OUR DRILL PRESS
Fabricator: Le Rodrigue, Virginia Architectural Metals
Favorite tool: Drill Press
Why: It’s a workhorse and performs beautifully.
Lee’s sister-in-law, Crystal Rodrigue, takes advantage of the features on their shop’s Ellis 12000. The machine makes repetitive drilling easy, with direction and speed controls readily accessible on a console left of the drill press.
You can’t beat the Ellis 12000
By Lee Rodrigue
Virginia Architectural Metals
When we needed a drill press to do a job with over 10,000 drilled and tapped holes, we went to the company who made the band saw we have used for over 10 years now: Ellis Manufacturing (http://www.ellissaw.com). We use the Model 1200, which is their top-of-the-line model. Our older version doesn’t have the digital RPM readout that the newer one does, but it has been a workhorse and has performed beautifully.
The auto-feed feature is easy to understand and set and will drill holes to a specified depth reliably within 1/32 inch. Once the drill is turning and the feed is set, downward pressure, release, and retraction is all performed automatically. No more cranking down on the feed arm to drill your hole! Plus, since the feed is done with a constant pressure, the cutting is more uniform, extending the life of your bits and speeding the completion time.
The 12000 has a fully variable speed adjustment using a dial, which goes form almost 2,000 RPMs to 0 instantly (and everything in between). No changing belts; no pulleys. We’ve probably drilled over 20,000 holes on it, and it’s till powering though 1-inch diameter holes like a champ. The tremendous low-speed torque helps make large drill bits, and counter sinks last 10 times longer and cut two to three times faster than using a hand drill.
We purchased the drill pre4ss with a small milling table, which has proven to be amazingly useful. Although the quality of the table and base does not permit high precision milling, we can use it to mill simple slots and keyholes with ease. In addition, large pieces can be clamped to the milling table, and small precise adjustments can be made with the hand cranks (instead of trying to move an 800-pound post by tapping it with a hammer).
Although it is capable of tapping (made possible by and instant reverse switch), the high torque makes it easy to break smaller taps if not set up properly. I prefer tapping with a Tapmatic R-series or hand drill with variable torque settings instead. For larger taps, this is not an issue.
The Ellis 12000 was about $3,000 when we first got it, but by increasing the drilling efficiency, it paid for itself very quickly. In addition, by having such a high torque at slower speeds, the bits and countersinks last significantly longer, reducing our consumable expenses.
Immediate reversal: if you can flip a switch or, better yet, set a depth at which the drill direction will reverse itself (ours won’t do this), tapping holes becomes an automatic process without an additional Tapmatic. I used to buy a tap for every 10-#8 holes I had to do in stainless steel by hand. Now it’s more like one every 200 holes, and I don’t bruise my palms.
RPM Indicators: It doesn’t have to be digital, but if you can easily tell how fast the bit is turning, you can use existing charts to maximize your drilling efficiency. Any machine shop textbook will tell you want speed and feed rates are optimum for the material and holes size you’re drilling. Photocopy the chart and post it next to the machine.
Accurate depth gauge: using the depth gauge and automatic feed with release takes the guesswork out of drilling holes that almost penetrate the opposing face of you materials.
Simplicity: The features on the Ellis 12000 are easy to set up and use. The easier it is to figure out the special features of a machine, the more likely it is that your employees will use them and the less likely it is that they’ll break the machine.
Reproduced with permission from Fabricator, July-August 2004
1-800-383-5547 | Fax (608) 845 5199 | Ellis Mfg. Company, Inc., 107 W. Railroad Street, P.O. Box 930219, Verona, WI 53593-0219
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