What is the Main Purpose of the Drill Press?
A drill press is one of the most versatile and beneficial tools that you can own. Basically, a drill press is a tool with a drill head mounted onto a column. The drill head plunges downward as the operator pulls the feed lever. The drill then penetrates the surface of the material clamped onto the work table under the drill head.
What Does a Drill Press Do?
First-time buyers and people just looking to get into the metal/woodworking game might have several questions regarding the importance of a drill press. The following list will describe the types of things a drill press can do.
Drilling Holes in Wood/Metal/plastic
Obviously, a drill press is meant to drill holes. The drill head enters your material – wood, metal, or plastic – and drills out holes of varying depths and widths, depending on the length of the bit, the size of the chuck, and the depth gauge. One way a drill press differs from a regular power drill is that because the head only moves vertically, there’s absolutely no way that you can mess up the hole you’ve drilled unless 1) the stock is incorrectly set (there are clamps for this), or 2) the bit is incorrectly set (just double-check).
Repeated Drill Depths
It’s entirely possible to drill at the same depth in multiple boards using a power drill. The only problem is that it’s not very efficient; you need to measure the drill bit, tape off the depth at which you’d like to reach, and use a mixture of gut-feeling and semi-visibility to gauge where the drill’s bit has reached.
With a drill press, you can get rid of many variables that affect how deep the bit has reached. By setting the depth gauge, you need to pull the feed lever until the drill bit has reached the desired depth. After that, you can drill holes into multiple boards with just a pull of the lever.
A Drill Press’ Versatility
Even though a drill press is an extremely valuable tool to have for any woodworking/metalworking projects, you might be wondering what else it can do. You’ve heard of how versatile a drill press is, but what other things can you do with it? Here are just a few things that you drill press can be used to do other than drilling straight, round holes into stock.
Oftentimes after drilling a hole, the outer part of the hole will be as clean as a whistle, while the inside of the hole will be cluttered with dust and small wood shavings. In order to eliminate the residual dust left in the hole, you’ll need to attach a deburring bit to your tool. This clears the hole out in a jiffy, making it ready for further processing.
Both drill presses and power drills can use deburring bits, but it’s significantly easier to debur a hole using a drill press. Simply slide the bit into the chuck and pull the lever set at the right depth. There’ll be no more struggling to get the tool perfectly perpendicular to the hole, eliminating the risk of ruining it.
Most woodworkers may not need to use a reaming bit, but for serious jobs where even a thousandth of an inch can mean throwing the entire board away (e.g., slip fits and interference fits), a reaming bit and a steady hand are crucial. That is if you’re using a power drill.
With a drill press, after drilling the initial hole at the right width and depth, attach the reaming bit, set the appropriate depth, and pull the feed lever. The magic of a drill press and what makes it such a valuable tool in amateur and professional workshops is its accuracy. Reaming holes becomes so much easier to do by eliminating shaky hands from the equation.
Drilling and tapping are two unique actions that a handheld power drill and drill press can do. Tapping a hole involves creating notches in a pre-drilled hole to create threads where screws or threaded pipes can latch onto. It can be a tedious task if you need to go at it by hand with a power drill, but with a power drill, things become much easier. As long as you put in the appropriate bit and set the right depth, you’re good to go.
A mortise is a square, or rectangular hole cut into the wood where a tenon is inserted to connect two boards together. The traditional way our great-great-grandfathers created mortises in their wood-based crafts was by using a chisel. We admit that chiseling is a lost art that the younger generation has lost all respect for. But this is only because there’s a far easier way to create mortises: a mortising bit in a drill press.
If you don’t have a mortising bit and can’t be bothered to purchase one, a drill press can still come in handy in producing mortises. Using a drill bit, just drill out a majority of the material in your board where you’d like to create a mortise and use and chisel away the rest to square it up. That way your grandparents won’t scowl at you for not appreciating ole fashioned hard work.
After cutting boards using a jigsaw or band saw, it only makes sense to sand any rough edges. The best way to go at it is with the help of an oscillating spindle sander. However, such a tool isn’t necessarily a “must-have” tool for the common man’s workshop. If you have a drill press, then you can convert it into a sander.
Basically, there are several attachments that you can get for your drill press to increase its versatility, including a barrel sander. Fit the attachment into your drill press’ chuck and start her up. Make use of the drill’s variable speed to accommodate sanding of any material.
So there you have it; this article explains a number of different things you can use a drill press for. If you’re just beginning to build your workshop tool by tool, a drill press should be one of the highest items on your list. It’s not just the precision that it offers that makes it so great (though it is the main benefit it has over handheld power drills) but also the number of different holes and cleaning jobs this tool can help you do. If you’re looking for the right drill press, you should prioritize versatility, and make sure that the drill press you get has several different attachments available.