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A gigantic post drill, but what model?


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Hi yall, meet my new project (actually its about 3rd or 4th on the waiting list but I might move her up if I cant resist!) Shes huge, give or take 65 inches from top to bottom.

IKgLW4P.jpg

Its a buffalo forge co post drill, and thats about where the trail runs cold. From what I can infer and what similar drills have shown, it was made to run off a line shaft from the factory, with the option for a hand crank on the other side of the pulley shaft (Mine is missing the handle and the nut that holds it to the shaft). 

It would have had a large flywheel at the top of the assembly, its got both a small to large and large to small gearing option, and mine seems like theres a spot where one of those wishbone shaped levers that comes out the front and is meant for manually lowering the spindle like a modern drill press would attach. 

PKgmDVA.jpg

Ive looked high and low but cant find a model number, but browsing an old 1908 catalog shows a very similar model 90, touted as one of their best presses at the time. Mine just has the gear for advancing the feed located at the top of the spindle shaft and not attached at a 90 degree offset like the drill in the catalog.  Not sure how much of that catalog's praise is salesman hype but definitely seems to have a lot more features than my champion 98, and the kicker is I paid a little less for this one than I did that one, but had to wrestle with it to get it off the angle iron assembly it was bolted to and will have to find and fabricate a few parts to get her back in use. 

If anyone recognizes this drill and might have a clue what the missing parts actually look like, let me know as an exhausting search on vintagemachinery.org didnt turn up much. 

Also BTW, the table for this drill did come with it, and its in surprisingly good shape. I just took it off to make the parts easier to move and was too beaten down by the time i got it under the roof of the shed to notice to put it back before I took the photos. 

 

 

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It's nearly identical to my candy otto post drill. Unless it actually says champion, I'd bet on canedy otto.

It's a two speed machine.

I'd hook up the pulleys to an electric motor, and on the off side there should be  a 4 spoked wheel to go up and down and another to raise and lower your table. The table mounts on the vertical piece(in the first pic).

I never use the self feed, I always do the actual drilling manually. 

It's a great tool!

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1 hour ago, anvil said:

It's nearly identical to my candy otto post drill. Unless it actually says champion, I'd bet on canedy otto.

 

It says Buffalo Forge co, Buffalo, NY. So neither of those.  My issue isnt the make but the model so to speak. 

And from all my research of similar-ish Buffalo drills, the model 90 being the closest to this that ive found, this sort wouldnt have a spoked wheel on the side but rather a stirrup or wishbone shaped lever located front and center. 

 

And yeah know where the table goes lol. I just had to take the pipe it mounts on off of the rest of the machine in the process of taking it off the angle iron stand it was bolted to when i found it in a junkyard, and took the table itself off the rest just to make moving it a little easier. Then loosened the bolts holding the bottom bracket on the pipe, loosened the set screw on the head of the machine, and slipped it out leaving just the "head" to deal with (and a good thing too, that thing is H E A V Y!!) 

 

I may hook a motor to it eventually if i get lazy but since the fixed/slipped pulleys are there and in great shape and I plan to eventually run a lineshaft system in my shop, I might see how far I can get hand cranking it for now and then hook her back up to how she'd be originally. 

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Very cool! Setting up a line shaft would be nice. I don't think I would want to run mine by hand. That's a lot of mass and resistance to overcome. I used mine for about 10 years, then stumbled across a Camelback that I could t say no to. I'm setting up a new shop, so I will pull the ole huge post vice out of retirement and have both up and running.

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3 hours ago, SharkBait said:

How heavy is it? It looks like a 321A that somebody did some Franken-tinkering with. 

Its enormously heavy. I had to take the table, table post, and belt pulleys off leaving just the head to get down off the wall when I got it and it still was all two reasobly fit adults could handle. The table is square like on that ad, and the chuck on mine looks like whats left of the one in that ad after someone tore it up to pin a keyed chuck into it. The point where the spindle connects to the feed screw also looks similar. 

