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Just Bought a Walker Turner Drill Press - good buy?

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DaveBarbier

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#1
Hi everyone,

I just spent $300 on an old Walker Turner drill press off Craigslist. I'm thinking that I way over paid, hope I got a decent machine for what I want it for. I'll be using it for drilling metal, not giant holes, I doubt I'll go over a half inch in no more than 1/4" plate.

It was in a dark trailer and I thought I saw 1/2 HP motor, but as I got it home I see that it's only a 1/4 HP Century. It seems to not really fit well either. I want it to be a bit lower and there's no more room for adjustment. Right now I can't use the lowest step on the spindle pulley.

I'm curious how old this thing is, it's in decent shape but the table has an arc of drill marks. Runs very smooth and I didn't feel any play as I tried to wiggle the chuck back and forth. There's a name plate as you can see but it doesn't have a serial number on it. My goal for this thread is to identify the vintage, what's missing, and if I'm a complete sucker :) for paying $300. The guy threw in a small machinist vise which I think is made in Taiwan.

An annoying thing is that the table doesn't have screws to hold it secure. Were there just set screws in there?

I was looking for drill presses for about a month on Craigslist and only saw new Ryobi ones and other cheap stuff. Mostly table top and I wanted a free standing. Saw this and jumped on it. It SUCKS because I now see a table top Clausing for $375. I happily would have gotten that because I know Clausings are good. I would have made a separate bench for it or something.

What would you guys do? Get a better motor for the Walker Turner and use that or sell this and buy the Clausing or something similar?

Thanks in advance! I also was debating putting this in the "drill press" section but this is an antique...I can try and move it if I have to.

IMG_9363.JPG IMG_9364.JPG IMG_9365.JPG IMG_9366.JPG IMG_9367.JPG IMG_9368.JPG IMG_9369.JPG
 

rrjohnso2000

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#2
You did fine. It's a very nice drill press.

You can fill the arc of shame with a metal epoxy. See how the motor does and get a larger one if it doesn't perform. Clean it up and enjoy
 

FOMOGO

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#3
Dave, that may be a little high depending what the vise looks like. The chuck if in good shape is a nice one, and the table can be fixed. You may find that a motor that old will match a newer 1/2hp for power, and if not it can be changed out to something bigger that would look right on the machine. Looks like it's missing one of the quill handles and the table lock set up. You will probably find something stripped out or broken there, but again fixable. If your happy with the performance, fix her up and use her. There is a learning curve on buying old equipment that we all go through, a few more and you will have it down, and your shop will be full, and your pockets empty like the rest of us hopeless machine addicts. Cheers, Mike
 

Bob Korves

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#4
It looks like the motor pulley is three step and the spindle pulley is four step. The motor pulley has probably been replaced with an incorrect one, should be four grooves in each one. The motor position should be the same in all the speeds if the correct pulleys are mounted. The drill press will work as it is, however.

It would have been much better if the seller would have paid you to haul it off, but life doesn't always work that way... ;)

Edit: The Rohm chuck is a nice bonus, those are very good chucks, and hopefully yours is in good shape.
 
D

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#5
One thing I've learned about buying used machines (or even new ones for that matter) is that each and every purchase is a new learning experience. Yes, the Clausing may initially look like a better machine, but a little bit of work on your W-T and you will have a fine drill press. I personally prefer the free standing machines, but that is just me.

Later on you may decide that you would prefer something else and you can start your search, but at least you will have your W-T available to use while you are waiting for just the right drill press to come along. Patience is a big part of this hobby, with what we are working on, and with our machines.

You did okay, and I agree that a little bit of work on the table, table lock, and a different motor pulley will probably take care of most of the issues on that drill press.

One other note: $375 for a Clausing DP sounds a little low. It may have more issues than your W-T.
 

Billh50

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#6
I have one of those in the bench model. I used mine for light milling until the bearings started going. Anyway, just fill those holes up with JB Weld then scrape and sand the excess off. The tapped holes for the table originally had set screws. But I would consider using a brass piece in the hole first to keep from marring up the tubing. Also if you plan on moving the table up and down you might want to use regular screws as they won't strip out as easily.
I would also change the motor to a 1/2 hp in case you need to drill a bigger hole.
 

