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Excelsior Sensitive Drill Press - Spindle disassembly?

shvl7277

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2023
Totally new to antique drill presses. Needed a drill press for my home shop, and couldn't resist this one so I grabbed it, watched it turn on and work at the shop where I bought it. Threw it in the bed of the truck and drove it home, did some wiring cleanup, and it worked fine the first time I used it.

Second time not so much, as soon as it has the belt on it, it spins a few times and locks up, spindle bearings seem to be toast, just that little bit of sideload from the belt locks them up and it doesn't spin very freely without the belt even.

But this being my first antique press, I have no clue how to dissassemble the spindle since it doesn't have any mechanical fastners on it.
The only assumption I can make is that the pin in the picture is a taper pin, and maybe I need to pull that out?
 

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The upper collar on the spindle/quill assembly is usually removable - Take that off, and the spindle will drop out the bottom of the quill. There will likely be a ball thrust bearing at the lower end, likely with loose balls.
I'm surprised if that collar was fitted with a taper pin - Most that I've seen were set screwed, so you could adjust the thrust bearing end play.
The quill may or may not have bearings / bushings inside - Many were made with the spindle just riding in the inner bore of the quill - No separate bearings.
In that case, if the fit is really sloppy, and you want to use the drill, I guess you could bore the quill oversize, and press in bronze bushings.
If you're talking about the upper bearing, in the head of the column casting, then that one is probably babbit, and if it's badly worn and wallowed out, would need to be re-poured.
 
The upper collar on the spindle/quill assembly is usually removable - Take that off, and the spindle will drop out the bottom of the quill. There will likely be a ball thrust bearing at the lower end, likely with loose balls.
I'm surprised if that collar was fitted with a taper pin - Most that I've seen were set screwed, so you could adjust the thrust bearing end play.
The quill may or may not have bearings / bushings inside - Many were made with the spindle just riding in the inner bore of the quill - No separate bearings.
In that case, if the fit is really sloppy, and you want to use the drill, I guess you could bore the quill oversize, and press in bronze bushings.
If you're talking about the upper bearing, in the head of the column casting, then that one is probably babbit, and if it's badly worn and wallowed out, would need to be re-poured.
Thanks much for the info!

I'm wondering if it's not a taper pin and it IS actually a set screw that the head just got boogered up on, maybe i'll try to cut a slot in it and turn it out before I try to pull it out.

I'm pretty sure this one may not have any bearings, I had a hunch that might be the case and was hoping I was incorrect. I'm going to try to pull it apart and clean it up, and if it's still sloppy i'll have to throw brass bushings on it.

The upper bearing seems to be okay, I think my issue is that the spindle has no bearings as you say and there's a bunch of metal shavings in there that have no way to get out.
 
Looking at your quill photo - Is the sawed-off looking stub in the top of the quill what you're saying is the taper pin?
If so, I have no idea what that is - Maybe whats left of an attachment point for the counterweight chain, that's MIA (as many/most of these are)?
The collar I meant is the one above the fiber washer, on the spindle, above the quill.
It should be removable.
 
Looking at your quill photo - Is the sawed-off looking stub in the top of the quill what you're saying is the taper pin?
If so, I have no idea what that is - Maybe whats left of an attachment point for the counterweight chain, that's MIA (as many/most of these are)?
The collar I meant is the one above the fiber washer, on the spindle, above the quill.
It should be removable.
Yeah the stub that's all mushroomed out, it looks like someone beat on it, so i'm not sure if it is an attatchment point and someone just beat it flat to get the stop over it or what

Is the collar threaded or press fit? I can't really tell if there's a seam at the top or not like it comes off but it looks like it could. Just not sure whether to try to turn it or pull it.
 
I have about four drills of the same sort/type. Myers, Washburn Shops (WPI), Excelsior (duplicate of yours) and HG Barr all have TWO upper collars/nuts which have holes to take a pair of spanner wrenches to tighten one nut against the other and lock both.

