Dumpster Dyco.

May 18th, 2008

The other weekend I was cursing the fact that I can’t drill perpendicular holes by hand to save myself. To solve this problem what I needed was a drill press. I have access to two of them at my metalwork night class (well one really as the other one is so knackered it can’t drill perpendicular holes to save itself either) but that’s only good if I want to drill holes on a Tuesday night. What if I want to drill something on a Wednesday? Or a Friday even? Bachelor life in the garage is so exciting!

I couldn’t afford to buy a decent drill press. Sure there are some available for a few hundred dollars but they tend to be cheap and nasty. In the short term I settled for something even cheaper and nastier! It’s a little bench press I could mount my power drill to. I went out to Penrose and got one last weekend. It’s not too bad considering. It looked like they had painted it then immediately wrapped it in plastic so there was horrible blue paint over everything. I wire brushed it all off and resprayed it with some left over paint I had and now it works pretty well. I used it to drill the axle holes of some parts on the great machine and they are pretty square (I mean straight, obviously the holes are round).

I came inside pleased with my days work to find an email from my friends Michelle and Brian. Turns out Brian’s dad had an old pillar drill looking for a home. Michelle had provided a couple of pictures you can see below.


dyco2 The drill as found.

The drill is an old Dyco drill press. I contacted Clyde, Brian’s father, and  arranged to head out to Kumeu on Tuesday to have a look. I left work a little early and drove out there in no time. Clyde showed me the drill and a lot of very interesting things they have out there. Bees, wells and a shed bigger than my entire house (plus new garage and old garage combined)!

The drill has had a hard life. Clyde rescued it from a dumpster when it was being thrown out.  The motor on it is broken so the drill didn’t work and over the years the table has almost been drilled through and the housing was covered in paint splashes but it was all there and all in good mechanical condition. We took it apart and I managed to get it into my little car. Not the MG, haven’t finished that yet!

Once I got it home I didn’t get the chance to do much with it for a few days. Eventually I got it out of the boot and into the garage. Shown here is the main body of it.

disassembly1 The head of the drill.

Once inside I started to strip it down. It comes apart very easily although it does use a mixture of metric and imperial fasteners. Not a problem for someone used to dealing with old British cars!

Once stripped I was able to see it was mechanically in great condition apart from the sheared motor shaft. The main body is a solid lump of steel and the belt cover is cast aluminium. The stand and table are steel. There is a bearing housing that bolts to the top of the body. This contains two big bearings and a brass or bronze shaft which is hollow and splined. One of the pulleys is attached to this shaft with grub screws (well in this case a bolt but I replaced that with the proper grubs) so the motor can rotate it via the belt.

broken_motor Sheared off motor shaft.

The main shaft of the drill consists of an outer steel housing with teeth on one side that engage the main handle on the side of the drill. Turn the handle and the teeth engage making the shaft lower. The handle is spring loaded so when you release it it will return to the up position.  The steel housing contains two bearings, one at each end, through which runs an inner shaft. The top end of this shaft is splined to match the fixed bearing housing shaft and it runs inside it. The bottom end of the shaft is attached to the chuck (13mm Jacobs). Because of the splined shafts the chuck can rotate and move up and down which is basically the main purpose of the drill press.

I completely stripped the mechanism and removed all the bearings. The bearings in the top housing were open on both sides. I flushed the bearings clean of the black, gritty grease that was in there. Once clean I could check them for wear and found they were all still serviceable. I also removed the bearings from the moving part of the drill and found they were also OK. These had a dust cover on one side so I carefully popped these off. This was necessary for the next step.

Next I re-greased the bearings. I used wheel bearing grease since that’s what I had and I figure if it is good enough for the wheel bearings on an old MG it should work fine for an old drill! When re-greasing bearings you have to make sure you only press the grease though from one side. If you try to press grease in from both sides you get air bubbles inside the bearing. Where there is air there isn’t any lubrication and as we know it’s all about the lube. So you carefully press grease though from one side until it squidges completely out of the other side. Hence the need to remove the dust covers. I didn’t get any pictures of this since there was grease everywhere and I didn’t want any on my camera! Once greased up I popped the dust covers back in place and carefully pressed the bearings back into place.

cleaned_parts Parts disassembled and cleaned up.

Next I took to the body. The main body and lid were pretty easy to strip with paint stripper.  I used a wire brush on the main body but as the belt cover is aluminium and soft I just scrubbed it with a 3M scouring pad after covering it in paint stripper. All the smaller bits were put in rust killer and left to soak. The chrome handles are all pitted and rough but once the rust was gone I just clear coated them to stop them rusting further and to preserve that worn but functional look. The main stand and table though needed a different approach. Wire brushing rough cast steel is tricky since you can never remove all the rust down in the little pits. I tried a different technique I had only tried on a small scale until now. Electrolysis!

stripping Stripping paint off the belt cover.

The idea is simple. You mix up a conducting solution of water and baking soda (or washing soda whatever the hell that is). You don’t need much baking soda at all. It’s just to make the water conduct. Next you need a 12v battery charger or other power supply. Finally you need a piece of clean steel to act as an anode. Basically what you do is hook your clean steel up to the positive wire, your rusty lump of steel to the negative wire and chuck them in the solution. Current flows and the rust magically gets converted to not rust and your steel anode and water all turn horribly murky. I don’t know the chemisty of it (we cheated all through stage 1 chemistry so I didn’t learn anything) but the rust is removed but the non rusty steel is left alone.

This works great for small steel parts so I figured it would be fine for the drill base and table. I needed a large container though. In the end I figured out the only container I had that was actually large enough was my Auckland City Council wheelie rubbish bin! Basically, once emptied of rubbish, that is what I used.

electrolysis Rust removal by electrolysis.

After this picture was taken I turned the base upside down and was able to completely submerge it in the bin. I left that overnight drawing about 1 amp of current. In the morning I had a bin full of really awful looking water but some steel parts generally free from rust. It gets converted to black stuff that can be washed and scrubbed off.

electrolysiswater Filthy, rusty water.

cleanedbase After electrolysis.

After cleaning everything up I painted it all. Hammered green for the main body, base and belt cover and black for the table and sundry parts.

Still need to do the final assembly and get a new motor then pictures to follow!

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5 Responses to “Dumpster Dyco.”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Rust removal by electrolysis and the help of an Auckland city wheely bin – a true macgyverism!

    Got duct tape?

  2. Ritchie Wilson Says:

    Greetings from Christchurch.
    Where did you get the switch for the drill press??

  3. Simon Says:

    Hi, it was one I had in the junk box but I think it is similar to this one from Jaycar: http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=ST0575&keywords=toggle+switch&form=KEYWORD

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