Review By Dean Bielanowski  Timbecon Website - http://www.timbecon.com.au

"Easy Riser"
Drill Press Conversion Kit
 Mini-Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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If your workshop possesses either a bench-top or floor standing drill press, then today we have a review that we are sure will spark your interest, because it certainly sparked ours! Under the spotlight this time out is the "Easy Riser" drill press conversion kit, an Australian invention that promises to get rid of that slow-winding and often ear-rattling rack and pinion raising/lowering mechanism and replace it with a mechanism that will allow you to raise or lower your drill press table just by pushing or pulling on it...
How is it so I hear you ask?

Well, let's find out...

Easy Riser Kit
The easy riser kit consists of just five components;

  • Top Sheave Block Pulleys

  • Bottom Sheave Block Pulley

  • Cable End Anchor

  • Cylindrical Weight

  • Wire Cable

All five components eventually assemble to create one working component which is, essentially, a counter-balance for the drill press table. The easy-riser does require some modification to your drill press to fit and work correctly. The kit will fit most bench-top and floor standing models. It is advisable to check the construction of your particular drill press before you purchase however, especially if you have a model where the belt tension mechanism comprises of a metal bar lever that is located lateral to the drill press's central column axis. Some of these drill designs may cause installation issues. We will explain this a little further below as we walk through the installation procedure.

Installation
Retro-fitting your drill press with the Easy Riser will take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on how fast you work, the type of drill press you use and whether you have a second person to help you with lifting etc.

Apart from those components provided in the kit, you will need a drill, various sized drill bits (9mm and 12mm or 20mm recommended), some spanners and a screwdriver.

Step 1
Firstly, you must remove the 'head' of the drill press from the drill press column and place this on a workbench or suitable working surface. It is recommended to lay the whole drill press down on a soft surface if you are working by yourself.

Step 2
With the head of the drill press on your work surface and the top belt housing cover open, you first remove the stepped cone pulley from the top of the motor shaft (usually held in place by one hex screw), then remove the motor (usually mounted with four sets of nuts, washers and bolts on most drill press designs). Pretty easy stuff.

Step 3
The drilling begins! You must first drill a clearance hole for the cable to pass through into the casting of your drill through to the belt housing, or directly through the belt housing cover (again, depending on design). It should be located so that the hole sits directly above the space between the back end of the drill press and the motor mount. It is worth noting here that full instructions with pictures are provided in the kit, so it is all relatively easy to follow. Once you have drilled the hole (12mm minimum) file down any rough edges or burrs that may have been created during the drilling process.

Step 4
Next you need to drill a 9mm hole in the motor mounting plate at the rear of the drill press. You can see in the photo in the right hand column that I have placed an arrow roughly where this should go. My particular drill press already had milled holes in just about the right spot, so I chose not to drill any others. It saved me a few extra minutes at least. Also note that drill bit sizes are not absolutely critical, so equivalent imperial sized bits can be used equally effectively.

Step 5
The final hole you need to drill must again be made through the belt housing down into the drill press column itself. You should only be drilling through the thin metal housing for this hole as that is all that should be there to drill through for this task, but be sure to check for any electrical cord or wiring underneath before you drill. Use a 20mm hole saw bit for this task, or you can use the 12mm bit again if you don't have a larger option. Drilling this hole as close to center on the drill press column axis is vital for best operation of the easy-riser. You may recall above that I mentioned to check this area for obstructions on your particular drill press before you buy. Most drill presses will have two bars visible, but these are generally offset from the center and not really a problem. The cable for the weight that sits inside the drill press column will pass up through this hole you have just drilled, so the path directly down the middle of the drill press column needs to be as unobstructed as possible. Only a small amount of clearance is generally needed because the stainless steel cable is not very thick. This is more important to check if you have a centrally-mounted tension lever. Most newer drill press designs have the tension mechanism located near the rear of the drill press and not in the way.

Step 6
With all three holes now drilled, you can re-attach the motor and its associated pulley cone. You can now add the top sheave block pulley to the belt housing base. You should find the ends of the block roughly overlay onto the two holes you have already drilled in the housing. If not, you may need to widen these holes with an appropriate metal file so there is clearance. On most machines, you will find two screws which hold the belt housing to the drill press itself. The top sheave block will likely lay on top of these. This is what you want. It means you can use those same holes to secure the top sheave to the belt housing. Mark out accurately, and drill holes in the wings of the sheave block to match the existing screw holes in the housing, then you can attach the sheave using the same screws and washer that secure the housing normally. If the belt housing fixings are not in the same location, you may have to pop-rivet the sheave to the belt housing itself.

