Drill presses are a carpenter’s dream come true. They make life seem like a breeze and drilling seem like a piece of cake, and this is no exaggeration.
Drill presses make a tedious and laborious task such as boring holes seem effortless. With its many distinctive and innovative features such as the beveling work table, onboard lamps, oscillating feature, and radial feature, drill presses are a sure crowd pleaser! But how to use a drill press like a professional? This is a question that is a must to be answered, isn’t it?
- 1 HOW TO USE A DRILL PRESS LIKE A PRO
- 2 TYPES OF DRILL PRESSES
- 3 KEYLESS CHUCKS VS KEYED CHUCKS
- 4 OSCILLATING DRILL PRESS
- 5 RADIAL DRILL PRESS
- 6 HANDHELD DRILL VS DRILL PRESS: THE ULTIMATE BATTLE
- 7 FINAL WORDS
HOW TO USE A DRILL PRESS LIKE A PRO
Depending on your drill press model, your drill press type, and size, the “how-to-use” will vary.
Before you begin operating your drill press, it is important that your safety is well taken care of and there are certain steps that you must ensure are being followed before every use.
You should start with a clean workspace by getting rid of any sawdust or debris. Clear chips or dust away using a brush to avoid injuries.
Wear protective clothing such as earmuffs, eye protection, and tight-fitting gloves.
Use a sacrificial piece of wood to keep under your workpiece at all times. This will ensure that your table is never drilled by accident.
Once all of this is taken care of, you can proceed to the actual process of drilling. The basic idea of operating a drill press is as follows:
- Set up the drill’s speed: This is crucial because a wrong level of speed could damage your expensive material in mere seconds. The level of speed will depend on the density and the heft of your material. We suggest a faster speed for any kind of metal and a slower, controlled speed for any sort of woodwork.
- Install the drill bits: Firstly, REMOVE the chuck and then snugly fit the drill bit in between the chucks’ jaws. The three jaws must be tightened with a key.
P.s: Always ensure that the chuck is removed to avoid any mishaps.
- Positioning the table: You will get accurate, straight holes only if you can adjust your table precisely. Fortunately, radial drill presses, beveling tables, and beveling headstocks are God’s divine decrees that are available and are built-in in the majority of drill presses available in the market today.
One of our favorite radial drill presses is the SHOP FOX W1670 Floor Radial Drill Press which has a tilting headstock as well as a beveling table that will allow you to bore holes from absolutely any angle!
- Depth adjustment gauge: This gauge simply measures the depth of the holes when you drill them. So, whenever you need multiple holes of the same depth, this is an excellent feature to take advantage of. By simply lowering the gauge to your required height, you can use this feature.
- Adjust the workpiece: Your workpiece or your material has to be secured in place before you begin boring holes on it. If it isn’t clamped onto the worktable, it will start to spin when the drill bit starts to rotate; thereafter ruining your entire project. Clamp your workpiece properly and securely every time.
While operating a drill press, you can take advantage of certain actions, let us discuss a few of them below.
- Center Finder: Before your drilling, you can use a center finder to help increase your precision while drilling. This tool is spring-loaded and is made of two different pieces that will accurately align the head of your drill press over your workpiece. Begin by putting the tool in your chuck or collect and then lower your quill and set the tip in the mark. For the bodies to accurately align, move your drill backward and forwards. When checking for alignment, use your fingers and avoid running the spindle.
- Hole Reaming: To use a reamer, start by boring a hole that is slightly smaller than your required size. By driving down slowly and steadily, you can begin using the reamer. This tool can be used where greater precision is required for interference or slip fittings. Since a reamer’s flutes are straight, they cannot be used to drill the hole.
- Cutting mortises: Even though most drill presses often come with a mortising attachment, even if you don’t have one you can simply purchase one for very little money.
TYPES OF DRILL PRESSES
There are mainly two types of drill presses widely popular amongst carpenters: Benchtop drill presses and Floor/Stationary models. Both types are famous for their versatility, functionality, and ease of use. However, both types also have a few differentiating features which are discussed below.
