Drill press illumination

Restoring illumination to an industrial drill press.

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This drill press is a workhorse. Powerful, accurate, gear-driven. But it is installed in a rather dark corner, so set-up can be rather harder than it need to be.

It used to have a light installed, but the model of bulb is unknown and probably unobtainable.

I retrofitted a salvaged LED array light.

The drill press is being retrofitted with an LED light array. 

This array was salvaged from an Ultratec Multifunction LED Emergency/Camping Lamp. This is a very poor piece of equipment: fragile, and without a proper charger for the 6V lead-acid battery, so it didn't last long. 

I'm using the large lamp array for the light source. I cut it the main reflector out on a circular saw. This gave me a thin, flat lighting unit that will fit inside the light compartment. 

I'll be using the 'battery charger' from the lamp as power supply for the light. 

Boorlig Kragbron.dsn

This is the circuit diagram I traced of the emergency light. The light is supposed to stay plugged into a wall socket. This is supposed to 'charge' the battery through diode D6, while the powered relay keeps the light switched off. When the power drops, the relay closes, and the lights are powered from the battery.

dsn - 46.53 kB - 12/30/2017 at 21:29


  • 1 × Ultratec Multifunction LED Emergency/Camping Lamp AC/DC This is a totally under-engineered emergency light. There's no real charger in it, only a full-wave rectifier. This, of course destroys the battery.

  • Done

    Niel Malan01/06/2018 at 20:46 0 comments

    This was not the way it was supposed to be. 

    The project is complete, but it is more of a hack than I wanted it to be. 

    First the success: There's light!

    Now the ugly:

    The light is no longer powered by a sleek, single-purpose box, mounted on a bespoke bracket, but a wall-wart cable-tied in place. 

    The change was not of my choice. This morning I went to do the final connections. It all went well, and just as I was to demonstrate the final product, a final flick of the switch failed to produce light. Upon inspection it proved that the fuse and blown and the transformer had gone open-circuit.

    (I guess the fact that the fuse failed to protect the transformer is just another indication of the poor design of the UltraTec products.)

    Here's another view of the light in working order:

    And here's the dinky little switch that powers the whole thing:

    The client made the new cover for the light, out of polycarbonate sheet. In case it needs to be replaced there's an extra, and also templates for making more, should the need arise. 

  • Progress

    Niel Malan01/03/2018 at 17:53 0 comments

    The most important progress today was that Jacques made a bracket to mount the box on the drill press. 

    Here's the bracket with the box:

    Here's the box mounted on its bracket:

    I've removed the power connections from the lamp socket, and added a chocolate block. 

    I also did some sculpting on the array reflector, to let it fit better in the space available. 

  • Indicator

    Niel Malan01/02/2018 at 16:59 0 comments

    Today I soldered up the indicator LED. 

    I made the holes in the Veroboard for feeding the wires through with the Dremel tool. This is something I can get used to. 

    I think I'm going to to glue it all into place using hot melt glue. 

    Here's the bottom side. Smartphone cameras suck at focusing. Also, I suck at cleaning up used fragments of Veroboard.

  • Box

    Niel Malan01/01/2018 at 18:29 0 comments

    I'm repurposing an enclosure I obtained from a research institution that shall remain nameless.

    I discovered the bonus of using a Dremel tool to make holes in a circuit board. Quick, easy, and accurate. I made a pair of slots to anchor the DC output cable.

    I'm using a 3-phase 4-core cable to carry AC to the PS, and 6V DC back to the light.

    Although it will be rather invisible, I'm going to put an indicator on the front panel. The wire is rather fragile, so I think I'll invest in a bit of Veroboard to make the connection. 

  • Proof of concept

    Niel Malan12/30/2017 at 21:43 0 comments

    Today's mission was to do a proof of concept test. Will the light I have actually be bright enough to be useful?

    Here's the light compartment:

    I made a lash-up of the LED array inside the compartment, and got some feedback from users. It seems the light is quite usable. 

    Tomorrow I can start boxing up the power supply. After that I can connect the light and the power supply. 

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