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Pillar drill recommendations for a £300 budget

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PeteCo

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Hi folks
I am after a pillar drill for my small home workshop - mainly for woodworking duties as I plan to start making guitars and basses in my imminent retirement

I have a budget of about £300 and have been looking at the Axminster radial bench jobbie in the their "craft" range. I was advised to look for an old Brit machine like Fobco , Star or Meddings but having looked a lot lately on eBay and gumtree the only ones that don't seem knackered or absolutely huge are super expensive and about double my 300 quid budget

My workshop is my 10 X 8 shed - so space is a bit tight, but I may get away with a floor standing puller drill in one of the corners of the workshop.

Does anyone have any recommendations or advice ( or something for sale ). ?
Cheers
Pete
 

Trevanion

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PeteCo":158f6fgx said:
I was advised to look for an old Brit machine like Fobco , Star or Meddings but having looked a lot lately on eBay and gumtree the only ones that don't seem knackered or absolutely huge are super expensive and about double my 300 quid budget
Keep going with the Old British option. "Seeming knackered" and actually knackered are two totally different things. It's the same as cars, some will look absolutely horrendous on the bodywork but mechanically they purr like a kitten, some will be lovely looking and tarted-up on the bodywork to make up for the fact the mechanics are atrocious.

You will be sorely disappointed with anything new, trust me. I bought a Jet pillar drill which had no use and was still brand new in the box the other day for a decent price, they were about £800 new and the mechanics even new out of the box is absolutely terrible, there must be 1mm back and forth play in the spindle. And that's with a "reputable brand" like Jet, imagine how the cheaper ones are going to be like.
 

Fitzroy

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Feel your pain on finding something old and British, in reasonable nick, and not at the other end of the country!

If you do find the patience then I’ve found my Fobco Star is great for a smaller workshop. I had another old British thing and it was just far too large. The Fobco sits happily on a 60cm deep bench, is light enough to drag forwards out the corner when needed, but has enough heft to be stable.

Don’t spend more than £300 on one though as they normally go for approx £250 on eBay and £150-£200 on Gumtree.

Fitz
 

Lonsdale73

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Having been there recently myself I opted for the Bosch PBD40 and I love it. Variable speed at the turn of a dial, none of this belt-changing malarkey, built in light and cross hairs and a head that raises and lowers smoothly and easily (but locks up tight for drilling!) rather than wrestling with a table. Very accurate depth of cut too. One guy on here said if I wanted his I'd have to - if I recall the phrase correctly - "prise it from his cold, dead hand". As tempting an offer as that was, the cost of travelling to the frozen north of the western isles meant it was cheaper to actually buy my own, brand new one and still have a huge hunk of change from your quoted budget. Drilling has never been so easy nor so stylish.
 

samhay

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I just brought a Startrite Bantam (similar to Mercury) bench drill for £40. They often go for a little more than this, but are cheaper than Fobco or Meddings on ebay. With a little fettling they are likely to be a lot nicer than a new £300 offering, so might be worth adding to the maybe list.

For luthier work you don't really need a floor standing drill. A bench drill on a mobile cabinet is a better use of space and you can rotate the head round 90 degree if you ever need to drill something that is too tall to fit between the head and table.
If you want to make a string-through electric you need quite a large throat, but I guess you know this is you're looking at radial arm models. The older drills will typically all be sufficient for this too as they tend to be rather large beasts.
 

NigelParry

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I’m also a DIYer looking for new and am looking between the Bosch PDB40 or Titan TTB541DBT. Seen the comments above on the Bosch but have also seen some positive comments on the Titan machine.
Anyone here have first hand views on the comparison ?
Cheers !
 

Lonsdale73

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NigelParry":2by0mc1e said:
I’m also a DIYer looking for new and am looking between the Bosch PDB40 or Titan TTB541DBT. Seen the comments above on the Bosch but have also seen some positive comments on the Titan machine.
Anyone here have first hand views on the comparison ?
Cheers !
The Titan looks to be a rebadged version of the chinesium model I (and a couple of other forum members who recommended the Bosch when I was looking to change) upgraded from, albeit with a slightly larger motor and heftier price tag. If, for whatever reason, I had to replace the Bosch tomorrow then I would still pay the extra and get that over the Titan.

Hope this constitutes a constructive contribution.
 

NigelParry

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Lonsdale73":31y96c81 said:
NigelParry":31y96c81 said:
I’m also a DIYer looking for new and am looking between the Bosch PDB40 or Titan TTB541DBT. Seen the comments above on the Bosch but have also seen some positive comments on the Titan machine.
Anyone here have first hand views on the comparison ?
Cheers !
The Titan looks to be a rebadged version of the chinesium model I (and a couple of other forum members who recommended the Bosch when I was looking to change) upgraded from, albeit with a slightly larger motor and heftier price tag. If, for whatever reason, I had to replace the Bosch tomorrow then I would still pay the extra and get that over the Titan.

