as well. The chuck key was missing, as was the 4 step pulley and fan belt for the motor (obviously). Everything else appeared to be intact.

What is Needed

A good cleaning and rust removal, which means wire brushes, steel wool, soap, WD-40, and a lot of elbow grease. Of the things on the Missing list, the motor, pulley, belt, and key will need to be located. The motor mount bracket will have to be fabricated. At this point I do not know what condition the bearings are in, or if the spindle or quill are good. The cast parts will need paint, and the rest will need oil.
I've got a similar one in my garage and I'm dying to take it apart and restore it. I can't find the correct manual for it anywhere, though (I've checked all the vintage manuals sites). I might have to get the 1974 manual and hope not much actually changed, other than the gear housing and head.
<p>A chemical rust-stomper is great for projects like this involving iron and steel. Forget Naval Jelly. I never found anything I liked better than Os-Pho. </p><p>Knock off and clean up loose rust. Hit with rust-stomper. Let dry. Paint. <br><br>The rust-stomper chemically reverses the oxidation process and shoves it into reduction. Takes care of invisible rust too. Product is often available at boat yards, if you can't find it elsewhere. </p>
Just FYI itzmark, the small protrusion with a hole in the casting just aft of the quill shaft on the left side of the press &quot;head&quot; below the manufacturer's plate (visible in the first photo here on this page) is the chuck key's normal storage location - the rod that passes through the factory chuck key and acts as a lever to tighten/loosen the chuck slides into this hole for storage so that it's easily available and handy. Mine is stamped with the number &quot;32&quot; which may refer to the size/type of chuck key.
Great instructable! Thank you for taking the time to go into details and post it. Great work!
Well done! I have a post or two about this tool on my blog: <a href="http://delta-rockwell-tool-hunter.blogspot.com/2009/08/rockwell-answers-shopsmith-with-multi.html">http://delta-rockwell-tool-hunter.blogspot.com/2009/08/rockwell-answers-shopsmith-with-multi.html</a>
Nice job! Isn't it satisfying when it cuts it's first hole?
I love old rust and fixing it up and bringing it back to life. I don't worry too much about keeping anything original though. Half the fun for me is customizing! Here is a messed up bench drill press I found in my grandfather's cellar I fixed up:<br> <br> <a href="http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/8512/p1010004pn.jpg">http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/8512/p1010004pn.jpg</a><br> <br> To the left is an old messed up grinder I did some work to and a radial arm saw that needed some desperate attention when I got it as well!<br> <br>
I have a Delta in my garage that needs the same treatment. It looks almost identical to this one except it has a regular base and motor. Need to breakdown the motor to see why it has 1/2&quot; of end play in the shaft.
It's not clear to me in the segments of your post I've read whether you're aware of it, but the unit you made this from is part of a multi-tool that was a table saw, drill press, and jointer combination. The press dangled alongside the table saw when not in use, and was swung up into position atop the table saw where I believe the shaft stand was captured, maybe by a thumbscrew arrangement, I can't clearly recall. The long drive belt looped over the two pulleys which were mounted (where you've placed the new motor, and then down to the pulley on the motor which drove all three tools) I have the same unit which I dismounted and rescued from my Dad's old combination tool (which I believe was a Craftsman). That's the reason for the &quot;funky&quot; base. I haven't mounted a motor on mine yet, you did a good job - where did you find the three-tier drive pulley you mounted on the motor? You probably have a different speed range with that mounted, I believe the drive-side of the original arrangement was a single (two inch?) pulley. I think the part you (and I) bolted to the bench top was originally bolted to the side of the saw table with the bolts in the plane of the top so that the saw top was flat/clear when the press was dropped down when not in use.
The man I bought it from did say it was originally attached to a table saw and used the same motor, but I did not see the saw and I have not come across any pictures of the combined unit.<br> <br> The replacement pulley for the motor is a 4 step pulley I got at a surplus store in Oxnard (great place). Ace Hardware listed one on their website, but none of the stores had one in stock. The speeds may be slightly different than original, but should not be too far off. If I had tried to use a single 2&quot; pulley I would have had to make a motor bracket that raised up and down to get the belt alignment correct.<br>
Sorry I don't have any photos of Dad's assembled Rockwell. You're probably aware the pulley configuration you used is the industry norm for dedicated drill presses, and it likely provides a wider range of speeds than the original setup which required the lengthy (and perhaps hazardous) exposed belt which needed to be threaded through the complex original pulley configuration each time the press was swung up and locked in place to be utilized. I don't remember Dad using it much, but I do remember thinking it worked great when he did. It seems to have a lot of travel (depth capacity) and a good, robust chuck.
Correction, mine has a Rockwell label on it.
You did great job bringing back to life an antique drill press, I love restoration of old stuff :-)
Your motor looks like a washing machine motor. I would guess it to be from the late 1920's or sometime in the 1930's.<br /> <br /> If you want to develop a shop with very little money, take a look at an <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Precise-Table-Saw-from-an-Electric-Hand-Saw/" rel="nofollow">inexpensive way to get a decent table saw</a> (warning: shameless self-promotion).<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Joint-Boards-without-a-Jointer-1/" rel="nofollow">This</a> will also allow you to use a sanding drum to do the work of a joiner for fine woodwork. (more shameless self-promotion)<br /> <br /> Thank you for an interesting Instructable.<br />
I had not thought about the motor being from a washing machine, but it is possible. Before it came to me it had been mounted on a piece of plywood painted red, as evidenced by the remains on the bracket.<br /> <br /> I had already given thought to the table saw idea you mention, that is a future project. I will be working with small pieces (less than 48&quot;) for now, so it is not a priority.<br /> <br /> I plan on getting/making sanding drums and shapers for the press though. The manual that I found shows this press being capable of using router bits, and even shows how the setup works. However I have seen quite a lot of comments on this being a bad idea and why, and I agree for the most part. Some shaper bits and burrs are meant to work at lower speeds, those would be better I think.
If you were to enlarge the table on your drill press by clamping a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to it with screws from below, preparing edges for gluing would be pretty simple. I have a radial arm saw. It accepts a 1/2 inch drill chuck on the back end of the motor. In theory I can use it to hold router bits. In practice I have found the speed to be too slow at 3,000 rpm. The cuts are not clean and the bits chatter enough that the jaws of the chuck loosen.
I applaud you, you've done a great job!
lovely :) wish i had one XD
Nice. I desperately need a drill.

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