Is it possible to shim a drill press quill?

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Forum topic by Thuzmund posted 12-13-2019 07:19 AM 455 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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159 posts in 2229 days

12-13-2019 07:19 AM


I took apart my drill press because it was making pen blanks to be too loose. I reviewed lots of info on tuning up the machine and had at it today.

I took apart the machine and I think narrowed down my problem. The chuck is OK inside the quill. The quill is OK inside the two bearings on its shaft. It’s the cast opening of the tool, where the quill goes up into the body, where there is play. I can wiggle the quill and hear it clicking. I recorded run out of 20 thousandths.

Has anyone ever heard of shimming a quill rod or the cast iron housing that it mates with?

Also, it seems odd that a drill press would rely on this fitting to be accurate. If it were very tight, I think the quill would not move up and down well. But on a loose one like mine, it seems to be causing problems. Am I missing something here?

-- Here to learn

7 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


4340 posts in 2589 days

#1 posted 12-13-2019 12:00 PM

So drill presses have a split quill where you can tighten it up. I got rid of my Jet floor DP because of the quill slop like you are talking about. I could not stand it anymore. I bought the Nova Voyager DVR and it has a split quill and low slop. The variable speed is great. It is not cheap but a tool I really appreciate.

View MPython's profile


207 posts in 412 days

#2 posted 12-13-2019 12:37 PM

I restored an early 1950s era Walker Turner drip press with the help and advice of a guy who restores them for a living. I had some slop in one of the bearing housings. He told me to paint the inside of the housing, let the paint dry thoroughly and try it. If it was still too loose, repeat the process until I got a snug fit. I didn’t like the sound of that, but he assured me it works and he’d done it a number of times. As it turned out I was able to fix the problem by replacing the part with the bearing housing (It was the spindle case on the of the body casting, and easy fix). In any event, I thought about his recommendation a lot. It might work with your issue.

View MrRon's profile


5806 posts in 3843 days

#3 posted 12-13-2019 05:48 PM

My 80 year old Delta drill press has a split casing that I can tighten to reduce the “slop” with the quill. There is no really good way to remove the slop. If it is really bad, all you can do is scrap it, but if it is a quality DP, parts may be available for repair. A new head casting may cost more than a new DP. Old tools can be rebuilt, but the cost to refurbish can cost more that it is worth.

View HokieKen's profile


11980 posts in 1738 days

#4 posted 12-13-2019 05:55 PM

There should be a method to take up that slop. Two different ones are commonly used. Either there should be a slot in the lower portion of the casting and a bolt running perpindicular to it that allows you to tighten the bolt which closes up the slot and tightens the fit. Most people assume that because this bolt locks the quill in place that it’s just for that purpose but, that bolt should be kept tight at all times. You don’t want the quill to stick but you want it to be just shy of sticking.

The second method used on some presses is a dog point set screw usually at the front of the casting that you can tighten. This will force the quill against the back of the housing reducing the slop.

If your machine doesn’t have one or the other of these methods, you can drill and tap it and use a screw to force the slop out of the quill.

Good luck with it!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Thuzmund's profile


159 posts in 2229 days

#5 posted 12-13-2019 11:31 PM

Thanks for everyone’s replies so far. I really appreciate being able to ask a question like this and get tips from experienced folks. I am going to get it back apart and experiment with a few ideas.

Edit: Found a video describing the idea of tapping new set screws for the quill:

-- Here to learn

View Thuzmund's profile


159 posts in 2229 days

#6 posted 12-15-2019 04:26 AM

Just an update, the procedure in that video worked well and now I am under 5 thou. I put two nylon screws in the front. I will put additional ones in the side if need be, but for now this seems to work Ok for me. My pen blanks are still a little loose but much better than before. I am also going to try a 6.9 mm bit and see what happens.

-- Here to learn

View Lazyman's profile


4466 posts in 1987 days

#7 posted 12-15-2019 01:59 PM

Leave it to Keifer to have a solution. Did you notice in the video how he increased the swing on his drill press?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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