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Meddings pillar drill value

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Martin Pyke10/01/2022 22:45:50
7 forum posts
5 photos

Could anyone please give me an idea of the value of this Meddings drill. It would a good condition and was fully serviced about 3 years ago when it was bought from a college. It is up for £700 and I am looking at this or a new Axminster Trade drill at £500.00

It will mainly be for small projects using timber and aluminium.

Many thanks

Michael Gilligan11/01/2022 09:38:02
20182 forum posts
1053 photos

Welcome aboard, Martin

As no-one has yet informed you how to post pictures … allow me:



Martin Pyke11/01/2022 10:24:53
7 forum posts
5 photos


Martin Pyke11/01/2022 10:25:48
7 forum posts
5 photos

Someone has kindly advised me how to post pictures, so have now added. Many thanks Michael.

Edited By Martin Pyke on 11/01/2022 10:26:32

Michael Gilligan11/01/2022 10:48:45
20182 forum posts
1053 photos

You’re welcome, Martin … and, if it was my choice, I would invest the extra £200

Other opinions will doubtless be offered.



Edit: __ I think this page ‘speaks for itself’

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 11/01/2022 10:51:37

Nigel Graham 211/01/2022 13:01:20
2132 forum posts
29 photos

I'd go for it.

I have an identical machine, it is well-built, and though its low speed is a bit fast for its largest drills in steel it will be fine for wood and aluminium. It does almost all the drilling tasks I need. (I have an old and well-worn Elliott Progress 2G for the lumpier work.)

I'm impressed too - only one rogue hole in the table (the small one)!

Though I wonder if the larger central hole was not original but an owner's modification to allow drilling though. Mine lacks that so when drilling a directly-clamped item I swing the head round to make the drill go into the T-slot - test the clearances first! My preference is to leave the head locked and move the work-piece along a guide-bar.

The one disadvantage I find on mine - yours may differ - is that the head does not lower as much as it might, so using small drills sometimes needs the work or vice raising on blocks. This happens because the machine is assumed to be secured to a solid bench top, so the elevating rack is not made to pass through the base.

That apart, I am very happy with my Meddings.

My T-nut sets are the common 3/8"-UNC ones readily available from our usual suppliers - but if you use them, be judicious as their load-bearing steps are a little bit too narrow for the machine's T-slots.

That big flat table is a good surface-plate too!

SillyOldDuffer11/01/2022 14:11:14
8667 forum posts
1961 photos

I prefer to start by identifying requirements. Then the specifications of candidates can be compared to eliminate any that aren't 'Fit for Purpose'. Finally from the shortlist of 'Fit for Purpose', I select 'Value for Money'. Value for Money isn't just the cheapest purchase price - include running costs, maintenance, transport, space needed etc.

I don't buy influenced by notions of 'quality', brand reputation, or country of origin etc because engineering decisions should be evidence based, not emotional or outdated.

On the face of it, the requirement isn't demanding - 'It will mainly be for small projects using timber and aluminium.' No mention of anything special, like lots of hard-work, or accuracy, or anything other than general purpose drilling. If so, almost any hobby drill would be fit for purpose, and value for money is easily achieved by buying cheap. Not cheap and nasty, but the drill only has to be 'good enough' for light duties.

If a hobby drill really does meet Martin's requirements in full, then the Meddings and Axminster both fail my Value for Money test. Don't buy either, and spend the money saved on other workshop goodies.

Assuming hard-work justifying a beefy drill is on Martin's agenda, the Meddings and Axminster are both candidates. Therefore, is there anything in their specifications suggesting one is more 'Fit for Purpose' than the other?

In terms of size, power, chuck and capacity the machines appear similar, but there is a difference that might matter. The Axminster supports speeds between 210 and 2580rpm, whereas the Meddings spins faster - 500 to 4000rpm. Thus the Meddings is tuned for small diameters and larger holes in fast materials like Wood or Aluminium, while the Axminster is tuned for drilling larger diameters in hard materials. So, a predominant need to drill lots of 1" holes in steel favours the Axminster, but wood, Aluminium, and small diameter holes in steel point to the Meddings.

