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Ideas for Modifying Old Craftsman Alien Drill Press

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Forum topic by builtinbkyn posted 03-24-2018 03:58 PM 1696 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


03-24-2018 03:58 PM

This was a CL purchase a few years ago. I love the drill press, but one thing that it’s missing is a mechanism to raise and lower to table. Lowering is easy. gravity does this, though getting it close to the desired height is sometimes hit and miss. Raising it is all together another issue, especially with the table I added.

I’m looking for some ideas on making this an easier task. I thought about a scissor jack or a motorcycle lift. Both are relatively inexpensive and I’m sure I have an old scissor jack somewhere. Any other ideas out there? Electric? Pneumatic? Some kind of heavy duty servo? Has anyone done this modification or is there something that’s already designed for this?

To note is, the lifting needs to be done close to the column. Lifting from the front of the table, causes it to bind on the column.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)


18 replies so far

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Notbrick

42 posts in 525 days


#1 posted 03-24-2018 04:59 PM

This guy had a nice video. May require welding. The problem you have might be the limitation of the column length to support the length of counterweight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwr5mzClsWA

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#2 posted 03-24-2018 05:27 PM


This guy had a nice video. May require welding. The problem you have might be the limitation of the column length to support the length of counterweight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwr5mzClsWA

- Notbrick


Hey thanks for that link. The counterbalance idea is actually pretty nifty. I see there’s a few guys that posted YT videos of how they went about doing this.

I’d have to see if I could get it to work with my bench top model. The shorter column will limit the length of the weight and travel, but this is food for thought.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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bilyo

723 posts in 1519 days


#3 posted 03-24-2018 09:49 PM

I posted this earlier today in answer to a similar post. Hope it helps:

I also have an old Craftsman DP with a similar table. A real pain in the back. Some time ago I built a winch system for it. It is a “proof of concept” 1st attempt and it ain’t pretty, but it works and maybe someday I’ll improve it. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

In case you can’t tell by looking, it is a shop made spool and crank clamped to the support column with a 1/8” (or maybe 3/16”) coated cable running down and screwed to the back side of the table. It does require just a little help (gentle lift at the front edge) with the other hand to overcome the tendency to bind on the column.

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#4 posted 03-24-2018 09:51 PM

Thanks again Notbrick. This is definitely the way I’m going to do this. I took a look at that video and a few others and it’s a pretty simple process. One guy is an old shop teacher. He said this is what they did in schools so young boys were able to lift the tables in shop class.

My plan was to use 2in schedule 40 pipe and fill it with sand or Portland cement, but I think the column tolerance is too close. The i.d. of the column is a little larger than the o.d of schedule 40 pipe, but there’s a weld inside the column. I’m not sure there will be enough clearance. I may have to try and source an old sash weight somewhere.

I installed a drawer in that cabinet, but it’s not full depth. So there’s room behind it to allow for a longer/heavier counterweight and for more travel. I weighed the cast iron table with my added table and fence. It weighs about 35lbs. So I’ll need something heavy for a counterbalance.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#5 posted 03-24-2018 09:54 PM

Bilyo, can you remove the crank handle? If the table needs to be where it’s shown, isn’t the handle in the way? Looks like it is a nice idea.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#6 posted 03-24-2018 10:00 PM

Found this on Amazon. 2in Mini Winch Might be worth a try. One user said it works with a 1/2” ratchet.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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bilyo

723 posts in 1519 days


#7 posted 03-24-2018 10:17 PM


Bilyo, can you remove the crank handle? If the table needs to be where it s shown, isn t the handle in the way? Looks like it is a nice idea.

- builtinbkyn

This was a 1st attempt and I made the handle way bigger than it needs to be. However, yes. When the table is positioned where it needs to be and clamped, the handle can be reversed to a position that is out of the way. That said, when the handle is at the bottom of it’s swing it is till above the chuck. So, it doesn’t interfere with the table. I know it doesn’t look that way in the photo.


Found this on Amazon. 2in Mini Winch Might be worth a try. One user said it works with a 1/2” ratchet.

