Drill presses – Q&A

 

What are drill presses used for?

 

Drill presses can be used for a wide variety of tasks in the workshop. The most common (and obvious) one is, of course, to bore holes in a workpiece and to fasten 2 materials together with a fastener. These 2 tasks can also be done by a handheld drill, but the drill press does them more accurately, faster, and in a way that makes it safer and easier for the operator. These advantages are mainly the result of the drill press being fixed to a stand or table, or bolted to the floor. Because the angle of the spindle is also fixed to the table, boring with greater accuracy and consistency becomes possible, the motors used can be more powerful and heavier than in hand-held drills, while the work can be secured on the table.  Drill presses are made for home use, woodworking and metalworking alike. By attaching other accessories, the drill press can be transformed in a tool that sands and polishes as well.

 

Can the drill press be used as a milling machine?

Yes, the drill press can be a lighter, space-saving and less expensive alternative for a milling machine.  A mill drill adds the X/Y coordinate ability of the milling machine’s table to a drill press and uses a locking collet to make sure the spindle cannot fall by the horizontal force exercised on the bit. However, a drill press will not perform as well as a milling machine, as it will provide you with less accurate work and it will take you longer to finish your tasks.

 

How to remove the drill press chuck?

The chuck of the drill press, needed to hold the drill bit, can be removed in 2 ways. The first method is named the ‘chuck key method’, the second is the ‘wood piece method’.

For the first method, you will need a chuck removal key.  You start with lowering the quill & check of your drill press to their lowest limit by pulling down the handle. By rotating the quill lock, you keep the mechanism in a lower position, while you search for the vertical slot on the shaft of the quill. After inserting your chuck key in the slot, you tap it at the end with a mallet, until the chuck comes out of the spindle.

The ‘wood piece method’ does not require any keys, just a strong wooden piece of the right length and width. You hold this piece in a downward angle above the chuck and hit it in swift downward strokes with a hammer. If done in the right way, keeping as much a downward angle as possible to prevent damaging the spindle, this should remove your drill press chuck.

 

How to make a drill press stand?

A self-made drill press stand can be very simple or more complex, depending on your needs. Mostly, what you need to do is attach your drill press to a wooden cabinet. This is done quite easily: raise the height of the cabinet by putting it on a frame and then bolt the drill press to a wood sheet on top. In any case: make sure you use sturdy materials that can hold the weight of your drill press and withstand its vibrations when you work. You can add wheels to your drill press support so that you can transport it to various places easily.

 

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Is a Drill Press a Worthwhile Investment?

 

If you have your own small shop where you like fiddling with woodworking projects, you most probably have a bunch of tools that help you with processing wood pieces. A drill press is quite a common piece of equipment for woodworkers, yet not everyone has it in their shop. What could be the reason? Is a drill press worth investing in it? How useful is such a piece of equipment? Such questions are totally legit and you should consider a few things before deciding it is the right time to reach for your wallet and get yourself a drill press.

1.Drill press

Useful for any DIY process involving drilling

A drill press is, as its name indicates, for drilling. Any time you need to drill a hole, you should be reaching for your drill press. Isn’t a hand drill enough? If your projects are extremely simple, and you do not have to drill a lot of holes, or you don’t care whether the holes are even or not, the answer to this question is probably ‘yes’. However, even for small projects, you will find a drill press to be very handy, since it helps you obtain even results. The holes you will obtain will be evenly spaced out, they will have the same width and depth, and overall your entire finished product will look much better.

You may be still thinking about whether the investment is worth or not, but a simple answer would be that any time you need to drill holes for your project, you will discover that the drill press is the most convenient tool you can have at your disposal.

 

Accurate hole placement

When you have to work with wood, accuracy is something that is not so easily acquired. If you work with a drill press, you will be able to keep the piece of wood in place by clamps or other devices and work perpendicularly on it. This means that you will obtain a more accurate hole placement, which is quite nice, seeing that this is not something even more seasoned woodworkers can obtain by hand.

