Need advise on buying a drill press.

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I took on a job to cut some 5/16 precision holes in stainless steel pipe. I never had to be this precise so I never needed a drill press before but now I do. I did all the research and understand all that I need except for one thing. I dont know what HP drill press to get. I wont be in any hurry to make the holes and I wont have to make more than a few of them so I dont think the HP of the drill press matters but Im not sure. Can anyone give me some advise on what size HP to look for to do what I want? Thank you.
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Molly Brown wrote:

I'd submit there's probably more to this choice than HP...
a) What's the definition of "precise"?
b) What's the particular SS alloy?
If you're really talking precision, milling machine may be more apropos than simply a press...
--



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Its 1 stainless steel plumbing pipe. I will need to tap threads to the holes that I cut.
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Molly Brown wrote: ...

Tap threads for what? Nothing terribly precise about a standard threading hole...the biggest problem will likely be in the facilities for centering and squareness, etc.
Didn't look; not sure what grades/alloys are most common; would still say much will depend on what the actual SS is that is being used ("s-s plumbing pipe") doesn't really say much useful in that regard.
I'd suggest rigging up something similar to the shown jig for drilling as it's quite easy to drill off-center and stainless will be worse by far than malleable iron for "walking".
<http://www.averytools.com/pc-542-28-center-it-pipe-tube-drill-jig.aspx
Also center drills are designed for the purpose of making the starting hole for drilling and will be much more accurate than you're likely to be able to do by hand w/ punch/hammer if, indeed, there's some precision in location and orientation desired.
And, of course, you'll either want a step drill or drill in a couple of different steps rather than trying the final diameter in one go using just a small manual press.
Then, you will need a high quality tap for stainless as it is much more difficult material than malleable steel...
--
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I am glad YOU brought this up. I used to use my hands (bad idea) to hold things (make that hand, you have to use one hand on the down lever) for drilling. Then I used clamps, but it is difficult to find them with a deep enough throat to hold things, and the underside of the table is uneven. So, I bought a vise for $15 or so at the local cheap Chinese tool shop. It was one of the best tools I ever bought that I didn't know how much I needed. Then, I got a little smaller one for smaller stuff.
Unless you have a machinist style machine ( I won't display my ignorance here by naming some machine that might not be the right one ) it is vital to get the workpiece held tight to avoid movement, and then even runout will still happen. And it's good to try some test pieces, even if you use a piece of steel pipe instead of SS, if it is close to the right size.
Since I got my vises, I have made some special pieces for special use that hang in back of the drill press. Angle iron makes a remarkable number of jigs.
It's so much better to get repeatable accurate results.
Steve
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On 8/17/2010 1:45 AM, Molly Brown wrote:

I cut some 1/2" holes in 1" copper pipe a while back. Your steel will be much harder to drill through but the technique is similar. This had to be very close as it was to be silver soldered.
What worked very well was a step bit. It centered well and didn't wander like using a regular bit in a pilot hole did. Your problem, as mine was, is not the power to cut the hole, it's the ability to keep the bit true. The step bit made this a snap.
Jeff
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I took on a job to cut some 5/16 precision holes in stainless steel pipe. I never had to be this precise so I never needed a drill press before but now I do. I did all the research and understand all that I need except for one thing. I dont know what HP drill press to get. I wont be in any hurry to make the holes and I wont have to make more than a few of them so I dont think the HP of the drill press matters but Im not sure. Can anyone give me some advise on what size HP to look for to do what I want? Thank you.
It depends on the size holes you want to do, but I'd suggest buying oversize, as you never know what the next project is. Also buy a vise to hold the work, or good clamps and fences. Those things can throw a piece of work quickly, and cause some damage to flesh. Vises for them are less than $20.
Steve
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Maybe Molly could write, and tell us what size holes she needs, for her project driling some 5/16" precision holes.
The vise is an excellent idea -- I've used drill press, and always with a vise, or some kind of clamp to hold the work down.
--
Christopher A. Young
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$69 http://www.harborfreight.com/5-speed-drill-press-38119.html
good reviews. Have one like it for 30+ years no problems
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Mat wrote:

