Latest Update: 11-19-2012
The construction of a Vertical Milling machine from a 12"
Drill Press is a project that I have undertaken because of a video that
I purchased from the Little Machine Shop in California.
Rodriguez's video show you how to convert a Drill Press into a vertical
milling machine. The video is named "Milling
on the Drill Press
" and is 4 hours long. In this he shows the
steps that he
undertook to do the modification. I purchased a 12 Speed Drill
Press from Harbor Freight (Part # 60237) and have proceeded to do the
same types of
changes. Here are some photos of what I have done.
After making some of my changes you will notice that there is a
sticking out of the top of the front pulley assembly. This is
part of the modification so that you can with precision move the drill
bit down a precise amount.
I then removed that top cover from where the pulleys were to eliminate
the possibility of the top falling down on the shaft while
machine is running.
Here is a detail picture of the top of the machine.
The next thing done was to cut down the vertical tube as it was about
3" to high.
The next thing needed is to make the vertical tube stiffer as there is
some flex in these small tubes.
So to add anything to the tube the bottom must be sealed up temporally
with a freezer bag put between the tube and the base. It was
bolted back into place to seal the end.
Then I added your local post concrete to stiffen the tube.
Open bag and mix with water and fill tube. Please
the custom funnel.
If your careful you may not make a mess.
I did this to both my new vertical mill and my old drill press as all
it can do is help with the flex when drilling. Also it did
take much concrete from the bag and why waste all of it.
Here is a picture of the tube completely filled with concrete.
Next step is to modify the quill assembly to allow the use of a milling
bit arbor safely.......
Here are the quill parts from the Drill.
I have done the mods and here is where we start
The qull unit above was drilled out to clear a 1/4-20 threaded rod to
create a place so that the milling bit arbor could be retained
in the machine even if to broke loose from it mechanical hold in the
I then needed to modify the milling bit arbors that I got from The
Little Machine Shop part number is 2394
Which is a MT 2 Arbor Blank with a 3/8-16 NC drawbar. This
drawbar size is what I needed to reduce to
1/4-20 for the rod that I am using for a drawbar to fit in the quill
assembly that I have.
I needed to plug the drawbar end so that it could be redrilled and
tapped for the 1/4-20 that I needed.
I cutoff some 3/8-16 rod about 1 1/4 inches in length and treaded it
into the drawbar end with some Loctite 609
for a never to be removed plug. We then machined the top flat and
drilled out a hole and tapped it for 1/4-20.
This is my friend Al that owns a Machine Shop. And this is the
machine that we used to modify the arbors so that I
could use them for this conversion.
The result allows this to be used as follows:
The arbors that I got (6 ea) were then drilled out to hold 3 different
sizes of milling bits, 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch tools.
I also drilled an tapped a set screw into each arbor to hold the
milling bit in place.
The came the fun part. Putting everything back together and
making it work again.
I had to reassemble the quill for the drill
And I test fitted again a 3/8 mill in the arbor.
Then I started the reassembly of the parts back into a working machine.
After putzzing around with the parts they finally
went together with the asseembed parts looking like this.
I then added the modified pully back on the top of the quill assembly.
Notice that I have machined the top of the pully
and scribed a index line on it for exact depth setting on the mill.
I then test fitted the arbor into place to make sure that I had the
correct clearance for the retention nut. And yes there is
enough room in the top of the quill assembly to use a 1/4-20 nut to
lock the arbor into place.
After installing the pulley I put the index disk that I had made before
which is drilled and tapped for 1/4-20 and has
50 index marks around it so that each mark is 0.001 of an inch and it
does work. THANK YOU Jose!!!!!!
I then reassembled the belts that drive the drill.
I now have a complete drill/vertical milling machine.
And it will do things like this.
Notice the fine chips that are created. This is the first part
milled on the machine and it is a learning process.
I first tried a speed of about 200 rpms and that did not work well so I
changed the speed to 3200 and it works
And so now that I know how to make a mess. On to the next item.
Now to finish the parts for my Horizontal Milling machine all from
Aluminum cast parts.