 

Speed is superior

Imagine that you have a lot of holes to drill, but you need to choose between a hand press and a drill press. Which one would you choose? Drilling holes is not exactly easy, and you will get tired while of it, if you need to make use of the force you have in your arms. A drill press saves you all the trouble. First, it is much faster, and second, you will not have to subject your muscles to such a strenuous activity.

2. Drill press

Control

When working with wood on a regular basis, it is important to have control. Drill presses are adjustable and they offer the user several speed settings and other options, so they can drill the holes they need, exactly how they need. Control is not something easily offered by other drilling tools, so this, again, is something you should keep in mind when you are thinking about getting a drill press.

 

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If You Like Working with Wood, You Need a Drill Press. Here Is Why!

 

When working with you, one of the most common tasks you need to perform is to drill holes. You can use different tools for this purpose, but not all perform the same. Hand drills for instance, may be convenient, but they are not very accurate. Drill presses, on the other hand, while a bit bulkier, are a great choice because they help you drill holes fast, easy and with great accuracy. If you have been thinking about getting a drill press, but you needed more reasons to tip the balance in favor of making this purchase, here are some important ones.

1. Drill press working with wood

Accurate holes

This is something very important for any DIY project. If you drill your holes by hand, unless you are an extremely skillful woodworker, you will feel hard pressed to obtain even holes, drilled at the same depth, width and so on. With the help of a drill press, things become much easier. Accuracy is the main reason why woodworkers want to get a drill press, so it does not hurt to consider this reason.

 

Fast and mistake free

Working with wood by hand usually requires quite a lot of finesse and you will find that avoiding mistakes is not that easy. If you choose to work with a drill press, you will not have to worry about such things. The drill press will work fast, and there will be no mistakes, since the process of drilling is fully automatic.

 

Save your energy

If you have ever drilled holes by hand, you know pretty well how taxing this type of work can be. Keep in mind that drill presses come equipped with powerful motors, which means that they can do much more than you, without requiring extra effort from your part. Especially when you are involved in a larger project, it serves to have the right tools and save your energy for the long run.

 

Angled holes

When you have to drill holes, there can be different situations that are more challenging than usual. For instance, drilling angled holes is quite a difficult process, if you intend to tackle it by hand. If you are using a drill press, this becomes much easier. Also, when you have to drill holes in tougher wood, or in narrower pieces, like furniture legs, a drill press will do the job without any problems.

2. Drill press working with wood

Useful features

If you go for a good and reliable drill press, do not forget to take a look at all its useful extra features. For instance, there are drill presses that allow you to attach other tools to them, such as a spindle sander. Basically, your drill press will help you with a wide range of tasks in your woodworking, so you can obtain the best results each and every time.

 

Safety first

When you work with a drill press, you can rest assured that your safety is paramount for the manufacturer of the said tool. You can safely work on your projects, without fear that you will break the bits or the wood piece will slip when secured to the table by special clamps or vices.

 

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All You Need to Know about Drill Bits

 

Choosing the right drill bits is very important for the success of any DIY project. Although at first glance, drill bits seem to be more or less very similar, they have different shapes, sizes and they are made from different materials. All this diversity counts for something, since you need to learn a bit about each type and what they are good for, so you do not get frustrated about breaking your drill bits just because you didn’t choose the right ones for the job. Here is, in a nutshell, the most important information you need to know about drill bits.

1.Drill bits

 

HSS bits for everyday use

HSS stands for High Speed Steel and HSS bits are the ones you should go for everyday use. They are multipurpose bits and they serve in many different situations. This means that your tool box should not lack in HSS bits. They are good for drilling through various materials, such as wood, metal, plastic and many others. Because they are made of a special type of steel, they can withstand higher temperature, hence their versatility.

 

Titanium bits for extended use

In case you are looking for a more durable option, you should go for titanium nitrite HSS bits. Besides the core made of a special type of steel, these ones are coated with titanium nitrate. The latter prolongs their lifespan, and they can be used three times longer than regular HSS bits, as the ones mentioned above. You can use these bits to drill through metal, plastic, wood and other types of materials, with great results.

