Pillar drill recommendations (240v, single phase)


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Thanks for various suggestions for Brad point bits. UK drills don't do half mm sizes, Rennie don't seem to do them at all. I had rejected Rutland, £70 ish sets, but I now see a set at £25 so will go there.

I've seen one review where the user describes mounting the base with the pillar at the edge of the bench and turning the pillar 180 degrees so the only limit is the distance to the floor. Might try that one day.

The more I use it the happier I am, there are always scathing reviews but I try to read lots and see what the balance of opinion is.
Fisch do a good set with half sizes.
I've just got myself one of those Bosch PBD40s, to replace a really old bench pillar drill branded Clarke. So old it had an on off switch, no NVR and no stop button.

So here are my thoughts after a week or so.

First, Bosch don't publish key data on throat and max chuck to bed, I went through numerous user reviews and found throat 120, I reckon its a bit more but 120 is safe, max chuck to bed 280. So its bigger than it looks in the pictures, stroke is an impressive 90mm.

Bed is bigger than most diy pillar drills, 330x350 they say, so it takes up a bit more bench space. Having said that it has no overhang to the rear or side so overall takes up a bit less space. I've mounted mine on a 3 sided 2x2 sub frame so you can get a hand under to remove shavings and dropped drill bits. It doesn't really need fixing down so a plus for those short of space is that its light enough to move easily and put on the floor beside the bench when not needed. Its all sturdy alloy so I don't expect any rust prpblems in my cold workshop/garage.

Some things are excellent, the electronic continuously variable speed, the way the whole body can easily be moved up and down to suit various jobs, the electronic depth indicator (you press to set zero when the bit touches the job, then it tells you how far you have gone) and a depth stop for repeat work, the light, the laser cross hairs. All so much easier and quicker than my former bench pillar. The clamp, once you get used to it, is really quick and means I will never think "might just hand hold this", but you can swing it away if you don't want to use it. Fence is useful, and drilling round stock should be fine because the transverse 'groove' is a decently deep V and the clamp will work well.

Chuck - gets a not-sure yet rating from me. Quick release but you need to think carefully and it almost feels like you need 3 hands to fit small bits. I'm sure I will get used to it.

It doesn't have a tiltable base or table. That's a minus if you do lots of angled drilling but a big plus if you don't. Its always at 90 degrees, in the past I've spent ages making sure my tiltable table is 'just so'. It should be easy to make 30 or 45 degree jigs to sit on the base but I've not played yet. Another plus is that the chuck is always over the hole and the transverse slot, unlike a conventional tabel which can swing about.

BUT, there is one big but - side to side movement in the non-adjustable spindle bearings. Its definitely in there not in the chuck. If you search for spindle play in PBD40 it's 'a thing' - not just my example. Using a brad point bit is fine, and I'm sure a twist drill will be fine in well punched metal. A conventional twist bit in hardwood can move about a bit when you start and be thrown off a bit by grain. My brief experience makes me think that high speed + slow feed to start with helps a lot, and brad point gives no issues. If you are after absolute precision this might not be for you, but its much better than the clanky old thing I had before so I will stick with it - probably. 30 days to decide.

So overall I really like the design and useability. Slight worry about absolute accuracy.

(Does anyone know a source of reasonably priced brad point bits in 0.5mm sizes, approx 4 to 10mm? MIne are deWalt 4-5-6-8-10 so not even a 7 and 9. I can find lots of sets at £70 but that/s OTT for my needs)
My Bosch PBD40s has been great.. I'm going to have to put the dial guage on the chuck is now and see what the runout is.. I suspect it's less than most of my old bent drills.. but I do want to buy one of these
UJK drill guide
I also have the Bosch - and you will see a number of threads about it on this forum... it is generally seen very positively.
On key point though is that it is almost always reduced in the Amazon Black Friday Sale, so look out for discounts... it is currently at £280 reduced from the nominal RRP of £339 but you can see historic prices here: https://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/product/B00766C1A8 and it has gone below £200 and frequently down below £230 - either of which is a good price.

