What Does A Drill Press Do And How To Use It?

If you are a DIY guy who uses a drill machine once a week for homemade projects, a drill press machine isn’t for you. It’s simply a gigantic version of the portable drill machines that we use to make holes on wood or metal pieces.

The difference is, the drill press machine is a non-portable, large tabletop device, and it can make really large holes that the handheld machine can’t.

Now, if you are a serious woodworker having your workstation, a drill press machine will definitely be on your favorite list. It makes wood, metal, or plastic working so easy and simple; you will probably end up using it every day.

Let’s find out what does Drill Press do and how exactly it does it.

What Is A Drill Press?

A Drill press is a motorized power tool that is designed to make holes in wood, metal, or plastic materials. It’s a large immobile device that can be placed on a corner of the workstation. Its bit position is set downwards, and it has a rotating handle to press the drill bit into the material from the top.

The specialty of a drill press is that it can hold large bits that can’t be attached to handheld drill machines. That’s why it can precisely make large-diameter holes on giant projects pretty easily.

Types Of Drill Press

According to the size and application, a drill press can be of different types. Here are some of the commonly used digital press machines.

  • Portable Drilling Machine
  • Sensitive Drilling Machine
  • Upright Drilling Machine
  • Radial Drilling Machine
  • Gang Drilling Machine
  • Multiple Spindle Drilling Machine
  • Automatic Drilling Machine
  • Deep Hole Drilling Machine

Portable Drilling Machine: These are usually portable and lightweight, but the size remains a large one.

Sensitive Drilling Machine: It is characterized by a belt drive and spindle head. It’s mostly manual and doesn’t come as an automatic system. It can be of two types - Bench mounting and floor mounting.

Upright Drilling Machine: It’s the actual upright-style drilling machine that we usually see. You can choose either an automatic or manual one here.

Radial Drilling Machine: Radial drilling machines are universal and versatile to use. It’s more popular than the other types among users. It has three versions - plain, semi-universal, and universal.

Gang Drilling Machine: This one has an option for multiple drilling operations on a single table at the same time. That’s why the name is gang drilling device.

Multiple Spindle Drilling Machine: This machine can drill multiple holes at the same time.

Automatic Drilling Machine: As the name suggests, the device is totally automatic. You don’t need any manual interference to operate it.

Deep Hole Drilling Machine: This type of device comes with a capacity for drilling holes at a diameter ratio of 10:1.

How Does A Drill Press Work?

Here, we are going to see how a general drill press is operated. Let’s find out step by step.

Step 1

First of all, you need to set the speed of the machine. To set the correct RPM, open the top lid of the machine and find the belt drives. There should be a guide printed on the sides that shows you how to adjust the belts to get the right amount of RPM for your project.

The rule of thumb here is that the larger the hole, the slower the speed. Depending on the need of your project, pick the proper RPM first.

Step 2

Now it’s time to set the bit. You need to open the chuck first. Then slide the bit into it. Tighten the screws to make sure the bit is correctly in place.

Step 3

It’s time to adjust the surface. You can use the lever here to set the right height of the table. Pull it up or slide it down to set it at the correct position. Once you have found the right position, lock it up.

Step 4

Now, you need to adjust the gauge depth. Simply put, if you are drilling a hole through the piece, you don’t need to set the depth here. This is because the bit will slice through the piece and end up making a hole.

However, if you are trying to make a deep cut without making a hole, you will need to adjust its depth. Use the gauge to set the right depth and lock it there.

Step 5

Before you start drilling, make sure that the workpiece is tightly secured. As you are drilling, the wood piece should not move at all; otherwise, you won’t get the desired output. There should be a clamp on the right or left side of the workpiece to secure it tightly. Use it to put it to its place.

Step 6

Finally, you can use the rotating handle to lower the spindle and start drilling. Simply move the handle, and you can see the bit piercing through the piece pretty easily. That’s it! You’re done!

What Is A Drill Press Used For In Woodworking

In woodworking, a drill press is usually applied for drilling simple holes through the wooden piece. Generally, when you need to drill a large-diameter hole, a drill press is the ideal machine you need. It is often used for making non-hole drills, as well.

By adjusting the depth gauge, the drill press can make low-depth holes on the wood piece. This is often made for holding any object in the cavity. These holes are used mainly in crafting wooden showpieces.

How To Use A Drill Press For Metal

Using a drill press for a metal piece is different from drilling in a wooden piece. You have to use specialized bits for metal materials. If you are drilling on soft metals, you can use standard bits made from copper or aluminum. However, for hard metal items, you must use cobalt, chrome-vanadium, or titanium carbide-made bits.

Another point to remember is that when you are drilling large holes in metal, start with pre-drilling it with tiny holes first. Plus, make sure you are drilling at the right speed. The harder the material, the slower you should drill.

Then again, the idea is to use as little force to apply as you can while drilling metal. That’s why it’s a good idea to lubricate the bits for smooth drilling.

What Are The Safety Rules For A Drill Press

Using a drill press is an awesome experience. However, it’s a bit risky, too. That’s why taking safety measures is vital. Here are some of the key safety steps you need to take.

  1. Always clamp the workpiece tightly
  2. Remove the chips with a brush, don’t hold them by hand
  3. Never use dull bits
  4. Never drill with high pressure
  5. Always clean the drill shank before use
  6. Never loosen the drill chuck with power on
  7. Never try to clean the machine while it is in motion
  8. Wear safety goggles

Final Words

If you know what does drill press do and how to operate it, you can do wonders. A drill press can achieve something that a regular handheld drill machine can’t. However, these devices do come at a greater price as they are larger in size. That’s why for a DIYer, it won’t be a good help in the long run.

For a professional woodworker, this one is a must. So, if you own your own workstation and take your woodworking job seriously, consider owning one today!

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