Radial arm pillar drill


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David W

23 Dec 2018
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Port Talbot
Hi all, just trying to get some views on a floor mounted radial arm drill
I have 2 selected at the moment
Axminster AC680RD and the Sealey GDM 1630 DR
Anyone had experiences with these drills
I have tried a search of the site #-o
I think that most people on here will tell you that you need an engineering quality drill that is not an opinion I agree with.
I have an SIP version of the drill you are referring to and in my opinion it is a good choice for woodworking and would recommend it to anybody.
I made a simple table for mine that makes it ideal for woodwork but I would say that if you also want to drill large holes in metal it is not the drill for you.
I have a Sealey GDM 120A, 16 speed, bench pillar drill, bought new in 1994.
It has cut the occasional 4" & 6" holes, over the years, without too much trouble.
Very rarely change the belts from its second slowest speed (about 500 RPM).
Not the quietest of machines but there was a similar one in the workshop at work that survived the multi user abuse environment.
I have the budget (Perform) bench mounted version, I agree with Powertools that for woodwork use it's OK.
It by the very nature of its construction has limited rigidity.
If extra pressure is applied whilst drilling then expect to see column/head flexing.

Precision engineering quality it ain't, does it do what I need it to, yes.
The extended reach over sheet goods and wood projects is its main advantage for me.
And as Powertools says, an auxiliary extended table is a must to take better advantage of the available throat reach.

This a photo of the simple drill press table.


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I didn't explain more because I wasn't sure that the photo would show up.
If you are going to invest in a pillar drill of any sort it is going to cost you a fair amount of cash and you need to buy something that is right for you.
I do both metal work and wood work and I have 2 pillar drills, I don't think that you can do both things with 1 drill, my metal work drill is dirty and I would not want to use it for my woodworking.
The down side of the radial arm drill is that it takes up a lot of space but the up side is that with a simple table it can do far more than a standard drill.
The table on my drill does not involve expensive t tracks and clamps but I have a series of fences and clamps that enable me to do things that you would never be able to do on a standard pillar drill.

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