Seeking tips to drilling an absolutely dead-center hole w/drill press

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Looking for any tips/tricks for drilling a hole w/a drill press that's as close to dead-center to a specified point as possible.
Here's what I've been doing - I have the position marked with graph paper that's taped to the workpiece. With the help of a magnifying glass, I painstakingly move the piece until the tip of the bit is aligned with the conjoining lines. By aligning with the tip I mean I view the tip both from the narrow or "pointy" persepective within the channel of the bit and then turn it 90 deg and look at the the wider perspective, and view it from the side and front to make sure I have it aligned with both the X and Y axis. When I finally get it so the tip is as centered as I can make it whichever way the bit is turned and in relation to both axis, I clamp the piece to the plate of the drill press and drill the hole. However, on examination, the hole comes out obviously not dead center in relation to the graph paper lines.
I've also tried aliging it with the drill running, going visually by where the "point" appears to be when the bit is spinning. I get somewhat better results this way but wonder if there's a more precise and dependable way of achieving a centered hole.
Thanks for any input.
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Have you tried using brad point or forstner bits? You could also chuck a centering bit to line up and clamp your workpiece.
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I second the recommendation of a centering bit to align
If drilling with thin bits, using something like a Starrett center punch to pre-position the starting location would also help prevent the bit from "walking" away from the point you want it to drill at
John

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Doc wrote:

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Without a spotting pip, you'll never, never get your hole dead center that way. A drill press will be too loose for it and the drill will always skate. Some of the guys will recommend using a spotting drill to start with. You can get within a couple of thousandths using one of the optical center punches where you line up the mark in the crosshairs and then substitute the marking punch. That would probably be the best method for what you've described, if it's a one-off. Using stub drills will help, too. Get name brands, cheapy chink ones will do you absolutely no good at all.
There's other methods, but if all you've got on hand is a drill press, suggesting use of a vertical mill is kind of useless. Guy Lautard details a poor-man's jig borer for drill press use in one of his later Bedside Reader series but you aren't going to make that up with just a drill press on hand, either.
Stan
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Get a center finder- used to use them in machining all the time-- simply a 1/4" rod with a 30 degree cone machined on one end. Helps to center punch the center of the hole on the workpiece first, as the indentation will provide an easy physical reference for the end of the finder. Chuck it in the drill press Find the center of your drill hole- you may want to lock the quill at this point Clamp the work to the table-- unlock the quill Change out the center finder with the bit you will use Drill
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Doc wrote:

The usual way is to use a centerpunch. Most of the time I use an automatic centerpunch to start, then deepen it with a "manual" centerpunch and hammer. Auto-centerpunches are available at most any hardware outlet, less than $10 USD.
Ken Grunke
--
take da "ma" offa dot com fer eemayl


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Doc wrote:

First tip: use an awl or center punch (depending on whether it's wood or metal you're drilling) to mark the precise location of the hole first. Even with a brad point bit, it's difficult to prevent drills from wandering off the target when they enter the material. The smaller the gauge of the bit, the worse the problem is.
Second tip: depending on the nature of the work involved, you may be able to use a cross-slide vise for fine positioning of the work relative to the bit. They only work on stock that can fit inside the jaws, but they are quite useful to have when precision matters.
Something like this:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G1064
Now, whether you have one of those handy gizmos or not, position the work (with the hole locations pre-punched), then pull down the quill with the motor off. Listen for a plinking sound, and watch with hawk eyes for the slightest bit deflection. If the bit is deflecting to enter the dimple, your hole won't come out right.
I find it helpful to rotate the chuck by hand to position the flutes or other cutting edges in a way that allows a clear view of the very tip of the point in relation to the dimple. Repeat the process of making fine adjustments to the X and Y axes and then checking with the quill until the bit enters straight and true, then drill the hole.
This process is tedious and time consuming, but if there's a better way to ensure a hole as close to perfectly placed as possible with a drill press, I haven't discovered it.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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if you have a 2 inch diameter piece for instance, set a pair of dial calipers[preferably the 15 dollar chineses ones] a tad over half, say 1.015. scribe a number of lines near the center of the shaft from different points on the circumference. Of course layout die[read sharpie] makes it easier to see. You will end up with a pattern grouped around the center, making it much easier to see if you are in error when you center punch it. I prefer solid punches to the automatic ones, sharpened to a nice sharp point. Tap very lightly the first time, so if it is visibly out of center, you can fix it. drill with a small center drill or a 1/8 inch drill. drill progressively larger
Much of this relates to your eye; if you can see[and care about] the error or not. If your scribe marks are ~.03 apart, the average person can 'see' ~.005 error, if they want to.
Silvan wrote:

