MOTHER EARTH NEWS Drill Press Survey

This MOTHER EARTH NEWS survey covers the types of drill press machines available and tips when buying a machine, as well as a chart with drill press manufacturers and their specifications.


| November/December 1985



096-096-02tab.jpg

Survey chart of drill press manufacturers.


MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

In MOTHER's last issues, we cut through the mysteries of two major shop tools, the table and band saws. Now we'll explore the ins-and-outs of another work saver with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS drill press survey. (See the drill press diagram in the image gallery.) 

If you thought a drill press was strictly a production metalworking machine, it's time to reconsider: These one-time behemoths have been slimmed down, lightened up, and priced in a range comparable with other home-shop tools. What's more, with the addition of a number of accessories, a drill press can do far more than bore right-on-the-money holes in wood or metal . . . it can be used as a router, drum sander, circle cutter, rotary planer, buffer, shaper, and mortising chisel, as well.

Though drill presses are available in both standing and bench-top models, the floor units are nearly always the better buys unless you're specifically looking for a more compact tool. (If that's the case, you'll still find valuable information in this article and in the accompanying chart; some of the bench units are available as shortened versions of the heavy-duty stationary models, while others are clearly meant for lighter, less severe service.)

Let's take a look at the machine itself in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS drill press survey. With the exception of the industrial-type radial drill presses (which incorporate a horizontal arm to allow a range of lateral adjustment), most of the tools on the market share a similar design. Starting at the bottom, the base serves as a pedestal, a column support, and—in some circumstances—a secondary work surface. The column is simply a stanchion that carries an adjustable worktable and supports the machine's main element, the head.

This all-important component consists of the motor, a step-pulley drive system, and a spindle that rotates within a housing known as the quill. The quill's vertical movement is controlled by the feed lever, and its stroke can be limited with the depth stop. A splined-shaft arrangement allows the spindle—and the chuck fastened to the end of it—to move up and down with the quill.

KNOW YOUR DRILL PRESS FEATURE OPTIONS . . .

One of the most attractive features of a drill press is its versatility, so keep that in mind when window-shopping. If your sole purpose in buying the tool is to precision-bore holes in small pieces of stock, a bench-top model may suit you fine. On the other hand, if you wish to take full advantage of the machine's total capabilities, the standing version is probably a better choice, since, with its longer column, it can accommodate small, large, and oddly shaped workpieces.





Crowd at Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Sept. 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, PA.

With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.

LEARN MORE