However, the gears are quite different, the gears on mine perfectly match whats shown for their model 90.  PxXhLes.jpg?1

Also the thing which really puzzles me: Theres a protrusion on the back side of the part of the casing the feed screw's follower rides in, which looks EXACTLY like where a lever would mount, however its totally smooth on one side and in the side pictured here, theres what could be where an old bolt was snapped off and the head ground/peened down out of the way. QldVJRG.jpg

Even if its not the case it looks like that area is there to mount a manual lever to, and if I can figure out whats involved there a bit more fully I might try to "upgrade" it to support one. This being a very hefty model meant for a belt drive, it just makes sense to have a manual control in addition to the sturdy, but slower than molasses auto-feed. 

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Very cool! Setting up a line shaft would be nice. I don't think I would want to run mine by hand. That's a lot of mass and resistance to overcome. I used mine for about 10 years, then stumbled across a Camelback that I could t say no to. I'm setting up a new shop, so I will pull the ole huge post vice out of retirement and have both up and running.

the magic of a flywheel and good oil, lol. Ive never used a post drill this big before but usually once you get them moving its not too bad. That said Id much rather just pull a lever and have an engine do that work and leave me to do other things. Im actually looking at a couple camelback drills near here, one has back gear one doesnt, its just a matter of seeing which one I can haggle a deal with. I picked this drill up though because A, it was fairly inexpensive as far as antique tools around here go, B, itll be good for a backup or for upping the potential output in my shop with two holes drilling at the same time, and C it was sitting outside on an angle iron bracket in a field of junk and was only a matter of time before she either was too roached up to bring back, or somebody stripped and scrapped it. 

Hey, if nothing else, i get this thing fixed up, give it a gorgeous paint job, maybe add that lever feature in and if I dont use it, I find some guy wanting an interesting piece for his mancave and sell it. Guys like that kind of stuff, right?

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The 90 series and the 320 series were both hugely popular war-era machines and almost certainly saw a ton of what my grampa called "kerjiggering." The thing that makes me nearly sure it's a 320 series is the guide rail on the feed screw, which appears in the patent for the gearing system for the 320 and does not feature in any previous patent. 

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The difference on the gearing is the missing middle step on the stepper gear and I can see a specialized factory pulling the 3 speed gearing if they didn't need or want people swapping gears because they felt like it. 

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the gears are too much of a match for the 90 for me to think its been kerjiggered. The gears are made in such a way on mine that theres not a way one could add a third gear on without messing with the clearances of other parts and you couldnt slip one over top of the one there as it would cover up the set screw, making it impossible to lock the gear stack down on the shaft and being a moot point. Also theres still the question of the lever mount, or what looks like the spot for it, not present on the 320. Its possible its the frame casting for the 90, but essentially used as a solely automatic feed machine and thus never bored and fitted with the lever, and fitted with a 320 series feed screw interface as mine has a set screw holding the feed screw on vs the springloaded pin of the 90. Possibly since if this was to be an industrial machine solely for auto feed thered be no point in the other more complex style. But theres still a spot on the casting for a lever, and further down where the table post ataches theres two vertical flat stripes that look like they were cast to be a mounting surface for a spring return system for a lever. 

With all that said I definitely think I could add that feature on as Id really like a post drill that can do that. 

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Just a minor update, I worked on it yesterday and today, and a can of brake cleaner and PBlaster later, I got the whole thing disassembled down to the last screw. the small bits are degreased and tumbling right now to clean them up, but im going to need a WHOLE lot of degreaser to get the various shafts clean and polished, and even more patience to get the castings clean. Taking it apart though showed me that the gear system is definitely that of a 90, the spindle runs through a collar and a key links the spindle, collar, and the two gear assembly that rides on the outside in alignment. the collar has two divots for a set screw above one another across from the key, to change speed you loosen the screw, lift or lower the gears so either the large or small one is engaged with its mate on the flywheel shaft, and re tighten. 

The linkage between the spindle and feed screw is the one shown in the 320 patent diagram, and while its not ideal for it, I still think I can add a spring loaded lever for manual advancing as all it would require me to do would be loosen one set screw and back the feed screw out a few turns if i wished to disengage it. Once I get my hands on a lathe, it seems like itd be a good project with steel to machine a new linkage, and incorporate some means of a quick disconnect to it. the one for Buffalo that ive seen involves a springloaded pin, that clicks in and out of a groove cut in a rounded head on a threaded rod serving as the feed advancing screw. Shouldnt be too difficult given the tolerances these machines are made with. 

