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Why do I need a drill press?

Discussion in 'A BEGINNER'S FORUM (Learn How To Machine Here!)' started by Bamban, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. fastback

    fastback United States Active User Active Member

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    I also own a number of drill presses, 5 in all, and all are bench top models. I don't have a lot of room in the machine shop, so I have a smaller 10 inch Delta DP there. It only has a 2.5 inch depth for the quill, but I still find it handy to have around. Most of the time I have it set up for a counter sink. I really like having a drill press available.

    Paul
     
  2. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I still have my 1963 Craftsman drill press. It is so much faster to use than setting up my mill for drilling.Mine has the original hi-lo speed attachment I bought this from new. My first machine purchase.

    When using the power downfeed in a BP,the max drill size is 3/8". By hand,you can drill much larger holes with a BP.
     
  3. wawoodman

    wawoodman himself, himself H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have two, a 40’s era Delta 17”, and a 50’s DP220 with the foot feed. I can't imagine NOT having them. Much faster then setting up the mill.
     
  4. samthedog

    samthedog Norway Active User Active Member

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    I believe that having a drill press is a justifiable luxury. Many times milling jobs take a few days to a few weeks and to avoid having to ruin the set+up just to drill a hole, the drill press is used. I personally have 2 drill presses. The first is a bench model for smaller, finer drilling operations when I don't need a lot of grunt.

    WP_20140705_007.jpg

    When I need to do some heavy duty drilling and need a lot of space, I use the Arboga. The reason why the Arboga is not my go-to drill is because my little Ixion is so quiet and smooth that I get a better feel for what is happening. The downside is that it's speed range is on the high side so The Arboga compliments it quite nicely.

    Paul.

    WP_20140705_007.jpg
     
  5. gr8legs

    gr8legs Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have both a mill and a drill press. (Actually two drill presses but one pretty much lives with a countersink in it full time).

    I use the precision measurement/positioning capability of the mill to spot pilot holes with a center drill, then do the actual drilling on the drill press. This uses just one tool holder on the mill and maintains the Z-Axis calibration. (Tool holder / collet combination on my Hurco with Kwik-Switch tool holders is about $100 a pop.)

    It's faster / easier to switch drill bits and adjust the table height on the drill press when doing different size through-holes.

    If I'm doing blind holes then I do them entirely on the mill - better / more accurate depth and feed speed control.

    I had a drill press before I got the mill so it became a habit. Also, for holes in sheet goods (especially holes >1/2" diameter) that don't have to be 'dead nuts' accurate I whomp them out on the ironworker after spotting the locations with the mill.

    Stu
     
  6. JPigg55

    JPigg55 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Best reason to have a drill press is Murphy and his pecky law, IMHO.
    You can bet your bippy that one day you'll need to do some drilling at the same time you have a project set up, clamped down, and started on your mill.
    So ask yourself, "Would I rather spend a couple hundred on a cheap drill press or go through a project set-up again that may induce errevokable errors ?"
     
  7. SE18

    SE18 United States Active User Active Member

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    I have a mill and drill press and used to use the mill for milling and the drill press for drilling, but more and more I'm not using the drill press (Harbor Freight) as I'm finding that the mill has a lot more torque for drilling and the vise with X/Y axis makes holding stuff and moving it around much better (granted, you can get that setup with a Drill press but I don't have that). I can see the utility of a big floor model DP since my mill only has so much Z movement, but if I have a long object, I usually can fit it to the lathe
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  8. gi_984

    gi_984 Active User Active Member

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    My opinion: every shop should have a drill press. Get as good as funds allow. I started out with a Clausing 15 inch variable speed. Upgraded to a geared head Solberga when a deal came along. It will put inch holes in plate steel without difficulty. So buy what you can and upgrade when possible just like all of our tool/tooling.
    Just as others have said the drill press is fast and easy to put a quick hole in something or for deburring/countersinking. I still drill occasionally on the Bridgeport. Usually when I have a part indicated in and set up and don't want to take it out to drill a hole or two before returning it to the mill.
    Got to agree about getting a GOOD drill press vise. Started out with a old US made Craftsman that is adjustable for angle. Not enough mass or rigidity. Got a 6 inch Heinrich and it is akin to what a Kurt AngleLock is to a mill.
     
  9. Dan_S

    Dan_S Active User Active Member

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    One thing I haven't seen anyone mention, is that a drill presses has a much larger spindle to table distance. A BP size machine maxes out at 18". My 17" floor model jet DP goes up to 29-1/8" , and its over 36" if I swing the table out of the way and set the work on the base. All that extra capacity lets you do stuff like Keith Fenner is doing at the beginning of this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UObRO4eQJZo

    if you are using a BP style machine you have to start doing stuff like clamping to the table edge, and then rotating the turret & extending the ram.

    Another thing to consider is what you are drilling. I do a lot of woodworking, and I don't want sawdust anywhere close to oiled machine ways.

