Seeking Advice on Fobco Universal Pillar Drill

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5 Jun 2024
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Hi all, new to the forums. I hope I can impose on your guys' wisdom for a moment to help me get up to speed with my freshly acquired Fobco Universal. It came with a Jacob's chuck fitted. Feeding it down reveals a slot in the quill that aligns with one in the spindle, so I'm guessing removing the chuck is as simple as inserting a drift key and giving it a whack.

My understanding that this particular model benefits (and/or is cursed with) an old Myford collet system. I don't own a Myford lathe yet, but soon hope to. I've seen a video overviewing the system and it looks interesting. My understanding the the necessary components are:

1) Myford collet nose piece
2) Myford closing tube
3) Myford collet(s)

As the links above indicate, the first two items are easy to acquire as Myford are currently still supplying them. I'm guessing their current spread of ER collets are not compatible with this system? In which case, does anyone know if I have missed compatible collets on their site or if compatible collets are available from a third party? I'm willing to slug it out with collectors for old stock if I have to but I'd much prefer to buy new if it is possible.

On that note, the spindle's threads appear to have a nut on them, I suppose to protect them when a Myford collet nose is not fitted. Does any one know the proper way to remove this nut? Is putting the drift key in the spindle and then giving it a twist with a wrench the appropriate route or am I bound to damage something?

Thanks in advance for any information. Hopefully by embracing this system I can get a little extra precision in my hole drilling, or god willing take advantage of some of that "light milling" associated with this particular model. Do let me know if some images will assist.
The collets were a special, made for Myford. They are no longer produced so the used market is your route.

In effect, they are a standard 2 Morse taper on the thin end, with a groove at the fat end so they clip into the closing nut (the groove also allows the nut to pull them out when ejecting them). ER collets are not compatible.

To remove the nut, put the drift in the spindle slot and a spanner on the nut and turn. Standard right hand thread. Maybe if it has not been removed for a while, it will be gummed up, so some heat and penetrating juice might assist.

Your comment about 'extra precision' makes no sense. Twist drills are not precision items and a reasonable quality Jacobs chuck is adequate to enable them to be used to the best of their ability. You ain't going to improve things by holding a twist drill in a collet.

A Jacobs chuck is infinitely adjustable from perhaps 1/32" to 1/2" or 0.5mm to 13mm. It does not care whether it is holding a metric or imperial item and can go from the lowest size to the highest in thirty seconds. Try going from a 4.2mm (M5) tapping drill to 10.25mm (M12) tapping drill with your collets and see (a) if it is possible at all; (b) how much time it would take even if it were possible.

Should you want to pursue the 'light milling', be aware that you need an X-Y table to produce controlled movement in two perpendicular directions. You also need a way to achieve fine control of the quill (depth of cut) in both directions - in other words, stop it going down too much and stop it returning to the top when you release the handle.
Depending on what you want to do you could get a suitable size MT taper ER collet holder and collets, will certainly be a lot cheaper. Only issue is that ER holders generally aren't pass through, so if that is important to you then no good.
Depending on what you want to do you could get a suitable size MT taper ER collet holder and collets

I think it would be useful if you could discuss your alternative suggestion with specific reference to his comment about 'light milling'. The Myford collets in the spindle nose cap would allow this. A Morse taper ER collet chuck would not allow this.

As that is the case, what advantage does the Morse ER chuck offer him over a Jacobs chuck that would justify the expense?
Well perhaps I should have added that it would need to be secured with a draw bar, but would have thought that went without saying. An MT ER chuck and collets can be had for £50 or less. I suspect the Myford collet holder parts and collets will cost considerably more, especially the collets themselves if he can find them at all.
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I use ER in my ML4 in this way. Also on my Unimat, which is actually a similar situation in that they made a holder and collets for their machines, which are now all but unobtainable. So I have made ER holders for it.
In fact a quick Google reveals that there are a number of people selling ER collet holders specifically for the Myford thread, not as cheap as using an MT one with a draw bar, but more convenient. And still far cheaper than going the Myford route.
With the prices of second hand Myford collets at typically £25-30 EACH, about the same price as a set of 13 ER20 collets, plus the usual exorbitant Myford prices of the nose and other parts to use them, perhaps I can turn the discussion around, and ask if you could explain what possible advantage there is for the OP to use Myford collets in preference to ER?
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Well perhaps I should have added that it would need to be secured with a draw bar

Does a Fobco pillar drill have a spindle that will accommodate a drawbar? I do not know. That would certainly be a big factor in the going without saying.

In fact a quick Google reveals that there are a number of people selling ER collet holders specifically for the Myford thread,

Please provide links for these items. I found two, by RDG and Myford, who are the same company. And if you read their product infomration, the item is supplied as a backplate and chuck and they say specifically to turn the register insitu on the machine. How would you do this on a drill press?
Search Myford collet chuck on e bay. This one is for ER 32 £45. There are others. And the Fobcos I have seen have all had a hollow spindle. So I would probably stick with MT and a drawbar just on the basis of being considerably cheaper, although this does look as though it may offer a pass through, not much use to the OP but handy on a lathe. And look at the crazy prices people are asking for the Myford kit £2-300 for the nose, tube and collets. Barmy.


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