The Italian manufacturer “F.lli Rosa” also known as “Trapani Rosa” made some of the best drill press over the twentieth century. The one I got is the popular RS1, it’s a precision drill press, also know as “sensitive” drill press used for precision mechanical work to drill up to 10mm holes. This tool is huge and very heavy (95kg – 210lb) considering the size of holes it was made to drill and the relatively short travel, this makes for a very rigid, stable and precise drill press. While restoring this beauty I was really impressed by the quality of every single component, all parts have a perfect fit with eachother, most of the sliding surfaces are ground or scraped and fortunatly, since it was decently greased over the years, no fasteners where sized at all and it all came apart very nicely.
Over the 50/60 years of his life this tool present a couple of small modification:
I am pretty sure the handle it’s not original (since the shaft has threads on the end) and the one I have here looks like a file handle; looking at photos online it looks like the original had a black ball as handle.
Then the switch has been changed at some point since it does not fit the opening on the side and the holding plate (that I remade off camera) was hand cut and poorly made.
Finally the pulley on the spindle is not original since it only has two stages instead of three.
This last difference would have bored me way more if I hadn’t planned to use a vdf to drive the three phase 380v motor.
Speaking of the vfd and the motor, you may have noticed I didn’t mounted the vfd properly at the end. Reason being the motor tends to get pretty hot (60/70°c) after just a couple of minutes of running over the vfd. I haven’t figured out why yet. Voltage and frequency are set correctly and the motor runs at the appropriate speed for the delta connection I used (2200rpm) but it still runs too hot. It might be that this older kind of motor is not isolated well enough for a vfd use. I still have plenty alternatives to make the drill run off this motor like using capacitors or other kind of phase converter before investing into a re-winding or even worst a motor swap. We will see, I’ll get around that soon as I really want to use this drill press from now on in my projects!
Finally, for those that always ask about cost and price:
– Bought the drill press for 150€ and spent at least 50€ for transport (driving and road cost).
– Replacing all ball bearings was cheaper than I expected at 35€ since all bearing are common.
– Paint stripper, hammered paint and hammered solvent came in at around 30€
– VFD bought here for 90€ (yes, affiliate link)
– Hard to quantify consumables but I guess at least 50€
So yeah, not cheap at all at the end but it’s worth it for a quality tool like this, it would sell for 500€ easily now, I have no doubt. Of course I would never sell this now, I love it too much!

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