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1962 Meddings Dril-tru Drill Press (Mk2 9373/LT/II) light restoration

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SledDriver

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Note: I have posted an almost identical thread on a well known American garage website, but thought it sensible to post it here as it's more likely that people might own a Meddings drill. I am British as well. I hope the fact that this is a 'duplicated' thread isn't an issue - even though it's only on another site. This also explains why the beginning introduction is a bit more detailed. I'm new here but will be using this forum going forward.

Good evening,

I recently acquired an old British-made drill press (or pillar drill as we often call them in the UK), and I thought I'd post a few photos as I go through the process.

Meddings started production during WW2, and are still going today. They have made a range of products, but are most known for their drill presses. They range from 'home user' to large industrial machines. They have a superb reputation for quality.

My machine is a 'Dril-tru' model, which as far as I can ascertain is perhaps the most basic model they built. Even then, it has a head machined from a single casting. The quill assembly is heavy and beautifully finished. It has a supposed 1/2' capacity in mild steel, with 4 inches of spindle travel. It has a rise/fall table with no angular adjustment, as the view of Meddings was that the squareness of the table was critical, and drilling angles could be achieved through work-holding. It weighs 153lbs.

I assessed the drill and decided to give it a light restoration, initially just a strip and paint. Having got it to pieces however I decided to go a little further and replace the (original) bearings, despite the spindle having a run-out of just 0.02mm, and then they would happily last another 60 years.

Here's a few photo's so far;

The drill as it stood, having lived in a multi-use workshop and caked in grease/sawdust.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-12 at 12.58.31 (1).jpeg


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IMG_8618.jpg
 

SledDriver

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So far it has gone fairly smoothly.

- I will not rechrome the flaking chromed parts (handles). I don't see much value in what will be a home use drill, and good plating in the UK is expensive. I will sand off the remaining chrome back to bare steel, polish, then wax.

- I'm undecided about the (jacobs) chuck. At first I thought it had horrendous runout, but that only seems to apply to the upper 'tightening' section. A bit held in the jaws, or indeed the lower section of the chuck has a runout of approx 0.05mm. I can't imagine I'll achieve any better buying a new chuck.

- My only regret is dismantling the motor. Given how caked in grime the vents were, I thought it wise to at least get inside and get the grunge out. However, I had a devil of a time getting the pulley off (the shaft was mushroomed at the top, so I had to grind it down), and now I'm stuck with it half disassembled, not knowing quite how to take it apart, and now needing to replace the (previously fine) bearings because of the work I had to do to get the pulley off.

Little bits of progress here and there.

I used a stripping disc on the angle grinder to take off most of the rust and paint from the larger pieces. No photos but I sanded the tables to a reasonable finish, but actually I left them with a few blemishes. There's a small bit of pitting here and there, it has no effect on use and if I try to sand/grind it off I'm just going to unflatten the table.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.52.jpeg


I wire brushed the undersides of the tables to remove any loose scale, then treated with a rust converter called Kurust, which turns the rust hard and black (and paintable).

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.51.jpeg


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I also cleaned up the plastic handles, starting with a fine scotchbrite wheel on the bench grinder, then finishing with a polishing wheel and compound. Original on left, finished on right. The different is much more pronounced in person.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.53.jpeg


I also renewed the spring assembly, removed, cleaned, refitted and greased the spring. before and after

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.53 (1).jpeg

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I also gently cleaned the data plate using a very fine scotchbrite and some soapy water. After drying I finished with Renaissance crystalline wax and buffed clear.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.55 (1).jpeg


Finally, I've been adding various parts to my 'complete/clean' section of the bench. The normal routine is a wash in soapy water, dry it, various grades of scotchbrite wheel on the bench grinder, then coating with 3-in-1.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 20.29.54 (1).jpeg
 

SledDriver

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Getting the cast aluminium pulleys off the spindle;

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-15 at 19.10.08.jpeg


The top pulley is actually stacked on two big bearings - don’t find many built this well.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-15 at 19.10.08 (1).jpeg


I’ve cleaned, primed and painted the big items. The colour is more vibrant blue than I had expected, but it actually seems quite close to the current Meddings blue, so a happy accident and I like the colour.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-15 at 19.10.08 (2).jpeg

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I also polished and waxed the spring assembly cover.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-15 at 19.10.08 (5).jpeg