One of these have a lower bearing in "loose ball race" pattern. The others have simply a "step" which is likely cast iron turning against cast iron - which actually makes a pretty good bearing - if well lubricated.

Since your upper collar is singular its very likely the pin/set-screw/whatever is what retains it. Generally taper pins can be seen on both sides of the collar with a big-hole/small hole sort of indicator for the pin punch user to remove. So given no opposing hole, I would give the slot a try.

I have another "WF & J Barnes" friction disk drill which is similar except for a lower radial ball bearing thrust and an upper single collar with a single spanner hole (small) and a threaded hole which WAS for the set-screw (missing) You can see on the shaft the various locations that the set screw has occupied.

Given your symptom (lock-up) I would check first to see if the spindle can be turned by hand minus the pulley. You put the issue to side-thrust of the belt - which it likely is. Another check would be the interior of the upper pulley which rides on an "extension" of the cast iron frame. Sometimes this "pulley support" is cast and machined as part of the cast iron frame. Others the pulley support is made on a lathe separately and then located in the cast iron frame and "poured" into place with babbit or lead using the lower quill arm to "locate it" through the quill/shaft. You may be able to see a place on the cast iron frame adjacent to the pulley support where this babbitt/lead was poured in with the cast frame on its side.

If you remove the upper pulley you may find it "scored" underneath on the support. The pulley supports that I have examined seem to have a multiplicity of "lubrication grooves." Given the location (slightly out of sight) you may find that lubrication may be enough?

Part of the fun of restoration is the discovery and resolution of "issues."

Have fun!

Joe in NH
 
Another check would be the interior of the upper pulley which rides on an "extension" of the cast iron frame
I don't think that's an issue in this case - If you look at the 2nd photo, of the whole drill, it's obviously been "modernized", with the elimination of the upper flat belt pulley, and rear mule drive.
The spindle looks to now be driven directly off the rear hung motor, by a step pulley on the top of the spindle - This alone would account for a good amount of side pressure.
Is the step pulley is a sliding keyed fit? Otherwise it's hard to think there's much quill travel.
It is interesting that the casting is mostly un-modded, so the drill "could" maybe be brought back to the original drive, if you had the desire, and IF you could find the parts .........
 
I have about four drills of the same sort/type. Myers, Washburn Shops (WPI), Excelsior (duplicate of yours) and HG Barr all have TWO upper collars/nuts which have holes to take a pair of spanner wrenches to tighten one nut against the other and lock both.

One of these have a lower bearing in "loose ball race" pattern. The others have simply a "step" which is likely cast iron turning against cast iron - which actually makes a pretty good bearing - if well lubricated.

Since your upper collar is singular its very likely the pin/set-screw/whatever is what retains it. Generally taper pins can be seen on both sides of the collar with a big-hole/small hole sort of indicator for the pin punch user to remove. So given no opposing hole, I would give the slot a try.

I have another "WF & J Barnes" friction disk drill which is similar except for a lower radial ball bearing thrust and an upper single collar with a single spanner hole (small) and a threaded hole which WAS for the set-screw (missing) You can see on the shaft the various locations that the set screw has occupied.

Given your symptom (lock-up) I would check first to see if the spindle can be turned by hand minus the pulley. You put the issue to side-thrust of the belt - which it likely is. Another check would be the interior of the upper pulley which rides on an "extension" of the cast iron frame. Sometimes this "pulley support" is cast and machined as part of the cast iron frame. Others the pulley support is made on a lathe separately and then located in the cast iron frame and "poured" into place with babbit or lead using the lower quill arm to "locate it" through the quill/shaft. You may be able to see a place on the cast iron frame adjacent to the pulley support where this babbitt/lead was poured in with the cast frame on its side.

If you remove the upper pulley you may find it "scored" underneath on the support. The pulley supports that I have examined seem to have a multiplicity of "lubrication grooves." Given the location (slightly out of sight) you may find that lubrication may be enough?

Part of the fun of restoration is the discovery and resolution of "issues."

Have fun!

