Introduction: Restoring and Assembling an Old Drill Press

This instructable will teach you the process of restoring machinery, and how to disassemble and assemble a drill press.

I had been looking for a drill press in about a month before I found the Knuth KB-16 (1984). Knuth a good industrial quality brand, and their cheapest belt driven drill press goes for 1200$ today, so this project was well worth the time and effort. The seller wanted 200$ for the drill press, which is a fair price, when it usually goes for 350$, in worse condition! So I told him I was 17 years old and I needed it to make some prototypes for a very unique 3D-printer I was designing and offered 100 bucks ;-) He said we had a deal, and my dad, brother and I picked it up the next day.

This was great since I have used all my money on the 3D-printer, now the only problem was its condition. Which was terrible by the way (as can be seen in the pictures). I don't have a workshop and not even something you can call a worktable, which basically meant the drill press had to be in my room. Therefore it would need to look like new of course.

Step 1: Preparation and Tools

Tools

In order to restore a drill press, you will need the tools listed below;

  • A wrench (not too small)
  • Socket wrench set
  • Standard types of pliers
  • Hammer
  • Rubber mallet
  • Screwdrivers
  • Allen key set
  • Vise

Machines

You will also need some machines if you would like to be done within the next year.

  • Bench grinder (This is a must)
  • Angle grinder
  • A drill might also come in handy

Materials

  • Assortment of bolts and nuts (not mandatory)
  • Wire wheels for the bench grinder and the angle grinder (you will probably need at least two wire wheels)
  • Primer (Motip have good reputation)
  • Paint (I used Motip)
  • Clear coat (mine is UV something something protecting)
  • Grease
  • Sandpaper
  • Softsoap and ammonia (whatever else you have for cleaning oil and grease, will probably do just fine, or perhaps better)
  • Power cord (harvest one at the scrapyard)

Safety

  • Respirator
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

Now that our tools are gathered, we can begin the teardown of the drill press.

Step 2: The Tear Down

Since a machine obviously consists of many parts, we will have to disassemble the whole machine, before we can begin restoring each part. Above I have included a picture that describes what comes afterward, just to give an overview ;-)

Remember to take a lot of pictures! I worked on this drill press every day all day, six days in a row and I never thought I would be needing the pictures. Next day I broke my collarbone in half and was out for two weeks. Now the pictures came in pretty handy.

Disassembly of a drill press

Disassembling a drill press is pretty straight forward. You start from the top, and then basically just screw your way down until every part is detached. You will end up having lots of different pieces everywhere, so it will be a good idea to have many different containers to contain small bits and what not. I, for example, had a bowl to contain all the screws from the head, and another one for the electronics (I ended up having 6 small bowls, and it came in very handy when it was time to assemble the drill press again).

Detaching the pulleys

A pulley is usually mounted in three ways and I was lucky enough to encounter all of them. (damn press fit!)

  • Press fit
  • Set screw
  • Nut

Press fit

A press fit is when two parts is held together by friction. In order to remove a press fitted pulley, you will likely need a gear puller. You can use different methods of pulley removal, depending on how good it's stuck on there.

A gear puller is the best option out there, but not all of us have one laying around (it's kinda expensive), so you better pray that it's not stuck on as good as mine ;-) The first thing you can try, is to lift it off with two screwdrivers, if this doesn't work, try heating the pulley up. When you heat it up, the metal will expand, you should therefore only target the pulley. If you heat up the shaft, it will expand, which as a result makes the pulley harder to get off. So only target the pulley, if you decide to heat it up. If you still can't get the thing off (like me), then it's time to get creative. So I did, but it didn't work out so well, therefore I visited the local car workshop and borrowed a gear puller (should have done this after giving it a shot with the screwdrivers, instead of being "creative" for the next three hours).

Set screw

A pulley mounted with a set screw will have the thread located on the side of the pulley (where the belt goes). Some pulleys have two set screws, so be on the lookout for that, if you can't get the thing off.

