When you're working with wood, it's highly likely that you'll need to drill some holes at some stage during your project, whether it's a simple DIY job or a more professional endeavor. This is where drill presses can come in handy. Strong, sturdy, and high-powered, they can help you drill super precise and clean holes in various woods, with some models even tough enough to handle plastics and metals too. Here are some of the best drill presses in 2021 that you can buy.
The drill press is a staple workshop power tool in every home or professional wood or metal workshop. It is used to drill perfectly round holes into metal, wood, and other materials. And when integrated with other tools, accessories, and attachments, it can also be used to carry out other workshop operations like counter-boring, mortising, countersinking, sanding, reaming, and spot facing.
Due to the different variations and configurations of drill presses on the market, a lot of people end up buying the wrong types for their project, and the reason why is simple; lack of information.
We have already done the work for you and outlined the very best drill presses on the market that stand out from the bunch, but how did we choose and how should you too, choose?
In the rest of this buying guide, we will take it a step further and outline factors you want to consider and qualities to look out for in a drill press to help you choose one that suits your specifications and project requirements.
What are the Factors to Consider Before Buying a Drill Press?
The different materials you will be drilling will determine the type of drill press to buy. But the ideal drill press should be compatible with different materials.
One major machinability factor that separates different materials is their different required drill speeds. A drill press with a speed adjustment function is a staple and will allow you to work with different materials once the right drill bit is installed.
The swing size is the distance between the center of the chuck and the front of the bench column multiplied by 2.
It is an important feature that determines the range of tasks you can perform and the size of material you can work on with your drill press.
Before making that drill press purchase, remember that the larger the swing size, the larger the material it can accommodate.
The rule of thumb in drilling is that the tougher or stronger the material, the higher the power required to drill into it for the same drill bit dimensions. A drill press with a lower power rating will take longer to drill a particular hole size than one with a higher power rating.
The depth stop/gauge feature allows you to automatically make multiple holes at consistent and precise depths. If you have a project requiring consistent holes, you should go for a drill press with a depth gauge.
Pro tip: A depth stop can be added to a drill press as an accessory.
Quill Stroke / Spindle Travel
This feature, also known as stroke distance, is a measurement of how deep the drill can go before the drill table needs to be readjusted. It is measured in inches.
When buying a drill press, ensure that you get one with a quill stroke of at least 4 inches. It is best to avoid cheap drills with quill strokes of 2.5 inches or less if you want to enjoy seamless drilling operations.
The drill press should come with a table that tilts to an angle of at least 45 degrees. Drilling complex angle mortises, building a Windsor chair, and executing other complex drilling operations will require a tilting drill press, and you want yours to be able to pull it off.
Drill Press FAQ
Q: What are the basic types of drill presses?
A: There are many variations of drill presses, but each falls under two major categories; Benchtop and Floor/Stationary drill presses. Benchtop drill presses are designed to be fixed to a bench. With a quill stroke of only about 8-12’’, they are relatively smaller than floor drills and can only handle simple to fairly complex drilling tasks.Floor drill presses are designed for heavy-duty projects. They come with quill drills of about 13-20’’ and are the most preferred option by professionals.
Q: What protective equipment is needed when operating a drill press?
A: Operating a drill press is nothing like riding a roller coaster. Like with most machining operations, it requires operators to use personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of them include:
High-grade, shatter-proof safety glasses or goggles to protect the eyes.
Industrial face masks to prevent inhalation of dust, debris, and metal shards. Use respirators for large amounts of dust.
Safety boots to protect the feet
Earplugs or any form of hearing protection to protect the eardrums from excess noise.
Q: Should you wear gloves when using a drill press?
A: No.Gloves are likely to get stuck in the moving parts of the drill press, pulling your hand inside. To avoid such a gory situation, do not wear gloves while operating a drill press.
Q: What are the safety tips to follow when operating a drill press?
A: There are some standard rules and safety tips for operating a drill press.
Operate the drill press only if you are qualified and trained to do so
Read and strictly follow the manufacturer’s operating manual, especially information about maintenance, operation, shutdown, and start-up.
Never wear gloves, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, watches, or any form of jewelry while operating a drill press.
Do not set or adjust the speed of a drill press while the machine is running. Turn it off before making any adjustments to it.
Maintain a distance of at least 4 inches between your hand and the drill.
Keep the area around the drill press free of oil, debris, grease, and other needless materials.
Perform a thorough inspection to ensure that all safety guards are in place before starting and operating the drill press.
Never abandon the drill press when it is running.
Inspect the drill press for damage or faults before using it.
Do not apply extra pressure to the drill.
Put on earplugs or any form of hearing protection to minimize the impact of drill press noise on the ears.
Never stop the chuck and spindle rotation with your hand.
Keep at least 2 feet of your drill press operating area clear at all times.
Roll up your sleeves and tie back long flowing hair.
A single drill press should be operated by only one person at a time.
Q: What are some common drill press accessories?
A: Drill press accessories/add-ons upgrade the versatility and functionality of your drill press. Here are some of the most common ones:
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