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Posted on Dec 22, 2020
A drill press is a very versatile and convenient tool that is widely available in the market. It also comes in several different types and models that are suited for specific tasks. When buying a drill press, you need to account for all aspects of the machine in order to choose the most suitable model for your intended operation.
A standing drill machine, better known as the drill press or bench drilling machine, is one of the essential power tools for precise drilling of exact depths or expanding cylindrical holes in workpieces or parts. A drill press can also serve as a mortise machine, spindle sander, or a pocket hole machine with the right attachment. Other than drilling, it is also capable of operations such as reaming, countersinking, and tapping.
Drill presses can either be bench-top drill press or stationery that are designed to drill holes in a variety of materials, namely metal, wood, and plastic. Like hand-held drilling machines, drill presses utilize various types of drill bits to make different size holes in diameters. When buying power tools like a drill press, you need to take a little bit more consideration compared to the standard handheld drills. In this article, we'll address the specialty of a drill press and how a potential buyer should go about selecting one.
If you are looking to buy a standing drilling machine, you need to be more specific because both drill presses and handheld drilling machines are categorized as drilling machines. Unlike handheld drilling machines, drill presses are stationary or benchtop drilling machines. If you are only required to use a drilling tool for minor home improvement and repairs, or small woodworking projects, a drill press might not be the best option here as a simple hand drill will do just fine.
Conversely, a drill press is much preferred in the situation where bigger woodworking or metalworking projects are involved, allowing you to easily drill precise holes, ream the holes and apply sanding accessories.
:: Read More: How to use your Drilling Machine to drill metal
A drill press is a very versatile and convenient tool that is widely available in the market. It also comes in several different types and models that are suited for specific tasks. When buying a drill press, you need to account for all aspects of the machine in order to choose the most suitable model for your intended operation. Here are some of the factors to consider:
You can typically choose between two types of drill presses: bench drill press (or shortened as bench drill) and floor drill presses (i.e., stationary drill press). Bench drill presses are often relatively smaller so that they can be mounted on top of a bench of any size. This type of drill press is well-suited for smaller jobs and workshops with limited space. Bench drill presses are typically characterized by the 8" to 12" swing and are able to drill holes with 2" to 3" depth (or more).
Stationary drill presses on the other hand require more space and are typically fixed on the ground. They are heavy and difficult to move but can provide more strength and horsepower compared to their counterpart, hence making them more well-suited for heavy-duty and more professional lines of work. Stationary drill presses are capable of drilling holes up to 6” deep, featuring a 13" to 20" swing.
The swing size is defined as the distance from the chuck to the bench column, and multiply the number by 2. The resulting number indicates how large of a workpiece your drill press will be able to handle. For example, a 10" swing will enable you to drill a hole up to 5”. Generally speaking, you will need to prepare a larger drill press (e.g., stationary press) for drilling holes more than 6" from the edge of the workpiece. Although larger drill presses are typically more expensive, they'll be able to handle a wide range of works.
You need to determine how much power you need, and the best way is to calculate the wattage. All drilling machines will label the volts and ampere of the particular model. Simply multiply those numbers to obtain watts, and higher wattage means stronger power, and harder material can be accommodated. The stationary models that are mounted on the shop floor can generally provide around 1,000 watts of power, whereas the benchtop model can provide up to half of that number.
Drilling machines typically come at various speeds to enable optimum drilling of different materials. Some models provide exceptionally higher speed for certain applications but are without a doubt more expensive. Benchtop drill presses can normally provide up to 6 different speeds, while high-end floor models are capable of up to 16-speed variations. This might strike you as a surprise, but the harder the material to be drilled, the slower the machine needs to be.
A depth stop is a useful feature that you can consider if several identical holes are required to be drilled frequently. For instance, if you need to drill 10 holes that are perfectly lined up, all of which are exactly 3" deep, a depth stop will ensure that the desired result is achieved at maximum precision.
Now that we've got the core factors covered, you can go beyond to see what attachments and accessories you might need that complement your drill press. In most cases, only look for the things that are necessary as some may be proven irrelevant for those who are just starting out. With that said, here are some of the added functions that you can consider for both beginners and professionals:
a) Attachable fences on the table that help position workpieces for drilling repetitive holes.
b) Mortising attachments that are connected to the quill for more precise mortise drilling.
c) Standing drums that are attached to the chuck for specifically sanding applications, such as sanding irregularly shaped edges or patterns.
d) Planer heads that are attached to the chuck for squaring purposes, such as squaring the edges of the workpiece or cutting rabbets.
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