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Which floor standing pillar drill?

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DamoF

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Hi folks, I'm kitting out my workshop and reckon I've sorted everything apart from a pillar drill.

I've used so many which don't quite cut it. A bit too much run out, not quite enough power, not quite enough travel etc and I'm after a reliable and solid machine that does what it's meant to.

It has to be new or as good as, I'd prefer new for a few years manufacturers warranty but could be swayed by a second hand one if its a pure belter. It has to be single phase, I could stretch to 16A if I had to buy would prefer standard socket. Finally, it has to have at least 100mm travel and be super accurate. My max budget is £1000 but would prefer to be below this if possible.

Currently looking at the Axminster Trade AT540PD, anyone got experience with them?

Many thanks in advance, this forum has provided so many answers for me in google search results I decided to join and get more involved :)

Damo
 

AJB Temple

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When you say super accurate....this can be a bit of a misnomer in wood. Are you using it for metalwork?

Many people on this forum much prefer old engineering drills, such as FOBCO or MEDDINGS. These last forever - really solid heavy castings and really well engineered lift and depth stop mechanisms.

I would not fret much about warranty. Drills are dead simple - motor, pulley system and the drill assembly itself. Mine is a FOBCO. It must be 40 years old.

Don't worry about speed control either. You will find that you don't fiddle with that much, if ever.
 

DamoF

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AJB Temple":az3j33s3 said:
When you say super accurate....this can be a bit of a misnomer in wood. Are you using it for metalwork?

Many people on this forum much prefer old engineering drills, such as FOBCO or MEDDINGS. These last forever - really solid heavy castings and really well engineered lift and depth stop mechanisms.

I would not fret much about warranty. Drills are dead simple - motor, pulley system and the drill assembly itself. Mine is a FOBCO. It must be 40 years old.

Don't worry about speed control either. You will find that you don't fiddle with that much, if ever.
Thanks for the reply, it will be 95% woodwork with the occasional foray into metal. So I mean as accurate as can be with wood. I make bespoke furniture, custom shelving, guitar stands, wooden jewellery... I studied lutherie for 2 years and it certainly enhanced my already existing attention to detail.

Ultimately I want a machine I can rely on, no knacks or finicky quirks. Just up and down, accurately, with plenty power for the occasional large forster bit going deep into hardwood. Know what I mean?

Have seen a few fobco drills come up but only bench mounted so far and I'm deffo after a floor standing drill.

D
 

Bm101

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No expert here.
There a multitude of threads on here.
Use the advanced search function. Search old drill names/renovation.
Here's the rub.
You can buy an old industrial standard drill made to specifications that would have made you sweat as an accountant for an engineering firm when the UK still made stuff. Proper tea and biscuits and union meetings for the same price as a modern drill aimed at a market so cheap its sold in Aldi after being made in Asia.
Paid 130 odd for my lad. Probably upped that cost to 300 to refit and that's paint etc. New handles. Unnecessary work strictly speaking
Show me a modern equivalent that will be working in 50 years. I doubt the top end axminster ones will not be scrap in 20.
=;
 

Trevanion

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Hell, for £1000 I could buy one of the best pillar drills ever made like a Meddings, Fobco, Elliott Progress or Pollard, convert it to single-phase and completely rebuilt it from the ground up and still be at least £300 in pocket :lol:
 

DamoF

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Trevanion":3dtnkooh said:
Hell, for £1000 I could buy one of the best pillar drills ever made like a Meddings, Fobco, Elliott Progress or Pollard, convert it to single-phase and completely rebuilt it from the ground up and still be at least £300 in pocket :lol:
Now this I could get into. Is it as simple as swapping a motor out? I'm also concerned about the time it would take as I've (not complaining) got quite a few commissions to be cracking on with...
 

Trevanion

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DamoF":hl2sj05v said:
Now this I could get into. Is it as simple as swapping a motor out? I'm also concerned about the time it would take as I've (not complaining) got quite a few commissions to be cracking on with...
You'd need to put a new 240v motor and new 240v switch gear in which would be very straightforward.

Alternatively if you buy a machine with a three-phase dual voltage 240/440v motor you could wire the motor to 240v 3ph and put a variable frequency drive on the machine which would output a three-phase 240v supply which would allow speed control via the frequency drive, which might be a good and even cheaper solution.
 

