Drilling Machine Guide
What Is a Drilling Machine?
A drilling machine is one of the most studied machine tools over the course of its evolution. It is primarily used to produce round holes or drive fasteners. Depending on the design, they can vary in speed, power, and size. The drilling machines today are built with various functions to accommodate a wider range of applications. For instance, some modern power drills also include a hammer function.
The most notable category of drilling equipment are the CNC drilling machines. They are designed for highly efficient drilling and can be equipped with various accessories, such as tool magazines, automatic tool changers, coordinate measuring machines, multi-axis working tables and more.
Figure 1. CNC Drilling Machine, Liang Lih Machine Co., Ltd.
Construction of Drilling Machines
The configuration of drilling machines can differ depending on the types and models, but the basic structure is not so different. Here are common components that make up a drilling machine:
- Base: Unless it is a portable model, a drilling machine is typically bolted to the ground to support the weight of the body.
- Column: A column is usually located on one side of the base. It supports the arm and drill head.
- Arm: It is located on the column, which carries the housing of the driving mechanism and the housing.
- Drill head: The drill head is installed on one side of the arm. It is responsible for feeding and driving, and slides up and down.
- Worktable: It is mounted on the column, and can move horizontally and vertically.
- Feed mechanism: The workpiece is fed either by hand or an electrical motor automatically.
- Spindle: Holds the cutting tool and rotates in a sleeve in a fixed position.
- Chuck: Located on the spindle and holds the drill jig.
- Electric motor: Used to power the drill and the feeding mechanism.
Types of Drilling Machines at a Glance
There are many types of drilling machines in the market today. We’ve listed some of the most common ones:
- Portable Drilling Machine: This type of drilling machine is generally smaller in size. You can find it virtually anywhere in the industry and even households. It is used for drilling holes on rigid surfaces, suitable for many applications.
- Radial Drilling Machine: These are heavy-duty machines used to drill larger and heavier workpieces. It features an adjustable table and allows operators to apply the spindle directly over the part. It is also capable of creating angular holds in one stop.
- Bench Drilling Machine: Ideal for drilling small holes at high speed. It usually consists of a worktable, base, spindle, drilling head, driving source, and column. The workpiece is fed by hand.
- Upright Drilling Machine: Bigger than bench drilling machines but smaller than radial drilling machines. It is designed for drilling medium to large-sized holes.
- Multiple Spindle Drilling Machine: As the name suggests, it is equipped with multiple spindles, which is perfect for drilling multiple holes into the same workpiece.
- CNC Drilling Machines: This type of drilling machine is equipped with computer numerical controls. It features automatic tool changing using a turret or an automatic tool changer. The computer directions control the speed, feeds, and table position.
- Micro Drill Press: Use for drilling into very small parts as accurately as possible.
- Deep Hole Drilling Machine: Another popular drilling machine that may either come in horizontal or vertical design. It specializes in drilling deep holes on components such as barrels, crankshafts, long shafts, etc.
- Turret Type Drilling Machine: It has multiple drilling heads mounted on a turret. This allows tools to index into position quickly.
It is important to know the different parameters of drilling machines, especially when it comes to selecting one. In most cases, drilling machines are categorized by size. For the portable type, the size of drill is determined by the maximum diameter of the machine that it can hold. For the bench type, the machine is specified by the maximum diameter of the workpiece that it is intended to hold. A radial drilling machine is specified by the diameter of the column and the length of the arm. To summarize, here is a list of parameters that you need to take into consideration:
- Table diameter
- Drill size
- Spindle Speeds and feeds
- Maximum spindle travel
- Power unit
- Weight of the drill
- Floor space requirement
- Taper number of the spindle
Applications of Drilling Machines
Drilling machines are used in many industries, including medical equipment, construction, transportation, electronic equipment, etc. It is not uncommon to see a variety of different drills in a workshop because each is intended for a specific application. Factors such as spindle speed, spindle travel, power unit, etc. all determine the capability of a drilling machine, and decide what type of holes can be drilled. To elaborate better, some common uses of drilling machines are shown as follows:
- Enlarging an existing straight hole of various diameter and depth in a wide range of materials.
- Creating rectangular section slots. Usually requires a drill with at least three or four flutes.
- Performing boring after drilling for the added accuracy and better finish. It is often done prior to reaming as well.
- Performing counterboring, countersinking, chamfering, and other tasks in conjunction with suitable tools.
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