Turning a Drill press into a Drill-Mill
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  1. #1

    Turning a Drill press into a Drill-Mill

    Hey guys. I just noticed we have this big, nasty, heavy, old drill press here at my shop. It is still in working order, just needs some tlc. This thing is probably from the 50's or early 60's, built like a tank. It has a 1hp single phase motor on it.

    I've been looking for a small used drill-mill for my garage at home. I have a feeling that this thing is heavier, stronger and more durable than many of the entry level drill-mills for sale today (asian made)

    It looks like I could put an R8 spindle in place of the 1/2" chuck. It would just need some coolant, a new heavy base and maybe some more rigity added and a slide milling table.

    What do you guys think?? Worth my time?

    Last edited by legendboy; 09-28-2004 at 06:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Birmingham Al
    the only thing about drills into mills is that the drill bearings aren't made to take sideways stress too well, i have a HF drill press and a cross slide vise i use for minor milling operations, had to replace with a better chuck from grizzly though

    Shop Full Of Stuff.


  3. #3
    I supose I could probably find some new bearings that could take more abuse! I'm willing to bet they should be replaced anyways.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Edison Wa.
    Well, it will sorta work for aluminum- but its not just the bearings- although the type and kind of bearings are part of the problem.
    The deal is, that drill presses were never designed for side loading. So none of the parts are big enough, or supported or made properly, to take much side loading. So the whole thing will move, and you will not get very accurate cuts. End mills will break. You will swear a lot.
    If you already have a machine shop, and know what you are doing, then yes, you probably could make a new spindle for this drill that fit an R-8. That would require a lathe and a milling machine, and then you would still have the side load problem. It probably would require all new pulleys, as the current ones dont have enough meat on them to drill out big enough to get an r8 size shaft thru em.
    Without an R8, what happens is the chuck falls out, (dont ask me how I know this) as it is held in with a morse taper- which, again, was never designed for side loading.
    My advice- buy a 35 dollar milling vise from harbor freight, the kind with travel in two directions. Bolt it on, and play around with aluminum with about a 1/4" end mill. See what the machine will do, but dont waste your time trying to rebuild it, as it just isnt worth it.
    And keep looking for a real milling machine.

  5. #5
    Seems like alot of work, judging from the picture. If that splined shaft sticking out the top is the drive shaft, you're going to have to redo it so you can use a draw bar. I guess you could look at some of the the quick change spindles instead, but then you loose the advantage of the cheap R8 tooling.

    Were you planing on having some type of Z feed? Theres an old PM article on a milling adapter for drill presses. It was basically a spindle (with appropriate bearings) that was secured to the table and column of the drill press. It was powered by the drill presses spindle, via a small jack shaft IIRC. Might be worth a looksy even if thats not exactly what you are looking for. I have it in PDF. If you'd like, I could email it to you.

    Best of luck.


  6. #6
    All good points. art887 I'd like a copy of that if you don't mind! legend88@telusplanet.net

    I'll probably not waste too much time with it.

    ya know, i found a nice milling machine. a maximart vertical machine. full size, 3hp, 24 x 50 bed, p-feed, 1600 beast. the only problem is the weight (cost of getting it moved into my garage) and it was a 3 phase machine, so there was added cost of getting a static phase converter or building my own phase converter out of an old motor. The price was 1800cad. machine had about 0.003 play in the spindle.

    just a bit too much for a garage! lol

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