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Ferm Radial Drill Press - A note about assembly etc

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Dog

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What a wonderful piece of equipment this is from Ferm, or should I say 'Ferm-Omega' seeing as something called Omega Safes Limited has attached its name to Ferm. Purchased online from those great people at Screwfix, 'anti-law suit niceness', for the massive saving of £49.99 instead of the usual 'catalogue' price of £99.99. Be aware that ordering on the phone it'll cost you £99.99 but online at the Screwfix website it's £49.99 hmmm. Anyway as ever the machine was well packed, secured in its poly protection, the iron parts lightly greased and covered with grease-proof paper that had become greased soaked paper but nowhere near as coated as NuTool parts ;) I take my hat off to the manual writers for this product. As long as somewhere in your workshop you have handy an electron microscope with 50,000 times magnification then you'll be able to read, if not exactly follow the tiny printed instructions, great stuff Ferm-Omega ;) Now, the actual putting together of the various parts requires you the purchaser to switch off from any kind of rational thought. The instructions supplied were for a totally different version of Radial Arm Drill than the version I have purchased. Wonderful looking diagrams of adjustments which appeared nowhere on my purchase but still it is interesting to know what other versions have even if mine doesn't ;) On the back of the manual it states that 'Specifications are likely to change without notice UK'. Since the drill had been made and packed they obviously have but that was only a very minor problem.

The first thing you come across that is not shown anywhere in the manual, my version of it anyway, is the rear stabilizing arm that slots into the base of the drill through two holes. Out of curiosity you turn the base over and wonder what holds this arm in place. A strip of black painted metal about 6"x1" catches your eye and then, by thinking just a little bit, you realize that you secure the arm by fitting two bolts through the holes in the drill base, the holes you thought were drilled for you to fix the drill base to the bench, and then securing the metal strip with washers, split ring washers and nuts. Overall everything else is easy to workout on how to put your drill together until that is you wonder, after giving yourself a new hernia lifting the very heavy top half of the drill up onto the shaft. Why does the top part swivel around even though you have tightened the retaining bolt that holds the upper part of the drill firmly onto the shaft. The reason why it is doing this is because there is something missing. Before lifting the upper part of the drill onto the shaft you need to fit a small square of metal into a square recess so that when you tighten the retaining bolt the square of metal is pushed up against the shaft. Off with the upper part of the drill, locate the square piece of metal, watch it drop out and then attempt to retrieve it with grease covered fingers, it is possible but slightly annoying :roll: Lift the upper part of the drill, locate it on the shaft and tighten the bolt!

After fitting the Jacobs 13mm keyed chuck by way of a plank of wood and a hammer and fitting the wonderfully engineered chuck guard that, in my case, did not line up with the pre-drilled holes in the chuck guard rim, probably due to atmospheric pressure, you are ready to switch on the machine. Plug it in, push the green button on the NVR switch and...Nothing. Sit back and ponder the thought of taking it all apart again to return it. That thought is replaced by determination. Check the plug is wired properly. It was. Check the fuse, fine. Check the wiring on the drill, motor housing etc. Fine. Open the cover on the top of the drill and find that the drive belt is loose and not connected. You have a choice of 5 speeds depending on where you locate the drive belt on the stepped five position pulleys. Sorted, close the lid, switch on and Nothing. Open the lid and check the safety switch is functioning, it won't allow you to switch on the machine if the pulley cover is open. Click goes the switch. Shut the cover, switch on, Nothing. At around this point you wonder if you are going to be able to re-wrap all that grease-proof-grease-soaked paper back onto various parts. Then the brain engages. Is the plastic tab, located inside the lid, that fits into the safety switch actually doing its job. Answer, NO. Adjust the plastic tab, close the lid slowly and listen for a 'click'. It clicked. Switch on, push green button, machine works, switch off. Strip naked and run around in the street celebrating your triumph....When I'm released I'm looking forward to using my Radial Arm Drill to help me produce many interesting projects :D

Being slightly serious for a few seconds, at the price it's a bargain and if you have the space to use it get it while you can....I do not work or have shares in Screwfix or Ferm....but I wish I did :D
 

Midnight

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<chucklin.....

Nice piece Joe... I hope it brings you many happy hours....
 

Dog

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Thanks Mike, I think it will :wink: The addition of a magnet stuck onto the v-belt housing to hold the chuck and allen keys has helped, if I remember to put them back :roll: :) A keyless chuck would have been nice but the last time I tried to fit a keyless chuck on a Ferm bench drill I had to use gasket paper and epoxy resin to fix it on, amazingly it worked but it would have been very nice if it fitted properly but the morse taper is designed for a 13mm keyed Jacobs drill chuck and that's your lot!
 
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Very similar experience, though my switch was ok! A lot of metal for your money, I reckon. Seems well enough made, though the radial arm does not remind me of DeWalt! Thaks for figuring out what the extra bits are for!

