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Modifying a Vintage Craftsman Drill Press with a Donor Table Lift Mechanism

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bill70j

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I waited a long time for an old Craftsman floor model drill press to show up on Craig's List. Finally I found a nice one that needed only pulley shaft bearings.

But I soon understood exactly what others have said - the table is very difficult to raise and lower due to its weight, plus the table lacked the tilt feature. So I did the research on what others have done and decided to wait until a "junk" drill press showed up on CL that had a table lift mechanism that could be modified to fit the Craftsman.

A few photos of the retrofitting process are shown below.

Here is the CL photo of the Craftsman drill press I purchased about a year ago.
1 - CL CraftsmanDrill Press.jpg

Here is the donor, a "King," built by King Kong Ltd (Taiwan). Sadly it had been stored outside for years. But the table lift mechanism still worked. Unfortunately the diameter of the donor column is 80mm (3.15") vs. the Craftsman, which has a 2.75" column.
2 - CL King Drill Press.JPG

The question was how to make the donor lift mechanism fit? Here is a close-up of the donor mechanism. In order to remove the gear, we had to mill away the body filler, then press out the gear shaft.

3 - King Lift Mechanism.JPG

To reduce the diameter of the donor, we turned two reducing rings out of 4140. Then in order for the worm, gear, and rack to work, we had move the gear and worm closer to the column in order to engage the rack. Here is a photo of the modified donor. You can see the reducing rings pinned to the casting, and also how we enlarged the gear shaft bore, pressed in a slug of 4140, then drilled a new bore in the proper location. Here is the modified donor.
7 - Modified Lift Mechanism.JPG

Then we had to modify the Craftsman table to fit the donor lift mechanism. Here is the stock Craftsman table.
8 - Craftsman Table.JPG


Here is the modified table. Not wanting to mess with welding or brazing cast iron, we welded up a one inch thick 1018 disk to 3/8" flat bar then assembled it to the table with cap screws and a couple of hex bolts.

10 - Modified Table.JPG

And the underside.
9 - Modified Table.JPG

And finally a close-up of the "King" donor mechanism installed on the Craftsman drill press.
16 - Lift Close-Up.JPG

A full view.

16 - Finished Installation.jpg
 

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DiscoDan

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#2
Slick! I love the old drill presses. They had style and we're built well.
 

mattthemuppet2

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#3
very impressive work!
 

thomas s

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#4
very nice.
 

wa5cab

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#5
Looks great to me, too.
 

Janderso

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#6
Beautiful.
 

bill70j

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Slick! I love the old drill presses. They had style and we're built well.
Thanks for the input, guys. I appreciate that. This drill press is a vast improvement over the 90's Delta bench model I have used for years.

And DiscoDan: Agree with you on styling. I don't know why, but every time I look at this machine, I think of a Ford Trimotor struggling to lift off the runway.

Bill
 

DiscoDan

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Bill, here is mine. Added an x-y table and a 4" vise. Also has a rare (?) collet chuck on it right now instead of the normal chuck. Tried milling some aluminum but not great results. Paid $50 on CL.
 

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welderr

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I have gone through an old early 60's Rockwell Drill Press and have an old MasterCraft X&Y table for it. And a sine vice for it , I am planning on adding a DRO set up on it but just for more precise drilling. For now I still have access to the old Bridgeport, but eventually it's going to be my Atlas milling attachment on the lathe and my little Barker as soon as I get a VFD for it.TJ
I really like the table lift very creative outside the box solution
 
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bill70j

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Bill, here is mine. Added an x-y table and a 4" vise. Also has a rare (?) collet chuck on it right now instead of the normal chuck. Tried milling some aluminum but not great results. Paid $50 on CL.
Very nice, and for $50. What a find.

I have a question about your x-y table. Do you find that it holds position when drilling? If not, how do you deal with the movement?

I have a Phase II x-y table, and would appreciate your input. I would like to use it on the drill press, but have thought I need to add locks to stabilize the table. I also think it needs thrust bearings on the screw shafts. Thoughts?
 
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