Neither is fast enough to be good at drilling 1mm holes in Printed Circuit Board, but if that's an occasional need, 4000rpm does much better than 2580.

Is there a requirement to start work as soon as the drill arrives? If so, buying second-hand is a problem. No matter how reliable a tool was when new, second-hand machines have unknown history. Condition could be anything between 'as new' and 'badly worn with parts missing'. A second-hand Meddings is riskier than a new Axminster because it can't just be replaced if it turns out to be a lemon. Many Model Engineers enjoy repairing damaged machines, but this isn't acceptable when the owners requirement demands instant outputs. Then buying a new Axminster is safer, because it can be replaced or refunded.

Is there a requirement for a Milling Machine lurking in the background? If so, quite likely the money is better spent on that instead. Mills make excellent drills. Owning a WM18 mill (50-2500rpm) made my bench drill redundant. But note the mills RPM range - it's on the low side for some purposes.

If the only choice was Meddings versus Axminster, money was no object and I wasn't worried about second-hand, the Meddings looks good and, provided it's in reasonable nick, they have a solid reputation. It's also a good match to timber and Aluminium. In practice, I worry about second-hand, my needs are hobby-level, I don't drill much timber, and I have plenty of other things to spend money on. I'd almost certainly buy the Axminster, simply because it's a better match to my definition of 'Value for Money'.

Final point, apply the 'so what' test. Although thinking hard about Requirements is a good thing, it's all too easy to slip into 'Paralysis by Analysis', confused and unable to decide. As paralysis is caused by inexperience, better to get on with it. Nothing like using a machine in anger to find out what's wrong with it! I started with a mini-lathe, which turned out to be 'not quite good enough', but the learning experience it provided was worth every penny.


Martin Pyke11/01/2022 14:38:47
7 forum posts
5 photos

Thank you Dave for that comprehensive reply. Whichever drill I get will probably not get used much. I am recently retired, and each Christmas I run a light display in our garden for a charity. I want to, this year, build some moving displays, using low rev / high torque motors, and the drill will be used to fabricate frames and brackets etc.

My late Father was boatbuilder and he drilled into me (no pun intended) to always ‘buy the best tools for the job’, be it a plane, a hammer, or a set of spanners. I also sometimes think buying s/h is preferable as if you have to sell something at a later date, the loss is likely to be less.

I worked on the basis that most drills under £150 would not likely be of a high quality, and was originally thinking of spending around £300, but some of the reviews of drills, even in this price range, were not favourable. I then looked at the hobby Axminster drill at £340……and then looked at the trade version at £499, It is considerably heavier than the hobby version, so my warped mind came to the conclusion it must be more robust!

Then out of the blue this Meddings popped up, albeit an extra £200 over the cost of the Trade. Whilst I like the idea of an old solid machine, I am not an engineer, and if I get the Meddings home and it runs out of true, or the beings are noisy etc, it is not something I would repair myself, and I guess the cost of transporting the drill to and from a repair shop, together with the cost of the repair itself, could add up to another few hundred pounds.

If the Meddings was very cheap at £700, then I may take a punt, but if it is the ‘going’ price, I m not sure it is worth the risk over a machine with a 3 year warranty.

Edited By Martin Pyke on 11/01/2022 14:40:40

Martin King 211/01/2022 14:50:39
1005 forum posts
450 photos

The Meddings sounds a bit on the high side to me at £700, nice machine went at auction this week for £350 + "the drip" so around £400 or so.

May not have been like for like but a large difference. Is it warranted good?

