Post By Mark McGrath
Anyone familur with Startrite Pillar Drill?
After looking through the first 5-10 pages of google results for several variations of searches all I've learned its that I can't fine a manual for this thing. I haven't gotten a reply from the manufacturer and can only find very limited info online.
Its a european 30ish year old industrial drill press that has tapping function, but I can't find any info on how to tap. Im looking at it tomorrow and the price is LOW. Seller knows little about it and had no idea how to tap with it.
Hoping some friends on the other side of the pond may be able to shed some light. I can replace bearings and springs easily and have found a supplier for replacement parts (shockingly), but don't know what else to check before I buy.
I would be happy, to be able to tap 1/2" in 6061 with this (specs say 12mm in mild steel IIRC)
Seller said its 120v single... but these seem to have only come in 3 phase originally. Not to worried about the motor with how low the price tag is I can throw on an AC and VFD and still be far ahead of the game
Appreciate any insight
Why would tapping on this be any different than tapping on a vertical mill?
IIRC, I thought clausing handled StartRite stuff? Seems like I learned that trying to find info on my StartRite Cold Saw
Use an auto reverse tapper, just like on any other PD.
IME A Startrite manual won't tell you any more than the blindingly obvious
I have used Jet DP with depth stops that trigger an auto reverse for tapping and was hoping this was similar since several of the used listings from UK list is as "tapping". Having to add a tap head to it just makes it a nice heavy drill press...
Unless it's a specific tapping model (not many Startrites were) ''Tapping'' in the UK usually means the machine will go slow enough.
That makes sense then. Might see if I can get a better price on a JUsed Jet I saw on a local listing then. time to do some research into reviews on that model.
I would take a used Startrite over a used Jet
I'll take a look at it tomorrow. its $900 less, so even with a dedicated tapping head and vfd its still a better deal.
I'll post some pics just so they are somewhere on the net for others
Its about 25 years since I saw, not used, one but it looks like it could well be a "factory" or "pro conversion" tapping version. As I remember things the standard Startrite Mercury is far too fast for tapping duties without a speed reducing head. That tapping head appears to have a proper speed chart for the different belt and pulley positions and to be permanently fixed to the spindle. So it won't drop out when you push the feed lever back up to auto reverse out as morse taper fitted ones can do, especially on older machines with less than pristine tapers.
Should also have a proper square drive centralising collet for the tap so it won't slip as often happens if a drill chuck is used.
If it is a proper conversion, the price is right for your tapping needs and the tapping head clutches are not worn out then go for it. It won't do drilling. If it has been so used odds are the tapping head is way past its best.
We had a standard bench mount Mercury in the departmental experimental workers shop. OK(ish) but pretty low end as industrial pillar drills go. In my view more of a woodworkers machine. Adequately solid but too fast on the speeds and short on daylight under the head for a machine shop. Convinced me I could do better than Startrite for a drill, (now saws are a different matter).
The current owner has used it in a single fixture set up to drill 1/8" holes... so I'm either getting a giant head ache and lots of halves of taps our the deal of a lifetime on a tap that should be at least 1500 even in rough condition. I louvre the suspense.
it never clicked that was the pulley ratio until you said that... I thought it was a pretty triangle design <)
The suspense is killing me, lol. Prolly should email the company that sells spare parts for them when I have it in front of me and see if they can identify it.
Drilling 1/8" diam shouldn't have worried the tapping head. Way too slow for the drill and I'd have thought auto reverse on the out stroke would have been asking for swarf jamming problems. Maybe in practice the up-pull force was too low to engage reverse so the drill was stopped on return, not quite so bad. Was thinking more of tapping head being used as a speed reducer for monster drills which really can rip the clutches up. I have a Pollard head which suffered under such abuse.
Having slept on it I don't recall "our" Mercury having an MT spindle bore. Direct JT taper mount chuck would have been fine for all the experimental worker boys (and the lunchtime homer job crowd) did. I know there was no Morse extractor wedge about the place.
or perhaps by the time it got to him the clutch was already seized, lol. (*edit* this is a joke, see below)
did a little more searching and it doesn't have a tapping head (i don't think). found one for sale with the following description:
(New in) Startrite 'Mercury' Bench Drill. Top quality British drill with 2mt spindle. Fitted with the startrite patented speed reducer giving 10 speeds from 95 to 3830rpm. Genuine OEM 1ph machine. £375.00
And this picture along with another from further away.
so... 95 rpm... think that could handle some tapping speeds what this guy was thinking running 1/8" drills I don't know. gonna go look at it in a few minutes. curious to street how much light I'll have left under there after a vise and type 3 procunier Tapping head.
$150 well spent I think.
Its one beast of a drill press and will get a procunier and a fixture table with 3/8-16 tapped holes drilled.
Didn't think to take any other pics befor I tore it down.
Ordered a belt from mcmaster and going to powder coat the tins then see what else she needs.
Well scored. Good value for a nice light duty drill press. The gearbox and extra set of low speed ranges make for a far more useful machine than standard. Must have cost a packet new tho'.
Whilst you are working on it look into improving the motor mount to make it easier to change belt drive speeds. As I recall it "ours" was a PIA to do and pretty much got left on whatever speed the last guy used. Couple of strong hinges, a spring and a crude "cam thing" to slacken and tighten the belt did the deed for me over 30 years back when I gave a line-shaft driven one an independent motor. Still going strong in other hands so I must have got something right!
Also worth figuring out some sort of jack or screw lift assembly for the table. OK its only a tiddly one but still quite heavy and a screw control makes it much easier to get it where you want. For quick'n dirty a scissors type car jack might well work. Be warned tho', if it does the deed its the sort of temporary fix that turns permanent 'cos its never quite irritating enough to be worth the work of re-doing.
I like the Thor Labs aluminium breadboards for fixture plates. Good hard anodising, made for optical experiments so decently flat and not too silly price wise in smaller sizes see here Thorlabs.com - Solid Aluminum Breadboards.
Your going to have problems trying to tap 1/2" with that.Aluminium pulleys and a belt drive won`t handle the torque once they see a bit of wear and at the end of the day you need to hold the tap or the tapping attachment in the Jacobs chuck which ain`t going to help.
It was for it`s day a low end bench drill and only the appearance of the far eastern equipment has moved it off the bottom of the list.
Thinking about it,I`m hard pushed to think of anything of quality made by Startrite.
Last edited by Mark McGrath; 02-28-2012 at 03:52 AM.
I have to agree with Mark McGrath about Startrite machinery,...... some of the Meba bandsaws were atrocious.
It's a long time ago, but I've a nagging thought that those Startrite reduction gearboxes will not take a lot of stick, and 1/2 tapping would be classed as stick.