Difference between revisions of "Drill Press"

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[[File:Drill Press Map.jpeg|thumb|left|600px|Location of the Drill Press in the Idea Shop Maker Space]]
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===Drill Overview===
===Drill Overview===
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Revision as of 17:47, 20 April 2020

Drill press.

A drilling machine, or drill press, is used to cut holes into or through metal, wood, or other materials.

Using a stationary drill press has advantages over using a handheld drill. Less effort is required to apply the drill to the workpiece, allowing harder and more denser materials to be cut. The table allows a vise or clamp to be used to position and restrain the work, making the operation much more secure and consistent. The angle of the spindle is fixed relative to the table, allowing holes to be drilled accurately and consistently at specified angles. Because the drill press offers a consistent range of motion and more powerful motor over a handheld drill, this allows for a wider variety of bits to be used on the drill press for a variety of applications .

Work gloves should never be used with the drill press. Loose hanging clothes, like loose sleeves or hoodie strings, should be secured and out of the way. Accessories such as rings, bracelets, and watches should be removed prior to using.

Machine Details

Drill Overview

When using the drill press, it is important to take into consideration workpiece size, shape, composition, and desired hole size and angle, and make adjustments to the machine accordingly.

  • Ensure bed is set at the correct height and desired angle.
  • Select the appropriate bit for your material
  • Adjust the belts to set RPMs appropriate for your bit and material
  • Lighter, smaller, or awkwardly shaped cut pieces may be secured with clamps or a vice grip to prevent movement during drilling.

Permitted Materials

Dependent on the selection of the correct bit, the Idea Shop's Drill Press can cut the following materials:

  • Cardboard, Chipboard, and Foam Core
  • Rigid Foam (EPS, XPS, Polymide, etc.)
  • MDF, Plywood
  • Soft Woods (Cedar, Pine, etc.)
  • Hard Woods (Walnut, Maple, etc.)
  • Soft Plastics (PVC, PP, PE, etc.)
  • Hard Plastics (Polycarbonate, etc.)
  • Soft Metals (Brass, Aluminum, etc.) Always check with Idea Shop staff for alloyed metals before attempting to cut them on this machine.


Below are several types of common drill bits

  • Twist Bits - General Purpose: The tip of the bit cuts the material, while the flutes (spirals) remove the spent material from the hole and keep the bit straight. Most of the bits in the Idea Shop can be used across wood, metal, and acrylic -- be sure to adjust RPMs accordingly. When drilling into metal, be sure to use a lubricant.
  • Spade bits: For making through holes in wood and other soft materials.
  • Forstner bits: For making large (over 1/4", up to 2"), clean, flat bottomed holes in wood or other soft materials.
  • Coutersink bits: An attachment used in conjunction with a twist drill bit, to create holes for screws or other fasteners to sit flush or inset into the material.

Adjusting RPMs

It's important to set the drill press with the appropriate RPMs for your bit and material. For example, metal and acrylic require lower RPMs than wood. To do this, open the cover on top of the drill press. Disengage the belt tensioner and adjust the belts according to the chart located on the inside of the top cover. See a staff member for assistance if this is your first time or if you need a refresher. The three variables required to select RPMs are: bit type, bit diameter, and material type.

Recommended operating speeds according to bit and material. Click to enlarge

Safety Instructions


Safety glasses or goggles is a must. Dress appropriately: Remove all watches, jewelry, and other accessories. Tie back loose hair, tuck away hoodie strings, and secure any other loose or free flowing articles of clothing.

  • Select the proper drill bit according to material and desired hole size.
  • Insert bit into chuck. Tighten the chuck with the key, located on the upper right hand side of the press. REMOVE THE KEY FROM THE CHUCK AND RETURN THE KEY TO THE HOLDER
  • Set appropriate stop heights. If necessary, adjust height of the press bed. If you are drilling through your material, be sure to use a spoil board.
  • Select a cutting fluid if necessary (e.g. when cutting soft metals, aluminum and mild steel)
  • USE A SPOILBOARD, ESPECIALLY FOR THROUGH CUTTING. Spoilboards are steel-backed sacrificial MDF boards, located to the right of the tool chest.
  • Properly secure the workpiece and spoil board to the table with appropriate clamps or vises.
  • Select the correct RPM for the drill bit, taking into account the size of bit, material, and depth of hole to be drilled.
  • Always return the chuck key immediately after use. A key left in the chuck will be thrown from the press at a high velocity when the machine is turned on. Never let the chuck key leave your hand except to put it back into its holder.

Active Use

  • Advance slowly and deliberately into your workpiece.
  • When drilling into thicker or more dense pieces of material, use an interrupted feed, called peck drilling. Use peck drilling to break up and clear the chips being produce when drilling larger diameter holes. Peck drilling should be used for forstner bits and spade bits of any diameter.
  • If there is any smoke generated from drilling, stop immediately. Excess heat will damage the bit and may cause it to shatter.
  • If using a twist bit, pilot holes should be used on holes larger than 3/8” diameter. Holes are to be enlarged in no more than 1/4” increments.
  • Pull out of a cut while the drill is still powered and in motion. When finished, allow the drill to come to a complete stop before removing your material.

Clean Up

  • Clean the drill press and surrounding area when finished.
  • Use a brush, not your hands, to remove chips from the machine. Do not clean up while the machine is running.
  • Never stop a drill press spindle with your hand after you have turned off the machine. Chips often build up around the chuck.
  • Keep the floor area clean. Immediately wipe up any oil spills.

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing a bit

Individual understands the concepts:

  • That different RPMs should be used to match different materials and bit styles/sizes
  • A spoilboard should be used for through drilling
  • Clamping material to the bed

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing the belts to adjust RMPs
  • Raising and lowering the bed

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Using a vice grip in conjunction with the drill press (setup, clamping)

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing the angle of the bed
  • Re-setting the bed angle to 0 using the magnetic angle finder
  • Setting drill stop heights

Individual understands the concepts:

  • How/when/why to use a fence with the drill press


Location of the Drill Press in the Idea Shop Maker Space