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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Reliance, Draper, General, Blue-Point,
      Spiralux, Atlas & Picador Drill Grinding Jigs

      Reliance Drill Grinding Jig Instructions


      Long a popular - if frequently misunderstood and badly used tool - the drill grinding jig was introduced during the early 1920s and built, in its Reliance form, in three sizes: the No. 1 to take drills from 1/16" to 1/2", the No. 2 for drills from 1/4" to 1" and the No. 3, this being able to handle drills from 1/4" to 2". However, a fourth type appears to be missing from the sales literature, this version having a maximum capacity of 11/2". Of all the types, the most likely to be encountered is the No. 1, with the No. 3 rarely found. The unit was intended to be clamped to, or mounted alongside, a suitable powered grinding wheel - though the writer remembers, when a boy, his next door neighbour (a skilled die sinker) having one attached to a little hand-cranked wheel. Reliance also offered, during the 1950s, a complete self-contained unit mounted on a double-ended grinder, this assembly also including a point thinning attachment.
      One especially well-made example was that sold by the American Atlas Company, it first appearing in their "All-models Catalog" for circa 1935 (the second edition of such). Though the attachment followed an established design as developed by Reliance, it was offered in just a single size designed to sharpen drills from 3/32 to 1/2" in diameter. Also branded for the Atlas-manufactured "Craftsman" range,  although limited in its capacity, the Atlas had one rather superior feature, "micrometer" adjustment of the feed gauge that ensured each lip was ground accurately. 
      More recent models, from the late 1950s onwards, include the English-made Picador and two another very similar die-cast examples, currently sold in the UK as the "Draper" and "Spiralux" - the latter marketed for many years in the United States as the "General" and "Blue Point" (the latter a lower-cost branding of Snap-On). It is almost certain that the unit has also been sold, and continues to be available, in various unbranded or oddly-named forms. All the American types appear, apart from their price, to have been identical and are often discovered (as are other brands, in other countries) complete with their original box and in almost unused condition?
      Although the "General", "Blue Point", "Picador", "Draper" and "Spiralux" all work (or fail to work) in exactly the same way as the older types, they looks almost toy-like in their construction and compare badly to the all-steel and well-engineered original. However, when employed skilfully - and with a full understanding of the principles involved - excellent results can be obtained, though it is all to easy to make a complete hash of the job and give up in despair.
      A very experienced American user points out that:-
      the angle of the pivot pin differed from model to model - some being aligned vertically while others were at an angle, the latter introduced as being un-adjustable and hence more suitable for the amateur market. With a vertical pin, the cutting edges of the drill require aligning at the "5 to 5 o'clock" position to produce the correct back-off angle, though by twisting the drill slightly this setting can be altered. With the pin at an angle the cutting edges need to be set vertically and so the back-off angle is, essentially, fixed; if the drill is subsequently twisted in its holder, unpredictable effects result, believed to do with the diameter of the drill being ground. In general, these devices seem to work better when used with a narrow cup wheel dressed flat. When employed as shown in the instructions (on the side of a normal grinding wheel) a hollow wear pattern is eventually formed that destroys accuracy. 
      An important tip is to set the angle and projection first, adjust the registration pointer and end-stop and then remove and replace the drill. If it goes in easily, sharpening can commence - if not, adjust as needed, take out - and try again. The "in-and-out" method  guarantees a symmetrical point because the drill insertion method is the same for both. However, adjusting, grinding and then turning over will tend to produce asymmetrical results.

      If any reader has another make of drill grinder of the same pattern, the writer would be interested to hear from you. 
      Pictures below are high resolution and may be slow to load

      Missing from the sales literature appears to be this model with a maximum capacity of 1.5 inches. Each item is stamped with 3142 and one part inscribed " RELIANCE" -  there are no other marks. This version also has an additional rest (again, marked 3142) that can be slid along the round support arm.

      Self-contained Reliance unit from the 1950s

      Atlas drill-grinding attachment. The same unit was also branded as a Craftsman (for the Sears Company), "General Hardware Co." and "BluePoint", a low-cost Snap-On brand. All appear, from American sources, to have been, apart from their price, identical


      The drill grinder branded for sale in the USA as the "General" - identical models being sold in the UK as Picador, Draper and Spiralux

      The "General" - an identical model was sold in the UK branded as a "Draper"



      A manual for the Atlas drill grinder can be found here

      Atlas Machine Tools Home Page

      Reliance, Draper, General, Blue-Point,
      Spiralux, Atlas & Picador Drill Grinding Jigs
      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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