Engram Enterprises

Behind The 8-Ball

When I acquired this classic 1967 Delta Rockwell 15-017 drill press, it came without a quill handle. After a few years of getting by with a long 7/16" bolt, I designed a new handle as a tribute to Rat Fink and hot rod car culture of the same era as the press's manufacture.

You can date your Delta drill press at The Delta Vintage Project.

I started with a 7/16" stainless steel rod, a 1/2" threaded coupling, and an 8-ball sourced from a local billiard supply store. The 1/2" threaded bore of the coupler was almost the right diameter for the rod. I drilled and tapped a 10-32 hole through the coupler for set screws, then chased the coupler threads with a 7/16" drill bit. (Not having a drill press vise at the time, I made a crude fixture to hold the coupler with wood screws. The threads left marks you may see in the photographs.)

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Making a fixture for the ball from a pine 2x4. I drilled a 1-3/8" hole to seat the ball, and a 7/8" hole to sight the numeral for alignment. This wasn't precise, but worked well enough. A piece of aluminum with very convenient holes served as a hold-down clamp, with pieces of bicycle inner tube protecting the surface of the ball.

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After drilling a small pilot hole, I used the 7/8" spade bit from the previous step to very slowly drill into the ball to the desired depth. This was calculated to leave the set screw end of the coupler free.

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J-B Weld two-part epoxy was mixed and injected below and around the coupler to secure it in the ball. I covered the coupler end in kapton tape to keep the bore free of epoxy. The drill press was used with an elastic strap on the handle to maintain pressure on the coupler for the 48 hour cure time.

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The billiard ball is fairly heavy, resulting in a non-linear feeling as the quill travels. I may make another knob from a cue ball to chase the 8-ball, and counterbalance it.

Contact: reboots at g-cipher.net
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