DaveBarbier

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#7
Thanks guys, that makes me feel better. The chuck is in very nice shape. It was a little rusty but I just held a scotch brite pad on it as it spun. Cleaned up nicely.

The vise is just a generic small milling machine vise. Other than a little rust it looks brand new. I can tell it's not as high quality as an American made, but it should serve its purpose.

I'll look around for a 4 step pulley on eBay. I'd like to use the bottom of the spindle pulley for slower speeds. Right now the belt is too short to go on it. By the way, it came with a new belt as well. Also a c-clamp was clamped on the table. The seller didn't seem too worried about that.

For the table lock, can I just thread a couple bolts in there or will that just mar up the stand?

I don't know if I mind the "arc of shame" haha, unless it will actually impede use. The tables are cast iron, right? Not steel where I could weld up a hole and grind it down?

@FOMOGO, I can't wait until my pockets are empty, haha.

I see on http://wiki.vintagemachinery.org/WalkerTurnerSerialNumbers.ashx that this might be pre 1939. If indeed it doesn't have a serial number on the plate. I'll have to clean it up and have a look.
 

CluelessNewB

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#8
As Bob said the motor pulley is wrong but the chuck is nice. It has floor length column with the desirable round base, it's stable and yet makes it easy to move. The belt guard is also a nice plus, they are hard to find, I wish I had one! I think you did ok.

This is a model 900 and was made from about 1936 until about 1950. Exact dates for Walker Turner machines are hard to pin down since they really didn't use serial numbers. The"serial number" on the tag is really more like a detailed model number.

This link is for a later 900 series users manual which I believe matches your machine:
http://www.vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=2244

This link is for all the Walker Turner info at the Vintage Machinery web site. Under "Publication Reprints" you will find downloads for other versions of the owners manual and a bunch of old catalogs.
http://www.vintagemachinery.org/mfgIndex/detail.aspx?id=808&tab=3

Enjoy!
 

Bob Korves

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#9
Thanks guys, that makes me feel better. The chuck is in very nice shape. It was a little rusty but I just held a scotch brite pad on it as it spun. Cleaned up nicely.

The vise is just a generic small milling machine vise. Other than a little rust it looks brand new. I can tell it's not as high quality as an American made, but it should serve its purpose.

I'll look around for a 4 step pulley on eBay. I'd like to use the bottom of the spindle pulley for slower speeds. Right now the belt is too short to go on it. By the way, it came with a new belt as well. Also a c-clamp was clamped on the table. The seller didn't seem too worried about that.

For the table lock, can I just thread a couple bolts in there or will that just mar up the stand?

I don't know if I mind the "arc of shame" haha, unless it will actually impede use. The tables are cast iron, right? Not steel where I could weld up a hole and grind it down?

@FOMOGO, I can't wait until my pockets are empty, haha.

I see on http://wiki.vintagemachinery.org/WalkerTurnerSerialNumbers.ashx that this might be pre 1939. If indeed it doesn't have a serial number on the plate. I'll have to clean it up and have a look.
If you try to fill the holes, they will still always be visible and will look like you are trying to hide something. Instead, how about cleaning up the table beautifully, and leave the arc of shame as is, rust and all, which will leave a clear message of "not mine!";) The dings will not interfere with normal work, and an intermediate plate can be used over the holes if it does cause a problem on, for instance, a job with very small table contact. Using a vise there are no issues at all unless there are high spots, unlikely on cast iron, and easily addressed anyway. Edit: Old tools are OLD, and they can certainly look that way. They have earned all those dings, gouges, and rust. Beautiful restorations to better than new always look nice, but they do take away all the honest wear as well as stupid damage the machine has earned over all those decades and still survived. It is often a shame to wipe all that away...

A replacement pulley should have the same changes in step diameter as the spindle pulley does. It does not need to be the same diameter, but if each groove is one inch bigger on the motor pulley, then each groove should be one inch smaller on the spindle pulley, so the distance between pulleys stays the same for all speeds. Often one needs to be made.
 
