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  #1  
Old 12-23-2003, 03:29 PM
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which drill press or small mill

I am obsessed with the quest for perfect holes. I've got a budget of ~$450. What do you guys recommend? My desire is perfect precission folder pivot holes. My cheap import benchtop drillpress isn't capable despite all my tuning attempts. Drill presses I've looked at locally (Harbor Freight, Sears, Home Depot) all seem to have slop in the quill when even slightly extended. Is there a precission drill press in my price range? Would one of the small sub-$500 mills be the best route? All suggestions welcome.

-Ben
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2003, 07:47 PM
CDS CDS is offline
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Ben,
I purchased a HF Mini-Mill mainly to drill precision holes. It doesn't mill steel very well IMO, but it does drill straight holes. I purchased a ROHM keyless chuck which also helped reduce the TIR. It comes with a X/Y table which is perfect for drilling multiple holes, and is also variable speed. One drawback in using it as a drill press is that it does not have a spring return quill. That is not really a big deal. You will get used to it. Try finding a precision drill press for the same price. I don't think you can. Even if you do find a decent press at that cost, you will still need to purchase a decent table system for work holding. Hope this helps some.
Chris S.
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2003, 07:53 PM
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This might be OK if you are not going for large holes
Micro-Mark

81631 MICROLUX DRILL PRESS $159.95


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  #4  
Old 12-28-2003, 05:31 AM
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Try http://www.ixion.de/ they are sold in the USA. I have a Maxion and it's the Cat's Meow...


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Old 12-28-2003, 01:47 PM
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This is the "New" drill that I'm using.
Mace




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  #6  
Old 12-29-2003, 12:42 PM
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There's no such thing as a precision hole from a drill press unless you spend some huge money. Chances are, if you are going through all the right moves, like center-punching, and using a center-drill, then a stub-drill, then perhaps a jobbers-length drill, you MIGHT get a fair representation of a round hole. If all you are doing is centerpunching then poking in a hole with a jobber's bit, you are most likely just making a semi-round hole in the material due to the natural wobble a jobbers drill has.

T.I.R. isn't as big a deal in drill presses as it is trying to hold close tolerances in milling. Most folder makers I know, myself included, work off of cheapo drill presses. You'll want to be drilling undersize, then reaming to size anyway for a precision fit.

What I do is buy a drill press of reasonable quality (try to find one) and replace the chuck with a precision keyless chuck. Unless you want to spend lots of money for a used Rockwell or a Clausing, this is almost as good as it gets. Reamers are our friends!


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  #7  
Old 12-29-2003, 06:32 PM
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The tip!

OK, guys, reamers are the answer.
I use a carbide, 4 flute straight reamer.
They come in .0005" tolerances.(that's 1/2 of 1 thousandth)
For a 1/8 hole, I have.0125, .125, .1255. and .126 thousandths of an inch for the size pin I buy.
Most pins are not precision ground either, so the many reamers are sure to please whatever size you buy.
Mic the wire, then find the reamer that is .0005 under that(TIR takes care of that), drill.005"-.010" under then ream.
The pin should be very tight. If you want it looser just go up .0005" in size of reamer used, and wallah!

The "straight" part of the hole comes from alignment of the table to drill, and work to table angles. The drill must be square to the work table and the work perfectly flat to the table as well.
I use the small drill presses for folder work, 5 to be in fact.
First I use a drill starter to pin point the location of each hole.
Next I use a pilot drill, or small drill to punch a hole thru the work.
Next is the hogger(that's what a drill is), it needs to leave .005-.010" of clean up in the hole for the reamer.
Next I countersink both sides of the holes, then ream with lube.
Perfect holes already polished.
My mill will drill the same hole, just takes a lot longer to set up.

My advise to all who aspire to make folders,"Start with the pivot hole and build the knife around that.":confused:

It works!
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  #8  
Old 12-30-2003, 04:23 AM
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Which tool you use in your drill press is an entirely different question than which drill press you need.

Hate to disagree Jeff, but there certainly is such a thing as a precision hole from a drill press, and that depends on what you see as a huge amount of money. The cheapo far east drill presses that cost $30 can't be compared with a "real" drill press such as those made my Maxion, Flott or Alzmetal. Some of the far east models that cost a bit more are also pretty good too but that's a case by case basis.

That precision holes are made with reamers or boring heads is a matter of basic tool making competence, not drill press quality.