Hope this constitutes a constructive contribution.
Thanks !
 

PeteCo

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After some searching and reading up, Ive been and picked up a lovely old Fobco Star today ., with a Jacobs 4" x/y vise and pedestal stand thrown in too .
Its fully operational but will get some TLC and refurb time next year.

Had to build a 5 ft wooden ramp to get it out of the car single handed when I got back though !! My god they are heavy !!

Cheers
Pete
 

marcros

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I don't think that you will regret it. I have been free this afternoon and could have given you a hand lifting if you were nearby.
 

NigelParry

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Lonsdale73":33ngx4y7 said:
NigelParry":33ngx4y7 said:
I’m also a DIYer looking for new and am looking between the Bosch PDB40 or Titan TTB541DBT. Seen the comments above on the Bosch but have also seen some positive comments on the Titan machine.
Anyone here have first hand views on the comparison ?
Cheers !
The Titan looks to be a rebadged version of the chinesium model I (and a couple of other forum members who recommended the Bosch when I was looking to change) upgraded from, albeit with a slightly larger motor and heftier price tag. If, for whatever reason, I had to replace the Bosch tomorrow then I would still pay the extra and get that over the Titan.

Hope this constitutes a constructive contribution.
I pulled the trigger on the Bosch... now building the hold down platform but initial thoughts are positive and love the thought of not having to change belts !
Thanks again for the recommendation.
 

That would work

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I have a bench mounted fobco star. It was horrible looking, dirty rusty and full of leaves when I picked it up. £90 on Ebay.
Lots of WD40 and emery cloth later it's great, mechanically perfect.
I had a spare one horse motor so put that on it... I recon it would bore tunnels now :D
 

Bm101

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PeteCo":34njo8ce said:
After some searching and reading up, Ive been and picked up a lovely old Fobco Star today ., with a Jacobs 4" x/y vise and pedestal stand thrown in too .
Its fully operational but will get some TLC and refurb time next year.

Had to build a 5 ft wooden ramp to get it out of the car single handed when I got back though !! My god they are heavy !!

Cheers
Pete
Pictures please Pete. Lots of pics. Price you pay.
Quid pro quo Clarice....
 

Lonsdale73

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NigelParry":272tets6 said:
Lonsdale73":272tets6 said:
NigelParry":272tets6 said:
I’m also a DIYer looking for new and am looking between the Bosch PDB40 or Titan TTB541DBT. Seen the comments above on the Bosch but have also seen some positive comments on the Titan machine.
Anyone here have first hand views on the comparison ?
Cheers !
The Titan looks to be a rebadged version of the chinesium model I (and a couple of other forum members who recommended the Bosch when I was looking to change) upgraded from, albeit with a slightly larger motor and heftier price tag. If, for whatever reason, I had to replace the Bosch tomorrow then I would still pay the extra and get that over the Titan.

Hope this constitutes a constructive contribution.
I pulled the trigger on the Bosch... now building the hold down platform but initial thoughts are positive and love the thought of not having to change belts !
Thanks again for the recommendation.
Glad to have been of assistance. Now of to Bosch to chase my commission.
 

Lonsdale73

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NigelParry":njiskf1k said:
:eek: Lonsdale you’re a shill
If only....

Although I did receive a Milwaukee t-shirt when I bought one of their tools. I think the t-shirt would have cost more to buy than the bit-holder it came free with. The bit holder gets used almost every day but the t-shirt does get changed every once and a while. I liked the bit so much I bought the longer version for when I need that extra reach. Didn't get a t-shirt with that one though; shame really, would have given me one to change into.
 

PeteCo

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Will do - I've had to store it in my father garage at the moment while I rebench my workshop to accommodate it.
Will take some pics later this week and post.
Cheers, Pete



Bm101":2d5kgjsg said:
PeteCo":2d5kgjsg said:
After some searching and reading up, Ive been and picked up a lovely old Fobco Star today ., with a Jacobs 4" x/y vise and pedestal stand thrown in too .
Its fully operational but will get some TLC and refurb time next year.

Had to build a 5 ft wooden ramp to get it out of the car single handed when I got back though !! My god they are heavy !!

Cheers
Pete
Pictures please Pete. Lots of pics. Price you pay.
Quid pro quo Clarice....
 

TFrench

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I snagged a floor standing meddings for £125 yesterday off facebook marketplace. Back breakingly heavy, the column is solid steel!
 

PeteCo

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Very nice find !
Quick question - is there any info on date of manufacture of Fobco stars based on serial number. Mine is 37705 ?
Unusually it has a longer pillar (40 inch) than most I have seen - which seems to have been there for a very long time, if not original.
It's been converted to a single phase 240v motor at some point , and I might put it back to 3 ph plus use an inverter for continuously variable speed - but for now it's just going to get used as it is.
Cheers , Pete
 
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