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LF_WS

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#11
Ditto on Rich's note about the belt guard. I don't know WT machines, but a cast iron guard for a Delta DP could cost ~half what you paid for the whole press.
 

DaveBarbier

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#12
Thanks for all the replies. I can appreciate a clean pristine machine (didn't mean to rhyme that much) however I prefer to keep the patina and battle scars. I'll clean the grime off, the surface rust and oil it but I won't be doing a paint job or trying to fix the holes in the table, unless it poses a problem. Maybe fill with solder or something. I agree with you Bob that these machines are old and I'm not trying to hide that fact!

Wow, I'm surprised that the belt guard is that expensive. I didn't know these things were that sought after.

Roger that, regarding the pulley. I'll see what I come up with. I was looking into the reducer pulleys that I see some have. That might be a nice addition...

The VFD is interesting. I don't really know if I like adding these new electronics on there, we'll see if I give in. I bet they're super useful.

I will want to find a period correct (ish) light. I don't know if these ever came with one.

Thanks everyone for easing my mind!

And thanks for the manuals! Now I'll have some reading on the train home from work!
 

Glenn Brooks

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#13
Nice DP. I wouldn't worry much about the price. A few bucks either way doesn't matter. Around the Northwest Walker Turner anything commands a high price. Very good reputation and highly desirable.

Follow eBay for awhile and you will likely find a replacement table. They seem to be be very similar for W-T, Delta, and Buffalo DP's of that era. Ihave three different DP's and they all are interchangeable.

On my Delta and Buffalo floor models, the table is bolted to a casting that slides up and down on the column. Then, underneath, a threaded rod with a bend in the end for hand grip, screws into a hole through the table to set the angle. Sometimes these just get lost. You could make one, or just use a bolt.
 

DaveBarbier

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Thanks Glenn. My table has a hole for the column that's casted in, not bolted together like you're describing. And sadly, I looked under my table and I did see a place where a bolt/threaded lever was supposed to go but half of that part is broken off. I only see the partial threads that remain. I will probably be looking on Craigslist and eBay for a table in better condition, but I'd like it to be the blue that I have. Tall order probably, but hopefully in the future I come across one.

And weirdly, a friend's grandfather (old machinist, actually still working full time at 95 years old) has an old Delta DP220 with the "retirement light". I could either buy it from him or he said I could sell it for him and take a bit of the money. Seems to be in good shape except rust on the column and chuck. The light needs a re-wire. Is this anything to hold on to or is my Walker Turner a better machine for drilling metal?
 

Uglydog

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#15
I'm late to the thread.
Looks like she cleaned up very nice.
Personally, I'll take the vintage iron over the new stuff even if she costs more $.
It may require some effort on clean-up. Sometimes alot.
However, if you aren't running a business, and using it to pay the bills, a better machine might be a better answer.
Nice score!!

Daryl
MN
 

GarageGuy

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#16
I recently restored an old Delta drill press. If you replace the spindle bearings, it will drill as true as it did when it was new. We have an old Walker-Turner DP at work, and it is a good solid machine, but the spindle bearings have a lot of wear on them.

GG
 

DaveBarbier

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#17
I wish I knew as much now as I did when I was buying this thing, haha. Seems like a decent buy, though. Too bad the motor is small and I have to get a new pulley to use the slowest speed and also the table lock is broken. Oh well, you live you learn.

Once I get this thing really cleaned up I'll be happy. I found a used motor at the local habitat restore. $35 1/2hp reversible 110/220v capacitor start or something like that. (It's got a capacitor on the side). It's also painted bright red, even the oiler caps were painted shut. I haven't bought it yet, hopefully it's still there by the weekend.
 

Uglydog

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#18
You might be able to repair the pulley.
If you have access to a TIG welder, and depending on the damage you might be able to build up some material with good penetration and then turn her to match the belt grooves. Takes some time to do all this. And it may be cheaper to purchase a new pulley. But, depending on shaft size, pulley steps, etc that may not be an easy feat to achieve. I've repaired several pulleys and made others from 6061 aluminum when I couldn't find one to get the spindle speeds I wanted.

