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Alpine Engineering bench drill

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sparky mike07/09/2016 07:41:11
243 forum posts
57 photos

Hi. In the 80's I bought a large 12 speed bench drill from Alpine Engineering.

(are they still in existance.) It has been used daily for many years now, until the other day when it developed a faint rattle. It took me a few minutes to work out what was wrong, and after removing the belts, I found that the screws (that hold on the belt guard )under the quill pulley were working loose. I managed to tighten one of them up with the aid of some needle nose vice grip pliers,but the other was missing and possibly never fitted. it would be prudent to check the screws on these Chinese drills, before they ride up and possibly jam the pulley wheel.

I undid the large nut that holds on the pulley wheel for easier access to the screw/s but could not shift the pulley, so left well alone. The nut was left handed.

Mike.

Edited By sparky mike on 07/09/2016 07:42:20

Russ B07/09/2016 08:04:58
606 forum posts
26 photos

If it's the one I'm thinking of, very similar (probably the same) machines were also branded as (roughly chronologically) - Pinnacle, Nutools, and are still sold as Clarke.

Clarke parts diagrams are freely available online, I would perhaps start looking there. I expect minor cost saving over the years will have removed some parts but it could help.

john fletcher 107/09/2016 09:41:33
741 forum posts

I had a bench top Alpine and the front pulley was on a taper, I used a bit of heat to release it. Following an article in ME several years ago, I took the machine to pieces as the there was a lot of slop in the spindle /rack. I made two eccentric bushes and Loctite them in place, transformed a cheap modest machine. I also have one of their band saw for cutting steel, must be more than 30 years old, it just keeps rolling along. John

sparky mike07/09/2016 09:56:22
243 forum posts
57 photos

Only drawback I have had so far is that the threads are a bit short and slack on the three rod operating handle.

Not sure if there is room for helicoils.

Mike.

sparky mike07/09/2016 17:59:08
243 forum posts
57 photos

I just checked my other , much smaller Chinese bench drill and the guard screws were loose, so this sounds like a common fault. I have refitted the screws with lock washers. Originally only plain washers were used.

Mike.

julian atkins07/09/2016 23:08:46
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1244 forum posts
353 photos

Hi Mike,

Graham Engineering of Aston Road Birmingham...just off Spaghetti junction...

I am pretty sure they went out of business many years ago.

My first engineering stuff bought was from them in 1983. The 3 files have long ceased to cut, but the engineers square and hacksaw frame, and bench vice are still in daily use.

Hope you get the mill sorted.

Cheers,

Julian

Tim Stevens08/09/2016 10:57:50
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1499 forum posts

My guess is that Julian's post (23:08:46) is in the wrong place. Too near to midnight? ...

Tim

julian atkins08/09/2016 11:37:46
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1244 forum posts
353 photos

Hi Tim,

Unless I am mistaken, 'Alpine' was the branding of the products sold by Graham Engineering at the time Mike bought his mill.

Cheers,

Julian

sparky mike08/09/2016 12:37:22
243 forum posts
57 photos

I bought a drill not a mill !!
Mike

Bazyle08/09/2016 13:45:38
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6081 forum posts
221 photos

The other Graham brother set up on the other side of Birmingham and I think is still there. At one time in ME they each ran the same advert artwork in alternate issues but you had to look at the address to see which one it was.

Vic08/09/2016 14:05:49
2954 forum posts
8 photos

Some of the early Far East imports were Korean or Taiwanese rather than Chinese.

Russ B08/09/2016 14:15:20
606 forum posts
26 photos
Posted by Vic on 08/09/2016 14:05:49:

Some of the early Far East imports were Korean or Taiwanese rather than Chinese.

Mines Taiwanese, I would be interested to see some Korean stuff, so far everything I've had from Korea has been excellent quality (rifle scopes, engines, electronics)

daveb08/09/2016 14:31:49
626 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Russ B on 08/09/2016 14:15:20:
Posted by Vic on 08/09/2016 14:05:49:
I would be interested to see some Korean stuff

Look at anything from NAEROK.

Dave

Ajohnw09/09/2016 20:20:53
3631 forum posts
160 photos
Posted by julian atkins on 08/09/2016 11:37:46:

Hi Tim,

Unless I am mistaken, 'Alpine' was the branding of the products sold by Graham Engineering at the time Mike bought his mill.