On the subject of cleaning, Im a fan of the tried and true methods and was going to just put the frame bits and the gears in a tub of kerosene for a few days to bust the century of dried grease off, then some evapo-rust and buffing for the spindle and flywheel shaft and a wire wheel and primer for the frame. But before I do that I dont suppose anyone knows of some miracle product that instantly cuts through down to bare metal conveniently found at the hardware store, do they? lol. 

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11 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

None that are not excessively toxic or dangerous to use.

General Note: replacing cast iron parts with steel ones in old machinery can be a bad idea.

1, I was afraid of that. Looks like its kerosene for me (not that its somehow healthy but at least I know what it is, and can use it to get a campfire going if it needs some persuasion after its done cleaning.

2, generally Id agree but this part in question I dont think it would make much difference. its just a coupler that holds the spindle in one side with a steel stirrup, has two plates filled with ball bearings inside, and then the feed screw threads in on top. also a small flange on the back to align it in a groove. since the surface the spindle rotates against inside is steel already I dont think itd make a lot of difference what the housing is. (Or, who knows, I may get super lucky and find an utter junker thats got the compatible part im talking about and just use an original)

 

 

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Good that you know; there are just folks out there who don't know and don't consider that some parts may be designed to fail first to protect expensive hard to duplicate/replace parts.  They act as "mechanical fuses" for the system.

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So, Ive gotten the whole thing taken apart, and spent yesterday and today degreasing the gears and painting them. the machined areas and teeth are bare metal and the rough cast areas are a nice red just so they stand out (Translation: they remind the idiot who almost got her fingertip eaten by them during disassembly that they gladly will bite people) But during cleanup, I found marked on one of the feed advance wheel's spokes the number 93. Did buffalo ever make a model 93 that might look like this? i figured it might be an inventory mark so someone grabbing castings from a bin during original assembly could be sure its for the right drill, otherwise i guess just a foundry mark. 

Now a question that hopefully can be answered: the pawl for the feed advancement has only a tiny portion of the original edge intact, it looks like either a flaw in the casting or a broken off chunk took the rest of it. Does anyone think it would be a catastrophe if I ground the edge back, preserving the geometry of the piece, until theres more of a surface to interface with the teeth of the feed advance wheel? given how these machines arent really precision implements I dont think so but id rather ask around before I went and did something that will take a lot longer to fix. as is theres only a tiny point of contact when the pawl is engaged, this pic shows how it is now (shown upside down), Id basically just be grinding back until there was a full edge presented 

V1d6VBp.jpg

Next up, a final coat on the gears, and their debut here, followed by cleaning the honking massive frame and table. 

Im really excited on this one, its big and hefty enough to be actually useful off a line shaft for me, I might be able to engineer a manual lever for it, and on top of that these big overhead flywheel ones just look so freaking cool (granted, mine would be a lot cooler if i could find a suitable flywheel for it but the sentiment stands)

I also need to get a new outer sleeve for the original chuck made, Ive got a retired machinist neighbor whose done some work for me who hopefully would consider it. its just a steel tube maybe 2" tall with an eccentric bore and a shoulder, with some knurling outside. the one that came on my drill to begin with was beaten to smithereens but there enough for a pattern, Id really rather preserve the original style flat bit chuck just for historys sake even if it means having a new piece made and loosing a couple inches of daylight if i want to use it with a modern chuck locked in

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The length of the pawl is an important factor as it must be matched up with the throw of the cam to work properly.  I don't know how much "wear allotment" they put into them.

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11 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

The length of the pawl is an important factor as it must be matched up with the throw of the cam to work properly.  I don't know how much "wear allotment" they put into them.

I would have thought the "mission critical" part in the system is the part that actually links to the cam via pitman that controls exactly how far it travels. On this one, the pitman goes around the cam on the shaft with the flat belts pulleys, and theres about a four inch slot that the connecting bolt up top can slide in, depending on where its tightened it determines how far back and forth the lever is able to move. then the little pawl tooth slides back along the top of the feed advance wheel and pushes it along. I was hoping that it being such a simple gravity fed mechanism that it wouldnt matter within a couple millimeters where the actual contact surface was as it would just keep pushing forward until it locked into a tooth on the wheel, and with the amount of adjustability this drills feed has id hoped it wouldnt be an issue as somewhere there would be positions for the sweet spot for a slightly shorter pawl. 

