Powermatic 1500 Drill Press with rust - worth refurbishing?
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  1. #1
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    Default Powermatic 1500 Drill Press with rust - worth refurbishing?

    s-l1600.jpg
    Is it feasible to refurbish a rusting Powermatic 1500 bench drill press (see image)?

    If so, how best to proceed? Disassemble as much as possible and wire brush?

    My goal is to make it a working machine for home shop use, and I'd be happy to preserve a vintage classic - but not if it takes weeks of effort.

    Suggestions?

    MODEL NUMBER is actually 1150.
    Last edited by jbbenni; 10-28-2017 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Correct model number

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    If this is a family heirloom, it might be worth it. If you picked it up at a garage sale, probably not. If you want to use it, I'd recommend spraying it down with Fluid Film or similar product and go over it with a ScotchBrite pad. I probably wouldn't spend more than an hour on it myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbbenni View Post
    s-l1600.jpg
    Is it feasible to refurbish a rusting Powermatic 1500 bench drill press (see image)?

    If so, how best to proceed? Disassemble as much as possible and wire brush?

    My goal is to make it a working machine for home shop use, and I'd be happy to preserve a vintage classic - but not if it takes weeks of effort.

    Suggestions?
    Twice lived with the noisy, ugly, "racing stripe" painted buggers - one BRAND NEW, the other nearly so - on Day Jobs.

    Noisy, ugly, cheap-jack all over, about as "classic" as an ignorant cement block.

    They did, however, make decent enough holes, and all-shift, all-week, all-year long. On its worst days, it should make light lunch of Harbour Freight wannabees.

    Even so, Hong Kong Harbour will freeze full-depth before I'd bother to haul one home.

    My advice is a basic wash & brush-up, disassembly not-so-much, use it as-had until it breaks something expensive, at which point - and that could be many years out - I'd scrap it.

    Think of it as a Ford pickup built in a time when Ford had no money for niceties - just the basics of frame, cab, bed, and make-it-go-down-the-road parts.


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    If rust is your only problem you should be able to bring the machine back to life in a few days. I would disassemble it and use Scotchbrite pads on the column. If there are more problems like bad bearings, bad taper for mounting the chuck, or a scored spindle, I would get some prices on parts. If the prices get in the neighborhood of 50% of a similar size replacement I would just buy a replacement machine.

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    Looking at the picture, wipe it with solvent rag and run it like you stole it.
    Machines are ment to be used not to be pretty. Clean yes but that's it.

    Marko

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    I am not familiar with the 1500 and a google search did not produce anything. Looks like an 1150 to me. I am familiar with the 1150 (have one) and the 1200. Both are better than 95% of the drill presses that you will find around in my opinion and about the best you will find in the price range that I see them in ($500+/-). As far as the rust it does not look bad to me. I suspect it will clean up fine it's just a matter of how much time you have and how much they want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbbenni View Post
    s-l1600.jpg
    Is it feasible to refurbish a rusting Powermatic 1500 bench drill press (see image)?

    My goal is to make it a working machine for home shop use, and I'd be happy to preserve a vintage classic - but not if it takes weeks of effort.

    Suggestions?
    It's this drill press?

    PowerMatic Drill Press Model 15 44 Volts 3 Phase | eBay

    You have 440 3 phase in your home shop?

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    Yup - my bad. It IS an 1150.

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    440 3 phase isn't necessary. Almost any motor of that size is dual voltage 220/440. It can be run off a 20 amp 220 single phase outlet with a static phase converter. American Rotary Phase Converter makes a 1/2 - 3 hp static converter that sells for $65.00 with free shipping from their eBay store. I have 2 machines running from their static converters, a 2 hp Sheldon lathe and a 1 hp Racine power hacksaw.

    There should be a wiring diagram either on the side of the motor or inside the wiring box that gives the proper connections for either 440 or 220.

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    Yes - thanks ProjectNut. That's my plan. This motor, like many others, is dual voltage so can be reconfigured to run as 240VAC 3ph.

    And then I'm looking at using a KB27D VFD which would provide the phase conversion and also extend the speed range. (Offer even lower speeds at constant torque but reduced power). The KB27D is useful for other devices, but if I decide to dedicate a power feed I appreciate the tip on the Rotary Phase Converter. Thank you!