 

Cobalt bits for tougher materials

Cobalt HSS bits are a great choice if you are planning to work with tougher materials, such as stainless steel, cast iron, bronze or cast steel. They are more resistant to heat than regular HSS bits, which is why they are indicated for project involving tougher metals. Also, if you need to drill holes through weld seams, you will find cobalt bits to be the best choice for your project. Because of the cobalt layer, the bits are more resistant to abrasion and they are tougher than others.

2.drill bits

Reduced shank bits for larger chucks

It is important to know what kind of bits you should use for each of your projects. For instance, reduced shank HSS bits are your best bet if you intend to drill holes with chucks of 3/8 inches or larger. These bits are hardened to resist more to wear and tear, and they are great for drilling through all kinds of materials, including wood, steel and plastic.

 

Rivet bits for rivets

Go for special HSS rivet bits, if you intend to drill holes for rivets. You will be able to tell them apart from the rest by their side flutes. What they do best is to drill shallow holes through thin sheets of metal, so you can place rivets in them afterwards. Keep in mind to make slightly larger holes than the rivets you intend to use, in order to avoid metal fatigue.

 

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Tips for installing your new drill press

 

Installing a drill press might not be so easy for a first-time user. That’s why we’ve taken the time to gather a short list of tips so that setting your new unit up is a breeze. One of the first pieces of advice we can give you is to read the manual provided by the manufacturer as thoroughly as possible. This isn’t some toy destined for the user of children, and operating such a device can be downright dangerous if you don’t know the way to do it properly.

1.1 Tips for installing your new drill press

 

The proper space

Be sure to install your unit in your shop so that you have enough room to handle any workpiece, regardless of its size. Lighting is just as important as the room you’ll have available, as this will allow you to work precisely and perform cuts as accurately as possible. For models that don’t come with their own lamp attachment, we recommend a dependable overhead light of which the performance is the right one for your eyesight. Purchasing a separate LED light that can be attached to the drill press is another way of making sure you don’t do any mistakes.

 

Securing the drill press

Bench-type options can be mounted on your workbench or on a steel or wood stand, depending on what you have in mind. Mounting will require the use of nuts and bolts. Just to be on the safe side, if you install your drill press on the floor, make sure it does not tip over while you’re stepping around or next to it. While concrete requires the use of anchors and masonry bolts, whereas for a wooden floor you’re likely to use lag bolts.

 

Power

The electric current should be of the same voltage as the one on the motor. A too low voltage may eventually lead to the damage of the motor. While extension cords are not to be preferred, they can still be utilized when everything else is lacking. In that case, it might be a good idea to correlate the wire rating of the cord with the amperage of the motor. It is forbidden to connect the green conductor in the cord to a live terminal as it can pose a threat to the operator and lead to him or her suffering from an electric shock.

1.2 Tips for installing your new drill press

 

Lubricating the drill press

A nice piece of wax paper can do a lot for a new drill press, as can wiping it with an oiled cloth. Be sure to lubricate both the quill and the spline using a light machine oil. If you are not sure of the oil you should use with the machine you’ve just purchased, always refer to the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer.

 

RPM adjustments

You may need to perform some RPM changes if you want your drill press to give the best results on a variety of boards made of different kinds of materials. A higher RPM is required when using a small drill, and the general rule is that softer materials need higher speeds than harder ones.

 

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The best drill press manufacturers

 

1.Craftsman

Craftsman is one of the oldest drill press manufacturers in the United States as it has been on the market ever since the beginning of the 20th century. The company was put the basis of back in 1927 and ever since then, it has been dedicated to building some of the best tools for professional builders and amateurs alike. Nowadays, the brand sells over six thousand products, many of which have inspired people around the world and have been their fundamental necessities when performing accurate tasks. Every unit that has the Craftsman logo is put through many tests that prove its reliability and performance. Aside from drill presses, the brand now produces anything from hacksaws and utility knives to electronic torque wrenches and tubing cutters.

