I’ve got into the habit of trying to knock one item off of the shop “to-do” list after I complete a project. Kind of like “sharpen the chisels” or ” sort/organize the scrap wood bins”. I had just finished sweeping up when it struck me that I despised the depth stop on my drill press (Yeah, that’s right buddy! I’m a depth stop hating psychotic!).
The drill press in question was purchased maybe 10+ years ago with one of those coupons that Jet puts out (the “buy $XXX of tools and get a coupon for $YYY). It is the model JDP-17MF
This is really a metal working DP, bought before the manufactures started mass producing custom features for wood working.
The round table is probably the least wood-friendly feature, but a future table project will cure that. There are plenty of great designs stored up in the LJ archives!
The other thing I consider sub-par on this otherwise excellent tool is the depth setting system. To set the limits, one needs to spin several nuts while trying to keep a washer from binding up on the threads. Time consuming and a pain in the a**. That aside, the other problem is that the depth stop block moves around!
This metal block, while substantial enough on its own, is only mounted to the DP body by two screws on only one side, fitted into overly generous holes. What happens is the depth stop nut hits the stop block and knocks it down a fraction of an inch. There is no way to get it tight enough. A lot of the drilling I do requires repeatable depth holes, this design from the underworld is quite counter to achieving my goal.
This is the back side of the stop with the screws still installed. You can see the over sized holes.
My modification involves pinning the side of the stop block opposite from the screws.
Simple enough, just trace the correctly positioned stop block outline onto the DP body, determine a pin location, and drill the hole.
I had taken the plastic nose of the front of the DP to see if I had easy access to the inside of the DP casting. No joy, the front is completely solid. The good thing is I could drill 1/2” into the DP without penetrating the interior of the DP casting and having to deal with metal shaving removal.
The hole is sized for a press fit for a section of 0.156” precision steel shaft I had in my collection of decommisioned computer/printer parts (shafting is always a handy thing to keep around).
With the shaft installed, it was easy to transfer the location over to the depth stop block and drill a corresponding hole
Replace the block, secure the screws and viola! the depth stop block is now rock solid and won’t twist down everytime the stop nut makes contact.
Believe it or not, this took less than an hour to complete, thanks mostly to being able to find the shafting and drill bit the first place I looked (rare thing indeed)!