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Last Updated: , Created: Tuesday, February 19th, 2002

Drill Press basics.

Every once in a while I like to get back into the shop and point out some of the basics of one of the tools there. Just about everybody figures they know how to use the simple drill press, but in fact there are a lot of basics that I see missed quite often.

First, realise you can shift the table right and left. If you do not have a wooden table top to receive the bit, you should line up the bit with the hole in the centre of the table, to avoid hitting the metal of the table. It saves the table and the bit.

Find a secure place to put the key near-by. On this drill press, I simply drilled a little hole in the lid, allowing me to keep it right in front of me. Another good place for the key is on one of those retractable key chains, made to be warn on your belt. But this time, glue it to the side of the drill press. After you use it, the key always goes back to where it should be, all by itself.

The speed of rotation of a drill press is important. In this Porter Cable drill press there is a whole chart telling you what speed of drilling you need for different size holes in different material, and then a diagram showing you how to arrange the two pulley belts to get that speed. Changing speed takes about 15 seconds, makes better holes and your drill bits last longer, not to mention working more safely.

Also, be aware that it is possible to raise and lower the table, although few people move it very often. When the bit is too far from the table, you need to spin the handle beyond one turn to get into the wood. That is OK for a single hole, but not practical or safe if you are drilling a series of holes, letting the handle jump back to the top each time.

Often, people don't think of guides and fences on a drill press, but something as simple as a 2x4, clamped to the table, will give you the ability to have a series of holes, all exactly the same distance, from the edge of a piece of wood.


Keywords: Drills, Power Tools, Tools, Techniques

Article 1769