On Tuesday I took delivery of my second piece of machinery for the workshop, an Axminster AWBRD550 bench radial drill.
It arrived inside two nested cardboard boxes (one inside the other like Russian dolls), strapped atop a small wooden pallet.
The first layer of the box contained the base and table, plus a few bolts and the handle:
The second layer contained the shaft and the head, motor etc. along with the guard:
Construction was pretty simple, with surprisingly good instructions (particularly compared to some of the Chinglish manuals I’ve received for their power tools in the past).
The base attaches to the column with 4 bolts:
The table fits over the column and the loose rack (you need to ensure the worm drive etc are still in the table mount before fitting this) and a collar holds the rack in place on the column:
Because the rack is free to rotate around the column, the table can be rotated out of the way for larger pieces of wood (for even larger pieces of wood the head can be rotated so it is no longer above the base but instead overhangs the edge of the bench).
The table seems pretty flat and is nicely ground:
The table is lifted and lowered by a rack and pinion mechanism with a crank handle. Whilst this isn’t the smoothest movement I’ve seen, it’s certainly a lot less rough and notchy than the Fox drills I saw in Norfolk.
Lifting the head assembly onto the top of the column at bench height is not easy, but you can either perform the manoeuvre at ground level or get a second pair of hands.
The 16mm keyless chuck looks and feels quite well made and locates on the taper, firmly fixed with a few taps of a hammer (be careful to retract the jaws fully to avoid damaging them).
The handle is bolted on easily, having located a pin on the shaft into it to prevent it spinning:
The depth gauge seems to line up at each end of the travel:
Tensioning the belt is easy to do – just slacken off the two wing nuts holding the motor and push or pull it into place, then re-tighten the nuts:
The head can be wound forwards and backwards using a knob on the right hand side:
This movement is nice and smooth and the head can be locked in place using the smaller handle just behind it.
This adjustment allows the throat to be anything from 220mm to 420mm.
Changing between the 5 speeds is simply a matter of unscrewing a single screw, opening the hinged top and switching the belt to a different pair of pulleys:
Being a radial drill the whole head of the drill can rotate, which can make it easier to see inside the top compartment.
There is a gauge to show approximate rotation and a sprung pin which positively locates into a groove to lock the drill in the vertical position:
As there are only 5 speeds there is no centre pulley which can cause noise and the induction motor is nice and quiet.
The on/off switch is pretty much identical to the one on my planer thicknesser:
The guard is in two sections so it can be used singly or extended:
Things I like:
- Extreme flexibility – head can be positioned over table, base of edge of bench, at varying distances from colum and at varying angles
- Build quality – cast iron base and table, nicely made & smooth chuck and mechanisms
- Quiet – induction motor and no third pulley to cause noise
- Price – you get a lot of drill for your £167 (and I ordered when there was a 10% discount deal, so I paid closer to £150!)
Things I don’t like:
- Size – head to motor distance may limit options when positioning in the workshop (not a surprise and the flexibility gained far outweighs this)
- Advice plate roughly rivetted to base – a very minor niggle!