Nut

Some pulleys are mounted with a nut on the top so that it's pressed down. Be aware the nut mounted pulleys, have counter-clockwise threads! Since you will have to hold on to the quill's (the part that moves up and down while drilling) inner shaft, you can align the inner shaft with the outside, if you pull the quill down. Now you can use a wrench to loosen the nut.

Motor and electronics tear down

When taking out the on/off switch and detaching the wires to the motor, it is important to make a drawing of the wiring, to ensure the right connections when assembling. Pictures will also do just fine of course.

My drill press had a 1/2 hp induction motor installed, so this is the motor I will write about. An induction motor consists of a motor frame, two end bells (the "caps"), a fan blade and a fan cover (take a look at my drawing above).

It's pretty straight forward to detach the fan cover and fan blade, but you have to be very careful when taking the end bells off, let me explain why. Inside the motor, you will find a stator with insulated wires wrapped around. The wires are insulated for a reason, and if you make a single scratch in the wrong place, on one of the wires, then you could potentially kill the entire motor! So watch out when you take off the end bells and make sure the motor shaft doesn't scratch the stator windings.

After I had my motor disassembled I immediately covered that stator with a plastic bag, sealed with some painters tape (use duct tape).

Spring

*Warning* danger of getting cut

When taking the spring and spring cover off, it is important to remember it's under tension!

Step 3: Repairing and Replacing

On the drill press, all the spring washers had basically just become normal washers over the years, wich is to be expected when you restore a 33-year-old machine. Since the motor vibrates a bit when running, it will be a good idea to make the old washers springy again. Just simply fasten them one at a time in a vice, and hammer it, until it looks like a normal spring washer. This will ensure your bolt and nuts doesn't loosen as much over time. They will eventually loosen at some point, but it will take more time since the bolts now will be under constant tension.

Some of the bolts were either missing broken or too dirty to reuse. This is where it becomes really helpful to own an assortment of bolts, nuts, and washers. Above you can see two pictures of the drill press head, before and after. Since the screws and washers were filled with oil and dirt, I decided to replace them, because the old ones would look too bad on the newly painted drill press head.

Step 4: Paint Removal

This step covers all the parts that need to be painted.

You can remove paint in many ways I'm sure. In this instructable however, I will introduce you to the two ways I am familiar with. (If you have a sandblaster available you know what to do!)

  • Using a wire wheel
  • Using a chemical paint dissolver

Using a chemical paint dissolver work really great, but unfortunately, my dad recently moved and we couldn't find it, so I decided to use wire wheels instead.

Wire wheels are a great and fast way to remove paint. They come in many different shapes, both for angle grinders and machines with a chuck (my bench grinder has a chuck installed, it's very handy). When using a wire wheel it is important that you don't feed it with thick layers of oil and grease, otherwise, you will do more harm than good, if you intend to paint the surface afterward. This is because the wires will get smushed up with dirt and what not, and then drag it down into any unevenness in the surface you are preparing to paint. Therefore you must clean the surface from any dirt, oil, and grease before using the angle grinder and or bench grinder. You don't have to be too thorough though.

*Warning* getting wires from wire wheel in the eye

When using a wire wheel it is important to remember that rotating shafts easily spins 2500 rpm's, and wires therefor fly off the wire wheel with high speeds. In regards to safety, you should therefore wear safety glasses as long as the wire wheel is spinning.

Notice the toad on the first picture, it was about to attack me while I was sitting down removing the paint with the angle grinder. Holy shit it scared me when it passed by within 30 centimeters of my hand! It came out of nowhere.

Step 5: Polishing and Rust Removal

The parts metal parts that are not painted, probably need some rust removal.

There are many ways to remove rust, after surfing the internet to find the best way for rust removal, I found that electrolysis and wire wheels were commonly mentioned. Since I don't have a workshop or any space for that matter, I am only going to use wire wheels. But after removing all the rust I felt stupid for not giving electrolysis a try, even though it meant finding an old car battery or something. Look into it, it will probably save you a lot of time.

