Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

By mdavies777
Looking to buy one of these. Any recommendations? Ideally less than £200. If it’s not a keyless chuck, can these be easily changed?
By sunnybob
You know what we are going to say, dont you.
200 quid buys you a project, that will take you a while and a bit of ingenuity to get working almost well.

I went this route a year ago with an axminster 13 mm bench drill. It was unusable from the box and took me quite a while to get it working to a standard that is still not all that high. Theres a thread on here somewhere but I cant find it from that long ago.

If you have no mechanical ability, be afraid. Look for an old one in full working order.
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By OscarG
Just read that thread, all I can say is...blimey! I'm stunned anyone could send out a machine with that many glaring not-fit-for-purpose problems.
By sunnybob
Oscar, I wish it was only the one.
Because of my special circumstances of location, I have to ship stuff to me, that shipping cost makes me buy cheaper things than I would if I was still in the UK.
Still not dirt cheap, but cheaper than I would like. I have a lifetimes experience in installing and repairing machinery so the work itself doesnt scare me.
Of the 9 machines I have bought new, SIX of them had major faults out of the box and 2 of those (if I had been in the UK), even I would have returned.

I would say to you that you should EXPECT problems on anything you buy under a thousand pounds. Then if youre lucky you wont have any.
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By Tasky
How is it you can buy a decent brand power drill for under £100 and it be fairly likely that it will work perfectly for years and years, yet a slightly more complicated thing like a pillar drill is absolute junk for less than a grand??!!

I was thinking of getting one of those presses that you put your own power drill into, but I think the one I have is too old to even fit....
By sunnybob
I bought the pillar drill to replace my 30 year old wolf hand press for power drills.

Its a silly thing, but once you get past the crppy quality control, they are very useful. i use the pillar drill a lot, and dont miss that old wolf, but its the sheer aggravation of getting it to a working state that really bites me.
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By custard
It's the other way around. Old electrical hand held drills generally had a 43mm collar, which was the standard most of these presses are made for. Newer versions of portable power drills often either don't have a collar or they're random sized.

A decent old press for a hand held electric drill, something like the old Wolf for example, will give you better accuracy than a budget pillar drill.

It's a tricky one. Bob, and others like him, repeatedly hammer the message that cheap machinery is money down the toilet, but people really, really don't want to hear that. They desperately want to believe, against all logic and common sense, that you can equip a workshop for hundreds rather than thousands. I think at heart the problem is twofold,

-there are too many manufacturers and retailers willing to play a numbers game. If they ship a hundred deficient machines and only ten are returned then they're quids in. How many people carefully store the packaging so they're even capable of returning something? Just a few days ago a guy posted about a problem with an Axminster table saw. When he complained Axminster checked their stock for a replacement, but said all their machines had the same problem, so offered him a refund. I wonder what will happen to those machines, will they get shipped to UK customers or back to China?

-the second problem is the internet. There's no shortage of fan boys who treat machinery brands like football teams or religion, and they defend their purchase decisions to the death. This despite often having almost zero practical experience or woodworking skill. The problem is lots of potential buyers seem to disregard solid evidence from people like Bob and only need one unfounded but glowing testimonial to dive in. When the machine disappoints many times they're embarrassed, or think the problem is their fault, so all too often crepe quality just goes unreported.

A decent bandsaw and a decent bench top or "lunch box" thicknesser will take most of the hard graft out of woodworking. But the truth is they won't remove most of the skill from solid wood furniture making. I'd say to beginners, think about these two machines and possibly a router, but don't kid yourself, you'll still have to put in a fair few hours at the bench learning the basics of the craft. If you're prepared to do that then it's a tremendous hobby, if you're not it's a waste of time and money.
By sunnybob
That appears to a clone of the axminster one I have.

If at all possible, go to a shop, check out the one they have on display, and buy that one, not another in a box that has not been pre assembled.

One more time, they ARE useful for small works as a hobby item, but only AFTER you have spent some time fault rectifying.

Heres another thread that will be relevant to that machine.
The plastic chuck guard is mounted on the same PLASTIC plate that the depth stop is fixed to. Set the depth stop, press down on the wheel, and the hole can be 3 or 4 mm depper or shallower, depending on the pressure applied.
this was my "fix" for that

There's a lot in what Custard says above, and I feel for sunnybob because from his other posts it's clear that when it comes to machine fettling he's clearly no dummy and because of his (geographical) situation he has to buy stuff that MAY not be up scratch - clearly often wasn't!