 

2.Ryobi

Ryobi is another name you might have come across should you have been looking for an affordable yet fully capable drill press. While this is not an original American brand, Ryobi still treats its customers with respect, which is why it has gradually acquired an extensive degree of popularity even among residents of the United States. The company is dedicated to creating high-quality tools that can sell, which is why you’ll be able to notice that many of the power tools and other outdoor products designed by the name are somewhat affordable compared to other units in the line. The vast majority of the Ryobi products we’ve come across are backed by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee as well as a 3-year limited warranty, which gives a lot of freedom to users when it comes to realizing that the purchased model is what they were after.

 

3.Powermatic

Powermatic is an American brand of which the basis was also set in the 1920s when Leonard F. Smith Sr. decided he would build a workshop on his family farm so that he could plane the wood all by himself. It all started when Mr. Smith created his own wood planer which he sold thanks to the high-quality of the machine. The brand later on started building drill presses and expanding the capacity of the business so that it meets the purchasing requirements of the community. Nowadays, the name is a part of the JPW Industries Inc. but that does not mean that the manufacturer produces any items of a lesser quality. Some of the most esteemed units released by Powermatic include jointers, dust collectors, lathes, shapers, table saws, power feeders, and, of course, drill presses.

 

4.Grizzly

Grizzly is a somewhat newer name compared to the companies we’ve showcased above, as it has been on the market ever since 1986. However, since it offers quite a large variety of well-made products, Grizzly has slowly but gradually gathered a high number of evangelists among amateur and professional users. As is the case with other manufacturers, Grizzly focused on designing a broad array of other devices and pieces of machinery, including portable dust collectors, sliding table saws, toolroom lathes, benchtop sandblast cabinets as well as automatic edgebanders.

 

5.Delta

Another brand that is undoubtedly worth mentioning is the Delta Power Equipment Corporation, which is one of the oldest names in the industry. This one has been around since 1915, ever since a Herbert Tautz founded the Delta Specialty Company. Instead of focusing on gathering profit time and time again, Delta is set on developing innovations that can give a helping hand to the regular woodworker in everyone. Woodworking masterpieces are a breeze should you decide to use any of the tools designed by Delta, as the brand manufactures and distributes a plethora of options. Some of the most popular ones include scroll saws, drilling machines, jointers, grinders, as well as dust collectors.

 

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3 drill press accessories that you must have

 

So you’ve decided to buy a drill press. Congratulations! If you’re unsure of what should come next, we’ll tell you. Now, you need to start looking for some accessories. We’ve gathered a short list of the three types of accessories that are most handy when it comes to using such a product as is a drill press.

1

A drill press vise is an excellent help for any user who wants his or her workpiece to sit in the same place while performing the cutting operation. A drill press vise can do wonders when it comes to holding down a stock while drilling at high speed. Since stability is partly due to the ability of the vise to dampen vibrations, you need to do your part of the research and find out whether or not the accessory you might be eyeing is capable of doing just this. When getting a new vise, you need to consider the purpose you need it for and the type you want to choose.

 

The second accessory you might be interested in is a drill press light. It goes without saying that all the tasks you need to perform with your drill press have to be done so that no cuts are missed and no pieces of wood are burnt. If you are aware of the fact that there might be not enough light in the room you’re using as your workspace, it might be a good idea to look for some LED lights. The main difference between the ones you may generally find on the market today and the items developed for drill presses is that the latter can be attached to the actual unit, thus lighting the exact area where you’re doing the drilling.

2

 

Finally, you should consider some protection accessories such as goggles and face masks. Better safe than sorry, they say, and this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Pieces of wood might get into the operator’s eyes if he or she is not using a pair of safety goggles and thus they pose a potential threat to the user’s eyesight. If you’re no fan of cuts and scars in general, you are likely to benefit from using a face mask, even though some say that it isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear. Should you also want to protect your hands, you need to take into account a pair of safety gloves.

