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chippy1970

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Im thinking of getting an old Fobco bench drill, Ive been watching a few lately on the bay but most are miles from me. Anyway I need a bit of advice as to what to check when buying one.
 

flh801978

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I have had a few through my workshop and still have one set up as my main small drilling machine.
I have converted it to variable speed with a vfd and it simply is the best machine for drilling holes up to 1/2" there is
Its silent in use...no rattles or vibration.
things to check are :-
wear in the quill bearings...easily cured
other than that if the machine is complete and looks ok it will be ok
you could check that the table is at 90 to the spindle...front to back as you can adjust side to side easily
the belt is cheap to replace... motor is as well if you need single phase as most were 3 phase originally
you will be lucky to find one under 150ish
Most bench machines were sold with a fitted chuck so you cant use mt drills some later ones had a mt 2 socket earlier ones had a mt1 or mt2 shaft which the chuck mounted to this limits available clearance to drill with

Ian
 

Cheshirechappie

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Fobco are very good machines. They were built by the firm now called Meddings, so if you come across one of those for a good price, they are just as good or even better. Also worth a look are Ajax, Boxford and Kerry, but as these have been out of production for years, they might be worn.

If you extend the spindle, grab the chuck (power OFF, obviously!) and give it a good waggle. If you feel ANY play, either the bearings are worn or the quill is sloppy in the spindle. Leave it and buy another one - there are plenty of good ones.

As you're in London, try Home and Workshop Machinery in Sidcup. They are long-established and reputable suppliers of secondhand machinery to the model engineers and light industry, and usually have a selection available. Not the cheapest, but you'll get good service.
 

beech1948

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We are almost there with a full list of likely candidates.

Meddings
Fobco
Ajax
Kerry
Progress...if you can find a small one, they were always a bit big
Elliot.

Someone mentioned Boxford but I have never seen a Boxford drill press so can't say. I'm sure there are others but these are the most common.

A possibly cheaper source is the apexauctions.co.uk. This is a worldwide auctioneers who conduct many online disposals of engineering stuff. They can be a pain to search on, a pain to register on but you can occasionally see some very cheap high quality kit. Things to remember are that you will pay 20% VAT + auctioneers fees as well so you need to have a calculator handy and top limit in mind. Also always have a look at the location of the kit. Its usually obvious but always check.

I have bought some very sound machines from them at very low prices, often cheaper than ebay. eg Wadkin GTS500 planer/thicknesser for £85, Kreg bandsaw fence £40, Wadkin BZB 800 bandsaw for £110. But be careful and don't be blinded by the bid price always calc the end price.

regards
Alan
 

chippy1970

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Cheers guys all sound advice. I'm pretty set on a fobco star they seem to be highly rated. One I'm watching doesn't seem to have an nvr switch do some still work with the original switch on the left ?

I noticed one sold for £360ish the other day wow... Most seem to go around 150 though.
 

misterfish

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They seem to be a bit like busses - nothing much for sale for a while then a several listed at the same time. I kept an eye out for a few months and finally got a single phase 'Star' from just along the coast for a low price so I'm sure you'll get something local if you're prepared to wait.

Bear in mnd these are heavy machines and you really need two people to safely move them though they do split into more portable parts.

I noticed the other day that the classic Dualit toasters have a picture on the box of their engineeers using Fobco drills.

Misterfish
 

Cheshirechappie

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phil.p":12fk2hzl said:
I don't think Meddings and F.O'Brian &co (fobco) were the same company.........both made brilliant drills though.
I think you're right, phil. I had in mind that Meddings bought out F. O'Brian; not sure where I got that idea.

For anybody needing spares for Fobco drills, Tony Griffiths (lathes.co.uk) holds the remaining stocks, according to his website.
 

misterfish

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Cheshirechappie":3uzc7lfp said:
For anybody needing spares for Fobco drills, Tony Griffiths (lathes.co.uk) holds the remaining stocks, according to his website.
He also has some useful notes on Fobco maintenance that you can buy from from his site.

Misterfish
 

beech1948

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Chippy,

I can see that you have fixed on the Fobco drill press as your target. Its a good choice BUT you may be shorting yourself by being a bit to fixed on the target. Fobco also have a few faults with some models having poor bearing wear characteristics ( if time is measured in years that is).

The list of :-

Meddings
Fobco
Ajax
Kerry
Progress...if you can find a small one, they were always a bit big
Elliot.

Will ALL provide you with great service and expand your available targets. There is also a ( I think) Delta DP220 17" DP and good quality and able to be serviced and rebuilt for sale on ebay that has a small chip in the foot...maybe going cheap. Search for drill press and then you need to go through the pictures looking for a slightly grungy appearing DP. I can point you at a web site which will walk you through any maintenbance issues.

Al
 

beech1948

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Chippy,

I can see that you have fixed on the Fobco drill press as your target. Its a good choice BUT you may be shorting yourself by being a bit to fixed on the target. Fobco also have a few faults with some models having poor bearing wear characteristics ( if time is measured in years that is).

The list of :-

Meddings
Fobco
Ajax
Kerry
Progress...if you can find a small one, they were always a bit big
Elliot.

Will ALL provide you with great service and expand your available targets. There is also a ( I think) Delta DP220 17" DP and good quality and able to be serviced and rebuilt for sale on ebay that has a small chip in the foot...maybe going cheap. Search for drill press and then you need to go through the pictures looking for a slightly grungy appearing DP. I can point you at a web site which will walk you through any maintenbance issues.

Al
 

WoodMangler

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chippy1970":3vr3m3n6 said:
One I'm watching doesn't seem to have an nvr switch do some still work with the original switch on the left ?
I fitted an Axminster NVR switch to mine, works a treat.
 

chippy1970

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The one i was watching went for £165 in the end I didnt put a bid in, other things on my mind as I have just bought a worksharp 3000 wow its good. Embarrassing to say it but in over 20 years as a chippy ive never had a chisel look that polished and sharp on the edge and dead square :oops: :D :lol: Ive done 2 x 1" chisels so far and they've come out amazing.

So the drill is on the back burner now until I see another local one.
 

Tony002

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Hi all, iv just purchased an old fobco start 1/2 cap pillar drill, I’m in the process of replacing the quill bearing but unfortunately one of the circlips has broken, can anyone advise me what size I need to replace it? I assume they are imperial? Or if anyone knows where I can get one from that would be great
Many thanks
 
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