Finally, I rebuilt the quill assembly using new bearings. I’m slightly mindful that the rotation feels a little stiff. I wondered whether the bearings were slightly wonky, but they sit in defined and tight races so perhaps they’re already packed with a thick grease (sealed bearings) and just aren’t as loose as the previous. When I drive it with a hand drill it seems smooth and simple enough so perhaps it just needs to bed in.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-15 at 19.10.08 (4).jpeg
 

SledDriver

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Painting progress. I hand painted the badge in modelling enamels. Starting with a primed badge, then filling the red, then picking out the white. I've done this before but it was quite tricky. The casting quality of the badge isn't brilliant (or perhaps someone has attacked it with sandpaper before) so there weren't many defined edges to paint the white. I think it looks good though.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-28 at 23.36.35.jpeg

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I also rebuilt the top pulley spindle/bearing assembly with new bearings.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-28 at 23.36.36 (1).jpeg
 

SledDriver

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And completely unrelated, but I went to a tool auction the other day. It's largely cheap stuff, but I saw this sitting outside looking very unloved, and despite it being 3-phase (which I don't have), I looked at the estimate and decided to bid a little on it.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-28 at 23.36.36.jpeg


Regrettably a bidding war erupted, and I had to splash out to afford it.

In the end I spent..........................£2.36

I gave the guy at the auction a fiver because he had offered to forklift it into my car and I felt guilty getting it for that price.

I'll look at it once I've finished my drill. The plan of action will be to remove and check the driveshaft/bearing seats etc. If that's all fine, I'll stick in a new 1hp motor and freshen it up. If the shaft is unrecoverable, I might cut the top flat just above the badge, stick on a flat plate, then mount a bench grinder on it.

For £2 (before the dreaded £0.36 in fees) how can you say no?
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
drill press is looking good....
Please dont cut up the grinder.....I;m sure everything is fixable....
done and finished u'd have grinder/polisher for life or u could sell it for around £350 plus.....
 

SledDriver

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Looking good so far @SledDriver, I’d definitely take the chuck to pieces & clean it up I did this with mine about 7 years ago & it’s worked really well ever since. Also worth giving the motor a real good clean they do get full of crud.
I posted a thread years ago on my refurb if it’s of any use Meddings pillar drill (picture heavy)
Thanks. I’d soaked the chuck in acetone then dried out and oiled, but after refitting the chuck on the spindle I was getting a bit of runout, so I thought I might as well do as you suggested.

B869DC5C-D663-4DA2-AA5D-EAA8DF2BB21B.jpeg


It came apart pretty easily and cleaned up well. I had a bit of a trial getting the jaws back in the right order but managed eventually. I then fitted it back on the spindle and checked the runout.

The runout on the spindle is 0.02mm, so that’s good. With a bit in the chuck it was showing around 0.2mm runout, so it appears that the chuck isn’t that straight. Through a process of removal, rotation and re-installation 4 or 5 times I got the runout down to just below 0.1mm. To improve on that I’ll need a new chuck I think, but at the moment that’s acceptable.

drill press is looking good....
Please dont cut up the grinder.....I;m sure everything is fixable....
done and finished u'd have grinder/polisher for life or u could sell it for around £350 plus.....
That’s only a last resort, if the bearing seats are all rusted out or something. If it’s a mess in there then I don’t know who has a milling machine big enough to sort it out! It’s been sat outside for at least 2 months so we’ll see, but if it’s recoverable I’ll fix it up.
 

Fergie 307

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Looking really nice. Never ceases to surprise me how a good old coating of sawdust, oil and so on can really preserve things like this, so they clean up like new. If you did ever want to plate parts at home then Nickel is very easy to do and looks good. I use it all the time on old American watches, which are often Nickel plated brass. If you want to Nickel plate steel then always a good idea to Copper plate it first, equally easy and cheap to do.
 

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Following with interest as I have a very similar one unrestored but in use! Only thing I don't have is the right chuck key, I've tried several but can't find the right one to fit so wondering what chuck you have and whether you know what key it uses?
Thanks
 

SledDriver

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Looking really nice. Never ceases to surprise me how a good old coating of sawdust, oil and so on can really preserve things like this, so they clean up like new. If you did ever want to plate parts at home then Nickel is very easy to do and looks good. I use it all the time on old American watches, which are often Nickel plated brass. If you want to Nickel plate steel then always a good idea to Copper plate it first, equally easy and cheap to do.
Funny you should mention, I’ve actually been watching a few videos on nickel plating. If I did it I’d do the home brew method with a DC phone charger or something.

