Axminster Trade Series ATDP16B bench pillar drill

Accurate and steady in use, this solidly built bench pillar drill from Axminster is an overall good performer

Few people that I know have had the chance to set up a complete workshop from scratch; for most of us it’s a gradual business, with kit and tools being slowly acquired on a basis of need. When it comes to machines, a drill press is often seen as something of a luxury, and can generally be found way down the list of necessary items, sometimes not featuring on it at all. I’ve long been in this category, and for quite a while now I’ve been making do with Roy the landlord’s pillar drill, an oily upright veteran that lives in a dark corner of his poorly-lit garage. Imagine my delight, then, to be the (albeit temporary) owner of a brand-new bench-top version – one of Axminster’s finest. My first reaction on taking delivery of the sizeable package was one of surprise – it was very heavy indeed, and surely a hopeful sign of a nice solid machine. What with flat-packs and similar these days, most readers will be familiar with the principle of self-assembly, and unless you’re buying second-hand stuff, you’re always going to have to do a lot of the work yourself.


Working at a steady pace, my assembly session took a little over an hour. Everything went together in a straightforward manner, helped to a large degree by the lavishly photographed instruction manual. The base and column are the first pieces to fit together, followed by the drill table mounting arm and the rise and fall worm gear and drive. This I found a little coarse but once greased up it seemed OK. The drill table is easy enough to fit, and once there, can be tilted via its arm to set it at an angle. Sensibly enough this is secured by a hefty 24mm bolt, but you will need a ring spanner to tighten it as nothing else will fit. I checked and adjusted my table to dead zero, and that is where I plan to leave it.

Both the drill table and the base are grooved to enable work supports or similar to be bolted down securely, and the work table has a similar arrangement machined into its generous surface. The heaviest part of the machine is easily the drill head, and positioning it onto the top of the column on your own is virtually impossible, so don’t even think about it – just get someone else to give you a hand.

Pulleys and belts are easy enough to set a speed



Chuck cap\type: 3-16mm keyless

Chuck travel: 80mm

Diameter of column: 70mm

Drilling capacity: 16mm

Morse taper: 2MT

Weight: 63kg

Overall L × W × H: 640 × 370 × 1,000mm

Power: 550W

Rating: Trade

Speed range: (12) 210-2,580rpm

Spindle taper: 2MT

Throat: 165mm

Price: £464.95



Easy to operate

Good performer


One or two rough edges

RATING: 4.5 out of 5


Read the full review in The Woodworker July 2017

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