That said, if you chuck up a reamer in a drill press where the main spindle doesnt turn true or where the spindle and table are not exactly 90 degrees or where the the table casting flexes under pressure etc etc, you still won't get no good hole! A good drill press turns true, is 90 degress and doesnt flex under use.

You can buy the best one you can afford and measure all the above (and a few more) critical points and see what you have. Or you can buy a good press from a reputable maker and not have to worry about it.

My drill press cost about $1000 and has been worth every penny. I also have a smaller old East German industrial machione which I keep set up turning at a faster RPM for drilling holes under 2mm. It is massive cast iron and steel construction and didnt cost must at all. A good, used industrial machine is betterr than a new cheapo. You just must be able to evaluate the used machine before you buy it. It it's worn out, well forget about it!

Geno's advice to start with the pivot and build outward from there is right on. That's the way I do it too. If the pivot hole and pivot axis are not in tolerance, the knife will never be right. No matterr how much gold and mammoth ivory one uses later!


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  #9  
Old 12-30-2003, 10:14 AM
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Hey guy's-How about a tutorial on designe from pivot hole out.
Just a basic with pic's would be good just for understanding the thinking proces9I mean what to look for and in what order a designe should follow). Please


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  #10  
Old 12-30-2003, 05:35 PM
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Paul,
You read my mind.
I am no computer wiz, so it won't be done in tutorial form, but My folder videos will show the geometry from the pivot hole-out.
All four lock back vids show on graph paper, How your knife will work before it is made.(including the auto video's)
I am almost finished shooting them and they go to the editor after these Kit videos are done.(he is editing the last three now)
(basic Kit videos due out next month on all basics)
So if you guys been wondering where I'v been hiding, now you know.
There were No teachers when I started this game.
My way of leaving this world a better place than I found it.
God bless!
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2003, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin Wilkins
Hate to disagree Jeff, but there certainly is such a thing as a precision hole from a drill press, and that depends on what you see as a huge amount of money. The cheapo far east drill presses that cost $30 can't be compared with a "real" drill press such as those made my Maxion, Flott or Alzmetal. Some of the far east models that cost a bit more are also pretty good too but that's a case by case basis.
Well without going into machine practice theory, Kevin, perhaps I should clarify that what I meant to get across to Ben is that he should be using an undersized drill and reaming to size, and never expect a drilled hole to be suitable for pivot pins in a folder.

Drilling in it's own right does not, and never has produced a perfectly round hole. The very nature of the drill bit, no matter how precise you think it is, is subject to deflection and rotational force variables depending upon the twist and degree of rake of the cutting edges. Only a reamer with equidistant flutes can produce an acceptable finish suitable for precision folder work.

Those drill models you mentioned aren't readily available in this country. Likewise, the brands we do have available here are extremely costly. Not everyone has had the luxury of our mechanical education, nor have they been able to work with such fine machinery as we have. Ergo we need to get the job done, and until a decent drill press comes along we must suffer in quiet, reaming our holes to semi-perfection and maintain shops that stay within our budget.

Please, no harm meant as I "double-disagree" with you for teh sake of friendly debate.


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Old 12-31-2003, 02:47 PM
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Just to clarify, I have ALWAYS drilled undersize and then reamed to size. I also spent a lot of time shimming the table to insure that the quill is a perfect 90 degrees to the table in all directions. I also replaced the terrible chuck with a nicer (but still medium quality) model. I also staked the quill bearing that had some play in it's seat. Still there is so much TIR that reaming to size results in a hole about 2 thou larger than the reamer. Clearly the press is junk when it comes to precission. It's still useful for other operations, but I obviously need a better unit for doing pivot holes or I need to drill and ream as much as 2 thou undersize.

To be honest, I'd like to just leave a starter bit or countersink bit in this little press full time and get a nicer more precise press or mini-mill for doing the precission stuff. There's been one nod for the HF mini-mill. I appreciate and am taking note of all of the process recomendations. Do any of you want to make other equipment recommendations? Again, the budget is ~$450 and it would seem the contenders are a few of the larger bench drill presses and small/medium floor models, or a mini-mill.

Thanks again everyone. You guys are really great.

-Ben
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2003, 05:23 PM
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I too am very interested in this thread. My interest in knives has always leaned more to folders and I expect that once I'm fully immersed in sole authorship, that's where I'll be putting most of my efforts.