    The other main benefit of a drill press, is that the bearings are cheap, and easy to replace, so if you abuse them it's not as big of a worry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  10. kwoodhands

    kwoodhands United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    You do not need a drill press .I have a mill and two drill presses.The older Craftsmen has the threaded rod fine adjustment which I like. Also has a lever for the quill lock.This machine is probably at least 75 years old and has almost no runout.
    Cast iron,3/4 hp but no rack for table height adjustment.I unlock the table yoke and lift or push the table for height adjustment. Probably weighs 125 lbs or so,a lot for a bench top machine.
    The other DP is a Delta ,I got it brand new ,still in the box for $100.00 This machine went for $350.00 at the time.Hardware store near me went out of business and liquadated all their stock,including a few machine tools.
    The quill lock and the height adjustment are a PITA.You can lock the quill with the dial for height .No way can you accurately hold the quill at an exact height,or even move it a small amount.For wood working it is okay. The table height adjusts with the crank and rack.Speeds are easy enough to change,jack shaft puts tension on the belts.The older Craftsmen is time consuming to change speeds.The motor slides on two solid round bars. Two set screws have to loosen,move the motor to get slack in the belt.Then pull the motor forward and retighten the screws.Not difficult but takes several minutes .
    In your case I would not bother with a DP unless you actually hd a pressing need for a separate machine.

    mike
     
  11. Mark in Indiana

    Mark in Indiana United States Active User Active Member

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    An advantage of having a separate drill press is if you have a job set up in your mill (some jobs can be set up for a few days in mine), you need to drill some quick holes that take more accuracy than a hand drill in another job.
     
  12. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Do I need a drill press? No, but it is very handy to have. I normally use mine for countersinking/deburing holes. I keep a countersink in the chuck almost all the time. I can't remember the last time I actually used it to drill a hole. I put a foot switch on it for more convenient operation.
     
  13. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    A drill press good enough for cheesy work ,neither clean nor accurate,
    can be found for25$ , and probably could be traded in (as I did for 10$ more)
    A real dirty but accurate one; don't get in the habit of abusing your mill for
    work that doesn't need one. ........BLJHB.
     
  14. Fabrickator

    Fabrickator United States Active User Active Member

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    I bought a floor standing drill press for my very first piece of new machine shop equipment back in 1973. I still have it and use it all the time so I figure it was a great investment for the $129 I paid for it. It's a 12-speed, 1/2hp model and it was some of the first Taiwan tools sold in our area. All I've ever done is change the belts a few times, it still has the same spindle bearings, chuck and motor.
     
  15. David S

    David S Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yikes if I didn't have my drill press...I wouldn't have a mill.

    David
     
  16. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    Why do I need a drill press?


    The answer is very simple. You don't have one. Nuf said. :roflmao:
     
  17. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    A good drill press is good to have you have a # 2
    Or # 3 MT in a good drill press the bigger ones will have a # 4 MT & you can buy some good drill bits with the #2 MT & #3 MT . You can use
    Some MT sleeves . And get you a drift pin to fit the
    Quil . A good vice and some table clamps .
    Some good C- Clamps . With the table that will tilt
    Left to right at any degree from zero to ninety degrees . And the table will swing completely around out of the way and now you have four foot or more to the base which also has T- slots to clamp big work
    In . Such as a engine block . Man a drill press is
    Endless to what you can do in one very fast .
    You can drill bigger holes quicker in a drill press
    Just make sure you don't buy one to small .
    And make sure you get one with a slow RPM
    Below 40 would be good 30 even better .
    Geared head is better than belts .
    You can drill circles around a Bridgeport mill
    And you don't tie up your milling machine with a bunch of drilling .
    I could go on and on .
     
    darkzero likes this.
  18. coherent

    coherent United States Active Member Active Member

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    I have a tapping head for my drill press which I use fairly often. My mill is CNC, so having a drill press for quick and simple use for drilling and deburring is a must as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  19. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    I have 4 and wouldn't mind have a 4 gang press and a turret model too. My biggest is a 20" Rockwell delta w, walker Turner power feed . Enco 12 speed, walker Turner bench model w ship wheel . Also Milwaukee magnet drill , about the most used one of all. One isn't enough but a dozen may be. Yes I too have tapping heads , even used for polishing the bores on small engines with honing stones.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  20. Old junk

    Old junk United States Active Member Active Member

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    two words quick & easy
     
  21. Buffalo20

    Buffalo20 United States Steel Registered Member

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    I have 4 drill press in the shop, along with 4 milling machines, I use them all constantly. I've never drilled a hole, for the sake of that hole, on a milling machine. If the parts already in the mill and needs a hole, thats a different story.
     
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  22. martik777

    martik777 Canada Active User Active Member

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    I rarely use my mill for drilling. In fact I do not even have a chuck for it, I use ER collets.

    The DP has much better tactile feedback and is faster to setup.
     
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  23. wawoodman

    wawoodman himself, himself H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Without a drill press, how are you going to send pieces of sheet metal spinning across the room?
     

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