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Project by kiefer posted 02-21-2015 03:22 PM 2689 views 10 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The other night at wood workers meeting we had a conversation on aligning a drill press table to make sure the table is perpendicular to the bit and all kinds of methods came about .
I have been using a square and 1/2” rod but the results could be better and looking around the shop I thought of using a bolt and a strip of hardwood with a screw in one end and attached to the bolt on the other or a Z shaped rod as somebody had suggested .
Then the light came on why not use a dial indicator and the adjustable arms of the magnetic base of it .



Here is the set up ,chuck one end of the arm assembly into the chuck and set the arms with the dial indicator attached and the needle reference set to the needle in the first measuring position of the table then lift the dial indicator needle off the table and rotate the chuck by hand about a quarter turn and let the needle touch in the new position on the table ,repeat this by turning the chuck a quarter at a time by hand and observe the measurements .
Adjust the table to get as close to zero difference in measurements as possible .
When doing the adjustments realize that the measurements taken 180 DEG opposite have to be halved because when the one side is elevated the opposite side drops by an equal amount.
This is the best way I have found to do this as I get a measurement read out .

When done remove the arm and dial indicator before plugging in the drill press .

As a foot note it is a good idea to brace the table from the underside when using large bits or hole saws or a mortising attachment as it exerts a large amount of pressure on the table and can lead to binding of the bits .


-- Kiefer

21 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


7095 posts in 2222 days

#1 posted 02-21-2015 03:45 PM

Always thinking ….... ever get any sleep.
We really are al lot alike, but different.
This will certainly get it done for those times when absolute precision is called for.

Nice one

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#2 posted 02-21-2015 03:52 PM

Thanks Paul
I got the dial indicator set and why not use it .
Besides I hate it when the bit comes out the side of the board .LOL


-- Kiefer

View jaykaypur's profile


3996 posts in 1832 days

#3 posted 02-21-2015 03:54 PM

Nice tool….....................I just “assume” all is level and square and drill away! LOL

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#4 posted 02-21-2015 04:00 PM

Thanks Jay
I hope you know what ASSUME stands for .LOL


-- Kiefer

View tyvekboy's profile


1311 posts in 2437 days

#5 posted 02-21-2015 04:08 PM

Another good tip and solution. Thanks for sharing.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View DocSavage45's profile


7658 posts in 2266 days

#6 posted 02-21-2015 05:52 PM


Another great post to keep us newbies thinking. I got around buying a gauge to align my saws, now I might have to buy another tool? Sigh!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2732 days

#7 posted 02-21-2015 06:08 PM

Klaus…I read your post and it got me thinking….so I went downstairs to my drill press to check the alignment before posting this comment. I don’t know why I am always checking alignment on saws but never think to check the drill press…some times common sense takes a back seat…

I did a simple check with my square and it was off quite a fair amount. Needless to say I will be working on the alignment this afternoon.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2758 days

#8 posted 02-21-2015 06:11 PM

Great method Klaus. To be honest I don’t demand that kind of precision, but there is nothing wrong with striving for it. Maybe I’m just too lazy. I usually just use the wire coat hanger trick. I have gotten lucky a couple of times and drilled 90 degree holes.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#9 posted 02-21-2015 07:22 PM

Thanks Alex ,Thomas,Greg and Mike
Do the check once in a while to keep the bit nice and straight and another thing I am thinking is a couple of level vials attached to the table for a quick check .


-- Kiefer

View doubleDD's profile


5073 posts in 1467 days

#10 posted 02-21-2015 08:31 PM

Darn you Klaus. Now I had to go check to see if mine is out of whack. And it was a bit. I just did as most Americans do. Stood back 10 feet and pretended it was a picture on the wall. All done.
Seriously, I will tend to this later today. Thanks for the reminder and the idea.


-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2228 days

#11 posted 02-21-2015 09:59 PM

A very cleaver way to check that Klaus. Like Paul says, you’re always thinking. Thnx

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Pacdad's profile


15 posts in 2342 days

#12 posted 02-21-2015 10:17 PM

Klaus, Like you I strive too hard for perfection. I like the idea of the level vials. That is one I can do with out having to ask Mother for permission to buy a new tool. Thanks for the idea. Lennie.

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#13 posted 02-21-2015 10:37 PM

Do the right thing it only takes fifteen minutes and then you can have that foamy one .

Thanks Roger
Thinking is better for you than watching the tube and veg .

Thanks Lennie
Go ask mother and tell her you absolutly need it and she calls me I confirm it that is the way out that I use .

-- Kiefer

View Bricofleur's profile


1357 posts in 2617 days

#14 posted 02-21-2015 10:50 PM

Good one, Klaus. Another good use of a dial caliper. Such tool, including the magnetic base, is quite handy in the shop.
Thanks for sharing. Super !



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5959 posts in 1752 days

#15 posted 02-22-2015 01:40 AM

Machinist refer to this procedure as “tramming”

On a milling machine you tram the head to be perpendicular to the table. And on a DP you tram the table to the head.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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