My first drill press was an 8" Delta which ran about $79 bucks as I recall...As I look back, it wasn't bad for a cheap little drill (I know little now, but I knew even less 1 1/2 years ago). Eventually (as I began to learn about these things), I came to realize its shortcomings,...not the least of which was a lack of accuracy, and it was too small to accomodate some of my needs, including my cross slide vise (which I find especially useful when drilling for my thumbstud gem inlays).

So I bought a much larger (still benchtop) drill press...again a Delta. I was under a tight budget and after a lot of checking around, the 12", Variable Speed (500-3100), Delta Shopmaster with its heavy duty rack and pinion table, seemed to offer the biggest bang for the buck at $199. Man that thing is solid. So far I'm quite impressed (and surprised) by its relatively decent degree of accuracy. I realize of course that it can still get MUCH more accurate, and feel my first action needs to be to replace the cheap Taiwanese J33 keyed chuck, with a better aftermarket variety.

Any recommendations? Please keep in mind most of the accurate drilling requirements are for small holes, mostly 1/16" to 5/32"...


A close friend who makes wonderful folders has been using his under $500 Grizzly mini mill/drill for drilling accurate holes and he's been very pleased with the results. Knowing he'd be using it for accurate drilling (among other things), one of the first things he did after buying the mill, was to replace the crappy chuck (BTW-that mill comes with an MT taper).


Dennis Greenbaum

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  #14  
Old 12-31-2003, 05:40 PM
CDS CDS is offline
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Dennis,
I have found that my Rohm keyless chuck to be very accurate compared to the stock one. It cost me about $45 to replace. Plus about $25 for an R8 arbor, which you will not need. They make a high accuracy chuck for about $150 but this one has been working very well. Enco usually has them in there sale section of there website.
Chris S.
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2004, 06:03 AM
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Kevin Wilkins Kevin Wilkins is offline
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Well I gues I'll chime in again!

I think Jeff and I are saying the same thing... obviously you only get precise holes using reamers - that's why they was invented! Or for larger holes you can use a boring head. That's all part of tool making 101 so to speak. Jeff, no offense taken or intended!!!!

As I understood Ben's question, he was using reamers, it was the inaccuracy of his drill press that was the problem and I see he has posted again and this is indeed his problem. Obviously you can use the best chuck - and Rohm chucks are super, I have 2 of them - but if the spidle in your drill doesn't turn true, your reamed hole will have an egg shape and not a round one!

Geno pointed out the main problem with cheap drill presses.

Ben, it looks like you know how to measure the accuracy of a drill press, so why not see if you can find a good old used industrial machine? Didn't Clausing used to make good tools? Or Rockwell?

The far easterrn machines are of differing quality. If you get one of the good ones, the may not be finished as nicely as the industrial machines but the accuracy will be good.

I dont like drilling with my mill. Its a pain in the ass compared to how fast I can work on the drill press. I (almost) never use a chuck in the mill, I use collets. The advantage on the mill is that you can precisely position a hole on your workpiece AND you can bore holes at precise distances from one another and other features of your workpiece. I hope what I mean is clear because it's important. For example, if you need 2 holes each with a 4mm H7 tolerance that are both exactly 10mm from each other and 8mm from the edge of your knife grip, then you will need a mill. Trying that on the drill press will only give limited accuracy in placement.

Have a look at www.maixion.de and go to their english language section, products. You'll find drill presses. I have the BT13 but have changed out the column for a longer one. Drop them a mail and ask for their US dealers, maybe you can get a deal on one?

Thing is, I couldn't afford it at the time either, but I thought of the old saying "Son, we is too poor to use cheap tools." This drill press cost me $1000. I can sell it at any time for easily $500, maybe a bit more. So my end cost isn't any more than half. What's an el cheapo press worth used? If you buy a good used US indistrial drill press, you can always sell it too, and probobly get your money back.

Try that logic when explaining the purchase to your wife! :-)

Also, buy a good one, and you will never have to buy a new one again in your life, and when you die, your estate will be worth that much more! And hopefully, some guy will buy the machine, and think, man, I didnt know this guy, but he knew his tools!

I had this experience recently when I bought several machines from the shop where the man had died. I never meet the man in life, but I could tell from looking in his shop, examining his machines and the way he cared for them, that he had been a machinist of the Master Class.


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