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Drill Press: A Short Guide to Get Started

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drill press guide

drill press, also known as a drilling machine is able to execute many operations apart from drilling i.e. reaming, counterboring, tapping large/small holes into different surface materials. This equipment can be sorted into different categories based on shapes and sizes for example – hand-held power drills, bench-mounted, and floor-mounted models.

This guide will include the types of drill machines, taking care of them and describing shop mechanisms for creating an operation. So, let us move forward and take a quick look at the guide

What is a Drill Press Machine?

Drill presses are used to dig/cut holes through the various surfaces of materials like metal, wood etc. These machines can run operations such as countersinking, boring, counter boring, spot facing, reaming, and tapping. The drilling machines use a drilling tool, which has cutting edges at its end. Chuck/Morse paper is used to hold the cutting tool in the drill press, which is switched and served into the work at different speeds. There are other uses to drill machines as well.

Knowing the arrangement of the job, speed, and feed and using the coolant for getting a perfectly finished goods is necessary for drill operators. There are multiple ways to find out the capacity of a drill press. For example – the biggest hole, which can be drilled, the gap between the column and spindle, the vertical gap amid the bench.

Most common way to find out the capacity is by finding out the biggest portion of the material that can be drilled in the center i.e. a 15-inch drill press is able to center-drill a 30-inch-diameter unit of material.

How to Take Care of a Drill Press?

To take care of a drill press, you need to manage lubricant properly. Besides, you have to take superior care of the tool at the meanest of conditions. Here is how you would take care of a drill press.


To dissipate the heat and friction originated by the parts that are moving, use of lubricants is very important. Manuals for appropriate lubrication approaches by the manufacturer must be followed. You should also make sure the following:

  • Clean up machines after usage
  • Freshen up the T-slots, grooves, and dust from cranes and chains
  • Take away the chips to evade harm to moving portions
  • Wipe every sleeve of grit and spindles so you can avoid damage to the precision fit
  • Operate each machine carefully to avoid overworking the electric motor
  • Use a thin coat of oil on every surface that are not painted for the purpose of avoiding rust

READ:How to Use Wood Screws Correctly?

Superior Care

Prerequisite for using the drill presses under harsh conditions is special care depending on the conditions they are operated on. On extremely cold condition, the start up the machines at a slower speed and then progressively move up the speed. This process warms up the parts and lubricants to take a heavy workload.

In the extreme cold situation, metal tends to get very brittle so avoid striking the machine with hard gears. Approaches such as; use of intermittent, turning the machines and intermittently so the motor can run cool is very efficient under extreme heat. Under very dusty conditions, use the drill press at its slowest speed and use lubricants more often. This will avoid quick abrasive wear on the moving parts of the machine.

Drill Press: The Different Types

For the purpose of for fixing and constructing needed parts, maintenance staff mainly use two types of drill press: hand-feed and power-feed. The additional categories of drill machines include radial drilling machine.

Variations of basic hand and power-feed drilling machine are – numerically maintained drill press, multiple spindle drill press, gang drill press, and turret drill press. These machines are designed for the purpose of industrial shops and high-speed production. Here are the different types of drill presses:

1) Hand-Feed

These are the simplest drilling machines and very commonly used nowadays.

These machines are light duty gears. An operator using a feed handle can ‘’fell’’ the act of the cutting tool when it cuts from side to side of the work material as its hand-fed. A hand-feed drill press can be mounted on both bench or floor. An electrically motorized device drives and fits a drive belt on a motor pulley which lines up with the spindle pulley.

The head of the machine can be movable upward and downward on the column by lessening the locking bolts. This enables the drilling machine to drill various kinds of work.  These are high-speed drill press which can be used to small workshops and needs ½ inch or smaller holes.

2) Power-Feed

The drilling machines that are power-feed, have the capacity to fit the cutting tool into the work repeatedly. This is done at a predetermined depth of cut per revolution of the spindle, which typically is in thousandths of an inch per revolution. These machines are much larger than their hand-feed counterparts are.

They are often used in repairing workshops for the purpose of average duty work or those who simply uses larger drills that need power feeds. The speed on power-feed machines is in 50RPM – 1800-RPM range. Slower speed range is used for the purpose of special jobs i.e. counterboring, countersinking, and reaming.

READ: 10 Useful tips for using a portable drill press

These are essential for drilling or cutting took which are more than ½ inch in diameter. Such works need more force that can be generated by hand pressure. Most power-feed drill presses are floor mounted. They can be categorized from 17 inches to 22-inch center-drilling ability. These machines are capable of handling maximum 2 inches in diameter deep drilling projects. 

They are mounted into tapered Morse sockets. To aid in drilling to a precise depth, a mechanism, which stops the drilling process at a certain depth, is used. This is located on the head, close to the spindle. T-bolts and clamps are used to clamp larger workplaces to the table or base. On the other hand, small workplaces are held in a vise.

Drill Press: Safety Precautions

The drill press is considered as one of the most hazardous handheld pieces of machinery in the workplace. Instructions below will help to avoid accidents, loss of time and material.

Avoid supporting the workplaces using hands only. A holding device comes in handy to avoid the workpiece from being torn from the hands of the operator. The list below contains safety measures applicable to most drill presses most common in workplaces –

  • Do not make adjustments when the machine is running
  • Use a brush to clean away the chips instead of bare hands
  • Never keep loose clothing near turning tools
  • Before starting the operation, ensure that cutting tools are operating straight
  • Keep the tools and equipment’s away from the drilling tables
  • Place the guards in position when operating
  • In order to avoid damaged tools or workplaces, loosen up the feed when the drill breaks through the work
  • Get rid of the chuck keys and wrenches before starting operation.
  • Always wear eye protection while operating any drilling machines.
  • Maintain eye protections all the time when operating on drill presses.


Hope this guide helped you to get a clear understanding of different types of drill presses. Besides, now you can easily take care of this tool accurately. Most importantly, you are now aware of the safety measures of using a drill press. So, use the best drill press to good effect and make your project successful!

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