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Buffalo Forge #50 post drill

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I recently got a lovely little #50 post drill. I'll post about the purchase in the followed me home thread. But, I have a couple of questions.

It's fairly small. The quill is only about 16" long. It has a standard handcrank but also has a grooved wheel that would accept a belt from an electric motor. I understand that most motors turn at 1750 so they have to be geared down. If I want to run up to 1/2" bits in mild steel or softer what speed should the chuck turn?

Does anyone know if Buffalo tools were painted? If I can I use original colors. If not it I'll pick something else.

It's really ammazing how simple and effective it is. I've got it apart to clean it. I'll post some pics as I get it cleaned.

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The thing about a post drill like that, is that it can actualy drill larger holes in steel than most small (also known as sensitive) drill presses, because it doesn't have a motor.By hand cranking, the speed is low enough for large bits. Small bits want to go fast, so a motor would enable you to drill smaller holes, but I would hesitate to motorize it myself. Higher speeds kill old worn sloppy improperly lubricated babbit bearings quickly. Much preferable would be to have a cheap bench top drill press, say for holes up to 3/8'' and reserve (and preserve) the post drill for it's specialty, drilling larger holes in steel.
Does it have a chuck?

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That's an interesting thought about motorizing it. I wonder why what is normally just a flywheel has a square groove in it?

I certainly agree that the bearings are a little sloppy and they're just cast iron. But they're not worn. As you'll see in the photos ther's hardly any wear on it anywhere.

It looks like the only lube capability are a couple of 1/8" holes on the flywheel and the main gear axle. No bronze inserts. So a few hundred rpm would be all it could handle and not much time at that speed.

I used diesel to clean it up. Do you know of a good cleaner to clean up the residue? I guess I need some type of alcohol.

The chuck is the old style with a set screw. I only have one bit the fits and it's bent . So I'll probably get a Jacobs chuck with an adapter.

Do you have any idea about original colors? Given that the unit has very little wear I'm suspecting it was unpainted since I haven't seen any remaining traces.






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Look in the Iforgeiron gallery for Philsdrills. he's been inside of most all brands and has them painted up to match. I wouldn't motorize it, It doen't take that much longer to crank it by hand, and it you ever forget to shut the power down at the bottom of the stroke, it can break the frame.

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I don't know anything about post drills,but every one I'v seen and was told it was original condition,had a much larger flywheel.With that in mind,yours might have the wrong flywheel.Could be someone wanted to run it with a motor.

Good thought but if it was replaced it was quite some time ago. It was dirty to the same degree as the rest of the unit. This thing is quite small. The frame is only 10" long. The flywheel also has a part number cast into it that's similar to those on other parts of it. Edited by Iron Falcon 72
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Quick Summary: Some approximate starting advice is to set the spindle speed between 700-1000 rpms for steel, above 2000 for aluminum, and slow down from there if you get discolored chips or heavy drill bit wear. In most cases the drill press will not be able to supply enough power or speed to follow the below recommendations. A 3/8" drill bit drilling mild steel at the recommended speed and feed could require around 1 hp. Going slower usually doesn't hurt, and will prolong tool life.

Drill press spindle speeds depend on lots of things: the type of material being drilled and its hardness, the hole size, the type / hardness of the drill bit and its sharpness, whether or not a cutting / cooling fluid is used, and the rigidity of the drill and clamp, among others. Also, most speed recommendations are geared towards manufacturing environments where machining time is very expensive. As drilling speed increases productivity goes up, but tooling also wears out faster. The recommendations seek a balance between these two concerns, but this balance is not determined with the pocketbook of someone running a hobbyist or prototype shop in mind.

So, for the hobbyists shop, where longer tool life is probably more important than machining time, and where pushing the speed limit may ruin a valuable prototype, reasonable advice might be to start off at about 75% of the recommended drilling speeds.

You'll typically see large ranges of recommended speeds for various materials, and some discrepancy between different sources. This is partly due to the large influence the material hardness has on how fast it can be drilled (harder --> slower). Even if the material and its hardness were precisely known, the large number of other factors would require some experimentation. If the chips are smoking, turning brown, or the outer edge of the drill bit is chipping, go slower or add some cutting oil / coolant. (a decent guide to cutting fluid)

In general, a slower-than-recommended spindle speed won't hurt anything except in the case of extremely small drill bits, say smaller than 1/16". With small bits, it's hard to feel resistance from the metal, and therefore, very easy to push down faster than they can remove metal. Using recommended RPMs (spindle rotation speed) mitigates this risk. A tip for drilling extremely small holes is to drill down to the depth stop, and then move it down a 16th of an inch, and repeat. This ensures that too much metal isn't chewed off too quickly.

Edited by olcarguy
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