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.
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... ;-)
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:
<g> I have no complaints about the DP. It works just like the box said it
would. 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)
This is like the one I could afford:
I enjoy thinking about low-cost ways of making the latter work more
like the former.
"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!
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
<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
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.
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... ;-)
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
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 < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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 Jerde wrote:
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