Thursday, July 22, 2010

#24 - Keeping your Drill Press ‘chucked up’

Well, Mrs. Mayberry is doing good and you all know a lot more about her now, than you did. After a short commercial, let’s get back on the Tooltrack this week. Your columnist is always networking and open to new career opportunities. You can find me on LinkedIn: and I’d be happy to talk with you. If you’re aware of something, drop me a note and we’ll connect.

Now, what about Drill Press chucks?
I was one of those ‘poor folks’ who didn’t have a drill press during my ‘learning how to work on stuff’ years and let me tell you what, by the time I got older and realized what I had been missing…Hoo-boy, was life in the shop so much easier with one around.

Most of today’s ‘home/hobbyist’ drill presses use a taper to hold the chuck onto the spindle. Some manufacturers have the chuck already installed, while others ask the buyer to do it. In any event, the following information will come in handy.

Drill Press Tapers & Chucks usually fall into one of two categories: A spindle with a male taper and the chuck having a female taper; or a spindle with a female taper, a chuck with a female taper and an adapter with a male taper on each end that goes between the chuck and spindle. Each style has their place, with the adaptor style being used more on the bigger Presses.

Alright, there’s your ‘taper background’, now let’s get specific. Drill Press tapers engage (‘seat’) best with a shock. I know some manufacturers who tell you to just push them together, but that’s not the best way. Let’s say that you have a Drill Press with a female tapered chuck and the spindle has the male taper sticking down. First, clean the tapers completely to remove any oil, grease or coating that could prevent metal on metal contact. My favorite solution to this is an old rag saturated with acetone (NOTE: if you use acetone, be aware that it is highly combustible). Next, once the tapers are cleaned, turn the chuck so as to retract the chuck jaws. Next, Place the chuck onto the spindle taper by hand. Finally comes the ‘shock’ part. Put a small 2X4 underneath the chuck jaw opening and use a small mallet (I have a 3lb sledge for this) to hit upward on the 2X4 (chuck bottom). One good sharp whack ought to do it.

Once the tapers are seated properly, they will usually remain engaged unless something too large or out of balance is put into the chuck.

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