Now only $49.00.
I, too, have one - no complaints.
As for quality, what could go wrong with a drill press?
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wrote:

Lots. The chuck kept falling off mine untill I put it on with "permanent" Lock-tite. It's a cheap nasty peice of Chinese trash and the only thing it will drill a half-inch hole in is basswood or lead.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You've got a good point. And it won't drill a 22" hole in granite (as in an oil well).
Shucks, everything has its limits...
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 21:23:59 -0500, HeyBub wrote:

lol, Mine was made in Taiwan as is my 30 year old table saw, quite a bit bigger than the $49 one (40" vs 23") both rugged as hell. Maybe not finished up to American standards but I have put thousands of hours on them with no issues. Anyways, what is NOT made in china these days?
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wrote:

A drill with press with a half inch chuck should be able to drill 1/2" aluminum or mild steel without any problems, and up to 2 inches of hardwood with a spade or auger bit. My useless press didn't handle 3/8" in mild steel - and before "gluing" the chuck on, it would come apart drilling 5/15" holes in 6061 aluminum.
The limits were (and still are) too low.
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 21:54:14 -0400, clare wrote:

I've said it before on here, but a word of advice - don't buy online, and shop around at a few stores. It's perhaps not the same at the high end of the market, but lots of low/mid-range presses seem to use the same motors and headstock, with the manufacturer doing little more than changing the case and branding. Price can vary quite a lot, but the bits that are likely to fail or not do a good job are still the same.
cheers
Jules
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My own floor drill press came with the quill on a Morse taper shaft, but no facility for a draw bolt. Like yours, the quill would occasionally drop out. I remedied that by giving the female and male parts a squirt of brake cleaner to remove the shipping oil and any dust. When reinserted and given a tap, they never came out accidentally again, though inserting the wedge and tapping freed them when desired.
Nonny
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Some tapers are self-locking and once you insert them with a solid tap from a lead hammer, require the same lead hammer, a flat tapered drift, and pretty hefty whack to drive them back out. My 3/4" 2 HP drill press had one and it NEVER dropped its chuck. I forget which taper, though. Look in the Machinery's Handbook.
nb
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wrote:

I cleaned mine, i lapped it, I tapped it - nothing hepled - because the accuracy of manufacturing was so bad the tapers didn't match properly. It was after attempting to lap it with fine abrasive that I found the total actual contact area on the taper was something less than 25% - so I "glued" it on, figuring if it worked, good. If not, it was into the bin. If I was using it more, it would be in the bin and an old american or european press would be rescued and take it's place.
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I've got a similar (although possibly not HF) knockoff drill of the same size. I've used it to cut 9/16" holes in 1/4" plate steel. It took a little time and plenty of cutting oil, but it did fine. If anything, what made the biggest difference was getting a good drill bit - I got a split point bit (dunno if it was cobalt) and it did a lot better. Probably did a single hole in a matter of minutes, so not like rigging it up and walking away, either.
My dad always points out I should use a metal punch of some type to put a little divot in the metal to help keep the bit from walking before it's started to bite into the metal. I'm bad about that, but last time I tried it, it did work pretty well.
Henry
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I'm with the guys above. Bought one ten years ago because it was on sale. Never regretted it. Not much it can't do (I work with aluminum as well as wood, though I've drilled steel with it already as well). It won't hold a mortise jig, which annoyed me at one point (imagine that... had break out the hand chisel!), and the plate doesn't stay square when adjusting height which can be annoying when working with jigs that require multiple drill bits. But both of those can be gotten by very easily. As far as accuracy, I get about 1/64" play, depending on the bit and height. Best of all, it fits nicely in my shop.
John
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