Keith 66

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Meddings, Fobco, Acera, All british built of high quality. Loads of them about as every school workshop had a rank of them. With the demise of D&T lots on the market. Ten times better than any new machine. A wanted ad on Homeworkshop.org isworth a pop or dealers like G&M tools or Home & workshop machinery are bound to have a selection.
 

Doug B

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Trevanion":76929fkl said:
Alternatively if you buy a machine with a three-phase dual voltage 240/440v motor you could wire the motor to 240v 3ph and put a variable frequency drive on the machine which would output a three-phase 240v supply which would allow speed control via the frequency drive, which might be a good and even cheaper solution.
Whilst I don’t disagree that you will get variable speed control via an inverter be aware that at slow speeds via the VFD you will lose torque, so to use a big drill bit you need the VFD running at full speed with the drill itself running at slower speed via its belts & pulleys.

That said that is the route I went with a floor standing Meddings rebuild seen here post931809.html?hilit=Meddings#p931809
I did this after buying an Axminster engineering pillar drill the accuracy of which was a joke & I'm glad I did as the Meddings hasn’t missed a beat in the 5 years I’ve been using it
 

DamoF

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Thanks, I think converting may be outwith my skill set and also time. I need a working pillar drill asap. Unless I can find one that's already been converted I think a new purchase is my only option. Does anyone have experience of buying a new pillar drill with the above specs?

Thanks again

D
 

eezageeza

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I recently bought the AT340 bench mounted drill - the baby brother of the one you mentioned. Does exactly what I need it to, can't fault it.
Its blimmin heavy tho', so not something to move once it's in position; the one you're considering is twice as heavy, so you might need some help to set it up!
 

DamoF

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eezageeza":vjyf7ien said:
I recently bought the AT340 bench mounted drill - the baby brother of the one you mentioned. Does exactly what I need it to, can't fault it.
Its blimmin heavy tho', so not something to move once it's in position; the one you're considering is twice as heavy, so you might need some help to set it up!
Thanks! This is good news, I may well go for it's big brother, I just get the fear when spending money...
 

TFrench

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Draper is just another badge for the standard chinese churned out tat. Search ebay for "floor standing drill" and tick the "used" tab. I just had a look and there are some absolute crackers on there for between £3-500, buy it now. Good ones are Meddings (or pacera - same thing), Union, Startrite, Pollard, Grimston - the list goes on.
 

Bm101

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Mr French knows what hes talking about.
If you can find the right one maybe from a dealer etc if time is pressured you have to think what you are getting. These drills were never meant for private use. In their day they were investable equipment for big companies. Your modern equivalent might be a cnc router? Out my depth here.
We are probably in a uniquely brief bubble of time where it's possible to buy this quality of machine for the price of two tanks of petrol to keep in your shed to drill holes for a hobby.
The shaft alone on my meddings would be a feat of engineering that would be probably be impossible to replicate on an economical basis for a modern drill company, even Meddings. Sadly.

Anyway. Each to their own of course.
Regards
Chris
 

Bm101

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Just a thought. For the proper enthusiasts.
What would be the modern day price listing for a (let's say as an example...) a Meddings floorstandng drill. Any model. Any pre 1965 date.
Just for fun.
:wink:
 

Trevanion

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A new floor-standing Meddings is over £2000, and they don't make them as they used to either! :lol:

Thing is, it's probably not in manufacturer's best interests to make something with a practically unlimited lifespan like the old machines because if it doesn't die and it's still pretty mechanically as good as new why bother getting another new one to replace it? You see it with Sedgwick woodworking machinery, their morticers, for example, are around £1800 new and the design hasn't really changed much since the first ones over 50 years ago but most of the first ones made are still going strong with no sign of stopping just like mine which I paid £300 for. Why would I bother spending 6x the price on a new morticer when an old one is just as good? Plus, mine has a honkingly heavy cast iron base rather than a stamped sheet metal one 8)
 

Bm101

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phil.p":of6lv1wd said:
I did look once, Iirc it was about £1800 for a new bench drill.
What could you buy for £1800 in 1965?
8)
 

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