Do you have to be cautious nickel plating threaded parts, or is the coating sufficiently thin that it doesn’t really matter unless you leave it in for ages and ages.

Also, I’m slightly confused and concerned about sticking electrical things in liquids. You see guys holding the parts in the nickel acetate etc. Is that not a bit dangerous or is there some electrical principle I’m failing to understand.

Following with interest as I have a very similar one unrestored but in use! Only thing I don't have is the right chuck key, I've tried several but can't find the right one to fit so wondering what chuck you have and whether you know what key it uses?
Thanks
I’ll measure up and get back to you.
 

Fergie 307

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Funny you should mention, I’ve actually been watching a few videos on nickel plating. If I did it I’d do the home brew method with a DC phone charger or something.

Do you have to be cautious nickel plating threaded parts, or is the coating sufficiently thin that it doesn’t really matter unless you leave it in for ages and ages.

Also, I’m slightly confused and concerned about sticking electrical things in liquids. You see guys holding the parts in the nickel acetate etc. Is that not a bit dangerous or is there some electrical principle I’m failing to understand.



I’ll measure up and get back to you.
Threads are not an issue, its too thin. I use a cheap variable voltage supply, about £8 on e bay. I find about 3 v gives the best results. Just make sure your + rod is the same material, so for nickel a nickel rod, copper a copper rod. You can either brush plate if you only need to do a small area. I just put shrink wrap over the rod so it can be held. If you get a kit then the small foam ends they supply are just cigarette filters. So dont buy ten for 3 quid or whatever, just go to the corner shop and buy a pack of slim filters, about a quid for over a hundred. For bigger brush plating wrap a hankerchief ovr some cotton wool and secure to the rod with a tie wrap. Make sure you keep the brush properly wet. If dip plating the just use copper wire to suspend parts. For small stuff like a watch bow i just solder a copper wire to one of the blind ends so it can be suspended. Most important things are the parts must be clean. I soak them in spirit vinegar before plating. The other thing to remember is that the plating is too thin to cover or fill any damage. If you have a scratch you will just end up with a plated scratch, so make sure you have the finish you want before plating.
 

J-G

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...If you have a scratch you will just end up with a plated scratch, so make sure you have the finish you want before plating.
That's probably the most important piece of advice you will ever get! Plating will HIGHLIGHT any blemish.
 

SledDriver

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Threads are not an issue, its too thin. I use a cheap variable voltage supply, about £8 on e bay. I find about 3 v gives the best results. Just make sure your + rod is the same material, so for nickel a nickel rod, copper a copper rod. You can either brush plate if you only need to do a small area. I just put shrink wrap over the rod so it can be held. If you get a kit then the small foam ends they supply are just cigarette filters. So dont buy ten for 3 quid or whatever, just go to the corner shop and buy a pack of slim filters, about a quid for over a hundred. For bigger brush plating wrap a hankerchief ovr some cotton wool and secure to the rod with a tie wrap. Make sure you keep the brush properly wet. If dip plating the just use copper wire to suspend parts. For small stuff like a watch bow i just solder a copper wire to one of the blind ends so it can be suspended. Most important things are the parts must be clean. I soak them in spirit vinegar before plating. The other thing to remember is that the plating is too thin to cover or fill any damage. If you have a scratch you will just end up with a plated scratch, so make sure you have the finish you want before plating.
Interesting. When you say a cheap variable voltage supply, do you mean something like this;


I had seen people doing it with phone chargers. When you say to make sure that the rod is the same material - I'm a bit confused. I assume you mean that in a nickel acetate solution you can only use a nickel anode, and in a copper acetate solution you can only use a copper anode? Otherwise you get contamination and the plating won't work.

I imagine that I'll just buy strip nickel/copper so it can be bent over the edge of the jar and the crocodile clips attached to the outside.

When you say 'shrink wrap over the rod so it can be held' - what are you referring to there? Is that to avoid any shocks?

And at 3V, how long would you leave the average part to be coated, so it can be subsequently polished?

Many thanks.
 

SledDriver

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Following with interest as I have a very similar one unrestored but in use! Only thing I don't have is the right chuck key, I've tried several but can't find the right one to fit so wondering what chuck you have and whether you know what key it uses?
Thanks
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-31 at 12.24.29.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-31 at 12.24.30.jpeg


This is the chuck and chuck key on my drill. I think it's probably the original one. It's a 13mm (1/2') chuck.