Benchtop Drill Press:
If you are a hobbyist or a passionate DIY-er, a benchtop drill press will be the most ideal purchase for you. If you require a drill press for repetitive drilling work, or you need boreholes of the same size, this type of drill press will be perfect for you. Moreover, benchtop drill presses are compact and portable, even if you have a smaller workshed you can still fit this drill press anywhere.
Floor-Standing Drill Press:
Unlike a benchtop drill press, floor-standing models are sturdier, heavier, and are more powerful. This is why they are more appropriate for daily use, heavier workload, and thicker, more durable material. They have a better range of speed, which enables them to work with materials of different sizes and densities.
Fortunately, using both drill presses are pretty similar, you can simply follow the mentioned steps above for both kinds. However, the different features in each of the two types (which also varies from model to model) do create some distinctions. Any floor-standing model, for example, has superior, and better features when compared to its counterpart.
We have shortlisted a few pros and cons of each type of drill press. We hope this makes it easier to choose a type.
BENCHTOP DRILL PRESS
- Easy to use and set up
- More affordable when compared to floor-standing drill presses
- Usually operates at a higher speed when compared to its counterpart
- This type of drill press can be placed at any work table of your preferred height, whereas a floor-standing drill press cannot be extended further than its fixed height.
- You cannot cut materials at 90 degrees with a benchtop drill press because it does not have a spindle tilt. This feature is only available in floor-standing drill presses.
- Because its drill chuck can only go as deep as 4 inches, any material that is thicker than 4 inches cannot be worked with.
FLOOR-STANDING DRILL PRESS
- Floor-standing drill presses have a high-powered induction motor which allows it to power through absolutely any material, even through metal.
- Since they have a cast iron base, they are more secure and stable; your machine won’t shift places or wobble because of that.
- The size may be an inconvenience for a lot of people. It requires a lot of space and is not easily portable.
- It costs a lot more when compared to a benchtop drill press. People with a lower budget may not be able to afford a floor-standing drill press easily.
KEYLESS CHUCKS VS KEYED CHUCKS
If you want to use a drill press accurately, you must know about these two variations of drill chucks. Drill chucks are a necessary component of a drill because they contain and secure drill bits. They’re joined to the drill’s end via revolving cylinders. When you twist the chuck’s outer sleeve, all three sides of the chuck move simultaneously.
This has to be one of the finest inventions made by humans. While drill presses are made to ease your work, keyless chucks take that a whole level further. Every time you need to tighten or loosen a jaw, you will not need a key anymore.
A keyless chuck usually comes with 1-2 collars. The 1 collared chuck is amazingly easy to use. It can be adjusted by simply turning it with your hands. The 2 collared chuck is also relatively easy to use; you hold the lower collar while simply turning the upper collar to adjust the chuck.
Some of our favorite keyless chucks are the Uxcell Keyless Drill Chuck and the PSI Keyless Drill Chuck. Both are suitable for beginners and they are the classic 3-jawed chucks.
Keyed chucks have been around for a long time now. They have been a consistent favorite of carpenters across the globe. To tighten or loosen the chuck jaw on a keyed chuck, a T-shaped key must be inserted from the sides. But, if you are someone who constantly misplaces things, we highly suggest that you always have backup keys. Trust us, these simply vanish into thin air!
Below, we have listed some pros and cons of both keyed and keyless chucks. We hope this helps you choose the perfect fit for your drill press. You can also purchase key holders for your drill press so that you never lose a key!
KEYLESS CHUCK: PROS AND CONS
- No added headache of losing any keys
- With runout as low as 0.0006, keyless chucks are more accurate and precise than keyed chucks.
- However, keyless chucks are pricier than keyed chucks.
- No brake on the press of a keyless chuck means you cannot tighten it to your satisfaction.
KEYED CHUCK: PROS AND CONS
- Unlike the keyless chuck, this type can be rotated in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions, which makes it compatible with all kinds of tools.
- It has a better grip when compared to keyless chucks.
- The biggest problem with this is the issue of the key being misplaced repeatedly, resulting in a waste of expensive time and effort.
