I went to an estate sale today on a whim. It was around 11:00 and the sale had been mostly picked over but there were still a few things I was interested in. I spied an old drill off to the side of the garage and went to pick it up. One of the workers said that it was broke. He said it used to work but when he’d tried to demo it to a customer it stopped working. I asked how much it was. He said they were just going to toss it into the garbage and I could have it for free. Sounds good to me.
Here’s what I have. It is a “Home-Utility” 1/2″ drill press made by Black and Decker from when they used to make stuff in the US before plastic was the rage. It’s pretty heavy and the cord is crumbling but thats pretty much a given on old hardware. Everything else looks pretty good.
Here’s a closer view of the tag. It says it runs on regular 120V (yes it says 110 because that used to be the standard) and pulls 2.9A at 375 RPM.
The first thing I did was grab my digital multimeter to check for continuity through the body from either prong on the cord with and without the switch engaged. No continuity which means I won’t get shocked. Continuity between the cord’s prong showed nothing with the switch off and 12 ohms of resistance with the switch on. This shows that the motor isn’t shorted and that the switch works. After these tests, I plugged it in and squeezed the trigger. It just buzzed and didn’t turn. I unplugged the drill and tried to turn the chuck by hand. It was stuck. In retrospect, this is another quick test that could be done before plugging it in. At this point, the problem could be in the gearbox or the motor itself. To determine where the problem was, I needed to remove the chuck to get into the gearbox. The chuck is threaded on like on my Milwaukee drill. To remove it I chucked up a Allen key and then struck the key with a hammer. The key is struck in the counter-clockwise direction when looking at the chuck from the front. It came loose after a couple of blows.
After the chuck was off, I removed the four screws holding the cover on the gear box. A couple taps with a rubber mallet loosed the cover enough to slip off. Once the cover was removed I was greeted with the sight in the picture below. It appears that water had sat in the gearbox at some point and rusted some of the gears. This is probably the problem but the gears won’t come out even though they just sit in a bearing sleeve.
I shot the rusty areas with some PB Blaster and was finally able to work the gears back a forth a little bit. After moving them some more I was able to get the gears removed by pulling them out. Now I can check if the motor will turn by spinning the gear on it by hand. Yes! It does spin. Now, I’m certain it was the gears causing the issue because rust was not allowing them to mesh. I plugged the drill back in to test it with the gears out and it ran like normal. Here’s the cruddy looking gears.
I put them in the ultrasonic cleaner to let it remove what it could.
After a little bit of scrubbing and another dip in the ultrasonic cleaner, the parts cleaned up pretty well. I also removed the spindle for the chuck and cleaned it as well.
I cleaned what grease I could out of the gearbox compartment and added new grease in. Going off of the amount of grease in the Milwaukee drill, I put a good amount of grease in. Since it is red, the new grease should work better than the old grease!
Once it was all back in one piece I put the chuck on and tried it out. Works great!
Next, I turned my attention to the disintegrating electrical cord. It is accessed by removing the handle that is held on by four screws. The wires are each pinched under screws allowing the cord to be removed easily. Unfortunately, there’s no strain relief on the cord which means a sharp tug on it could rip a wire loose.
I replaced the old cord with a spare one that had come off of my lathe from when I converted it to 220V. I attached it as seen in the picture below. I ended up having to shorten the black wire to get the handle to fit back on. There was very little room inside the handle and it took a couple tries to get everything to fit in just right.
I put the screws back in to reattach the handle and gave it another check with the multimeter. Everything checked out fine. I tried it out by drilling a couple holes with it and it worked perfectly. The only complaint I have against it is that, since it runs at 375 RPM, it doesn’t drill holes very quickly. Still, it gets the job done.
In case you’re wondering about the odd shape at the top of the drill, it is for a handle. It is threaded to fit 3/4″ iron pipe. The picture blow shows a piece of pipe attached to the drill.
This is the shortest piece of pipe I had sitting around. I smaller one would be used normally.
That’s my kind of recycling! It just goes to show that the old adage of “One man’s trash is another man’s tertiary large drill” is true….or something like that.