Drill (De)Press(ed)

For a long time I've wanted to drill straight and true holes but financial realities prevented me from buying a "real" drill press. Walking through Sears one day I fell to the temptation of a "$79.99 Special!" benchtop drill press. It performs exactly as advertised but its limitations are significant. For example I built a dust-sucking top for sanding drums, but the 3.5" depth means I have to remove the top if I want to use Forstner bits or any straight bits > 3/16" on a 1" board.
I've spent hours in the garage^H^H^H^H^H shop, coffee cup in hand, looking at the beast trying to figure out how to make it truly functional. My current "best idea" is to cut the (somewhat) stainless steel shaft about 4" tall, fasten the flange to a couple pieces of steel, and connect that to a solid roll-around stand to get > 8" of swing and material handling of > 4". (Shelf brackets could provide the vertical adjustments of the tables(s).)
Are there any links to "bargain basement" drill presses made more functional, or is this a future topic for www.markjerde.com (Don't bother going there, there's no "there" there yet. ;-)
Thanks.
-- Mark
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Grainger has a couple general purpose floor standing drill presses in the $200 price range. Or if you want to COBBLE... measure the specs of the 'tube' and hunt down / make a longer one?
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Jon wrote:

A longer tube solves one problem, but the DP could still drill the center of an 8" board only.
-- Mark
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Remove the table, flip the head over, and mount the base to the ceiling so it's hanging down. (I'd be sure to use heavy duty lags into solid members...)
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Norm Underwood wrote:

I thought about that but the support pipe can't mount from the top -- the hole in the head doesn't go all the way through. Plus the belt & pulleys get in the way.
But I like the way you think... ;-)
-- Mark
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Sounds like you didn't know what you wanted when you bought it. You had a choice so why feed the fire of the Craftsman slammers here. BTW, mine works great and I'm as happy as a clam with it, but then I knew what I wanted to do with it before I bought it.
Mark Jerde wrote:

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Grandpa wrote:

<g> I have no complaints about the DP. It works just like the box said itwould. Now I'm trying to see if there's a way I can inexpensively increase its capabilities. I've already figured out a zero-cost way to run it slow enough to use a circle cutter. (Out of the box it runs too fast.)
For me, WW is almost more about the tools than the wood or projects. ;-) Certainly SWMBO has remarked that most of the shop's work stays in the shop.
This is the DP I want: (1) http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G9977 This is like the one I could afford: http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G7942
I enjoy thinking about low-cost ways of making the latter work more like the former.
-- Mark
"I have simple tastes. I want the best." -- Seen on a 1976 poster
----------- (1) No, it's not the one I want but it's a start. I eventually want CNC. I just installed DesignCAD & am working through the tutorial. To mash a button and watch a machine dance -- that will be fun!
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Ahhhhh, I see - you like to tinker. Now THAT is an art unto itself!
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Grandpa wrote:

I found some cheap pipe & fittings at the Borg this evening that appear close enough to work. Maybe in a week or two my bench DP will have morphed into typical floor DP capacity. I still have a few things to "figgr out" about a table mechanism though... ;-)
There's a cutting torch & metal lathe in my future somewhere; I'm sure of it. <g>
-- Mark
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Well...we're waiting...
--
************************************
Chris Merrill
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Chris Merrill wrote:

<g> Promise not to laugh. Short piece of approx 1.5" diameter strong hose left over from a plumbing project. Fit one end of hose over chuck of corded hand drill. Tighten with hose clamp. Remove belt from DP. Hose won't fit over the smallest pulley so make two 1" slits lengthwise in the hose so it will. From 1/2" x 4" x 8" rubber left over from another plumbing project, cut a strip the same width as the belt & long enough to go around the small DP pulley. Put the rubber strip around the pulley, put the slit hose over it, and tighten with hose clamp. Plug in drill, operate (at slow speed) with left hand, control DP depth handle with right hand. Circle cuts fine.
Ugly as sin, but functional.
My plan is to make a jig that fits in the DP belt tray that holds the drill & shields the operator (me) from possible contact with the hose clamps. If I'd have kept the brake cables & handles from an old bike that went in the trash a couple years back I'd have done it already. Wire in a garden hose doesn't work well. I may have to break down and buy a lawn mower throttle cable... ;-)
-- Mark
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You know, I think it's great that you want to put real thinking into something like this instead of just tossing money at it, but there are limits to everything. I used to have one of these little drill presses. I put probably 20 hours and around $30-40 of new parts into it, trying to make a more serviceable machine. Never did work well enough to make it worthwhile.
I ended up finding a couple of vintage heavy-duty DPs for $40 and $65 used locally. Much better.
GTO(John)
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GTO69RA4 wrote:

Oh, my eyes are open! I even stooped to lay some broad hints at a family friend of my wife's, who has two DPs and two planers. He still has 'em. My hints were like dropping marbles on a sidewalk... ;-)
-- Mark
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GTO69RA4 wrote:

If you don't mind, what did you try and why didn't it work? If I can avoid making mistakes others have made that's a good thing.
-- Mark
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Mark Jerde wrote:

I think it would be beyond my abilities, personally. Hard to do well, without destroying the precision of the thing.
I understand about being broke, and about loving to tinker. I grew up poor, and I had to make my own toys. That carries through to this day, and I make as many of my toys as I can manage. I can certainly appreciate the allure of the challenge of turning that little thing into something more capable.
Having said all that, I _love_ my 15" drill press, and I have no regrets about not spending the $300 more wisely on something more important. It hurt, it was terribly irresponsible, but I just absolutely use the hell out of that thing, and it's my favorite machine by a wide margin.
The big machine is just so much better in every way than the little one it replaced, that I don't think any amount of tinkering to gain more working room could begin to close the gap between the two.
So having said that, and knowing how wonderful a real drill press can be, I think you're way better off to start looking at used/damaged/broken stuff and put your effort into fixing up something that will be able to do the job at the end of the day.
Doing all that stuff you're contemplating to your 8" DP is like putting a Dodge V10 engine into a Ford Festiva. Even if you get it to work, it's not going to drive very well. You'd be better off to buy a junked rustbucket Firebird or something and rebuild it.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Following up... I decided to do nothing with this small bench drill press & get a "real" floor DP instead. I discovered a major flaw in its design and/or manufacture. With a 1/4" drill bit in the chuck, when the depth stop is hit, the end of the 1/4" drill bit moves about 1/8" to the left! This happens all along the range of the depth stop.
So I guess the moral of the story is when looking at a DP in a store, put in a longish drill bit and observe what happens to the business end of the drill bit when the depth stop is hit. Do this for several depth settings. If I'd have done that I'd have saved some money toward a good DP... unless the floor model was ok. ;-) I couldn't feel any play in the floor model spindle, but I really don't feel any in mine either.
-- Mark
Mark Jerde wrote:

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Mark Jerde wrote:

It's probably there though. If your experience mirrors mine, you'll be amazed at how sloppy your old drill press was once you get the new one.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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