 

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Drill press controls and how to use them

 

Familiarizing yourself with the controls on the drill press ensures prompt and hassle-free use during operation. It is important to get yourself acquainted with the various knobs and controls as well as the main parts of the power tool so you can make the most of the machine to carry out smooth applications while also ensuring your safety.

1.Drill press controls

 

The upper portion of the drill press, typically made of cast iron, is where the quill is housed, along with a worklight in some models. This element also supports the belt housing and the motor. The tapered shaft connecting the chuck to the spindle is called the arbor. The bearings and spindle are contained in the quill. The hollow shaft that accommodates the arbor is called the spindle.

 

The covers and guards on the drill press are there for a purpose: to protect you from accidental contact with flying debris or moving parts. Constantly make sure that they are undamaged, correctly installed and working optimally before using the drill press.

 

You turn the machine on and off using the power switch. While some machines have an ordinary toggle switch that you press one way for on and the other for off, other drill presses have a more elaborate type of switch called a paddle-type switch, which comes with a removable safety key and a large paddle you can’t miss every time you hit it. This kind of switch is one of the safest to have in any shop.

 

To ensure safety, you have to keep the switch in the OFF position prior to reconnecting so you can avoid unintentional or sudden start. Another important reminder is never to leave the machine running unattended. Turn the power switch off and make sure all the moving parts have completely stopped before you move away from the drill press. Do not attempt to do maintenance or change speeds while the machine is plugged in or switched on.

2.Drill press controls

 

The belt tension lock knob is found at the rear part of the head and functions to lock the motor in place so belt tension is maintained. The clamp bolts are found near the horizontal adjustment lever on the top of the column near the head, and they lock the table rotation, control the horizontal movement of your drill press and also lock the power tool’s rotation on the column. The movement of the headstock along the horizontal rack is controlled by the horizontal adjustment lever.

 

The work table is lowered and raised using the crank handle to which it is attached. On the other hand, the downfeed handles mounted above the chuck move it (chuck) up or down. You control the distance the quill travels using the depth stop, which offers a preset drilling depth. The quill lash is detached using the lash screw.

 

To return the quill to the headstock, use the torsion spring. The lock pin locks the headstock in a vertical position. When the headstock is unlocked, it can be tilted so you can carry out angled drilling without having to worry that the drill bit will enter the workpiece the wrong way. You can view the current angle of the headstock tilt via the headstock angle tilt scale, so you can ensure precision in your projects.

 

Watch this video and learn how to use a drill press

 

 

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Top 5 jobs that you can use a drill press for

 

1.Top 5 jobs that you can use a drill press

 

I. Countersinking

Using a drill press to do countersinking ensures superior accuracy and repeatability. The job entails the beveling or tapering of the end of a hole using a conical cutter. The hole has to be slightly countersunk so pins can be driven effortlessly into a workpiece. It will also allow you to form recesses into which to place flathead screws. The drill press ensures that you can run the countersink at approximately half the speed for the same drill size. You want the feed to be light but not overly so as to cause chatter. The depth stop of the power tool ensures that the recess will enable the flush positioning of the flathead screw to the surface.

 

II. Spot Facing

Basically the same as counter boring, spot facing requires the use of a drill press that will ensure secure mounting of the stock while eliminating the backlash from the drill press spindle. When an ordinary hand drill is used and you have to work with rough castings or uneven and rough or curved surfaces not at right angles with your cutting tool, chances are you will end up with a broken tool. The tiltable work surface of the drill press lets you start the spot facing and avoid too much feed, preventing damage to the stock and avoiding wastage of material.

 

III. Tapping

Sometimes, you will need to cut a thread into a drilled hole. Thanks to the special ability of a drill press, you are even able to select and drill the proper tap drill size and then use the tool chuck to secure the tap in place and align it while turning by hand. Although you can’t really carry out power tapping, you can still use it to do hand tapping by switching the unit off then connecting the tap directly into the machine’s geared drill chuck and turning the drill chuck with your hand. You will of course have to apply light pressure on the tap using the hand feed lever, a technique that also works nicely when using small drill presses that allow hand-feed.

