Manufactured in Switzerland, the BD-40E co-ordinate-table, double-column knee-type drilling machine was a product of S.A.Fritz Moser Ltd. of Oberdiessback, near Berne. During the 1940s and 1950s Moser offered as many as thirteen models of drill with capacities in steel from 13 to 50 mm (0.5 to 2-inch). The BD-40 (in production during the early 1950s) was intended as a general-purpose machine with a range of speeds and a capacity that allowed a wide range of ordinary workshop tasks to be carried out including tapping, precision boring, reaming and light milling operations.
A heavy machine - it weighed close to one ton and was capable of drilling holes up to 40 mm in diameter under continuous operation - the BD-40E had a hollow main column in steel braced by a second column at the rear that added a great deal of rigidity. Mk. 1 models, built up to an unconfirmed date - but thought to have been 1952 - had a main column 160 mm in diameter while the later Mk. 2 version (with some dimensional and capacity changes) had this increased to 170 mm.
Built into the ventilated head casting was a 3-phase motor running at either 960 or 1450 r.p.m. with the drive passing, by V-belt, to a 6-speed gearbox. Instead of the expected and simple splash lubrication system one might have expected, the box was fitted with a pressure oil feed from a pump mounted on the drive spindle with the lubricant level and its circulation visible through a sight glass. When fitted with the slower motor the six spindle speeds were 40, 88, 163, 208, 470 and 820 r.p.m. and, with the faster, 62, 130, 245, 328, 693 and 1255 r.p.m. The makers also offered, at extra cost, a 2-speed pole change motor that gave the full 12-speed range from 40 to 1255 r.p.m.
Made from a heat-treated and ground chrome-nickel steel, the 35 mm diameter spindle ran in high-precision, adjustable taper roller and radial bearings. Normally supplied with a No. 4 Morse taper nose, customers could also (though probably unwisely) choose from others as well. With a diameter of 90 mm, the quill had a travel of 180 mm by both hand and power, the former using a 4-arm capstan handle for normal feeds and by a handwheel working through worm-and-wheel gearing for fine. Driven from the main spindle drive by spur gears, the four rates of power down-feed were 0.10. 0.15. 0.20 and 0.25 mm/rev - these figures being changed on late models to 0.07, 0.10. 0.20 and 0.40 mm/rev. Fitted as standard was a depth drilling scale connected to an automatic disengage for the power down feed.
Two tables were offered, the Type KT, a rugged rectangular type with a clamping area of 650 x 300 mm and a feed longitudinally of 500 mm and in traverse 275 mm (increased to 340 mm on the Mk. 2). Feed screws and dials were metric as standard, the micrometer graduations reading to 0.10 mm. The other table, Type UT, was a "Universal" rectangular type with a clamping area of 450 x 400 mm; this did not have a screw-driven travel but was mounted on 340 mm long prismatic guides along which it could be slid by hand towards and away from the column and also swivelled through 180° each side of central.
Both tables were carried on the same knee assembly, this able to be swung around the column and lifted and lowered by rack-and-pinion gearing connected to a long crank handle. With the table lowered as far as possible a maximum clearance of 750 mm was available between it and the spindle nose and, when swung out of the way to expose the T-slotted baseplate with its 500 x 400 mm clamping surface, a clearance of 1140 mm.
On Mk. 1 models the throat (spindle axis to the inside of the column) was 360 mm and a more useful 405 mm on the Mk. 2.
Overall dimensions of the Mk. 1 were, approximately, 1350 mm deep front to back, 900 mm wide and 2100 mm tall and, on the Mk. 2, 1470, 900 and 2115 mm respectively..