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Pillar drill. New or old?


dantastic
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I'm in the market for a pillar drill. I'd rarely drill holes much larger than 10mm, it's more for the precision I need it.

As you do you go online and have a look at what is available. Most stuff is starting out at about 350W. You can get a 500W bench drill at around 150-300 depending on. If you have happy to take a chance on a brand you've never heard of before you can get a 750W unit for your 300.

I've spoken to a good friend of mine who says I should look for a 3hp unit. These new are 1000's over my budget. He's suggesting I should get an old solid strong unit, like Startrite, Meddings (a few other brands I can't remember). I've had a look around, there's nothing around me for sale and these things are prohibitively large and heavy to put through the post. I'm in Ireland for the record.

I know my friend is right in what he's saying. But as I don't have any of these second hand units where I live I can't help but glancing towards a new 500-ish Watt unit. Won't it be good enough? Or is it false economy, it will last a couple of years and I'll be back looking for another one?

What gives? If you had 300 to spend on a pillar drill, how would you spend it?

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Personally i much prefer spending my money on good secondhand industrial gear than mediocre modern ger. Importantly don't get put off by three phase kit- Used inverters can be had from ebay for about £50 if you are prepared to wait a little. Three phase kit is often much cheaper- i was lucky enough to pick up a bench meddings in very good nick for £55!

Also if buying from a dealer delivery on a pallet is usually possible for circa £50- might get odd looks from the nieghbours but it opens up possabilities.

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The problem I had trying to find an old industrial pillar drill as nearly all of the industrial auctions have gone online. In the old days you could go to the auction, check the condition, wave your magazine in the air and take it home with you. Now you have to take a day to go look at it, cone away to bid, wait for the invoice, go back and get it. The online descriptions are usually pretty poor so I don't like taking risks on heavy awkward things. Due to this for my pillar drill I picked up a new jet unit. It was £500 down to £300 as customs unpacked a container and looked in the boxes. It's 75kg and was delivered to my door free.

You mention motor power but that's not the be all and end all, especially when your only talking about drilling upto 10mm. Check rpm, I picked mine because it would go considerably slower than a lot of the other new ones, match it do the size of drill and the material, if it's going too fast you'll just blunt thr bits or stall out the motor which is why some people feel the motor isn't big enough. 

My jet has an acceptable run out, the table is sterdy and reasonably square to the chuck. It's not as well made as the older ones but it's of known quality when bought unseen.

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If you decide to go for a new one Axminster have been around for a long time and in my experience don't give you any dross, they tell you the rating of the machine and their own brand is most often a lot better than others in the price range (they're a UK based company too)

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All good info.

can someone help explain the power though. I was initially looking at modern drills with between 500 to 750W but was told these were underpowered. Had a look at a startrite Mercury 2 (a recommended drill) and it only has some 370W !

so how is it that the old drill isn't underpowered and the new one is, even though the new one has twice the wattage?

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I'm no expert in motors but I believe the wattage quoted is to ensure your supply is sufficient / the other components on the machine are sufficient as usually the motor is made by a different company to the rest of the machine. I believe different types of motor draw different startup powers to a given output HP. Obviously the manufacturing quality of the motor can effect the output power to electrical input too. The gearing makes a difference also. 

This is mine, claims a 1kW :o https://www.datapowertools.co.uk/Products/Drill_Presses/JET510326

To be fair I have tugged my wrist a few times trying to hold the vice instead of clamping it. The only thing I don't like on it is the keyless chuck which you struggle to get tight enough then need pipe wrenches to undo it. It's on a morse taper though so if I wasn't so tight I could buy another chuck. 

If you can find an old one in good condition you will get more for your money pound for pound. 

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I bought a 1970's Startrite pillar drill from a local surplus engineering shop for £120. It was 3 phase, but instead of messing about buying the right single phase motor for it I bought an inverter for £50 from e-blag and it was controlled by an electronic panel instead. Absolutely excellent piece of kit. Smooth as silk and as good as any you can buy nowadays.

 

 

Les.

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As others said, motor power is not super critical but a good drive setup that allows a wide speed range is nice. Likewise good quality bearings, chuck, etc. will make far more difference to the result than MOAR POWAAAR.

TBH most power tool wattage ratings I ignore as they're lazy marketing bulls... shorthand for punters who don't understand what they're buying and will just assume higher numbers == better. Most of the watts get lost as noise and heat anyway, same as vacuum cleaners, especially on cheap gear. Pretty sure they actually deliberately fit very inefficient motors so they can claim higher wattage numbers.

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The inverter I use on my mill has the option for remote controls. I have a forward / stop / reverse switch, e stop, variable speed (via variable frequency from memory from 5 to 60Hz) and can program things like soft start and soft stop which I guess helps with the start up load on your supply. It's just screw terminals you wire basic switches into so you could probably cobble together something to work off the stock switches. For forwards you connect terminals A & B, for reverse you connect B & C, for off you connect nothing. Perhaps a little over the top for a pillar drill though?

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Ok, I've taken a punt on a Startrite mercury mark 2. It has a 3 phase 370W motor. I've also got a VFD on order.

I'm very unsure about it to be honest. The more modern ones I've looked at seems all around better but I'm going to give this a go anyway. So many people in the know just can't be wrong.

 

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I've got an ancient Arboga industrial pillar drill I slapped a single phase motor on years ago, and wouldn't swap it for anything modern (non industrial) if you paid me. Honestly, the thing is literally carved out of the solid. The modern hobby machines are, shall we say, flimsy by comparison. A nice sturdy machine is worth far more than a few hundred extra claimed watts and a bit of chrome.

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I have this bosch model link

Its superb for light to medium stuff. Has a rpm display, digital depth display. 2 speed GB and variable speed control.

Being that its only a little more than the Chinese ones in the local DIY store, i think its really good value, and recommend it.

I drill up to 13mm in steel, use step drills up to 30 and hole cutters and it copes with all of that.

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