Ever since I bought my cheap General 75-150 drill press, I’ve been unhappy with the amount of vibration it suffers from. I know many people with cheap drill presses suffer from the same ailment. Mine was so bad that anything on the table would vibrate off if it wasn’t clamped. Even if it was clamped, it would sometimes move. I had lived with this vibration chalking it up to being normal for these sorts of drill presses. But the other day, while I was drying to drill a hole “precisely” I botched it because the vibration caused the workpiece to move around just a bit when I decided to plunge. Not to mention, I have to exert an tiring amount of pressure on the work piece with my hands in order to prevent movement.
So, frustrated with the botched hole, I began to look for solutions. The first thing I looked at was the belts. They looked good (this drill press is only a few months old and has seen only slight use). Then I measured the pulley runout and it was fairly substantial. Up to 1/100th. I thought this was the smoking gun (and it still may be part of the cause). Eventually, I noticed that if I left the belts unattached there was almost no vibration. As soon as I put a belt on, there was intolerable vibration. Later on in the evening, I ran with the belts unattached and it vibrated madly. What had changed? It seems the first time I ran with only the motor, I left the lock bar unlocked. The second time, I had locked it. So it seems the lock bar was transmitting and even amplifying motor vibration. I took some sill sealer and sandwiched it between the head of the lock bar and the face of the motor mount…and the vibration pretty much went away. Unfortunately, the sill sealer is a very light foam that gets destroyed easily eventually becomes like a piece of paper thereby losing its shock absorbing properties. This morning, I decided to replace the sill sealer with some broken pieces of TheraBand. This works just as well (if not better) and will undoubtedly retain its compressible nature longer.
It’s a simple solution to an annoying (and common) problem. If you suffer from drill press vibration, give this simple fix a try first.