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    unless it has been abused, i'd bet it works just fine. hose it down with liquid wrench or wd40 and use a wire wheel or
    scotchbrite on the rusty bits . clean and oil the chuck.

    also it's a DRILL PRESS! it doesn't have to be perfect . it should be ugly.

    i use a cheap drill press for quick and
    dirty stuff, stuff that doesn't need to be perfect, wood drilling , second ops, stuff i don't want near a milling table
    or don't want to break down a setup on another machine.. non-drilling ops like small wire wheels or sanding drums .

    it doesn't have to be an Edlund or Fosdick to be useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tnmgcarbide View Post
    it doesn't have to be an Edlund or Fosdick to be useful.
    Too easily pleased you are. "Medium eggplant" grade, as serious DP's go, the both of those.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    It's this drill press?

    PowerMatic Drill Press Model 15 44 Volts 3 Phase | eBay

    You have 440 3 phase in your home shop?
    As projectnut said it can be run on 240v. I installed a vfd on mine and run it off 1ph. Nice value added feature since I can really slow it down for countersinking and tapping. Or for about the same money you can put a 1ph motor on it. Only 3/4hp as I recall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Twice lived with the noisy, ugly, "racing stripe" painted buggers - one BRAND NEW, the other nearly so - on Day Jobs.

    Noisy, ugly, cheap-jack all over, about as "classic" as an ignorant cement block.

    They did, however, make decent enough holes, and all-shift, all-week, all-year long. On its worst days, it should make light lunch of Harbour Freight wannabees.

    Even so, Hong Kong Harbour will freeze full-depth before I'd bother to haul one home.

    My advice is a basic wash & brush-up, disassembly not-so-much, use it as-had until it breaks something expensive, at which point - and that could be many years out - I'd scrap it.

    Think of it as a Ford pickup built in a time when Ford had no money for niceties - just the basics of frame, cab, bed, and make-it-go-down-the-road parts.

    What do you dislike about them? What drill press would you recommend instead?

    I am just curious because I have thought about buying one to replace my junky Chinese drill. I would prefer a 20" model but I wouldn't hesitate on an 1150 for the right price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Too easily pleased you are. "Medium eggplant" grade, as serious DP's go, the both of those.

    The OP is a self declared "harry Homeshop" and should really go to
    the Homeshop fourm pages for this query.

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    I bought a used Powermatic 15" floor model drill about 32 years ago. It is a 1965 machine, so has a rounded belt guard rather than the "styled" squared-off belt guard with the racing stripe. It is a great drill press. I use it for all kinds of drilling up to about 5/8" in steel. I have no complaints about the Powermatic drill. It is a round-column drill with vee belt drive. If that's all a person expects it to be, then it is fine.

    I paid 200 bucks for my Powermatic drill. The seller- one of the old Centre Street used machinery dealers in NYC- had wanted $300. We plugged it in and I ran it on the highest spindle speeds. Spindle bearings had a squeal in them. The dealer knocked off 100 bucks. Bearings, at the time, stood me all of 27 bucks from Kaman. I've been using that Powermatic drill ever since. It is a handy machine, and being a floor model, the extra height capacity is a very handy feature.

    At the powerplant, we had a Powermatic 15" drill of the same model as mine. It was beat on, abused, and often-times people were running huge turned shank drills in it, pushing thru steel. It stood up to that treatment. When we re-tooled the machine shop in the powerplant, I replaced it with a variable speed Clausing drill with number 3 MT shank- hoping to break people of the habit of using those turned-shank drills in a light duty machine. We also replaced a Johannson radial drill ( a ridiculously liught machine with a number 5 MT spindle) with a REAL radial drill- a Carlton.

    I did buy 3 new Powermatic variable speed drills for use in the fleet garage and at two remote hydroelectric plants when I was employed by the NY Power Authority. No one had any complaints about the Powermatic drills. By the time I purchased the 3 variable speed Powermatic drills, they were still made in USA, but painted gold.
    They stood the gaff of being used, abused, and hardly maintained. People would need to make a large opening in an electrical box, so would think nothing of running hole saws in the Powermatic drills. I used to wince and grit my teeth when I'd see that happening.