Step 7
Once you have completed the first six steps, you have pretty much done all the hard work with fitting the Easy Riser. Next, check that the wire cable is inserted into the cylindrical weight and the rubber shock pad is on top of the weight (the cable passes through this pad to keep it secured on top). It is easiest to have the drill press column and head laying down on a soft surface and ready to be re-assembled at this point (I moved the operation in to the living room at this stage - make sure all the dust is off the drill press first to avoid arguments with the family).

Push or lower the weight into the drill press column, then feed the wire cable up through the drill press head, through the belt housing, and in through the two pulley wheels of the top block sheave and out through the rear hole of the belt housing you drilled earlier. Pull through as much cable as needed to take up the slack.

Step 8
Re-assemble the head of the drill press back onto the drill press column and tighten the screws to secure it. Stand the drill press up for the remainder of the installation. Next you attach the bottom sheave block to the table's locking mechanism. This simply involves unscrewing the locking lever all the way out and adding the bottom sheave pulley between the locking lever and the table mount. No tools or other steps needed. Next slide the table itself upward so that it is roughly 50mm from the end of the drill chuck. This ensures the counter-balance weight in the column is likely sitting down at or near the bottom of the column. Feed the wire now coming from the underside of the belt housing down around the pulley now installed on the locking lever.

Step 9
Next you simply loosely attach the cable anchor mount to the hole you drilled in your motor mounting plate earlier, using supplied bolt and nut. Now bring your cable up through the small hole in the bottom of the anchor mount, wrap it around the bolt twice and thread it back through the same bottom hole. Tighten the cable anchor mount now to lock the wound cable securely. Test your table movement first and if satisfactory, finish by cutting cable to length and wrapping end with appropriate electrical safety tape (or similar).

Step 10
Installation of the Easy Riser is now complete! You can now raise and lower your drill press table just by pulling it up or pushing it down. You will probably notice a need for some lubrication on the column to further assist in sliding the table up and down. A good quality furniture or floor paste wax buffed onto the surface will help, or you may have your own preferred lubricant for the column. Generally, a "dry" lubricant that doesn't collect or attract dust is preferred.

This diagram shows how the cable runs when fully installed.

Benefits of the Easy Riser
The Easy Riser is quite a simple product, however, it offers great benefits once installed. Naturally, being able to raise and lower the table MUCH faster is the obvious advantage. The counter-balance weight in the column ensures the table will not readily crash to the base of the column if you let go of it while it is unlocked from the column, however, it is also not so heavy that lowering the table requires excessive force.

Another advantage is that with the original default rack now removed from the drill press column, it is much easier to turn your table left and right. Previously the rack would catch and flex and shudder as it was forced around the column with the drill press table. Naturally, with no rack to contend with after the Easy Riser is installed, you can move your table left and right with almost no effort, and as quick as you like. You also avoid that nasty rattling that sometimes comes from the rack vibrating in place when the drill press is in use.

In a production workshop, the time saved can add up significantly over the course of just a month if you are using manual-winding adjustment of drill press tables, so the Easy Riser becomes a cost-effective upgrade.

Cons?
Very few (if any). The only one I can think of is slightly less control over very fine height adjustment of the drill press table. This was most evident when we tried to drill deeper than the stroke of the drill press allowed for a turned pen blank, i.e. leaving the drill bit in the drilled hole and raising the table up to drill deeper on the next operation. It was a little tougher with the Easy Riser installed, but we managed to do it without too much fuss. I'm probably being picky here.

Overall Impression
For AUD$69.90, the price of the Easy Riser is a lot less than many other drill press 'upgrades' available on the market. It is certainly a very unique and interesting upgrade to make to a drill press, and in my opinion, is worth every dollar of the asking price. As mentioned above however, just check your drill press column's central clearance before you commit, and if all is clear, you will be making a worthy investment for your future drilling tasks.
 

Available to Order Online through these companies...
Click graphic to go to their direct product page for this item

In Australia


Easy Riser Upgrade Kit

Timbecon will also mail out to most parts of the world
if you cannot find these items locally.


 

Easy Riser Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior written permission prohibited


The Easy Riser Kit


Steps 1-3: Drill head and motor removed. Drilling first clearance hole.


Step 4 involves drilling a clearance hole in the motor mounting plate. We didn't need to as we already had holes to use.


Step 5: Drilling the clearance hole central to the column axis. I started with a smaller diameter bit for accuracy (as shown) then widened it with a larger bit.


Both clearance holes now created and ready for top block sheave.


Step 6: Re-attaching the motor


Step 6: Adding the top sheave pulley block.


Step 7: Lowering weight into drill press column.


Step 7: Feeding wire cable up through column and through top pulleys.


Step 8: Re-assembling drill press head onto column.


Attaching bottom sheave block to table locking lever.
No tools needed here.


Step 9: Attaching cable anchor mount to motor mounting plate. Feed wire, secure and installation is complete.


In Use: Raising and Lowering and turning table left and right is now a much faster and more efficient affair thanks to the Easy Riser.

 


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