:)
 

Dog

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I agree Chips, a lot of metal for your money indeed. I don't know about other instruction manuals supplied with these drills but I had a lot of badly drawn diagrams with no explanation worth talking about and pages of safety speak, presumably legally covering Ferm-Omega in case you attempt to fit this radial arm drill with an engine, a pair of wings and try and launch yourself off the edge of a cliff, other than that, one page of safety warnings and more attention to describing how to put together and use the drill would have been a much better idea but all Ferm instruction manuals are badly written :roll: The only thing to watch is the teeth on the Jacobs chuck will wear out very quickly if you change bits often. I generally get around this by using a 'hex-lock' adapter and bits. http://www.whdirect.co.uk have a good selection of hex-lock bits at good prices, cheap and cheerful and good for DIY/Light Trade use :wink:
Part #: N634, N544, M621,N546, N563, N550, N547, N548 & N542 are all hex-lock bits/holder and great for quick changing of bits for this type of drill or any other type for that matter :)
 
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Thanks for the tip - I've added them to my 'favourites'. Sort it out once I've found somewhere to put the darned machine! It's a sort of 'Hymn to Engineering' sculpture thingy sitting in a living room at the moment!
 

Dog

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:D I must admit it is a lot wider than I expected. At over two feet wide at the top you need a lot of space especially when wanting to use it with the large manaully adjustable table which means pushing the drill head back requiring at least a foot of space behind. Fortunately you can turn the drill head 360 degrees as well as the table so you do have plenty of scope when positioning it but I think I'd like to see side stabilisers as well, this is not an option but I'll see what I can come up with :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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Hi

Almost identical experience - switch and all. Works fine now. One small word of warning though. I had trouble adjusting the speeds as the belt is almost impossible to move with the amount of slack you can get. In the end I had to take the end apart and remove the rubber capped buffer the back end of the drill butts up against. To save time next time I wanted to adjust the speed, I turned the buffer around, metal end against the drill, rubber facing the other way. The whole drill became live, casing, bit and all, presumably not a high voltage, but a nasty shock anyway. I assumed the rubber bit was just for cushioning (probably is) but somehow without it the drill gets electrified. turned around the other way it's fine, though single speed!

Chris
 

Dog

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I agree, I had great trouble getting the belt onto the pulleys and strangely it should be a V-Belt but the one I've got with my drill is not ? It works well just the same. The only way I could get it attached properly was by putting the belt over the rear pulley first and then carefully feeding the belt while I rotated the front pulley. I did as you did and adjusted the bolt against the motor housing although I did not turn it around and this made very little difference anyway. It is almost as if this particular drill was a prototype as it does not appear anywhere on the Ferm-Omega website ? Maybe we are the guinea pigs :shock: :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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Hi again!

At first I tightened the belt according to the spec - 1/2in play or whatever - but this stalled the motor, so loosened off & it was fine. I slotted a lever in to pull/push the motor forward when shifting the belt, made it fairly easy then. Your electrical experience sounds worrying, Chris! The rubber stop sits against the hinge plate which is already metal-to-metal with the rest of the structure - so some other gremlin at work, surely? Hmm, worrying...
 
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I wondered if it was static from the vibration in the motor housing, but whatever it was it was definitely caused by turning the rubber stop around. It was fine before I moved the rubber stop and it's fine now i've moved it back again. It was more of an unpleasant tingle when you touched any metal part of the drill, but enough to make me pull my hand away real fast.
 

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Sounds like something 'live' is touching the inside of the motor housing ? I've fitted an RCD plug to the drill mains wire just in case there's any 'unknown' electrical problem in the design :wink:
 

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Not impressed at all! This is the last Ferm-Omega product I'm buying. Less than a week old and the 13mm chuck, made by something calling itself San Ou, has seized. The chuck itself has held from new one item, a hex-lock adapter, it is not as if I had been changing bits every second. Although the machine comes with a three year warranty I'm not really keen on getting a cheap replacement chuck and I think I'll cut my losses and buy a decent chuck regardless of the difficulty fitting it, all part of the fun of buying and using budget tools :wink:
 

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I also bought this radial arm drill online at the reduced price. I also emailed Ferm regarding the need for a good magnifying glass to read the instructions that didn't help at all regarding assembly.
My only reply was a read receipt to prove they had received it.
The instruction tell you to bolt the base down & like you I wondered about that stabilising arm.
Why need it if the drill is secured to the bench?
I havent finished assembling it owing to breaking both shoulders & still recovering :cry: but having seen the the problems regarding the plastic tab I will be prepared.
The Jacobs chucks on Ferm drills are known for being self disintegrating so that is a consideration (chuck wont last long)
That drill is a relatively recent introduction to the Screwfix range yet the online price of £49.99 has this month become the catalogue price.
It's one of their clearance products.

P.S. Ferm don't show the radial arm drill on their website.
 

Dog

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Sorry to dig this up again but since contacting Ferm to get info. regarding this tool that has their name on it, namely the taper size that the chuck fits onto, and being told they have no idea I contacted the excellent company Chronos and sent them the broken chuck. They identified the taper as B16, sourced an excellent, high quality keyless 13mm chuck for me at a cost of £58 inc. P&P. I would highly recommend Chronos and friends of mine would too as they have sent chucks to Chronos to be identified and had a very quick and helpful response. That may seem expensive to some but at least I now have an easy to use long life quality chuck and combined with the initial outlay for the drill press it is still cheaper than the competition at the budget end of the market.

http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/
 
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