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Walker turner 944 drill press chuck mounting


Mar 12, 2021
I just bought at auction a Walker Turner 944 drill press. I would consider the condition to be “just barely functional”. The headstock slid right off the column. The table and resting collar were sitting down against the base in one contiguous stack and nothing would move even with all the locking screws removed. Took 10 tons in the press to start the column moving through it all. The spindle shaft had an incredible amount of axial slop in the quill. Upon removal I found the set screws that belonged in the collar above the upper bearing. After a quick cleaning and reassembly I was able to make some holes. I think it may be the smoothest running drill press I’ve ever used. But then the problem.

The chuck came loose on the spindle after very little use. I’d say someone put some sort of compound between the chuck and spindle instead of installing dry. Then I realized the bigger problem. The spindle has no step between the bearing and chuck. Other than the taper at one end and splines at the other it is just a straight 5/8” shaft. The press force is transferred from the quill housing through the bottom bearing to a spacer to the back of the chuck. The shaft isn't being pushed into the chuck during normal operation so it’s only natural it would work loose. Is this original design or a modification? Any suggestions? Thanks
Thanks for that. My machine is like in the picture but my spindle does not match so it’s either a variation not described there or more likely modified from original. Any more suggestions?
Some drill presses from other makers had a threaded collar between the bearing and the taper to accept a chuck with a threaded collar on it that helped keep the chuck from coming off especially when retracting a drill or auger when wood working.
The threaded collar was sometimes integral with the spindle and other times it was a separate piece, and the spindle and collar were cross drilled to accept a spring or roll pin to hold it on the shaft.
it is shown as one piece on the General Drill press and sold as one part, but I have seen them as two pieces.
The chuck with the threaded collar on it was a Jacobs chuck but I don't remember the model number off hand and could be found on some Rockwell-Delta models like that too.
If you check your spindle for evidence of a cross hole with perhaps a small broken dowel pin or spring pin still in it that may be what's missing on yours.
Shown as illustration or Key #26, part number 9D36H in the W-T parts break down in the first link from post #2
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Unfortunately mine has no cross pin hole. There were some things about the shape and finish on the end of my spindle that made me suspicious it had some custom machining done to it. After seeing the drawings I would surmise mine used to look like the pictures and later modified to it’s current state. It has no step. It has no cross hole. It has no threads. I’m going to have to buy a new spindle or devise a custom solution.
if you aren’t already, consider signing on over at OWWM.com and post a wanted ad on their classified forum (“bring out your dead”). It’s a pretty common old drill press, and parts should be fairly easy to find. I have the same press and use it as my daily driver. I bought it at an estate sale about 30 years ago, did a quick pass to clean it up mechanically, and have been just using it ever since.
One benefit to buying from a forum like OWWM is (I find) sellers know better what they have and are more forthcoming about condition / less likely to pass off junk.
Before you write off the spindle in your drill press, I have a few suggestions based on experience:

1. Jacobs tapers, used to hold drill chucks onto spindles, are locking tapers. The threaded collar found on some drill chucks is redundant if the tapers on the spindle & in the chuck body make up properly.

2. Clean the male taper on the spindle & the female taper in the chuck body with solvent such as automotive brake parts cleaner and possibly some fine steel wool to remove any traces of 'compound' that might have been used to try to bond the chuck to the spindle. I would then check the fit of the chuck on the spindle using chalk lines drawn on the spindle taper. Draw four chalk lines running lengthwise on the taper at about 90 degrees to each other. Light chalk lines are what's needed. Put the chuck on the spindle, press it home (not hard enough to seat and lock it on the taper), and twist the chuck on the spindle thru a portion of a turn and back again. Carefully remove the chuck from the spindle, trying not to let the female taper inside the chuck slide or drag on the chalked lines. When the chuck is off the spindle, take a look at the chalk lines. These will show what kind of contact the chuck taper is making with the spindle taper. If you can get a tube of "Prussian Blue" (an oil based blue paste, not unlike an artist's oil paint, often sold in automotive parts stores or order from a supplier like MSC), do a "Blue check". Apply the Prussian Blue as one small dab on the male taper, and spread it to a thin hazy film using a piece of tissue paper and possibly a few drops of mineral spirits. After you have the hazy film of Prussian Blue on the male taper, set the chuck on the spindle working it to full seated depth, and 'wring it' on the spindle thru maybe 3/4 turn and back again. Remove the chuck from the spindle and see where the Prussian Blue was rubbed away. Either the chalk test or the "Bluing In" will tell you whether your spindle taper is not matching the taper in the chuck.

3. If the taper on the spindle is off by even a small amount, it will not let the chuck lock onto it.

4. Years ago, I saw a fellow doing a 'government job' (a job for something he had at home, not for the company). He had brought in a drill press spindle and said the male tapered end which mounted the chuck had been bent slightly. This fellow chucked the spindle in a 4 jaw lathe chuck and indicated off the straight journal immediately above the chuck taper. He had the spindle running dead true in the lathe chuck, and the indicator did show a slight bend. He used a dial indicator in the toolpost to set the angle of the chuck taper on the lathe's compound slide. Indicated off the unbent side of the chuck male taper. He then took a very light skim cut on the male taper and faced maybe 1/32" off the small end of the taper . The fit of the chuck was check with Prussian Blue, and a very small tweak of the compound was needed to bring it to the correct taper (leave the locking screws in the compound snugged and tap the compound lightly with a piece of brass). This combination of truing up the taper and taking some off the small end repaired that drill press spindle.

