For being one of the most versatile stationary machines in the entire workshop, the Drill Press gets very little recognition. This amazing tool has such an array of accessories and add-ons, it might be the most used tool in some shops. There are 2 versions of this tool, one that sits on the floor and stands about 6 feet high and the shorter version which is designed to sit on a work bench or some other sort of stand. The only real difference between the versions is the ability or the floor standing version to accommodate larger objects for drilling.
Often considered to be the safest tool in the shop, the drill press can be deceivingly nasty and deserves the same respect as every other tool in the shop. Just because it doesn't spin at the sames speed as a table saw or mitre saw, doesn't mean you can ignore safety, safety glasses, no loose clothing or hair are imperative. The issue with drill presses is that they are geared so low, that if something gets caught in them, they just keep on turning ... just like a winch, drill presses are very powerful.


The first thing that needs to be done with a drill press, just like any other tool, is to check the set up and that means starting with the speed the chuck will be spinning at ...

There are a few different ways of adjusting speeds on drill presses but one of the most popular is changing pulley combinations with the use of a V-belt. Most drill presses can be slowed down to around 500 rpm, which is a speed you might select if you are drilling into steel or other metals, or if you are using a large bit or hole saw. Moving upward in speed to more like 1,000 rpm would be more for wood applications with typically mid size bits and the highest speeds could be used for smaller bit or for things like sanding and polishing.

There are a few things to consider when looking for the perfect hole. The first thing is the speed the bit will need to turn at which we have just talked about, the second is looking at how the bit will be entering the object drilled. Most drill press tables can be adjusted to an angle, which means if you are drilling a straight flat hole, you will want the drill to go in at exactly 90 degrees which means adjusting the table with the use of a square to make sure the drill bit will be going in straight and true.

Following safety guidelines and taking the time to set up your drill press properly will yield good woodworking results and years and years of duty.

Copyright Colin Knecht


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