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Your answer below is right on, however, please tell me what is wrong with this amateur approach. Center punch the material, rather deep. Enlarge by using a centering drill in the drill press, BUT, assuming the project is quite small (one or two pounds) let it float on the table and have it center itself as you start drilling. You seemingly end up with no drill bit deflection and, I assume, a hole that is quite close in location to your initial center punch. I know that I am a mere amateur, but it seems like every time I fasten a product to the table, I end up with drill bit deflection. When it is light enough to float and self center, I get better hole location.
Ivan Vegvary

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-- -- Dave Baker - Puma Race Engines (www.pumaracing.co.uk)

the
of
Turn a sharp point on a bit of thin bar in the lathe and use that in your drill chuck to centre on your graph paper. Ideally make it with a collet chuck or 4 jaw chuck to get it dead concentric. Then use a centre drill to start the hole before drilling right through.
Your pointy bar will also come in handy for setting tool heights exactly on centre on the lathe. I have a couple of them in various sizes made out of old engine valve stems and bits of ground silver steel.
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on
Easy to make these. Next time you are in a machine shop supply get some metal dowel pins. (They are cheap, a good hardware store might have them also.) Chuck them up in your hand drill and spin them when you grind the point, being sure to have a little cup of water to cool the point as you are grinding.
The op didn't say what material he was trying to drill but in some instances you can get close to the center punched point and let the work float into position under the spinning drill bit. If he is drilling wood, a brad point is in order.
Another way would be to position a piece of Plexiglas that has a guide bushing centered on a set of cross hairs. Then you can extend the reference lines on the graph paper and the center will then be right over the target.
--

Roger Shoaf

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On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 23:38:11 -0000, "Dave Baker"

He does not even have to turn anything. Most taps have conical points. Just chuck a tap in the drill press and use that point as a centerfider, then replace it with theintended drill bit.
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First of all, forget "absolutely dead center" -- that term is incompatible with a drill press. A drill press is a tool for rapidly putting holes within a reasonable tolerance of where you want them. That being said, this problem breaks down as:
1) making the hole start directly under the spindle axis (i.e. preventing drill bit wander) which is done by centerpunching and also by using very rigid drill bits known as "center drills" which you can get at http://www.mscindustrial.com
2) putting your centerpunch mark exactly where you want it which is easy to do within ten thousandths but very hard to do closer than two thousandths. This is done for high precision by the use of an optical center punch.
Holes that have to be very precisely located aren't drilled, they are bored. The machine that does this is a jig borer.
Most woodworking tolerances are on the order of .010" so you can probably get away with learning to do layout and centerpunching. Once you have a centerpunched mark, then it's also tricky to get it lined up exactly under the machine's axis.
All of this supposes that your drill press table is at precisely right angle to the spindle axis, and that your drill chuck has zero runout, neither of which is likely true, especially if you're using something you bought at Home Depot.
GWE
Doc wrote:

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angle
Oh, so next I 'spose you'll say it was foolhardy of me to bid on doing work for NASA with a Shopsmith??
;-)
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wrote:

damn.. YOU were the one that undercut my Shopsmith bid!
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Switch to a brad-point? And stick the center point where you need it?
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I use both center drills as well as punch, depending on whichever is easier. Works out okay.
i

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Doc wrote:

You got to drill a center punched mark with a very small drill. Then drill the hole larger with the next size or two up. Recheck the locantion and if it is off, hit the top edge of the hole with a punch on the side of the hole you want the hole to move to.
You could also drill the hole a 32th under size and then go through it with the proper size end mill if your drillpress quill is stiff enough, or drill another block with the finishe size and clamp that block in place and use that to hold the endmill on center useing it as a guide bushing.
John
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wrote:

The problem is not so much your alignment, as the fact that unless the end of the drill is perfectly symetrical and equally sharp on both cutting edges, it has a tendency to wander off.
You don't say how big the hole is. If it's small, a full length drill is very hard to control because there's so much flex in the shaft. Instead use a center drill like these to start the hole: http://www.sherline.com/3021inst.htm
If the hole is larger than 1/4 inch, use a spotting drill like one of these: http://www.discount-tools.com/1545.cfm Short, stocky drills like that don't wander around when their cutting tips meet the work.
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Doc wrote:>Looking for any tips/tricks for drilling a hole w/a drill press that's as

Check the DP for any runout, and/or try a brad point bit? HTH Tom Work at your leisure!
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