    The Powermatic drill in this thread does not look bad. Light rust on the column which should clean up with some "Scotchbrite" pads and penetrating oil or diesel fuel.
    The costliest bearings on these Powermatic drills are the bearings in the cone pulley. These bearings take the side-load from the belt and transfer it from the pulley to the head of the drill press. As far as I know, my drill has the original bearings in the cone pulley, now over 50 years old.

    Powermatic put a bit more iron into their drill presses than Delta or Rockwell. Having familiarity with most of the light drill presses, I can say that the head casting is a bit beefier than similarly sized drills made by the popular old US manufacturers. It is more than an adequate machine for home shops and for light machine shop work. Having seen the sorry excuses for drill presses coming out of Asia, that Powermatic will eat any of them for a snack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwearing View Post
    What do you dislike about them? What drill press would you recommend instead?

    I am just curious because I have thought about buying one to replace my junky Chinese drill. I would prefer a 20" model but I wouldn't hesitate on an 1150 for the right price.
    I WANTED an Alzmetall AB3 or AB4. Blame Milacron for infecting me with that virus.

    A PM member near Louisville, KY turned up with the heavier (about 4,400 lbs) 7.5 HP Alzmetall AB5/S for sale, so I hauled it back to Sterling/Dulles, Virginia.

    Alzmetall AB5

    It clears my low (eight foot) ceiling with the top oiler removed and adapted to a side-feed, so I have that instead of the small radial I had been wishing I had space for.

    My go-to for forty years was - and still IS for light work - a pre-Kearny & Trecker take-over 1940's vintage Walker-Turner 15" bench model. Walker-Turner's have no "right" to be as good as drillpressen as they have proven to be, but there you have it. Like Old Fords and a natural stone, they seem to last forever.

    Powermatic's with the Reeves (type) Vari-drive, and very similar Clausings, are actually seriously useful medium-duty column DP's. Also noisy. The Clausing's were a bit nicer finished and smoother, the Powermatics crude, rude and prone to shout "cheapskate!", but time proved them rugged enough for their price.

    "Day Job", I've spent the most time on Hamilton sensitives, ATW 5 and 8 foot radials, and a 3-foot Cincinnati-Bickford radial. I LOVE radials for their positioning flexibility, but home-shop compact they are not. The AB5/S is actually more powerful than many radials as much as ten thousand lbs, Avoir, heavier and needing four times the floorspace.

    Your "bench" model Powermatic, or my W-T have an edge over full-column types. The column does not extend below the support, but CAN be extended ABOVE it. W-T made "beam clamps" to hang the DP from overhead. Not hard to DIY fab.

    Using that sort of mount with a WF I-beam that spans my garage/shop, I can put an inch-plus Silver & Deming, or a six-inch hole saw at the middle of about a 15 FOOT circle, not just a 15 INCH one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    The OP is a self declared "harry Homeshop" and should really go to
    the Homeshop fourm pages for this query.
    Noooo he should not!

    Some of those fools will be "rebuilding" twelve-ounce Chicom white metal castings with Delrin plastic sleeves and thinking that makes a POS into an actual DP. With Ewe's Tubes videos, yet!

    Powermatics are crude buggers, but they are "crude" like old Caterpiggle bulldozers. Nothing wimpy about them that would gain from plastic bushings. They just get the job DONE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbbenni View Post
    Is it feasible to refurbish a rusting Powermatic 1500 bench drill press?

    If so, how best to proceed? Disassemble as much as possible and wire brush?

    My goal is to make it a working machine for home shop use, and I'd be happy to preserve a vintage classic - but not if it takes weeks of effort.
    You do not state how many hours a day you have to work on it. If it is just rust removal then you may encounter seized parts and other surprises. Your level of acceptance is going to determine how long it takes. For a professional job you can count on many hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Noooo he should not!

    Some of those fools will be "rebuilding" twelve-ounce Chicom white metal castings with Delrin plastic sleeves and thinking that makes a POS into an actual DP.
    Yes, ... perspectives DO vary.

    With the demise of manufacturing in the US, there are fewer folks who have hands-on experience with REAL tools.



    .


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