5. It's been my own experience that dill chuck bodies are hardened and ground, and the male spindle taper, while finish ground, is usually not so hard. What may have happed to your W-T drill is that someone ran too heavy a bit in it, or similarly put too much torque thru the tapered fit between the chuck and spindle. This 'broke the fit', and the spindle may have spun freely in the chuck taper. This could have caused a galling or scoring. A previous owner, having done that damage, may have cleaned up the spindle nose with emery cloth and thrown the Loctite (or maybe JB Weld if a real backwoods cobber) to it.

6. Making a new spindle may not be so easy a proposition if it has splines for the cone pulley aside from having to match the chuck's taper. Checking the taper's fit with bluing and dial indicator would be my first step. If the blue check does not show too bad a mismatch, you may get away with stoning the male taper to correct its fit in the chuck taper. Using small oil stones (India Medium Hard, and Arkansas Fine), with the drill press spindle turning under power in the drill press, you can dress the male taper slightly to correct the fit in the chuck. The India Medium Hard stone will remove small amounts of metal, and the Arkansas Hard Stone will feel like smooth marble to your touch- it will remove amounts of metal hardly measurable. Start with the India Hard stone, working it on about a 45 degree angle to the centerline of the spindle, stoning the areas where the Prussian Blue was rubbed off (these contact areas may appear as bright metal spots). Stone lightly with the spindle turning, clean with solvent and check the fit with Prussian Blue. A little stoning, frequent contact checks with the Prussian Blue, and a taper can be tweaked that last little bit. The Arkansas Stone is used when you are getting close to a locking fit.
Before you write off the spindle in your drill press, I have a few suggestions based on experience:

1. Jacobs tapers, used to hold drill chucks onto spindles, are locking tapers. The threaded collar found on some drill chucks is redundant if the tapers on the spindle & in the chuck body make up properly....
Joe, I have owned Craftsman and Rockwell drill presses with the 33JT and threaded collar. I think they were the "latest thing" from around 1950 and for some years after. The collar had two important functions.

1. Tightening the collar locked the tooling onto the 33JT so that even heavy side loading would not loosen it. That feature was important for safety because the available tooling for these drill presses included collet chucks for router bits, grinding wheel/shaper cutter arbors, wide drum sander and rotary wood planer. I had the slow speed attachment and Craftsman/Palmgren X-Y rotary table on mine and tried to make my 1962 Craftsman drill press act like a milling machine. It refused, but the collet chuck did not fly off the spindle. Once, I even tried to make it act like a surface grinder with a little success.

2. Loosening the collar forced the tooling off the 33JT. Obviously, it is essential to have a simple means of removing the tooling when you wish to utilize all those optional attachments. I think I had one of each that was in the catalog. I learned many years ago that those Jacobs wedges are next to useless for removing chucks, but the locking collar worked a treat.

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I agree that the chuck should hold on its own as explained by Joe Michaels and as Larry Vanice says the threaded collar makes it easier to remove the chuck .
I have a spindle that was taken out of a General drill press as shown in my earlier post because it was bent .
If the end had been trued up the chuck would have come up against the threaded collar.
In this case the collar is held with a rather small hollow roll or spring pin.
The collar also acts as a thrust collar to hold the spindle against the lower bearing since the seat while it should be a light interference fit may not be enough to stop the spindle from sliding upwards when drilling .
The roll pin is very small so it probably wouldn't stand a great deal of force if someone were to try using the machine for an arbor press, but if there is no shoulder or collar on Olderboy's spindle he may need to add one by pressing or pinning it on.
If his tapered end has been reworked the chuck would go farther up towards the bearing seat so the original collar if there was one as per the Walker Turner drawing would have been too wide so perhaps someone removed, it instead of facing it back a little.
If there was no cross pin in the spindle originally perhaps it was pressed on or had a setscrew in the collar to hold it to the spindle and there was a shoulder on that side of the bearing seat.
On spindle I have the diameter where the collar slides on is .625" and the bearing seat diameter is 17MM so that means the collar hits a small shoulder against the bearing seat.


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Under the circumstances I didn’t have much patience left after seeing the original drawings. A press fit collar from 1” round with a bit of a snout to allow a wee bit of tig tacking without inputting much heat followed by cleaning the tapers and pressing the chuck on with a few tons and the thing acts as it should. As much as I’d like to do a full proper restoration time and budget require this thing to function or go down the road. I’ll try to attach some pictures.

I have a Powermatic 15" Drill Press, built ca 1965. It utilizes the 33 JT + threaded collar as has been discussed here. I bought that Powermatic drill used in 1985, and it was obvious it had been in use in a working machine shop rather than a home shop. Got that drill for a lower price as the spindle bearings had some sqThe original Jacobs chuck was badly worn, so I replaced it with a new Jacobs chuck (Chinese made). Same system with the threaded collar. I've used the threaded collar to remove the old chuck twice (once to replace spindle bearings about 20 years ago) and once more to change the chucks.