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;
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
Order Online through these companies...
Click graphic to go to
their direct product page for this item
Easy Riser Upgrade Kit
Timbecon will also mail out to most parts of the
if you cannot find these items locally.