This table;


Suggests this key;


Which seems to match up with mine (5/16 or 0.31' pilot size).

That's obviously the US site, and the UK site doesn't specify the K3 - but it says on the US site that it's Jacobs 3651, which corresponds to this in the UK;

 

J-G

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And at 3V, how long would you leave the average part to be coated, so it can be subsequently polished?
Polishing should be done BEFORE plating (as Fergie 307 has said) (though some buffing may be done afterward)

The Voltage is not the important value - AMPERAGE and Area being plated are the figures you need to determine 'how long' to obtain a particular thickness.

I've forgotten most of what I learned during my time in the plating shop as an apprentice in the 50's but I do remember that we had to calculate the total surface area and then work out the time needed at what Amps to achieve the specified thickness. I also remember that we were working to extremely high precision - ie. millionths of an inch.

I have researched the internet for the appropriate formulæ but - other than buying an expensive tome - the best I've found is a table from the Nickel Plating Handbook :-
9-Table1-1.png


I can't tell you precisely how this relates to - and will give you actual figures for - laying down (say)10µm on to (say) 100mm² but you will see what information you need to find out.
 

Fergie 307

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Interesting. When you say a cheap variable voltage supply, do you mean something like this;


I had seen people doing it with phone chargers. When you say to make sure that the rod is the same material - I'm a bit confused. I assume you mean that in a nickel acetate solution you can only use a nickel anode, and in a copper acetate solution you can only use a copper anode? Otherwise you get contamination and the plating won't work.

I imagine that I'll just buy strip nickel/copper so it can be bent over the edge of the jar and the crocodile clips attached to the outside.

When you say 'shrink wrap over the rod so it can be held' - what are you referring to there? Is that to avoid any shocks?

And at 3V, how long would you leave the average part to be coated, so it can be subsequently polished?

Many thanks.
Yes thats the type of supply, but probably a lower range. I think mine goes from 3 go 9v. Your anode needs to be of the same material as you will probably transfer material from it, so you dont want contamination. You could use someting neutral but conductive like carbon fibre. For somefthing like a watch case back I would leave it in about ten minutes. You need to turn it from time to time as the plating builds up more on the side nearest the anode. If you get patchy results this will be because byou havent cleaned it down properly, the plating wont take on any areas the have the slightest trace of oil, like your fingerprints, or oxidisation of the metal.
 

Fergie 307

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Polishing should be done BEFORE plating (as Fergie 307 has said) (though some buffing may be done afterward)

The Voltage is not the important value - AMPERAGE and Area being plated are the figures you need to determine 'how long' to obtain a particular thickness.

I've forgotten most of what I learned during my time in the plating shop as an apprentice in the 50's but I do remember that we had to calculate the total surface area and then work out the time needed at what Amps to achieve the specified thickness. I also remember that we were working to extremely high precision - ie. millionths of an inch.

I have researched the internet for the appropriate formulæ but - other than buying an expensive tome - the best I've found is a table from the Nickel Plating Handbook :-
View attachment 115022

I can't tell you precisely how this relates to - and will give you actual figures for - laying down (say)10µm on to (say) 100mm² but you will see what information you need to find out.
As you say amps are the key mine is 3v 500ma, which works well for what i am doing. Variable is good as you can crank it up to suit something bigger, on mine the amps increase with the voltage. I may be wrong but I thiink in practice you can just leave it in longer and you will get a thicker deposit. Tailoring the input to the job makes it more efficient and faster. Happy to be corrected kif thats not quite right. Have plated some quite large items and found it beneficial to up the power a little.
 

J-G

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Tailoring the input to the job makes it more efficient and faster.
That's much more succinct than my effort :) Yes - 'Tailoring the input' - was what we did but of course this was a full commercial enterprise making gauges and we could control both Amps & Volts (IIRC) to a very high precision. I distinctly remember having to set up some 20BA thread gauges to be chrome plated inside!! the bore on those is 0.34mm and I had to put a wire cathode inside making sure that it didn't touch the thread :(

Fergie 307 said:
Happy to be corrected if that's not quite right.
No correction needed (except to the typo :) ) as far as I can tell - My time in that shop was only about 3 months and I haven't done any plating since but it was a very memorable time.
 

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