Thursday, August 8, 2013

A pleasant surprise

For the people that have been following my YouTube channel you already know I recently bought a Clausing drill press. It came from my favorite source, a Craigslist private sale. I have been halfheartedly looking for a variable speed drill press to add to the shop stable. I missed a couple and another one was just too far away for its potential. This one popped up and I happened to be in the mood for a look see. So me and my friend Marty loaded up his truck and headed out.
 This one met all my drill press criteria and was still available. As you can see it is all there but dirty. Note the vise and XY slide on the table. It was a bonus with the machine and the subject of this article.
Like the rest of the machine the vise and cross slide unit were dirty and need some TLC. The vise handle was actually welded to the hex on the screw. This vise saw some real Bozon users in its history. So the first step in any refurbishment is to do a lot of cleaning and find all the secrets while you get to know the machine.

Initially I focused on the machine itself to get it in operable condition. This was mostly cleaning and new belts and lubrication of all the moving parts. I shot a series of three videos if your interested in some of the refurbishment details. So after it ran and was tested I started looking at the vise and cross slide that came with it. The vise was a mess. No jaws, drill damage to the nut etc. I consigned myself to just clean it up and set it up for use on the drill press without the cross slide.
Nice one! Not sure how I'm going to fix this one yet. For a week I walked by the vise and scraped for a few minutes then went and did something else. A few nights ago I started to clean in earnest and disassemble the vise. When I got the machine I saw the cross slide unit was a cheapco offshore model so I assumed the vise was from a similar supplier. As I cleaned the vise I saw some casting numbers in the various parts. I had a half thought this was a little weird for a cheap vise.
My next clue that something was strange was when I got a file out to take off some bumps on the center slot. It turns out this is heat treated and hard enough for the file to skate on the surface. By now I was intrigued and kept cleaning. The answer was revealed with the wire brush.
This made everything make sense. Here was my pleasant surprise. As part of the deal I got a four inch vise that costs more new today than I paid for the whole drill press deal. Its a little beat up but easily repairable and will make a good article. For readers out there that don't know Kurt vises. They are the defacto standard machinist vise in the United States for job shops and tool rooms. This particular vise looks old to me for a Kurt. The shape of the coolant drain slots on the side look different than newer Kurt vises and there were no needle thrust bearings in the screw assembly.

You can bet I'll spend a little time getting my new friend back in proper working order.

Thanks for looking.

Tom Lipton


  1. Very nice surprise ! Great deal. I love finding these sort of surprises myself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the comment. More to come on this story.



  3. Hi Tom, your just making me more envious every minute ! That little Autometric machine is a diamond, i'm really looking forward to seeing it in action, your going to have a lot of fun with it !

  4. Hi Mike,

    Stay tuned on the Autometric. An upgrade is in the works.



  5. I'll tell you what Tom you've created a monster, your Youtube site and this blog has become one of the most popular ever ! I'm taking this opportunity to thank you in advance for all your hard work . .
    "Thanks Tom "
    Mike Young, Scotland

  6. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the very nice comment. The feedback is part of the process and gives me the encouragement to continue. I could be working away in here and nobody would even know. But by putting myself out there and opening up I have learned many new things about my craft and myself.

    Kind regards,

    Tom Lipton

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