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Meddings pillar drill value

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John Haine12/01/2022 09:49:10
4622 forum posts
273 photos

You can buy a small mill for that price!

Nigel McBurney 112/01/2022 10:46:04
999 forum posts
3 photos

I just looked at the Aminster drill on their website,the drill price quoted there is £499 there is vat to be added so it comes out at near £600 ,The Meddings being ex university is there vat to be added to the £700 ? Apart from the price I would go for the Meddings of course we do not know if Meddings still make drills or just design them and source them from other countries .Industrially Meddings had a good reputation, regarding the specifications the Meddings spec is very close to the spec of the popular Fobco drill and both of these drills are very good for a drill with 1/2 inch capacity max in steel and would be reliable, The axminster drill has a higher capacity spec ie 5/8 in drilling in steel with appropriate reduction in speed which is more useful to the model engineer,vehicle restorer etc particularly when it comes to reaming. Now I have owned from new (1967) a Fobco which is very close to the Meddings spec and just over £52 at that date 2.5 times my monthly salary at that time,so relatively expensive,though it has done a lot of work without any problems which was expected with UK built machine tools, though there was the 500 rpm low speed problem which was too fast for reaming,I later cured this by buying a used though in very good condition 1 inch capacity Meddings pillar drill ,back in 1994 which again is very well made. Now from reading comments on this site and others the problem with far eastern machines is issues with motors and switchgear and crap bearings, plus table deflection when puling hard on the downfeed handle but on the other hand these drills are a lot cheaper and for the light work that it is to be used for a cheap drill would be adequate, some owners have found that despite a few rattls they keep on drilling others with more serious problem have been thrown in the bin. I do think the Meddings is expensive but will do a good job, The axminster at £600 does offer a lot more spindle capacity,which can be essential at times, I would advise look around for a Fobco ,a good product though older ones may have some wear though as you admit your experience is limited the guarantee with the Axminster drill may be more attractive.

Former Member12/01/2022 10:57:02
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Nicholas Wheeler 112/01/2022 11:58:34
906 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by John Haine on 12/01/2022 09:49:10:

You can buy a small mill for that price!

But they're different types of tools, and are built for very different use:

the drill here was intended for industry, to be bolted to a bench, used for hours every day and every few years get a new belt, a squirt of oil and the motor blown out. That example is a bit expensive, but it needs nothing and buying it could save lots of time finding a cheaper one.

the £700 mill is going to be a lightweight machine for hobby use, where annual usage is often be counted in a few hours - like mine.

Pete.12/01/2022 12:11:04
793 forum posts
228 photos
Posted by br on 12/01/2022 10:57:02:
Posted by John Haine on 12/01/2022 09:49:10:

You can buy a small mill for that price!

That sounds a much better bet to me.

Quill stroke 24mm

John Haine12/01/2022 15:13:42
4622 forum posts
273 photos

I was only making the point that the price seems excessive given what people have paid for similar machines, and the fact that something which will do a lot of what the drill does as well as milling costs not much more.

Martin Pyke12/01/2022 16:01:02
7 forum posts
5 photos

Hi All,

Thanks to all for your advice and opinions. I did contact the guy selling the Meddings but he would not move on the price. It would also cost me £50 to get someone to collect it for me. I was also a little concerned that if there were any issues with it when I got it home, I would not be technical enough to fix them myself. TBH, I do not think a milling machine would be of benefit to me.

Although I m sure some will feel I have made the wrong decision, I have decided to go for the Axminster trade drill, and will put the £250 saved towards a Makita plunge saw and track, which is also on my list.

Very many thanks to all….


Former Member12/01/2022 16:10:33
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Former Member12/01/2022 16:10:34
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Martin Pyke12/01/2022 16:35:31
7 forum posts
5 photos


Unfortunately this drill is their own brand, so is not available elsewhere (unless under a different name).

I do agree about shopping around as the Makita set I want varies between £450 and £600 at different dealers.