Since non-painted metal parts generally are small, it becomes really handy to own a bench grinder, because it allows you to hold the workpiece with both hands. In order to remove the rust, you simply remove the rust with a wire wheel, and then finish it up with some kind of semi polish wheel, since the wire wheel probably is dirty.

Notice the spring cover and the drill chuck on the pictures (the rust on the chuck is from inserting it in the quill, and the scratches on the spring cover are from a wrench), they have both been polished on the bench grinder using wire wheels and a semi-polish wheel.

After polishing I apply a layer of clearcoat, to protect the part from the water, aka not rusting.

*Warning* getting wires from wire wheel in the eye
When using a wire wheel it is important to remember that rotating machine easily spins 2500 rpm's, and wire therefor flies off wire wheel with high speeds. In regards to safety, you should therefore wear safety glasses as long as the wire wheel is spinning.

Step 6: Color Design

I couldn't decide which color I should paint the drill press, so I fired up Photoshop and had some fun. I thought you guys might like to see them ;-)

I ended up painting the machine the way Knuth paints their drill presses today (which was the plan from the start). I like tech, and no color scheme comes closer to that than painting a machine blue and white. I couldn't decide whether or not I should make it look like today's machines from Knuth (tech like), or just make it look like the original. But I'm hopefully going to keep this drill press for the rest of my life, so I might as well make it 100% my own ;-)

In case you would like to see Knuth's color scheme: http://www.knuth-machinetools.com/

Step 7: Painting

When painting it is important to make sure the surface is as clean as possible. Depending on the way the old paint was removed, you might have small amounts of oil and grease on the surface. You will not be able to see this with the eye, just make sure every part is wiped clean before you begin painting. This also removes dust particles.

For those of you who don't know, a primer is a layer that makes the paint stick better, you can think of it as glue. I use a spray can primer made for metal only. Spray cans and paint guns will give a better finish than using a brush. I think using a brush, gives access to choose some heavy duty metal paint, but I'm not sure. However, I'm just gonna use spray cans for this project.

I painted most of the parts on a piece of cardboard, but this meant I had to turn the parts around, in order to paint the other side. Instead, I finally began hanging the parts up. I just used some steel wire to hang the parts. On the blue part of the pulley housing, I didn't have a good place to wrap the wire around, so I used a bottle cap bigger than one of the holes in the pulley housing, instead of having a little wire wrapped around half of the part.

When painting, it is important that you don't make a puddle a paint in one spot, since it looks really bad. Increase the painting distance and spray in light layers in order to avoid this. Another thing to remember is light, it's very important to have good lighting when painting, otherwise, you might just end up with some under painted spots (like me). When painting and using a uv something something clearcoat it is very important to wear a proper respirator. I used a dust mask since I didn't have one, but I ended up having a headache afterward, even though I was VERY careful not to breathe any. Not worth it, just get a respirator.

  • Spray in smooth motions
  • Use correct spray distance (can be found on the spray can)
  • Spray in light layers
  • Paint in lighted area
  • Use a respirator

After painting, it is a good idea to apply a layer of clearcoat to seal the surface 100% and protect the paint.

I ended up using a little under two 500 ml spray cans of primer.

Step 8: Assembly

Assembling the machine should be easy since you took a lot of pictures, right? In this step, I will therefore only cover how not to press fit a pulley, and the wiring of the electronics (and include pictures of the motor assembly, as can be seen above, obviously).

Press fitting a pulley

When you need to press fit a pulley, you cannot use a hammer with a small tip surface on cast aluminum. I have tried, and yes, it will break. I was very careful with not hammering on side of the pulley, and I used four layers of cardboard to hammer on, in order to distribute the load, but it didn't end up so well. Instead, use a rubber mallet and a hard flat piece of material to distribute the load while hammering.

