Bench Drill Advice

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Macca_UK

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Hi all,

Hopefully, some of you lovely people can help steer me in the right direction.

I've currently got one of the old, blue Record bench morticers that has served me well over the last few years for my woodwork drilling needs (I'm only a hobbyist and I only ever used it as a drill) - It's built like a tank and has never skipped a beat!.
Over the last couple of months, I've been teaching myself how to weld and am wanting to replace the morticer with a bench drill that has variable speeds and can handle metal (mainly going to be mild steel).

I'm heavily leaning towards buying a decent, older machine and was just looking for a bit of advice as to what brands/models are worth considering.

Are the older Clarkes (c2000) any good, I know they are now just rebadged Chinese machines but it looks like some of the older models can go for decent money (£150ish) so were they built better back then?
A similar question about Record bench drills, I seem to remember that people thought the build quality took a dive sometime in the early 2000's, but are the older machines still worth looking at?
What other brands/models should I be on the lookout for?

I'm looking to spend £150-£200.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Macca
 

Jameshow

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chaoticbob

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Other brands worth looking at include Fobco and Meddings. I have Fobco Star (probably 50 years old) for which I paid £150 about 5 years ago - they seem to be going for 250-300 now though, so a bit above your budget, but if you can stretch to it worth the money IMO. Mine runs whisper quiet, dead true and doesn't balk at 13mm in mild steel - unlike the various Far Eastern machines (Record, Clarke, Axminster, Jet) I've owned. They were modern machines though - maybe the old Naerok type machines are better, but I've no experience with those.
Bob.
 

Macca_UK

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Other brands worth looking at include Fobco and Meddings. I have Fobco Star (probably 50 years old) for which I paid £150 about 5 years ago - they seem to be going for 250-300 now though, so a bit above your budget, but if you can stretch to it worth the money IMO. Mine runs whisper quiet, dead true and doesn't balk at 13mm in mild steel - unlike the various Far Eastern machines (Record, Clarke, Axminster, Jet) I've owned. They were modern machines though - maybe the old Naerok type machines are better, but I've no experience with those.
Bob.
Thanks for the replies both.

I actually just missed out on a Fobco Star that was being sold locally for £150 by calling about 20 minutes too late :(

There is one of these available not too far away from me - Clarke CPD301B
I think it's one of the ones they stopped making 18-20 years ago, any thoughts?
 

Spectric

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Get a good old machine such as Meddings, Atlas or union and it will serve you well. Speed is easily changed by moving the belt but for most drilling you can leave it in the middle range but you can get a good slow speed for when you use a big old morse taper drill.
 

Macca_UK

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That Clark is rather modern and looks lightweight compared to earlier machines.
Yeah, it's a bit of a minefield working out what is what - The one I'm looking at was manufactured in 2004 so I was hoping that it was one of their more robust efforts - On paper it looks great, 16 speed, 16mm chuck, MT2 Taper but it's all for nothing it's got runout issues, the table flexes when met with any kind of pressure and the depth stop turns out to be a random number generator...
 

TominDales

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For what is worth I bought a Draper Pillar Drill in about 2000 - probably the same Asian manufacture as Clark, it was being discounted at the local builders merchant. On the plus side, the only fault in 20yrs use is the on/off switch had to be replaced a few years ago - found a part on evil bay. Its still working well. Has a decent chuck at 16mm and 1 3/4 inch quill travel - will do 2 inches but the last 1/4 inch or 1cm of travel moves the depth gauge on the hand wheel which is annoying.
375w and pretty quiet motor. Has 16 speeds, I generlaly leave it in the middle for everything, just occasionally going for a slow speed when drilling a very big hole or in metal.
I can probably vouch for the build quality back in 2000 but its not the same as the 1950's cast iron solid stuff.
I've done everything on it, wood metal, even used it as a makeshift mini lathe at one point - not recommended as too much stress on the quill.

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If I was buying again in the age of the internet and infinite knowledge I'd go for a second hand Meddings etc as these tools are so important to the workshop that I'd go for the extra quality especially if the quill was more robust and if you can get one with no lateral play.

However this was my first proper workshop tool after renting small houses etc, and I've done no end of mortice joints etc with it. Its really great when needing to turn out loads of holes the same as you can set up a jig and just blast away. eg this 45 degree hole through the support for a garden obelisk. I made 3 of these after getting complaints from the boss about the cane supports.... did all the holes in a about 1 hour - about 150 holes in all

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on the negative side.
Winding the drill table up and down, the mechanism has a huge amount of play laterally and vertically, so you cant use this as an accurate way to set depth etc. you have to realign every time its oved. Also the table can be tilted, but the scale is not that accurate so it takes a while to set or reset with a square to get back to near 90degrees.
I'd prefer a rectangular table. the circular one is a bit small and the bolt holes are never in a good spot for holding a metal vice, its a fiddle to set up the vice, I tend to use hold downs and a wooden table. But having said that, it was only about £100 new.
One final caution, the quill has a bit of lateral play, probably 0.5mm or less, so its fine for all the wood drilling I do and it fine for small bits. But I'm not sure it would be accurate enough for very precise metal drilling. And its much more accurate than using a hand drill.
By the way, my fathers old drill brace - seen hanging on the tool wall - bores holes in no time in wood and with a 2by 4 former can be pretty close to 90degrees. The back pipe in the photo is a dust exract and you can get a cheap led light that bolts on - just visible in the side view. Hope this is some help. I will keep this drill, as I suspect an upgrade to a Meddings would be only a marginal improvement on my skill. But if I was starting out I'd probably look for a a good second hand one.
 