There ARE buts however - if we're talking pillar drills, in my own case I got really "lucky" with a cheapo which cost, if I remember correctly, the equivalent of about 150 quid. It's a Rexon (model DP 330A), is 12 speed (belts) 16mm capacity officially, rack & pinion table height adjust, bench top machine with enough physical capacity to do all I throw at (and I do - sometimes - fit a 19 mm drill in it). The chuck that came with it was not excellent, but for about another 50 quid I bought a better chuck (Rohm) and run out is less than a thou (inches). It's never given me a moments problem (I haven't even needed to replace a belt yet) and I doubt I could better it size for size unless I was paying at least 4 or 5 times as much. The only chance I had to "check" it was to look at an unpacked machine in the shop before buying mine.

BUT that was in Switzerland, and as said, at least 10+ years ago, and I've no idea if that machine (or it's equivalent) is available these days in UK. (And for Custard's benefit I am by no means a "fan boy" - I don't even qualify for the "boy" bit) :D

BUT (ON THE OTHER HAND): For a similar sort of price I bought a small bench top band saw, (Einhell brand) about 5 years ago, and while it would be unfair to call it complete rubbish, it did require a LOT of work by mods and strengthening, lots of Youtube looking and a lot of support from members here (thanks Steve Maskery especially, among others) + a Tuffsaws blade to get it to a point where it would cut small wood sections with any degree of "accurate success". AND I have to re-adjust it quite frequently to keep it up to snuff. BUT what other band saw could I buy at around this price, that would fit on a small bench top (space problem), and be any better? Sorry, as much as I really like the look of that new Record range for example, on a pensioner's budget (which means being careful about not spending on non-necessities - which however I try to "justify" it, does not apply to me and bandsaws), I just cannot justify paying to change the blooming thing.

I MAY have been able to find one on the SH market here, but A) the SH market in "hobby" machines is pretty thin here; B) I don't have the space for a larger "industrial" machine; and C) even if I found a suitable machine there's a good chance I'd have to work on refurbing that one too.

AND I could say exactly the same about my cheapo Chinese metal working lathe as I've said about the band saw too. I do now have a metal work lathe which, within it's structural stiffness limitations, works perfectly well (but only after HOURS of my own work).

So in summary, my experience is:

A) People like sunnybob and Custard are USUALLY correct, you have to pay more than the currently advertised "bottom of the range" prices to get "useable quality" straight out of the box. BUT keep your eyes open going round the shops as once in a while, you can be lucky and get a new machine at a low price which does perform without undue work;

B) Be prepared to wait for the "right" machine to turn up S/H, in the knowledge that even after waiting maybe a LONG time, you'll still have all the cost/hassle of shipping, AND the possibility of still perhaps needing to do some work on your machine.

In other words, keep your eyes open in the shops by all means, but except rarely, don't expect much; OR be prepared to either up your budget significantly.

OR (if you're not afraid of it and have basic hand skills and some tools) "have fun" working on (and learning about) how a band saw (or a lathe, or whatever) SHOULD have been made if it was not being cut down to a low budget by the bean counters and then tarted up to look much better by the marketing flower arrangers!

Off topic perhaps, but my Dad bought a Myford Super 7 (metal working lathe) for roughly 700 quid in 1946. It's not at all surprising that (until they went bust) the equivalent would have cost about 5,000 quid today. How much did, say, a car cost in 1946 and how much today?

Blimey, when I left UK in 1984 a fiver was "real" money - today it looks like a fiver's treated as if it was a 10p piece back then!
By E-wan
With most 2nd hand machines being 3 phase is there a way to rune these of a 230v supply?

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
Yes, but it can be expensive. AFAIK the only way to go single phase to 3 phase is to "tap into" the 3 phase supply, which, unless you live somewhere like Switzerland, where 3 phase is standard in all domestic houses, is to go outside the house somewhere. That's a job for your local electricity supplier and depending how far away you are from the nearest 3 to 1 phase supply point, could vary from "expensive" to "horrendously expensive" I believe!

AFAIK, you cannot get an "electronic box of tricks" to change single into 3 phase (like you can quite cheaply for the other way round) but I'm only just guessing here and you should wait for someone who knows what he's talking about to come along - I'm sure that won't take too long (it will be VERY quick if I am wrong about that) :D

BUT I think SOME single phase motors can be rewired to run on 3 phase, but again I'm not really sure - wait for an expert please (there are several expert members here, I am definitely NOT).

Just as a matter of interest, don't feel too bad about me having 3 phase on tap in the house here - I did find a couple of SH industrial machines for sale locally, including a really great band saw, but there was no way it would fit into my cellar (and SWMBO said no way to it going into the sitting room. Don't know why ever not)!