Electronics

As you can see in the picture above, I have made a little schematic of the wiring. The blue and brown wire is connected to the AC motor. There's a switch on the brown wire to turn the machine on and off. Here in Denmark, we ground everything, and my drill press wasn't an exception, there were two mounting points for ground (green wire). It first connects inside the drill press head with a screw, and then afterward lead down to the motor, where another grounding point is located.

Brown wire --> switch --> motor

Blue wire --> motor

Green wire (ground) --> drill press head --> motor chassis

If you're in doubt about anything electrical It's important to get help from a professional!

Step 9: Conclusion

The drill press works like a charm, and there's no wobble in the quill. Drilling with a 13,1mm drill bit results in a 13,12mm hole, which is why I love this brand (Knuth). I am looking forward to using this machine in the future ;-)

If you decide to restore a machine, you should expect it to take a lot of time. You should also consider getting access to a sandblaster if you would like to speed up the process. If you don't have access to a sandblaster, you better make sure your mom is okay with the fact that wire wheels are spinning with 2500 rpm's inside the house, otherwise, you might get in some trouble when your little brother gets a steel wire up in the foot.

I ended up using 9 days on this project, but don't forget that fact that I do not have a workshop. Also, all the paint removal was done outside, whilst sitting on the ground. A worktable and a workshop would defiantly have decreased the time it took to restore the drill press. Another time I would consider paying better attention to the paint job, since it was only the blue parts that turned out great (probably because I painted them last, and then had a bit more experience than before). All things said it was a really fun project, and also a bit educational if you decide to understand the inner workings of an induction motor ;-)

Be aware, the end result might be extremely satisfying!

P.S tell me if you find a spelling mistake lurking around.

Ohh and feel free to ask questions!

Comments

author
mjbird made it!(author)2017-07-11

This is extremely timely! I got an (almost) identical press (Same color, only 2 pulleys, no identifying marks, depth guage) at a garage sale for $30, and I'm in the process of tearing it down! Thanks alot?

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TDJ2591 made it!(author)2017-07-17

I inherited an old General Machinery (I think) that looks almost identical to this one but it's certainly looks only. It's sold by Harbor Freight for under $100 new. Same green color, size and appearance.

Great instructable and great job! I'm impressed! I just finished a complete tear down and restore of a 40+ year old Craftsman table saw. I believe that it is actually better than new as I replaced some parts with better made machined ones and added some adjustments.

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-18

Thanks, and that sounds incredible by the way. I wish I had the machinery to make my own metal parts.

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-11

Yes, I guess it is, but since I have summer holiday I was able to work from when I woke up until it became dark outside. That sounds great! Feel free to ask me, if you get stuck ;-)

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EmilyC63 made it!(author)2017-07-17

Tremendous work, clear, thorough documentation, and a fantastic transformation. This is one lucky drill press! Hope to see some future projects you use it for. And hope you soon get some workshop space!

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-17

Thanks, for the kind words. I actually have a pretty neat solder fan project going on, with magnetic filter holder and intake, so that it can be used as a normal cooling fan to!

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Cyberchipz made it!(author)2017-07-16

Great Job, well done!

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-17

Thanks! =)

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RobPaige made it!(author)2017-07-13

Just for future reference, you might want to look into whether lock washers (like the kind you restored) are actually of any use. I've seen mechanical engineers and various service technicians swear up and down that they're worthless, that regular washers will do just fine. Might save you some time and effort in future endeavors.

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JamesO129 made it!(author)2017-07-13

Use them to hold my trailer ball onto the bracket. I notice a nice peal of metal that is removed when I unscrew the nut and remove the ball. In that case I know it works.

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nearboston made it!(author)2017-07-13

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who runs a Temperature/Vibration test lab. When running a test: fixtures secured using Nuts with lock washers stay in place those without come loose.

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Do you use the springy kind of washers (like those on the drill press), or do you use some other kind? And what about the lock nuts with the blue ring before the thread?

