Kerry belt-driven bench and pillar drills were made, beginning in the late 1940s, as four models: the simple Cadet and Junior (shown here), the highly effective and compact Super 8 (shown here) with its wide speed range and the Drillmaster, a small machine that had a full five inches of spindle travel - almost certainly the longest of any made, world-wide, in its size range.The images below are high resolution and may take time to open
The Drillmaster was to be built in three distinct versions: an early Mk. 1 with rounded castings - instantly recognisable by the tall, bell-like spindle cover at the front of its belt guard - a later, more angular Mk. 2 machine of more conventional appearance and finally, a Mk. 3 of somewhat different design and construction, the Models QDM22 and QDM23. While most small bench and pillar drills have always had from two to four inches of spindle travel, the Kerry Drillmaster, from both early to late versions had five - making it an unusually attractive machine for the occasional long-hole drilling job.
Early Models of the Rounded Style:
Powered by either a single or three-phase 1425 r.p.m. motor, the drill had four speeds of 617, 1100, 1800 and 3360 r.p.m. - a range perhaps more suitable for drilling holes in wood rather than metal (though for smaller diameters in steel it would have been an ideal choice. Fitted as standard with a 1/2" capacity chuck on an (external) Jacobs taper, as an option the makers offered, at extra cost, a version with the spindle bored out to a No. 1 Morse taper. While a tilting round table some 11 inches in diameter was the regular fitment, for heavier work, or production use, a much larger 13.5" x 15" rectangular table with a coolant trough could also be ordered.
Priced, in 1951 at £32 : 10s : 0d complete with a chuck and 3-phase motor, by 1954 the price of a bench-mounted Drillmaster had risen to £ 41 : 16 : 0d making it, in relative terms an expensive buy for just £3 more would have secured a Myford ML7 lathe complete but less chuck and motor. The pillar version was listed at £48 : 19s : 0d, though with an extra £1 : 18s : 6d charged for single-phase electrics. The catalogue extracts below give the Drillmaster's Mk. 1's full specification and the various options and accessories available.
Later Mk. 2 Models with Angular Styling
By the early 1960s, the Mk. 2 machines had been introduced as two models, these being listed simply as their drilling capacity in steel: the Drillmaster 1/2" and Drillmaster 5/8" - the former with a fixed Jacobs 1/2" chuck and the latter with its spindle nose machined with a No. 2 Morse taper. Driven by a 0.5 h.p. 1500 r.p.m. 3-phase motor the four available speeds of the 1/2" were close to those of the Mk. 1 at 500, 960, 1720 and 3000 r.p.m. while the 5/8", with its greater capacity, ran more slowly at 300, 625, 1140 and 2200 r.p.m.
Like the Mk. 1 the new models were available as both bench and pillar models, though the latter could be had in two forms, one with a plain steel tube socketed into the base and another of the box-column type with a long cast-iron support bolted to the base into which a much shorter steel tube was socketed.
Fitted as standard to all versions was a square table with a working surface of 11 inches by 11 inches that could be tilted 90° each side of horizontal. Available at extra cost was a tilting round table and a larger, much heavier rectangular type with four T-slots and a coolant trough around its edge.
By the late 1960s a third model, with a lathe-like backgear speed reduction built into its head had been added to the range, this being given the model designation Drillmaster 3/4". Using the same system of vertically disposed gears as used in the Company's long-established Super 8 - and the same 1/2 h.p. motor as fitted to the two smaller capacity models - the two speed ranges were, in backgear, 80, 150, 265 and 430 r.p.m. and in open drive, direct by belt, 570, 1050, 1860 and 3000 r.p.m. However, much through the addition of speed-reducing gearing and the vast improvement in low-speed torque it provided was welcome, its introduction was well behind that of competing drills such as the superb Meddings Pacera MB and MF models and the equally useful Fobco 7/8 and 10/8, Boxford PD8 and Progress 2G and 2GS.
In the early 1970s, there was a largely cosmetic rearrangement of the model designations, the drills becoming the QDM500, QDM 626 and QDM750. However, one useful change was to fit 3/4 h.p. motors to the two larger models - though the number and range of speeds for all versions remained unchanged.
Mk. 3 Drillmasters
Finally, in the 1970s by which time the various members of the Kerry Machine Tool Group had been taken over by Hartle Machinery International, two new Drillmaster models were introduced, the QDM22 QDM 23. Both, which might be described as Mk. 3 versions of the original, were of the same basic design and capacity with No. 2 Morse taper spindles and their throat increased to a more useful 10 inches (from the 7.75" of the Mk. 2 and first QDM Drillmaster). However, the drive systems varied, the QDM22 having an epicyclic reduction gearbox built into the front 5-step V-pulley, the arrangement giving a total of ten speeds that spanned 50 to 3500 r.p.m. (the Startrite Mercury and Speedway drills had also been available with such a fitment, but built externally around the spindle nose). However, neat though the Kerry arrangement was, it must have been a costly design to manufacture and the drill is likely to have been short-lived, being replaced by the QDM22 with conventional 5-step "A" section pulleys and a 2-speed electric motor. The result was a slight compression of the speed range, this now running from 85 to 2800 r.p.m. and, of course, the unavoidable loss of the greatly amplified torque that had been available from the mechanical gearbox.
Links to information about other makes of similar drills:
For a high-quality, heavily-built, versatile yet compact drill with a wide speed range and torque-enhancing reduction gearing within the head the choice is simple, one of the following: the superb Meddings Pacera MB and MF models and the equally useful Fobco 7/8 and 10/8, Boxford PD8, Progress 2G and 2GS and late models of the Kerry Drillmaster 3/4". Also in contention would be the rarely-found 10-speed Startrite Mercury and Speedway Models with their epicyclic gearbox mounted around the spindle nose. All makes and models were available in both bench and pillar types with some of the latter having more strongly constructed "box column" supports in cast iron.
Standard bench and pillar types
For a lighter, less expensive type - the ones with head-mounted reduction gearing always command a premium price - the same makers listed above also offered a range of direct-drive models, some with "fixed" chucks, others with No. 2 Morse taper spindles - the latter, of course, being by far the more preferable of the two. Some makers also listed - usually starting during the late 1940s and continuing into the 1950s - a range of less expensive models such as the ones named "Junior" by Progress and Kerry and "Bantam" by Startrite
Of all the various models in this "standard" range probably the best is the neat and compact Fobco "STAR" with its solid-steel column, high build quality and smooth-running performance. It's an easy drill to rebuild and restore to as-new condition and a good range of parts is still available from firstname.lastname@example.org