Are the painted oil cup caps pointing the correct direction? Enabling you to fill them? Are the bearings spinning freely? Have they done a bench test so that you know she works?

Bright Red is ideal. Tell everyone you got it off an old fire truck!

Daryl
MN
 

DaveBarbier

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#19
Thanks Daryl, haha, yeah bright red isn't my favorite color. Regarding the oil caps, I don't know. It seems as though these would just be pressed in so I wonder if I could spin them around. My current 1/4hp motor has nice oil caps with 90° elbows. Maybe I could swap them.

The pulley isn't cracked at all so I won't need to TIG anything, thankfully. It's the table that's cracked. I'd like a new pulley just because it has fewer steps than the spindle pulley. Motor has 3 spindle has 4.
 

chips&more

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#20
A motor with oil cups probably (but not always) means it has bushings instead of ball bearings. A bushing repair job could be a little harder to do especially if the shaft is worn at the bushing sights. Bearings could be a little more expensive to replace? IMHO I would always go for the motor with ball bearings…Dave.
 
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mirain33

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#21
I've had a bench top WT for several years that's worked quite well for me. It doesn't have a belt guard.
The only thing that would make it 'cherry' would be a slo-speed attachment.
 

DaveBarbier

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I've had a bench top WT for several years that's worked quite well for me. It doesn't have a belt guard.
The only thing that would make it 'cherry' would be a slo-speed attachment.
You drill metal with it currently? Do you find yourself always using the slowest speed? Are you limited to smaller bits?

I got a 1/2 hp motor for $35 and it's reversible and runs nicely. I'm looking to get the correct sized pulleys...maybe I'll be ok without doing a slow speed attachment. Or I think making one will be the best bet if I feel it's needed.
 

mirain33

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#23
I keep it on the slowest speed. Drilling with smaller sizes is not a problem but, depending on the material, 3/8" and up can get dicey.

Good luck finding a slo-speed attachment. I've been looking for years. It can be made though.
Someone once told me there were plans for on in a Popular Mechanics (or other type magazine). I've searched but to only come up empty.
 

ndnchf

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#24
Slow speed attachments are nice, but rare as hen's teeth. That was one reason I went with the VFD and 3/4hp motor. It provides infinite speed variation, with plenty of power, even at low speed.
 

mirain33

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#25
Is your motor 220v? I have the original WT, 1/2 hp, 110/220 motor. It's set up for 110v. I've thought about getting a VFD for it. Would I have to set it for 220v to make that work?
 

DaveBarbier

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#26
I was thinking of a VFD but I'm not into it. I know it's more cost effective to go the VFD route but I just don't want more complexity and a big box sticking out the side.
 

ndnchf

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#27
The motor is a Baldor 220 3 phase, 3/4hp. But the VFD is 110 single phase input. So it just plugs into a standard wall outlet. The VFD does its magic to run the motor just fine. My earlier post shows the VFD and simple control box with speed control knob.
 

DaveBarbier

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Ok, maybe I was a bit hasty. I'm looking at VFD's now and am considering it. I just want a relatively cheap, small unit. Curious if my current 110v 1/2HP will be under powered at low rpm though. Got to do more research.
 

ndnchf

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#29
I'm not an expert at all. But 4 years ago when I was restoring my WT 900, I too was looking for a slow speed attachment. Another fellow told me about the VFD he put on his WT 900. He sent me photos and more details. After more research I decided to copy his set up. Mine turned out almost identical to his and I'm very pleased with it. Here is a photo of the one I copied. 8090-B.jpg

There is a lot good VFD info in this garage journal thread.

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=320064
 

DaveBarbier

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#30
How difficult is it to flip the spindle pulley so the large diameter is on top rather than the bottom?

I ask because I’m making a slow speed attachment and it would make it easier to install my home made version with the large diameter side of the pulley face down.

Thanks!

For anyone interested, I’m using this link to model it off of but instead I’m turning a slug of aluminum to go into the column. No way I’m welding anything on my drill press.
https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/homemade-low-speed-conversion-craftsman-drill-press-220616.html
 
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