SillyOldDuffer12/01/2022 17:09:48
8469 forum posts
1885 photos

Posted by Martin Pyke on 12/01/2022 16:01:02:


Although I m sure some will feel I have made the wrong decision, I have decided to go for the...


Of course they will, but they're thinking about their needs, not yours! Your decision is perfectly reasonable.

You dad meant well but his advice to buy the best is dubious today. While it made sense for a mid-20th century boatbuilder to buy expensive tools in expectation of 40 years hard work, it's not sensible for a newly retired gent doing occasional light drilling to spend big money on a tool that will last longer than he will. For what you're doing, it's likely a mid-range Axminster drill kept in a dry workshop will still be going strong in 2062. A lightly used Meddings might last a century or more. We won't!

Over the last 30 years, there's been a tool revolution. In the good old days cheap tools were almost always rubbish, and good tools were costly. Now we have inexpensive mid-range tools, designed and built for moderate duty and treated as consumables. Even the pros buy them because it really hurts when expensive kit is lost, damaged or stolen! Purchasing isn't as simple as your dad imagined.

End of the day, the owner has to be happy. I don't think you'll regret the £600 Axminster unless you become a bean counter. A management accountant would weep over the cost per hole! Amortizing the purchase cost only:

  • One hundred holes cost £6 each
  • One thousand holes cost 60p each
  • Ten thousand holes cost 6p each
  • One hundred thousand holes cost 0.6p each

For anyone interested in buying a new Meddings, here's Merlin Industrial's online shop. Including VAT, the L1 is £3980. Bean counters get excited about costs like that because tools have to pay for themselves and then make a profit. A new L1 has to drill 663,333 holes to get the cost down to 0.6p each.


Martin Pyke12/01/2022 17:20:46
7 forum posts
5 photos

Cheers Dave. Actually the Axminster includes vat at £499, so slightly less per hole 😂

I have a son who will likely take all my tools on my demise, so they will hopefully not be wasted. We are fortunate to live in the property Dad built in 1953, so his former garage is now my workshop.


Mark Rand12/01/2022 19:20:50
1236 forum posts
28 photos

I would say that £700 is too much, but then a new Meddings LB1 is about £2,500 so maybe inflation has caught up with me and passed me by.

Michael Gilligan12/01/2022 19:57:58
20057 forum posts
1040 photos
Posted by Mark Rand on 12/01/2022 19:20:50:

I would say that £700 is too much, but then a new Meddings LB1 is about £2,500 so maybe inflation has caught up with me and passed me by.


I would probably agree, Mark … but having seen opening question as a simple either/or choice, I responded accordingly.

The discussion broadened somewhat after that.


Neil Wyatt12/01/2022 21:05:14
18990 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

I'd put it like this: if you only ever drive to the shops, a Rolls Royce is a poor choice of transport, even if you get a used one.

John Doe 216/01/2022 14:19:33
75 forum posts
6 photos

My worries about that is how to know if the cheap-but-new machine has decent accuracy, repeatability and solidness in use. Or will it suffer chatter or sloppy angles?

The accuracy and solidness of tables and mortice guides on some machines in a certain Machine Workshop chain seem a bit Mickey Mouse.

Also, is modern cheap equipment made of decent grade metals, motors, bearings etc, or will it flash-rust in minutes in your garage?

How does one confirm the quality of modern cheap tools?

HOWARDT16/01/2022 15:17:20
900 forum posts
39 photos

I have a Rexon pillar drill, bought about thirty five years ago, I think from Axminster at a wood working show that used to run at the Warwickshire Event Centre. It probably cost around £75 then and it is still used today. My philosophy is unless you are going to be on a machine for an extended time there is little use throwing money at it. If you are worried about accuracy then a pillar drill is not the tool to use unless it is used with jigs and fixtures,

Mike Crossfield16/01/2022 18:04:49
275 forum posts
36 photos

By coincidence I just noticed that there is a Fobco Star drill for sale by Bede Machine Tools, advertised on the HomeWorkshop website. Looks decent enough in the photos. £275, which is more like the sort of price I would expect, and pretty good for a trader. Even includes a drill vice.

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