As the title says, I like to find useful tools and use them, although this last part sometimes takes quite a while.
Here is my latest find, a small vertical drill.
I had been drilling holes through the brass signal posts for various detail parts, handrails, ladder supports, etc. by eye using a cordless Dremel motor tool and a 0.45mm drill bit. I knew I needed something better and I saw someone post on the Aus7 Modellers Group on Facebook about a small vertical drill he had bought but without a link to it. An ebay search found three that were of similar size with what looked like the same 12-volt small motor. Here is what I chose.
|Note that the small steel vice is from my Unimat lathe to the left|
Now, it isn't the prettiest version but I liked the large diameter main shaft for likely accuracy and the specification stated that the chuck would hold drill bits from 0.6 - 6.0mm. The other two vertical drills either didn't state the drill bit sizes or the minimum was larger than 0.6mm. Note the plastic vice with the red parts, this came with the vertical drill but really isn't a great deal of use, although the four red columns may be useful to hold an odd-shaped job.
Here is another vertical drill, nice and compact but with no chuck specification.
And the third vertical drill, this one stated the chuck capacity as 1.5 - 10mm which given the size of the vertical drill in the pictures doesn't look correct. It also looks a bit flimsy.
Of course, the drill I bought is the more expensive one, but I wasn't prepared to take the risk on either of the other two.
My drill comes with a power pack that has a multi-position switch for different voltages to give different speeds. I use it at the fastest speed as I want to use very fine drill bits.
The lever to move it up and down looks a bit basic but it gives very good control. To test the drill, I started with a 1mm drill bit, a piece of 0.5mm half-hard brass, and some cutting fluid. It is always a good choice to use cutting fluid with fine drill bits. This drilled quite well, and I followed up with a 0.45mm drill bit. Wait, now the chuck won't hold the 0.45mm bit so I used a very small chuck that I use in my cordless Dremel motor tool held in the existing chuck. I did have to check the runout of the drill bit and needed to move the chuck around a little in the larger chuck until it ran true. This is a good trick to learn. I also used a fine-marking pen to mark both the big chuck and the small one for future alignment. This 0.45mm hole also went well. At this stage, I thought, why not? I then put a 0.3mm drill bit into the small chuck and very slowly and carefully drilled through the 0.5mm half-hard brass.
Here is a link to the very small chuck, it isn't cheap but cheap will get you a small chuck that won't centre the drill bit or it won't hold it. This very small chuck is quoted as holding down to 0.35mm but I held the 0.3mm drill with it.
Once I had satisfied myself that this vertical drill was very good I then 3D designed and printed a jig to hold the tapered brass 'timber' posts such that I could drill a hole through the post at a right angle to the centre line of the post. I designed the jig to hold 16-foot, 18-foot, 23-foot, and 27-foot posts. This jig really makes things easier for me in preparing the signals for the kits.
So overall, I have been very pleased with this quite inexpensive purchase.
Please note that the links above were good at the time of posting.