Saturday, July 17, 2021

Belt-Driven Drill Press

Here's a drawing of a belt-driven drill press, drawn in pencil and gray wash. Gray wash is watered-down ivory black watercolor, carried around in a little bottle and applied with a sable brush.

Belt drives were common before electric motors were small enough and powerful enough to attach to each piece of machinery. When it was originally set up—probably driven by a water mill—the operator could change the speed (and torque) by switching the belt over the smaller or larger pulleys in the upper left. Bevel gears at the top transfer the axis of rotation from horizontal to vertical.
After my post about this on Instagram, there were some interesting comments:

Bonny Hartigan: "My dad had a woodworking business and when I was a child, most machines were belt driven with water power. It was so quiet compared with the electric motors that he had later. All you heard were the whirring and slapping of the belts. What a wonderful memory that is, thank you for reminding me."

DK Vosburgh: "The sad thing is that most of these old machines fell out of use when their babbitt-metal bearings wore out, and people had forgotten how to cast new ones. They worked fine, otherwise."

Ken Simpson: "When [I was] a young fellow working in hardware store we sold the flat belts and joiners, the 2” belt was sold to the local school to make hand straps to punish boys in fractions."


A. Decker said...


Sheridan said...

My grandfather worked in a casket mill. It was one of those picture postcard mills on a stream, with a water wheel. It was also painted red. I can remember as a child of 5 or 6 seeing him pull a lever mounted in the floor, and all the machinery would come to life, driven by 6" wide leather belts. Saws, moulding machines, and planers all run by water. It was a very dangerous place to be with all the belts whizzing around, but as a kid very exciting.

Bob said...

Perhaps tools like this are used in Volcaneum.

Unknown said...