Saturday, May 28, 2011

Adventures in Machine Land (VI)

Things have settled down with the various fires to be put out in the land 'o machinery. Well, for the most part.

I got the drill spindle back from the machine shop. The epoxy I had put on the shaft to build it up in the spots where the bearings slid on and over had worked perfectly. The machinist said that it machined up nicely, as I had hoped it would. One thing he mentioned to me though is that the spindle is actually a bit bent. One can imagine how a combination of a bent spindle and a very loose upper bearing in the quill could add up to a lot of vibration.

More than that though, I realize now what was causing the up/down movement of the quill to be sticky: the bent spindle is rubbing slightly in the hole it slides into at the top of the head, where the step pulley is located. That will have to be addressed, but, well, for the time-being I have reassembled the quill and spindle and put them back into the head.

Here I'm tightening the lock collar on the top of the spindle after sliding the spindle back into the quill:

Back in the machine, the drill is running a lot more smoothly:

That was the second hole I've drilled with the press in 6 weeks of owning the machine!

Still, the machine is not quite there yet. When I get the chance I will pull the spindle back out and have a go at manually straightening it using my granite inspection plate and a dial indicator, along with a couple of vee-blocks and a hammer. If that works, then great - if not, I'll look at getting a new spindle. Unfortunately they cost about $570, so I'm looking/hoping for a NOS one to pop up on Ebay. Ultimately, my plan is for a new spindle and quill, then getting the head casting bored out and re-sleeved (down at Marena Industries in CT), and fitting a chuck directly to the end of the spindle instead of the current set up, which employs a #2 Morse taper adapter in between the spindle and chuck. With all that done, the drill should be back to perfect operational condition, which I look forward to. It is a machine worth saving. For now, it will do the job adequately.

Then, there's my LandCruiser. My truck had required a couple of tie rod ends (which became a more complicated issue, but I'll spare the details) and then, right after that, the u-joints went. My bad, as I had neglected to grease them right from new. I obtained the new parts from Toyota and swapped the u-joints in myself. I also had a wheel alignment done after doing the Tie Rod Ends (TRE's). Now it's running like a champ again.

Jessem, dear Jessem.... I was adjusting the router down in the table the other day when all of a sudden there was a sliding noise and a clunk! Looking below I could see that the router lift had slid all the way down, held from falling to the floor only by the nyloc nut on the end of the threaded height adjusting rod:

And take a look at the threaded rod, up where the brass follower nut is located - see the brass remnants around the threads?

Here's a slightly blurry close-up:

Hmm, I realized at that moment that the bits of brass thread I had found previously must have come from somewhere else than that follower nut. I partially disassembled the lift and pulled out a brass slug found below that same follower nut, covered with a black aluminum cap. Here's a glimpse inside the bore of that piece, where you can see that threads are but a distant memory:

That explains the slide and clunk then. I knew that there was a relatively straightforward fix for the problem of a stripped thread: a helicoil insert. I don't have any helicoils or the tools to fit them on hand, so I took the brass piece over to Tim at the nearby machine shop and a couple of days and $25 later the repair was done. The machine is up and running again.

Gosh, it looks like I can get back to making wooden bits again. The jointer is doing what it's supposed to do, the drill press can now contribute, and I'm hoping the router table hangs in there at least another few weeks. Oh, and I can get to the shop in my truck without fear of the propeller shaft breaking loose or a tie rod end separating. All good. Back to the wood then!

Thanks for coming by today.


  1. I have almost the exact same spindle arrangement on my ancient drill press. I wanted to be able to drill deeper holes without having to move the arm that holds the thread, so I had a machine shop make me a longer thread. There is a zerk fitting on the thread that enables some grease to reach the shaft, for easier traveling through the thread. I don't remember if I put it in or it came that way. Some ability to run a little oil in there would be the way I'd do it now. Maybe just drill a hole through the thread and mill a short groove in the shaft so oil dribbles down. Metal against metal likes lubrication.

  2. Dennis,

    thanks for your comment and good to hear from you. The set up on this Delta Rockwell Radial Ram drill for lubrication is an oiling port located on the 'retainer' at the very top of the head. The idea is that oil is able to gradually seep down from there along the spindle and through all the bearings, however since one of the main bearings at the top has been replaced at some point with a more modern one with rubber seals, I'm not sure how well the oiling would really work any more. It's a pretty simple matter though to withdraw the spindle and quill assembly and give the bearings some oil. Hopefully I'll be able to remember that from time to time!



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