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Cyberchipz made it!(author)2017-07-16

You also might like to use loctite, a small tube goes a long way and works great. We've/I've used it on equipment where it's important to 1: keep the nut secure, and 2: to act as a certification/calibration marker. One quick look and if the seal is cracked, someone has removed the nut, or it has shifted... and time to retighten. Great way to do a quick QC check!

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-17

Thanks for the tip =)

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BennyOne made it!(author)2017-07-13

You did a great job on this drill press!

Next time you need to reinstall a press-fit pulley, put a large socket on the pulley, over the shaft hole. You can tap that with your mallet and it will evenly distribute your blows on the pulley around the shaft in a circle.

Again, very impressive work!

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Hey, thanks man! Good idea, it's a shame I don't own a mallet, haha. Also, I don't have any wrenches, good thing I'm picking 4 old ones up for cheap tomorrow ;-)

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BennyOne made it!(author)2017-07-14

Cheap is always best. Just like your drill press: cheap, used, repairable, and well-made is better than cheap & new. Good luck with your next project!

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Cyberchipz made it!(author)2017-07-16

I can testify to restoring old equipment, I have a Hoover vacuum I restored that was old 30 years ago. All it really needed was new brushes... not bad for something pulled out of a dumpster... still have it, still works! XD

author
Hardik+Longakshi made it!(author)2017-07-14

Even I was thinking of buying an old, used drill machine but was not very confident about restoring it. Your Instructable encouraged me. Even after having basic tools you restored it so well. Thank You for uploading such a great Instructable !!...

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-15

Thanks, I'm glad it helped ;-)

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AlbertK27 made it!(author)2017-07-13

I have thanks to someone who wrote an instructable last year or the year before on how to remove rust. He tested a few ways to get rid of rust easily. One of them I tried, all the other that he mentioned I already tested them and failed miserably The one used and has become my absolutely favorite is as follows. You need a tank, like fishtank that is bigger than the object you have to remove rust from and fill it with vinegar, add 5 or more tablespoons with salt. Put the stuff submerged overnight and in the morning, rinse the rust away with a wired brush and water! Or just use a paper towel or what have you and rust is away. A very cheap way of getting rid of rust, you could use vinegar that is used as food or the one for cleaning in the household.Try it, I have recommend it to a lot of people, but they seem to think I am a nut :D I thought I might share my thoughts with all other's here.And if the guy of the original instructable is reading this?Thank you for the great trick, it saved my tools.

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Ohh, that really works? I will be sure to try it next time I restore a bigger machine! Do you drain the container afterwards?

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another+oldie made it!(author)2017-07-14

Just pour your vinegar back into a bottle -it will last a long time. When it stops smelling like vinegar or getting a bit weak, then change it.

author
another+oldie made it!(author)2017-07-14

I read that one also and tried it the same day. I am usually messing about with precision stuff like watchmaker tools, so just used a plastic food box ( and less vinegar!). As a trained chemist I was skeptical, but it works fine, even on badly rusted mild steel. However, don't expect a perfect surface; even the slightest rust will leave some pitting. Also, make sure you wash the item thouroughly or any remaining vinegar (acetic acid) will carry on corroding your steel.

author
JamesO129 made it!(author)2017-07-13

Just a quick comment on a good article. For press fit pulleys a gear puller can be borrowed from most auto parts stores. You pay a deposit that is the cost of the item. Then when you return the item you get your deposit back. Maybe a tax charge depending on the state. I get mine for free and your dad probably wouldn't mind putting up the money for you to safely remove a pulley.

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Thanks, didn't know that =) Ohh and by the way, I lent the gear puller for free, just walked down there with a big motor in my backpack, haha.

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JamesO129 made it!(author)2017-07-13

It is a great article that I will be referring to. Don't get a bad back from your big motor!

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-14

Ohh, I meant borrow of course, haha. Thank you! Ohh and don't worry I held my bag straight when the motor was in the backpack ;-)

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weedonald made it!(author)2017-07-13

William....you didn't lent the gear puller you borrowed the gear puller.

