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.