Pocket Hole Machine Maintenance

Slow operation and a gravely, rough, grinding sound could be caused by junk in the gears. July 28, 2012

I have a Kreg Forman pocket hole machine that I have used for the last eight years. I have noticed that over the last two years it has gotten slower in drilling the holes, even with new bits. In the last few months it has gotten louder. This machine is the pneumatic version. I have always kept the machine oiled good also. I took the cover off today to see if I could figure out why it was making the noise and turned the bit by hand and it didn't turn freely, sort of like some of the gear teeth were broken, kind of gravelly. I'm surprised at this because I have never been hard on this machine.

Anyway, I'm either going to have to buy a new motor or upgrade to their bigger floor model machine. Do any of you have the bigger Kreg machines? Pneumatic or electric? How do they perform compared to the Forman? I also considered a Castle, but everyone that has them has had to replace motors too, so I don't think I will go that route.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
I have the bigger floor model. I bought it used and have been very happy with it. It is a workhorse and very fast. I also have a Foreman and mine is not that old, but I have noticed the same thing. I think it is a bearing that goes bad. I am going to call them on Monday. They have been very good about helping me in the past.

From contributor M:
I would call Kreg first. I have never had a problem they didn't go out of their way to fix. I would say they are one of the best companies I have ever dealt with.

From contributor K:
I bought my Foreman at the Atlanta show when it was introduced, I think around 2001-2002 ish. I started noticing the same thing after a couple of years so I took the drill motor apart and cleaned all of the gunk out. It can be tricky to get apart but once you figure it out, it's really a very simple machine. I still don't understand how sawdust can get inside the drill, but it does. Once I cleaned it out, it worked like new. I've had to clean it 3 times since I got it.

From contributor P:
Mine is about 5-6 years old (pneumatic) and doing the same thing. It has the recommended PSI and the clamp sometimes goes up slowly. When I called they said to clean it as mentioned above, but I didn't tear it down - just the screens and checked all fittings for leaks. Looks like I need to tear it down.

From the original questioner:
Thanks contributor K. I hadn't thought about that. I would imagine there are lots of particles that come through the air line as well that clog things up. I'll give it a good cleaning and see what happens. I'd say after eight years of use it is due.

From contributor L:
"I would imagine there are lots of particles that come through the air line..."

Shouldn't be! Compressed air- for long tool life. Drain tank daily, keep intake filters clean (optionally, use an air to air pre-cooler), refrigerated or desiccant air drier, coalescing filter, regulator then to the shop distribution loop, all air drops take off the top of the air line, drains at low points. Clean, dry air!