Drill press table lock


I'm new, so let me introduce myself. My name is David. I am a novice-intermediate woodworker in the Bay Area. I have been reading the wreck for some time, but this is my first post. Here is my problem...
Someone just gave me an old Rockwell drill press. It is in great condition. However, raising and lowering the table is a big pain. It was built before the days of the nice hand crank and quick release lock, so every time I want to adjust it I have to pull out the 3/4" wrench and crank with one hand while I hold the table with the other to prevent it from falling. Another problem is the clamping pressure required to lock the table rigidly is so great that I stripped the threads off the bolt last night while trying to lock it. I had to cut it off.
So now I'm starting from scratch and wondering if anyone has any ideas on a retrofit that will make my life easier. Perhaps some quick release mechanism that is stout enough to withstand the pressure of tightening; perhaps something to put between the clamp and the column to aid in holding it and reduce the amount of clamping pressure required; perhaps a completely different solution that has not occurred to me.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
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I am not that familiar with how the clamping mechanism works on this unit but I fixed a similar situation on a clamp post using a specialized set of vice grips that have a chain rather tham jaws for clamping around pipes like this.
http://www.toolsource.com/ost/product.asp?sourceid=googlevisegrip&dept%5FidP0&pf%5FidQ679&mscssid=QVQ8K97897J58N5WALR0G6GPBE1C83C9
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I can't help much with the lock other that to ask if you can tap out a larger hole and use alternate hardware. I have even seen bolts with welded or epoxied wrenches used for this kind of duty.
However, I got tired of lugging the table on my old Craftsman up and down. A year or so ago I added simple counterbalance. My machine had a tube clamp that acted as a safety just below the head of the drill press and I used this to attach a small pulley (about 1-1/4" wheel - hardware store quality). Using an available tapped hole in the back of the table, I attached a standard hardware screw eyelet. I looped and crimped a length of 3/16" steel cable from this eyelet up to the pulley and let the cable hang down the back of the machine for sizing. I rounded up a suitably sized and stiff rubber bungee (the kind with metal hooks on either end). I hooked one end to a bolt that secured the base to the up-tube. I played with the cable length until I found a length that more or less nuetralized the weight of the table; then cut the cable to length, created a loop and secured it with a crimp. Total investment was around $7-8.
This is not a perfect counterweight but it makes moving the table up and down MUCH easier. BTW I installed this counter-balance after I installed a 30"x17" auxilary table and fence.
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Oh - oh........ another David from the Bay area... does that mean you're related to B.A.D ? (Bay Area Dave....;-0

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wrote:

OH NO! another bay area dave!

here's a good place to start looking for parts: https://reidecom.reidtool.com/xephr/qbe/HOMEPAGE
consider a pulley and weights system if yours doesn't have the rack and pinion height adjustment.
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You could rig up a pulley at the top of the column and use a counterweight to make adjustement easier.
wrote:

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