Cheers, Martin

Colin Heseltine11/01/2022 14:59:32
658 forum posts
230 photos

To my mind that looks a very nice condition drill. If that has come from a college it does not look as though it has been abused. It has what appears to be the original hole in the table and one extra unintentional one. The paint looks in good condition with very few chips or dents. The chuck key is sitting horizontal which to my mind shows the chuck is not very worn, had it been the key would tend to droop in a worn hole. Style wise it looks quite recent. Current Meddings bench top drills are over £2100. You could check the serial number with them.

If it was me I would be going for it. It would be worth trying to get the price down a little if you could.


Neil Wyatt11/01/2022 15:38:25
19032 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

My only comment, is never trust someone who leaves the key in a chuck...


Former Member11/01/2022 15:50:15
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Mike Crossfield11/01/2022 15:55:51
275 forum posts
36 photos

My view is similar to that of Martin King. £700 is top money for a machine like this, the sort of price you might expect to pay to a dealer. Privately you might expect to pay half this price. I would also prefer a machine with a rack to raise and lower the table.


AJAX11/01/2022 21:24:24
382 forum posts
42 photos
Posted by Martin Pyke on 10/01/2022 22:45:50:

Could anyone please give me an idea of the value of this Meddings drill. It would a good condition and was fully serviced about 3 years ago when it was bought from a college. It is up for £700 and I am looking at this or a new Axminster Trade drill at £500.00

It will mainly be for small projects using timber and aluminium.

It may be decent quality, but I would not entertain the idea of spending £700 on this drill. If bought direct from a college, the buyer probably paid about £50 - £150. There should be considerable room for negotiation if you really want it.

Sold on eBay, it will not realise anything like £700. I sold a nice floor standing Meddings drill recently for about £300. It was an ex school/college machine and was nice to use but as others have noted the lack of a back gear limits usefulness when metal working.

Regarding ex school equipment, the annual service is typically a squirt of oil, check safety guards and interlocks and not much else. I doubt the"full service" was any more than a wipe over and possibly a new belt (though that's unlikely if school use was light).

I bought an Elliott progress drill a while back. Paid £25 and did it up and now it looks great. Not much different to what you have here. I suggest you have a look around and don't make any quick decisions.

AJAX11/01/2022 21:34:08
382 forum posts
42 photos

Almost forgot, I sold a bench mounted startrite drill last year. Single phase and probably very similar in build quality and performance to the Meddings. I paid £60. Sold on at a profit, but nothing like £700!!

Pete.11/01/2022 23:02:00
801 forum posts
241 photos

I actually have the same drill as that on my workbench, not anywhere near as nice though, but I did pay £52 for it.

I also had a Startrite I gave to my father, I'd say the Meddings is the better made machine generally, although the startrites go for silly cheap money and are excellent drills.

As for the service? service what? the plate on the side says "all ball races sealed for life"

Pete.11/01/2022 23:28:30
801 forum posts
241 photos

I've owned quite a few drills, 2 of them imports, one being one of those little £70 generic things you see with a multitude of different brand names plastered on, while it wasn't fantastic, it was fit for purpose, it's a drill delivered to your door for £70, I owned a medium size import industrial drill, an improvement but not in the same league as Meddings etc, if you appreciate well made stuff the Meddings is definitely worth £500 if there's nothing wrong with it.

Dennis R12/01/2022 00:48:40
72 forum posts
16 photos

Drill going cheap on Gumtree, no connection with seller,

not done it yet12/01/2022 08:22:56
6806 forum posts
20 photos

I would likely be leaning towards the Meddings and doing a bit of hard negotiating, if it fits your bill.

noel shelley12/01/2022 09:48:20
1339 forum posts
21 photos

From what the OP has said about usage the meddings whilst good is WAY to good for the need ! there are plenty of more than adequate machines about for1/3 of that price.I have used a rexxon (far eastern) for 25 years, never let me down ! I would not buy new ! If it's worn out it will show and what can go wrong apart from the motor. Good Hunting. Noel.

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