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Jacob

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I've got a Nutool with 12 speeds £50 on ebay. Sposed to be cheapo chinese but I can't find anything wrong with it at all!
Everything works just as it should.
No 2 morse taper chuck 13mm. Seems good quality and handy because it also fits my lathe.
 
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heimlaga

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In my oppinion those V-belt driven drill presses are all pretty useless for metalwork. Most of tem cannot handle anything bigger than a 12 or 13 mm drill before the belt starts to slip and the lowest speed is way too high for dilling anyhing larger than that in mild steel or drilling any hole at all in stainless steel. Makers fit them with morse 2 or sometimes even morse 3 tapers on the quill and rate them for 20 or 25 mm drills but that is just fantasies.

For metalwork one needs a gear head (or old flat belt) drill press with morse 3 or maybe morse 2 taper and strong enough frame to take the forces involved. I have found that my Arboga G2508 is fairly suitable for ordnary household metalwork in the country. It is designed to drill holes up to 25mm all day long but if you do it in small increments you can drill holes up to 31mm with it.
 

Macca_UK

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From the advice so far, I think I'm best off waiting for a Fobco/Meddings/Atlas/Union to appear.

Let the hunt begin!
 

TominDales

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In my oppinion those V-belt driven drill presses are all pretty useless for metalwork. Most of tem cannot handle anything bigger than a 12 or 13 mm drill before the belt starts to slip and the lowest speed is way too high for dilling anyhing larger than that in mild steel or drilling any hole at all in stainless steel. Makers fit them with morse 2 or sometimes even morse 3 tapers on the quill and rate them for 20 or 25 mm drills but that is just fantasies.

For metalwork one needs a gear head (or old flat belt) drill press with morse 3 or maybe morse 2 taper and strong enough frame to take the forces involved. I have found that my Arboga G2508 is fairly suitable for ordnary household metalwork in the country. It is designed to drill holes up to 25mm all day long but if you do it in small increments you can drill holes up to 31mm with it.
I would agree, I've not gone above 12mm with my drill press on steel and for stainless go v slow, slowest setting and only drill so so long before putting more oil in the hole. I've had trouble with a 1/4 thick stanless plate by not going slow enough. once hardened its a devil to drill out.
 

Sandyn

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I have an old Meddings MF4/3 floor standing drill, quick change belt with gearbox. If you can hold out for a good old machine, you will never regret it. I do quite a bit of metalwork and the Meddings has handled everything I have thrown at it. If you find a three phase machine, depending on the motor, you can fit a VFD to convert to single phase and give variable speed. Most drills can be taken apart to get in the back of the car. Good luck with your search
 

Macca_UK

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It looks like the gods have smiled upon me - I've just put a very cheeky offer in (£160) on a Fobco Star that looks to be in as near mint condition as you can get for something that has been stripped down and refurbished - They have only gone and accepted it!

I'm picking her up next Saturday!
 

Dutchie74

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It looks like the gods have smiled upon me - I've just put a very cheeky offer in (£160) on a Fobco Star that looks to be in as near mint condition as you can get for something that has been stripped down and refurbished - They have only gone and accepted it!

I'm picking her up next Saturday!
That's a cracking deal. You can't go wrong at that price for such a good drill. Well done.
 

clogs

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I think that if u can pick it up it'll be pants.....
have a cranky old Meddings floor drill press....have to take it apart to move it.....hahaha...cost me £25's 30 odd years ago.....
Heimlaga,
would love a gear head drill press but I'll stick with my Bridgeport, also belt driven...!!!
seen a few gear headed drill's for similar money to a rough milling machine.....
they are mad money over here.....UK or Greece....
Just seen a Russion made med size Milling machine, no tooling and quite rough..
it was €4500 euro's.....
u guy's dont know how lucky u are in costings for used tooling/machines.....
 

pgrbff

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I think that if u can pick it up it'll be pants.....
have a cranky old Meddings floor drill press....have to take it apart to move it.....hahaha...cost me £25's 30 odd years ago.....
Heimlaga,
would love a gear head drill press but I'll stick with my Bridgeport, also belt driven...!!!
seen a few gear headed drill's for similar money to a rough milling machine.....
they are mad money over here.....UK or Greece....
Just seen a Russion made med size Milling machine, no tooling and quite rough..
it was €4500 euro's.....
u guy's dont know how lucky u are in costings for used tooling/machines.....
It's the same here in Italy. Prices asked for old tools are astronomical.
 

Bod

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Don't be too quick to rule out something like this.
IMG_0147 (2) - Copy.JPG

Cheap, I paid less than £10 for this.
Quiet, even works in a power cut. (no batteries)
Easily movable, safe for children.

Bod
 
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