Friday, December 28, 2012

V3.51 - Christmas, yes it is - and stuff

This week I may bounce around all over the place. I wanted to just write about Christmas but some mentally deranged EVIL person decided it would be a good thing to murder some innocent people in Connecticut. Even sadder, some of those were children. As a nation, we display our shock and outrage that 20 children were brutally murdered, yet Each and Every day, around THREE THOUSAND-SEVEN HUNDRED (3,700) innocent children are killed by abortion. Where is the outrage and shock over that?

We hear politicians blow their horns about how it is time to ‘stop the murdering of our children’ and I could not agree more. It IS time to stop it…not by ‘banning guns’ as the grandstanders are yelling about, but maybe we need to start by banning the scalpels and the vacuum cleaners that are used to cut up and dismember the unborn.

What allowed this murder in CT was not a lack of ‘gun laws’. As I understand it, CT already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the USA. Yet, it still did not stop this creature from STEALING some guns and using them.

Perhaps CT needs to rethink this. Instead of having signs that say “Gun free zone” outside the school, maybe they need to change to: “Armed and trained staff on site - enter at your own risk”. It only makes common sense. How many times have we heard of someone going into a Police Station and shooting the place up? Never…not even when they do have a death wish.

Anyway, back to what I really wanted to write about- Christmas.

Not “Happy Holidays”…um...which “Holiday” would that be? Christmas!

As the Go Fish Guys say: “It’s called Christmas, with a capital C.” (that’s really a kool video- check it out on Youtube). Some people will say ‘how can this be? Jesus wasn’t born in winter’ First thing, were you there? None of us were…and maybe He wasn’t. So we select this one day, December 25th, to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. A birth, without which, mankind would have no hope of eternal life. Some will say that the original Dec 25th celebration was a pagan ritual and the Christian Church took it over. IF that is true, I say, it’s about time that the Christians took something from the pagans. Lord knows the pagans have stolen many things from the Christians. Even today, it’s still going on. Every time some judge bans a nativity scene, it’s really theft. And while I am ‘tangenting’- did you hear about the judge who says a North Carolina “Choose Life” license plate is “unconstitutional” because the opposite view does not have their own plate? How absurd. But, hey, this is America. So here’s what to do, have the Choose Life plate show a baby and make the “Choose Death” plate show parts of a baby. Let’s see how many they sell.

Christmas will be here in a few days, and it is a joyous time, so I say celebrate to the utmost! Don’t tell me ‘happy holidays’ because I will tell you- Merry Christmas!

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

V3.50 - Keeping your Drill Press ‘chucked up’: part 2

Last week we talked about putting your drill chuck on your Drill Press. I ran out of room to fully explore the subject, so here we go again.

Let’s say that you get the chuck installed and all appears to be well. But then, one day, you turn your DP on and the chuck falls off of the spindle nose. Now, what to do?

Well first, you’d want to make sure that the inside of the chuck taper is clean and free from any oil or contaminants. Once you’ve checked/cleaned the chuck, check/clean the spindle nose also.

NOTE: while you are checking/cleaning those tapers, this is a good time to inspect the surface of the tapers closely. The tapers need to be smooth and free from any galling. ‘Galling’ is a machinists term that refers to the tendency of metals, scrubbing together under force, to grind and scar each other. If your chuck has been loose on the spindle nose (unknown to you) for a while, the two parts may have galled their surfaces. IF they have, it is usually useless to try to get them to properly seat again. (The prescription is to replace both parts and start fresh.)

Ok, let’s say that you’ve checked for galling and found both the chuck and the spindle nose to be smooth and in good shape. Now, you’ve cleaned them again and they are now absolutely oil-free and dry as a bone. Take the chuck and ram it sharply onto the spindle nose.

Now, it’s time for the 2x4 and small sledge hammer again. Swing the table out of the way so that you can get a pretty decent swing with your sledge. Retract the chuck jaws to prevent them from getting bent and put your 2x4 under the chuck. Hold the 2x4 with your ‘weak’ hand and use your dominant hand to swing that sledge upward and SMACK the 2x4 (which is against the chuck) very hard.

As I said last week, Tapers seat best with a shock to them. A good 3lb sledge and a 2x4 block will allow you to deliver that shock to the chuck without risking damage to your chuck or Drill Press.

If you continue to have your chuck fall off, there may be a misfit between the two parts, or you may be asking the Drill Press to do something it was not designed to do (like milling, or using an out of balance item in the chuck) and the design of the chuck/spindle taper was not intended to account for that.

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

V3.49 - Keeping your Drill Press ‘chucked up’

Well, after our short detour, let’s get back on the Tooltrack this week and talk about Drill Press chucks. 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 those 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.

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.