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Thread: Foot switch on a drill press -- Anyone else using one??

  1. #1
    winchman is offline Stainless
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    About six years ago, I installed a foot switch in parallel with the regular switch on my early-80s-vintage Craftsman drill press. I've found it very useful. I really like being able to turn it on/off without moving my hands.

    Has anyone else done this?

    Roger

  2. #2
    surplusjohn is offline Diamond
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    yes. I also put a small air cylinder on them for self feeding, that is a very handy thing for production drilling. Two ways of doing it, mount it on the side attached to the ring on the quill or mount it on the top to push down on the center of the quill. a 3/4 inch bimba cylinder with a flow control is all you need, put a nylon end on the rod to act as a bearing and to prevent the rod from spinning, otherwise no solid connection. watch out for spiders!
    oldbikerdude37 likes this.

  3. #3
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    In my case, it was in series. So you needed
    the column toggle on, plus the pedal, to get
    it running. My old boss set his up that way,
    said the toggle switch was to prevent startup
    in "suprise mode."

    Once I put a VFD on the machine I had the
    toggle switch supplying ac to the VFD, and the
    foot switch becomes a low voltage logic line.

    Jim

  4. #4
    L Vanice is offline Diamond
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    I use foot switches on my drill press, watch lathes, engraving machine and 1" belt sander. My flat belt drive Hardinge bench lathe has foot pedals to shift the countershaft belts and engage Hi, Lo or Rev. I have been switching on these machines with my foot for decades.

    Larry
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  5. #5
    Cyclotronguy is offline Hot Rolled
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    How you gonna tap in a drill press, without a foot switch?
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  6. #6
    acme thread is offline Hot Rolled
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    Used them all the time until the New and Improved OSHA model came along,like sticking your foot in a bear trap.The only thing worse than that ,was the OSHA plastic guard around the spindle & chuck.

  7. #7
    Steve Steven is offline Aluminum
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    About 50 years ago, my Dad had a well equipted wood shop in our two-car garage. There was no electricity installed, he had to run all the wiring himself. I came up with the idea to use a small box with a auto dimmer switch in it to act as a foot switch for the drill press, lathe, bench saw and others. He really liked it and it was still in use when he died, fifteen years ago.

    Steve
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  8. #8
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    "How to tap without a foot switch?"

    Procunier tapping head. Works great.

    Jim
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  9. #9
    Andy FitzGibbon is offline Titanium
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    I was in an Amish woodworking shop a while ago. They were running mostly new Grizzly equipment with hydraulic motors retrofitted, and had footswitches on everything, including the drill press.
    Andy

  10. #10
    true temper is offline Hot Rolled
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    I orderd a realy nice foot switch from Mc master Carr, I wired an extension cord cut in half. Now I have a foot switch that I can move around. The things I use it on so far is; weld positioner, scroll saw, pipe threader, and drill press. I love it.
    oldbikerdude37 likes this.

  11. #11
    T. Whitehead is offline Aluminum
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    I have a reversing switch on my drill press. I have the switch on top of the electric box where I can run my power either straight from the reversing switch, or through the reversing switch, and then through the foot switch. That let's me tap while using one hand to hold the quill feed, and the other one to keep my vice from spinning.
    Tom
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  12. #12
    EPAIII is offline Stainless
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    I have a foot switch on my Unimat for 35+ years now. I use it in lathe, drill press, and all other modes. A great aid when you need both hands 100% of the time when starting an operation.

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    Forrest Addy is offline Diamond
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    Back in the day I modified a bunch of Walker Turner and Delta three phase drill presses in a tool shop for tapping. It took a reversing controller and a couple of NEMA 13 control penel units but I got them all surplus.

    In tapping you run the machine continuously in reverse and the foot switch clicks in forward. That way the machine is fail safe, if you have reason to panic the machine reverses out more or less safely. These days you have to have an E stop that chops power when actuated and has to be reset for the machine to be re-started. Reversing a three phase motor with a light inertia load poses no electrical problem and it's well within the capabilities of a standard NEMA rated reversing starter with overload relay.

    This reversing arrangement will not work with a single phase motor. If the motor is above centrifugal swith speed reversing it will not change its direction. Only real two phase three phase and DC motors can be reliably reversed but the DC motor needs to have a current limiting feature on an electronic drive or a plugging resistor to do so safely.

  14. #14
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    Nightshift is offline Aluminum
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    Just reviving this old thread ... since I'm (finally) getting around to adding foot switches to my 2 drill presses. And in doing a quick bit of research into the topic, here's why you definately DON'T want to wire your foot switch in such a way that it's live all the time ... Toolmaker76 learned this the hard way by accidentally stepping on his (live) switch while chucking a bit. Hopefully his accident will prevent many! Bill
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails xray.jpg   toolmaker76.jpg  

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    atomarc is offline Titanium
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    Son of a birch....that makes my cods quiver. Hope all turned out well!

    Stuart

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    I have Forrests setup on my Clausing DP with a VFD also in control of the spindle motor.

    You must first "start" the VFD by powering it up. The fan runs. Then you use a green button-red button as a RUN-STOP controller. Varispeed via pot on the front of the VFD for spindle speed. There's also a selector switch under the RUN/STOP. Its DRILL/TAP. DRILL the spindle runs forward. TAP the spindle runs reverse.

    The footpedal is enabled only in TAP and it causes spindle to run forward. So you step on the pedal, use hands to align the work if needed and feed the tap. You decide enough thread is there, you let off the gas and the spindle stops for an instant then works its way back out in reverse.

  17. #17
    Nightshift's Avatar
    Nightshift is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt_isserstedt View Post
    I have Forrests setup on my Clausing DP with a VFD also in control of the spindle motor.

    You must first "start" the VFD by powering it up. The fan runs. Then you use a green button-red button as a RUN-STOP controller. Varispeed via pot on the front of the VFD for spindle speed. There's also a selector switch under the RUN/STOP. Its DRILL/TAP. DRILL the spindle runs forward. TAP the spindle runs reverse.

    The footpedal is enabled only in TAP and it causes spindle to run forward. So you step on the pedal, use hands to align the work if needed and feed the tap. You decide enough thread is there, you let off the gas and the spindle stops for an instant then works its way back out in reverse.
    Matt, I like that setup. Very slick ... and safe! Now I just have to find "Forrests setup" and hopefully see his pictures. Cheers, Bill

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    I have a footswitch on a beltsander in my shop and it is very handy
    and seems pretty safe on the beltsander.

    Maybe try one on the drillpress if you are running a keyless chuck.
    That sounds pretty safe.

    --Doozer

  19. #19
    Nightshift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doozer View Post
    I have a footswitch on a beltsander in my shop and it is very handy
    and seems pretty safe on the beltsander.

    Maybe try one on the drillpress if you are running a keyless chuck.
    That sounds pretty safe.

    --Doozer
    Well Doozer, "pretty safe" means different things to everyone. Try to imagine this ... you are in the middle of changing your belt on the sander and in the process of slipping it on the wheels, you didn't realize you had a finger under the belt on the in-running side of a roller as you were sliding the belt completely onto the rollers ... oh, and at that moment your foot just happened to step on the foot switch ... if your finger doesn't actually come off ... it's gonna be badly broken for sure.

    I'm just saying ... there is safe, and then there is safe. Bill

  20. #20
    Doozer's Avatar
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    Hey Bill.
    Don't get your finger stuck in the wheel spokes of your motorcycle.
    If you be too safe, you can stay in bed all day and not face the world.

    -Doozer

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