 

IV. Reaming

The drill press also enables you to ream a drilled hole. Although nearly impossible, this job entails that a hole be drilled to an exact standard diameter, and the drill press provides the level of accuracy necessary for the task. Using the drill press, you must first drill a slightly undersized hole and then proceed to ream that hole to size. The slight chamfer characteristic of the drill press tip will aid in the starting and alignment of the ream. The machine ensures smooth and sharp cutting edges while the smooth work surface lets you work consistently. You get just enough feed pressure thanks to the pulley system that controls spindle turn so you won’t end up with a damaged workpiece.

2.Top 5 jobs that you can use a drill press

 

V. Hole boring

Accurate boring requires that you use a rigid and sturdy machine that can deliver sufficient power feed. This job is not recommended to be carried out with a manual drilling machine such as a hand drill, since hand feed will not be smooth enough and can even be dangerous. The tool bit might even catch the stock and throw it back at you. The drill press lets you secure your workpiece on the work surface using a clamp or vise. The bit is directly above the workpiece so entry is precise. You simply set to the appropriate spindle speed that matches the material as well as the diameter of the bit. Use slower spindle speeds for large diameter bits and hard material. On the other hand, use faster spindle speeds for soft material along with small diameter bits.

 

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What should you look for in a drill press for beginners

 

When you’ve just discovered the immense enjoyment of doing things yourself in your own workshop, a drill press will make a great investment as a machine to start with. Providing you with the accuracy and power that no hand drill can deliver, the drill press enables you to do precise and even repeatable drilling so you can get on with different projects that showcase your creativity.

1.drill press for beginners

 

Machine Configuration

You can choose between a benchtop or a free standing drill press. A benchtop model is outfitted with a less powerful motor along with chucks of lower capacity, as well as fewer speeds compared to a freestanding unit. However, if you’re just into stationary tools for use in a hobby, this kind of machine will work just fine, especially when your shop is still quite small. The benchtop power tool enables easy storage into a corner when not in use and won’t be eating up plenty of garage or workshop space. Be prepared for the larger footprint if you do go for a floor model. With a more powerful motor plus more speed settings, a floor unit will also provide a larger work surface plus rack-and-pinion settings for the table height adjustment.

 

Variable Speeds

Drill presses technically all work in the same manner, with a motor mounted at the back that powers the pulley, which is connected to a spindle that turns the drill bit. You can do speed changes using the stepped pulleys. This is essential when working with different types of material and different bit diameters, where you use slow speeds for large ones and high speeds for small ones. With more speeds on the machine, you are able to make more precise adjustments. When fitted with special bits, the drill press can make elaborate workpiece finishes such as square mortises and decorative rosettes.

 

Useful Features

The quill stroke varies as well. This refers to the distance traveled by the chuck on a vertical axis and determines the maximum hole depth the drill press can give you. Check out models with a quill lock, which will enable you to lower the bit directly over the stock and hold it there temporarily while you make the needed adjustments to the hole depth. Different manufacturers use different systems for this so check out what you feel you can work on comfortably. In addition, get a drill press with table dimensions and a distance between the support post and the chuck that you feel you will use heavily with the stock you plan to work on.

The quality of the chuck is also not the same from one machine to another. Make sure to get a drill press that features a smooth working chuck across the whole range of its available adjustments. You also want less runout or wobbling as the bit turns to ensure accurate and repeatable drilling results.

2.drill press for beginners

 

Fits your Budget

Drill presses are available in a wide variety of prices, so it won’t be a bad idea to do some research on the most popular models available that will suit your needs as a novice wood worker and set your budget accordingly. Keep in mind that there will be significantly less difference between a premium quality drill press and a cheap one compared to having no drill press and using a cheap drill press, so if you must invest for the long term, go for a quality machine.

 

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