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Luke+Wilson made it!(author)2017-07-13

I like the original colour more but that's just my personal preference. I can see that you've but a lot of work into it, I really like the good job you've done.

:)

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-14

Thank you ;-)

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ClaytonB18 made it!(author)2017-07-13

Thanks for this. I have my father-in-law's old Shopsmith that I want to restore and this gives me encouragement to get started.

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markturik made it!(author)2017-07-13

hi clayton, i have just inherrited my dad's shopsmith. i was 4 years old (circa 1960) and was with him when he purchased it. all of the attatchments are there just unassembled . i have a broken ankle but still plan to get started on it in the next month or so. i would be interested in trading pictures with you as motivation to keep working on it and maybe sharing help in doing the job. my email is markturik223@gmail.com. interested? mark

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Wow, I'm really glad to hear that! Promise me a picture here in the comments when you're done ;-)

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tompotter made it!(author)2017-07-13

Thanks for the great Instructable. Gives me the incentive to clean up an old Craftsman upright drill I bought recently! Note on English usage: You refer early on to a tape that I think must be "gaffer's" tape. I'm the props guy for the regional G&S theater company, and the person using all the black tape on the set is called, as you might guess, the "gaffer." The tape seems to be stronger than masking tape, but not as strong as Gorilla tape, and is always black, in my experience.

Thanks also for the courage to post all the "lessons learned," and for the hints on improvements for the next person.

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Yes, I thought it would be a good idea to write a little about the lessons I learned ;-) I think I made a translation mistake, what I meant to write was 'duct tape', since painter's tape wasn't strong enough to hold the plastic bag in place (I'll correct it now) Ohh, and thanks! =)

author
nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

These are some knuth machines

Photo-0010.jpgPhoto-0015 (2).jpgPhoto-0015.jpg
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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Wow, these look amazing! What are you using them for? =)

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

These machines are specialized in manufacturing oil tank cooling system

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William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Ohh, sounds interesting =)

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

These machines are used in the construction of parts of cooling system oil tanks

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

These machines are used in the construction of parts of cooling system oil tanks

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

trigger.nahid.z.01@gmail.com

This is my mail .... William

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

These machines are used in the construction of parts of cooling system oil tanks

author
nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

2

List of related manuals

1) Delivered as a printed copy with the drive or optional equipment.

2) Available in the Internet.

All manuals are available in PDF format on the Internet. See section Further information on the inside of the back cover.

Drive manuals Code (English)

ACS310 User’s Manual 1), 2) 3AFE68576032

Option manuals and guides

MUL1-R1 Installation instructions for ACS150,

ACS310, ACS320, ACS350 and ACS355

1), 2) 3AFE68642868

MFDT-01 FlashDrop user's manual 1), 2) 3AFE68591074

Maintenance manuals

Guide for capacitor reforming in ACS50, ACS55,

ACS150, ACS310, ACS350, ACS355, ACS550,

ACH550 and R1-R4 OINT-/SINT-boards

2) 3AFE68735190

ACS150 drives

0.37…4 kW

0.5…5 hp

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Hey! I'm not quite following you here, would you like to buy a motor driver, or what is this for? ;-)

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

This is just information about AC Motor Drake

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nahida2 made it!(author)2017-07-13

I am very sorry .... I just want to introduce you idea to be updated ...

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KSnoop made it!(author)2017-07-13

I've been thinking about doing a full restoration on my dad's Delta 17 inch radial drill press, circa 1964-67ish. It still runs well, although occasionally the chuck falls out. Anyway. Dad is fearful i might ruin it if i use electrolysis to remove the rust. So I'm just maintaining it for now. Thanks for the inspiration, enjoyed the pictures.

author
William+Liisberg made it!(author)2017-07-13

Sound great! I actually had the same problem with the chuck, but after cleaning up the rust, and giving it a hit upwards with a piece of wood, it's pretty good stuck on there. Glad you got inspired ;-)

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