Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Buck Rogers hand drills

There was two models almost identical, except for their sizes made. The No 104 which has a 1/4 in chuck and the No 308 which sport a 3/8 sized chuck.

Pic from the EBay listing that I won :-) it is a No 104

The design originated from Francesco Collura, who is said to have used the No 5 as a starting point.
The fully enclosed mechanism gives it a very clean line, and perhaps more importantly, keeps the mechanism clean for a long smooth running life. If you uses hand drills, you should really give this design a try, it is one smooth running operator.

Design patent No D140,811 for a hand drill assigned to Francesco Collura on 10 Apr 45.

This was not the first enclosed gear model that MF made, they had the model 666 breast drill in 1938

The Number 104 was produced from 1949 to 1960, and the model 308 from 1949 to 1957.
There are both single speed drills and have a hollow handle to keep the loose drill bits inside.

They both came originally with a full set of 8 smooth shank, fluted bits, same cutting geometry as used on the push drill, the Z-bit. Yes, I am missing 2 bits :-( 

Although equipped with the standard 8 drill points set (Z bit), the chuck use regular twist bits up to their stated capacity No 104 (1/4) and No 308 (3/8). The hollow handle is deep enough to hold regular jobber length twist bits.

I do not know if it was ever produced, but Huxtable did a rendering of a similar looking hand drill for Craftsman. It is obviously based on Collura original design. MF did manufactured tools especially for the Craftsman and Dunlop name for Sears. Some are straight copy on existing MF design, some are unique to Sears. (See the Post on Push drills )

The body is cast aluminum with a baked on grey enamel, this gives it a light feeling versus the usual cast iron frame. The red handle is made of Eastman Red Tenite. The enclosed gears  run on oilite bronze bearings and have provision for oiling.

Screw is loosen or removed to add a drop of light oil.
Shown opened for the first time since I own it. Interior is still very clean a testament to 
the enclosed mechanism. Gears are machined cast iron and steel 

Another advantage of this slick totally enclosed design is that you cannot pinch your fingers anywhere, bonus!

The chuck is a steel 3 jaws spring type with a deep groove pattern on the exterior shell, making it easy to tighten. 

I keep a dedicated Lipped Bradpoint set of 12 from 5/64 to 1/4 for use with it.

When using, I usually run the Lipped brad point bit CCW to first score the perimeter of the hole, then I start drilling CW. It makes for cleaner entry holes.

I own a few more hand drills, MF No 1, No 2, No 5s (3), but this No 104 is my go to drill

Bob, the old drill Sgt

CFOCS stands for Canadian Forces Officers Candidates School
HUAA (Heard Understood And Acknowledged, Bet you didn't known HUAA (often misspelled) stood for something, did you ? :-)


  1. Millers Falls made some good tools and I never gave them a second look. I guess stanley had my undivided attention and I wassn't aware of any other tool makers. I like the look of the Buck Rogers line but I'm not a fan of plastic on my tools. I equate that with cheap. Even a crappy piece of wood would be a better choice in my eyes.
    Of course I wouldn't want to piss off the senior drill instructor by having a contrary opinoion. Go MF.

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