lovely machine to use and the digital depth gauge is superb - my BIL came over recently to do some fettling of bed pieces and we set up a jig, clamped it on and then drilled a sequence of perfect holes all exactly 20mm deep...
Thank you, I'm so glad that I read your post about Amazon Black Friday. I've just bought one for 199.99.:)
Pictures would be nice !
Sorry Roy I won't be posting pictures, last three times I've done that ( on a different site admittedly ) I had "night time shoppers" visit with in a three week period as yo can see other tools etc in the workshop, each time incident was reported to the police insurance covered first two visits but refused third as they said I'd "effectively advertised" the internals of the shop implying it was my fault for posting pictures on the internet. So now I don't put pictures on any of my accounts,. It takes a few minutes to set up - longer than a shop bought version I should imagine but being as it's not used every day I can't justify the expense of a manufactured tool, especially as this does all that is required of it, all be it a bit slower to set up yet alone it weighs a ton !
How did they associate the pictures of the inside of your workshop with your address, Andover is a big place ?

On a security theme you will find some useful information about workshop security on these forums as others have had issues with scumbags and there is plenty of advice to be had.
I’ve got an old Fobco Star, it’s a great little pillar drill, but it’s chuffing heavy - I can barely lift it off the ground.
Something I had not thought about because I am old school and do not have a smart phone, I use a DSLR for taking pictures and even though in a raw image file there is the positional data it can be removed during the post processing stage. Would you say that when you took your pictures that you were unaware that this data would not only be attached within the image but accessable to others and now you ensure it is removed. This is a good warning to others on these forums to ensure that any images posted have this data removed.
I've just bought one of the Bosch PBD40 from Amazon for £197.99.
These are categorised as 'Used/Like New' in original, damaged packaging. There was apparently 5 left in stock after my purchase.
I have previously bought stuff categorised this way and, apart from scruffy packaging have been as new, as described.
I have trouble buying from Amazon - the thought of giving more cash to Bezos is too much, the man really is an ass. Just read a piece about him having an entirely wind propelled 127 metre long super yacht as his new plaything, which is all right on and eco-friendly until you carry on to read that because he's worried about being becalmed, it's followed everywhere by a diesel powered 75 metre long yacht, complete with helicopter pad. Just glad that his ex wife is spending her share of his fortune on good works, which must really stick in his throat.
If it were me, I would buy a floor mounted Startrite Mercury. With an angle grinder I’d cut down the pole to the size I want and instantly add about £200 to the value of my drill!

The Startrite Mercury was hugely popular in schools, well built nice drills that hood their value / increase in value.
Why cut the pole down, either get one aimed at bench use if you don't want floor standing. But totally agree that buying the older pillar drills made by the likes of Ajax and Meddings etc does give you a much better product than so much of this lightweight shieetee made today.
If you were the world's third richest man you wouldn't blow a cent of it, I assume? :LOL:
Not saying that, but I like to think I'd give a bit away to help others. The man's well known for being a tight-fisted c**t - just ask any of his employees.
Not saying that, but I like to think I'd give a bit away to help others. The man's well known for being a tight-fisted c**t - just ask any of his employees.
"I didn't get where I am today by paying workers a fair wage"

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

One trick I use to make sure no exif data is included in the photo (and it also cuts down on the photo size making it faster to upload and download for others) is full screen it on the laptop, then do a screengrab, then upload the screengrab...

Pretty easy, just expand the photo to full screen on the lappy, then hit the 'PrintScreen' button (just above the numeric pad on the keyboard on my keyoard) and save it to my 'upload photos' folder

Photo quality is pretty much the same for online work, and instead of the 6Mb plus per photo, it comes in at less than a quarter of the phones photos for the same pixel size... (if you zoom in on them, the quality isn't as good as the original from the phone- but hey- its for online work lol)

The original from this (yes its a picture of the wall of my shed lol- it was showing the 12v LED light bulbs that run directly from my battery bank) was just over 8Mb, had all the nasties on it (GPS lat and longitude, time etc etc, the screenshot is the same size, only 2.9Mb, and has very little info on the exif data... basically just the pixels and size...
Screenshot from 2023-11-30 22-28-02.png

Basically, check the properties of this photo and all you get is this...

Screenshot from 2023-11-30 22-31-21.png

So my exact location remains 'secret squirrel' lol