OSCILLATING DRILL PRESS
Fortunately for carpenters, there are unique drill presses widely available in the current times. They have multipurpose features; they are flexible, and most importantly, they are cost-efficient. One such example is an oscillating drill press; just wait till you hear about its jaw-dropping features!
In a matter of seconds, an oscillating drill press can be converted from its drilling operations to its sanding operations. Without the use of any tools, you can use a drill press like this for efficient contour sanding. The oscillation feature effectively reduces the build-up of heat and smoothly sands any material. Hit two birds with one stone with a drill press like this and save money like a pro!
Our expert opinion is for you to look into the Shop Fox Oscillating Floor Drill Press. Being a floor-standing drill press, it gives you enough stability; but, most importantly, this pocket-friendly drill press sands and drills at the same time!
RADIAL DRILL PRESS
When discussing about super-cool drill presses, we definitely cannot eliminate a radial drill press which is just *chef’s kiss*.
The headstock and the worktable of a radial drill press can be rotated and angled in various directions for which, instead of adjusting your workpiece tediously, you can simply adjust the spindle directly over your project. This enables you to work from various angles, which otherwise would have been impossible to get a hold on to. Without repositioning your workpiece multiple times, radial drill presses will allow you to tilt and bevel its headstock and worktable.
One of our favorite radial presses is the SHOP FOX W1670 floor radial drill press that is easy-to-use, flexible, and versatile. Nothing beats a steal for money like a radial drill press!
HANDHELD DRILL VS DRILL PRESS: THE ULTIMATE BATTLE
One of the most common questions asked by carpenters is the one written above in bold. So, which is the best kind of drill? Let’s get down to comparing right away!
If you have any light, breezy work to tend to, you can get by using a handheld drill. However, for any advanced, heavy work, you must use a drill press, be it benchtop or floor-standing. Drill presses have a more powerful motor that can power through almost all kinds of materials. With a handheld drill, however, you must apply physical energy and physical force, which gets exhausting after a while. The automated mechanism of a drill press compared to a manual mechanism of a handheld drill results in faster, more efficient drilling.
Even when it comes to safety, we think that a drill press is superior. A handheld drill press is always held close to your hands which can inevitably result in injuries. With a drill press on the flip side, you can clamp your workpiece to the table and just speed with separate buttons. This eliminates injuries and ensures the utmost safety.
A handheld drill press is smaller and more portable than a drill press. It can be packed in bags and carried to places. Because of its simple features, it is also cost-effective and comparatively a lot cheaper than a drill press. So, for any minute work, you can surely check out handheld drills.
However, in our expert opinion, the pros of a drill press beat that of a handheld drill press any day, and we would always choose a drill press over a handheld drill without a shadow of a doubt. But the end decision is yours to make-pay attention to the needs of your project and select a drill accordingly.
DRILL PRESS AFTERCARE
At times, a drill press may seem to be your best friend, but, at the end of the day, it is a machine and just like any other machine, a drill press needs proper aftercare and maintenance. Below we have listed down a few steps that you can take to ensure that your best friend (aka the drill press) has a long, healthy life.
- Always keep your drill bits clean and sharp
- Lubricate your drill bits regularly
- Purchase drill presses with a warranty. This is super important as you can rest assured that your tool will be looked after by experts.
SAFETY IS KEY
ALWAYS follow these safety protocols to have a smooth drill experience, free of any injuries.
- Wear CSA certified eye protection, gloves, and ear protection
- Clamp your workpiece securely before you begin drilling, and remove your hands from the workpiece immediately
- Wear tight-fitting clothes, avoid loose, frilly, baggy clothes.
- Standby your drill while it is powered on, do not leave it unattended
When you know about all of these important details, your entire drill experience will be a joyful one and one which you will always look forward to. Using a drill press is not as complicated as it seems; it is like a game of legos, but for adults.
If you have read this far into our article, we deeply thank you for your time and patience. We hope you have learned something practical and useful from here and you can use even one piece of advice from here. Good luck and godspeed!