the first post drill I bought several years ago when I was younger and dumber was a more common champion 98, missing the original tooth as well as the dog legged cam follower lever that actually rides along and moves the pawl. somebody had forged it to a rough shape, bent it to fit the screw adjust for the travel distance, and the pawl was a twisted bit of flat bar riveted on with a bevel ground on it. since it didnt have a way to interface with the original short pusher spring in the adjustment area to keep it on the cam, the person who repaired it ran a long pull spring from the lever to the wooden base board the drill was attached to. Pretty clever, and it works! I need to clean and reassemble that drill, but with this one I may just keep this thats got more features and sell the first one. or keep it around since its a great example to show kids how things were mended back in the day. 

I guess I could make a duplicate pawl out of epoxy putty or something and just rough it to the dimensions im considering, and seeing if it would get purchase on the wheel and tinker accordingly before I go grinding into the metal that would be a way bigger pain to replace. 

3 hours ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

Might check this old catalog for your drill. Looks like a model  124 to me on page 33.

https://ia803103.us.archive.org/14/items/BuffaloForgeCoCatalogNo801/Buffalo Forge Co Catalog No 801_text.pdf

I had seen that one, but it seems to have the lever mounting section of the model 90 seen here at page 27 of the catalog, that you can see in a picture I posted a couple replies ago. (the little swell out on the upright part of the casting, that points towards the flywheel shaft) and after hitting the area with a file it definitely looks like theres a broken off bolt in there. If I were to make a guess, and this is just spitballing, that there could have been a model that used the at-the-time standardized feed system of the horizontal feed wheel directly on top of the feed screw as an improvement to the model 90 advertised, that or this drill is a mashup of a 90 and a 321 like Sharkbait posted above, and they just used a shared frame casting. Either way when I get through with modifying it how I want (nothing fancy just adding that manual feed lever capacity back to it and machine a new feed screw and spindle connector accordingly) it will be nearly the spitting image of a model 90 save the feed mechanism so if this is well and truly a franken drill I might just latch on to that 93 moniker if folks ask about it. 

By the way, im still without the horizontal overhead flywheel for this machine, and ive been trying to find one locally thats not at antique boutique prices, Ive had my eye out for old corn shuckers as they sometimes have flywheels of similar size but havent seen any with a bore big enough or enough meat on the hub to bore it out, and I dont want to turn the shaft down for fear id weaken it too much and the flywheel puts some twist into it. Does anybody have any other ideas for old equipment that might have a 18-20" flywheel like that that I could be keeping my eye out for? Maybe a hand cement mixer or something but any suggestions accepted. 

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Good site. I have it bookmarked as well. I got some good info on my Camelback from him. I haven't visited in a while. Seems he has added a section on my canedy otto post drill. Thanks!

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Ive referenced that site many times lol. Im not wild about the frankly extremely condescending disclaimer at the bottom of the page since while theres definitely quite a few tools I wouldnt want a rank novice to touch, post drills are simple enough that Id say fixing one is a good way to cut ones teeth on the skills for more advanced repair jobs and almost feels a rite of passage, but then im sure theres always that one whose first notion to loosen cast iron is to beat it with as heavy a hammer as they can find. \

Also unfortunately, while that sites got some great info about smaller post drills, theres hardly any info on the big behemoths like this one. Which makes sense, given the number of small farmer workshops and smithies the smaller ones appealed to compared to the number of places that had the infrastructure needed to run something big like this effectively IE off a belt drive. Granted, theyre still relatively simple machines that can be figured out by eye so a manual isnt really needed, just the RPM range, but still I wish there was a bit more complete picture when it comes to identifying some of these old ones. 

In other news, all the gears are painted in a hard wearing enamel ive used to great effect elsewhere, as has the feed advance rocker minus the pawl while i weigh the merits of reprofiling it, and the table holder and bottom bracket for the pole it rides on. the table itself is soaking in some old kerosene to make scrubbing the old grease off somewhat less of a fight, as are the fixed and loose pulley wheels. Im very excited how its coming along, all I have left to do is degrease the frame itself, paint it, and put it all back together. And from there I just need to find a flywheel and a suitably sized hardwood board to mount it to and its ready to go on a post and make a few holes

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