Cheers,

Julian

It was Julian mill or drill. They had 2 outlets. The one that sold machines was in West Bromwich. A large showroom. The other was by Spaghetti Junction. Much smaller place. From what I could gather the owner retired and that closed the main showroom. The much smaller shop survived and was run by one of his sons. I think that ended when the owner died.

They were a pretty big name in their day. At one time they used to have a VAT free day once a year and masses of model engineers used to turn up at West Brom in coaches. Could hardly move in the place at times.

They initially imported some stuff from India including Super 7 clones. Later Taiwan and later still China. They used to sort out the old from India stock for me if there was any left. Some of the blokes there reckoned they did thing properly as we taught them how. I think I might be inclined to agree going on the quality levels of bits and pieces I bought. i think they were the 1st to go to Toss for chucks too.

John

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Edited By Ajohnw on 09/09/2016 20:22:17

julian atkins09/09/2016 22:44:55
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1244 forum posts
353 photos

Thank you John and Bazyle.

You have both confirmed my memory, even if my short term memory cant remember a drill from a mill!

Cheers,

Julian

sparky mike10/09/2016 08:12:31
243 forum posts
57 photos

I am pretty sure I still have one of their comprehensive catalogues here somewhere. There was not much in the tool line that they did not sell.

Re. Chinese, after the memory was jogged a bit I believe it was from Taiwan and not China.

Mike.

Jon12/09/2016 21:23:09
1000 forum posts
49 photos

Just an addition Graham west Brom definitely were slowing down in 98, 99 reduced its store area around 1/3 with little machine tools on display. With the setup of J&L nearby taking a top staff member it didn't survive long after approx.1999 when picked up a Vertex RT and some proper Eclipse Cobalt 5% HSS tools getting feeling selling up.

Alpine was the brand name applied to anything produced any where in the world. Best seller for them was the RF25 Chinese and the flimsy bandsaws.

Been past Graham Eng Wolvo many times bought drill from there in 92 never used since, thought they had closed decades ago apparently not in local directories. Both brothers didn't get on a sore subject.
Now know still going despite appearances driving past seeing clear parking area and closed doors might pay him a visit next month. Used to flog s/h quality English tools and decent foreign quality tools with new chinese.

Ajohnw12/09/2016 23:21:53
3631 forum posts
160 photos

The Chinese stuff came later than Taiwanese and that was later than Indian. The Taiwanese had the bright idea of not using hardened bearings in the small lathe headstocks. They sold very few and a fair few of the early Chinese combined mill drills which had all sorts of alignment problems - I know I bought one - big mistake but eventually sold it to some one that didn't care. There stock answer to the alignment problems was to send people to another small engineering supplier for shims which they didn't stock. The man there mentioned that they kept sending people there for shims, a number of them. The man who dealt with machine sales was a little more honest with me after that. When I bought tooling the guys behind the counter would always try and sort out old from India stock.

I suspect it closed because there was more competition especially on smaller lathes and odd bits an pieces also the owner was getting on. A lot of the stuff that came out of China at the time was rubbish. Things seemed to get better when lathes like the CT918 arrived. Some of the lathes of that period are a lot heavier built than now but the geahead version for instance is incredibly noisy. They might even have a screw cutting gearbox.

First thing I knew about them closing in West Brom was when I went over there to buy some bits and pieces so I then used the smaller one by Spaghetti Junction. Same happened there. I was told that the father died which meant that the shop had to be sold as he owned it. Maybe the same in West Brom in which case there may be something else in there now. I do know that it was still empty a some time after it closed but haven't bothered looking for a long long time.

I found out that Reeve's at Marston Green had closed following a visit to get some steel. I had heard that their casting sales were way down and that was causing them problems as it was a major proportion of their sales. Sad really because they only sold good stuff in the general tooling line but of course that costs more. The steel they sold was excellent a well. It does vary.

Actually I think both of these companies realised that the writing was on the wall as the saying goes.

John

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Brian H13/09/2016 07:36:05
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2240 forum posts
113 photos

I have an "ALPINE" mill/drill, serial No 15. My only complaint is that it needs several different lengths of belt to obtain all the speeds.

I must check on the screws that were mentioned in the first post.

sparky mike13/09/2016 07:50:05
243 forum posts
57 photos

As a post script, I just found the "Graham" catalogue and company name had been changed to" Tooling Direct.(incorporating Graham Central and Tooling Direct.) "

No idea what year the catalogue is, but Edition 22 is on the cover.

Address was 533/537 Lichfield rd. Birmingham.

Mike.

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