Joe in NH
It also has holes but as you say it seems to be singular, so i'll try to cut a slot, and if it doesn't come apart i'll try to spin it loose and see what happems.

I've already turned it without the belt and pulley and totally off of the drill and it's really gritty and sticky even off the drill, the pulley support is babbit and seems a little sloppy but it's not hateful.

My first step is to pull the spindle and quill apart, get all the metal shavings out, clean and lubricate and see if that does the trick. i've also cleaned and lubricated the pulley support already, outside of the movement of the spindle/quill, everything else on this thing is really good, no other real issues
 
I don't think that's an issue in this case - If you look at the 2nd photo, of the whole drill, it's obviously been "modernized", with the elimination of the upper flat belt pulley, and rear mule drive.
The spindle looks to now be driven directly off the rear hung motor, by a step pulley on the top of the spindle - This alone would account for a good amount of side pressure.
Is the step pulley is a sliding keyed fit? Otherwise it's hard to think there's much quill travel.
It is interesting that the casting is mostly un-modded, so the drill "could" maybe be brought back to the original drive, if you had the desire, and IF you could find the parts .........
The shaft has a keyway and the pulley has a keyway but there's no key, I was planning on finding a key to fit and making it slide so that the quill will have more travel, right now it's just got a set screw so it moves the whole belt when the quill moves, maybe 2 inches.

And depending on the expense of the parts I have been thinking about bringing it back to original, everything is pretty much unmodified outside of being converted to this motor setup
 
The original quill shaft never touched the interior of the pulley support. Rather the flat belt pulley "encircled" the pulley support and engaged the quill shaft with a key. (setscrew/key?). The interior of the flat belt pulley and the exterior of the pulley support are the "bearing juncture."

As I see from your pix 2 the step pulley is simply set-screwed to the quill shaft. This forces the quill shaft exterior to bear against the interior of the pulley support. Not original, but could work, especially if the pulley support is "bushed" somehow with bronze oilite or even a torrington needle bearing.

Torrington needles can be used. Frequently called a "cup bearing" they involve a pressed steel cup or sleeve containing small diameter needles. You can start at https://www.amazon.com/Needle-Roller-Bearings-Torrington/s?keywords=Needle+Roller+Bearings&rh=n:16411291,p_89:Torrington&c=ts&ts_id=16411291 and find the size for your requirement.

Joe in NH
 
The original quill shaft never touched the interior of the pulley support. Rather the flat belt pulley "encircled" the pulley support and engaged the quill shaft with a key. (setscrew/key?). The interior of the flat belt pulley and the exterior of the pulley support are the "bearing juncture."

As I see from your pix 2 the step pulley is simply set-screwed to the quill shaft. This forces the quill shaft exterior to bear against the interior of the pulley support. Not original, but could work, especially if the pulley support is "bushed" somehow with bronze oilite or even a torrington needle bearing.

Torrington needles can be used. Frequently called a "cup bearing" they involve a pressed steel cup or sleeve containing small diameter needles. You can start at https://www.amazon.com/Needle-Roller-Bearings-Torrington/s?keywords=Needle+Roller+Bearings&rh=n:16411291,p_89:Torrington&c=ts&ts_id=16411291 and find the size for your requirement.

Joe in NH
Ended up getting it apart! Got pulled off this project due to my transmission in my daily driver Cummins eating some gears so rebuilt that and got back to this tonight.

Ended up drilling that bolt pin whatever out because welding a nut wouldn't move it, so I'm assuming it was just an attachment point for something.
As you suspected it was two collars on top, just had so much grime and have been slammed together so tight for so long they'd basically become one. Lots of brake cleaner and some vice grips and a pipe wrench and both collars worked off together and didn't booger up the threads too bad.

The quill just rides directly on the spindle so I'm going to try to clean that all up next and the bearing fell all apart trying to get the quill off and I lost some balls so I'm going to try to order one of those and put it back together!

Definitely couldn't have done it without that little bit of knowledge on what to try!
 

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