- builtinbkyn

That is a great idea. I wish I had see that when I was building my little winch. It would have been a good starting point. Note that this winch is made for using nylon straps. I did try using a strap when I first started. It worked OK as long as the table was centered. However, If I had the table rotated to the left or right, the strap would get tangled up in the spool. I found that the cable, with a guide would work even with the table rotated. It looks to me like this little winch could be adapted to a cable without too much much effort. Maybe it is time for me to make some refinements to mine. Thanks

View duckmilk's profile

duckmilk

3589 posts in 1740 days


#8 posted 03-24-2018 10:21 PM

Bill, the winch you found would be worth a try, and maybe less of a hassle to install. You could find an old socket that fits and weld a handle to it that you could remove after adjusting the table.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

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dhazelton

2838 posts in 2713 days


#9 posted 03-24-2018 10:37 PM

Use a utility trailer tongue jack that mounts with u bolts on the post – upside down.

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GR8HUNTER

6204 posts in 1128 days


#10 posted 03-24-2018 10:49 PM

THIS WORKED REALLY NICE FOR MINE :<))
now i can move it up with very little force very little and almost have to push it down with same amount of force BUT force is wrong word if i knew how to make a video i would show you just how easy it is

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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dhazelton

2838 posts in 2713 days


#11 posted 03-25-2018 01:10 PM

Sorry, I didn’t see that the DP was a bench top. Just use a car screw jack – they compress to a pretty short height. This is just an example and uses a hook on the end but most will take a socket the size of a lug nut.

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Planeman40

1420 posts in 3177 days


#12 posted 03-25-2018 04:03 PM

You have the exact same Sears drill press I have. I bought mine, a floor stand model, new back about 1958 and still use it. Good drill press. I have the same problem with lifting the heavy cast iron table, especially now that I am 77 years old. I adapted a Harbor Freight trailer jack to do the job. Placed it between the floor stand and the table, use a hand crank to raise and lower the heavy table. If I were to do it over again, I think I would opt for the counterbalance weight method.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#13 posted 03-25-2018 11:47 PM

Well this worked out better than I could have hoped. This morning I went to a nearby place called Construction Junction. It’s a huge place that people donate building materials to, both old and slightly used, cabinets, furniture and the like. Thought I’d certainly find plenty of old window sash weights there. Well no luck. I guess they’re either just dropped down into the sash pockets or sold off for scrap. They really have no use and probably not even for those doing restoration. Sash weights in probably 99.9% of the cases are still present in the pockets even if the windows are gone or are being restored to original condition. But Construction Junction is a cool place and I’ll be stopping by there often. Lots of neat stuff, but you need to get there early and often for the good pickin’s. I am heading back there tomorrow for a section of bowling alley to make an assembly table :)

Then I hit Home Depot where I was able to get a 24” section of 1 1/2” galvanized schedule 40 pipe. I also picked up two 1 1/4” plugs. Then it was to a local sporting goods store for lead shot for reloading. No luck on lead shot, but they had copper BBs and they fit the bill. I had some cable and ferrels and the rest of what I needed.

Back home I made up the counterweight using the pipe end caps and BBs. It weighs in at a little over 17lbs – about 12lbs of BBs and about 5 1/2lbs for the pipe and plugs. I bored a hole in the cabinet base and then rigged the pulley and cable. Low and behold, it’s easy to raise and lower the table with one hand. The +17lbs is half the weight of the table, but it’s certainly enough to offset the dead weight of the table.

The pulley is from one of those bicycle storage systems to suspend it from a ceiling. I’ve repurposed a few parts from that thing. The 1 1/4” plugs fit really well into the ends of the 1 1/2” pipe. I just had to use a little drum sander bit on my drill to clean up the ends and make a taper inside. Then I pounded them in with a lump hammer. Drilled and tapped one plug to receive an eyelet and I was ready to go.

Here’s some pics.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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GR8HUNTER

6204 posts in 1128 days


#14 posted 03-26-2018 12:03 AM

very nice Bill and MUCH easier then a jack or something like …plus no extra tools required for this install ….GREAT JOB :<))

AS I SAID I LOVE MINE and my muscles do also LOL

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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Notbrick

42 posts in 525 days


#15 posted 03-26-2018 12:14 AM

Cheers! Looks great. I will need to do this with my Delta here soon.

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