Tools Forum: fixing drill press runout

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Forum topic by Matt (Upper Cut) posted 02-01-2010 02:50 AM 25968 views 3 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 3810 days

02-01-2010 02:50 AM

I’ve done the searches for this topic and didn’t find help. So here goes.

Today my buddy was over with his son to work on their pine car derby entry. When using the drill press it became clear that mine has a lot of runout. Even with a very straight bit we get a lot of wobble. I suspect I need to take the chuck off clean any debris, and reseat it, but is that the right thing to do? Has anyone dealt with this before?


-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

9 replies so far

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 3042 days

#1 posted 02-01-2010 03:08 AM

If the chuck is mounted on a morse taper mandrel, you could try removing it, and resetting it. If you do decide to remove it, it might be worth your while to check the runout on the spindle with a dial indicator, that will tell you if the spindle is running true. If the spindle is running true, then you know that the chuck should run true too, assuming the jaws in the chuck aren’t galled up. One way to get the chuck running true after it’s mounted on the mandrel, chuck up a steel dowel pin(1/2” dia or so) and check the run out with a dial indicator, you may need to knock the chuck around slightly with a soft dead blow hammer to get it to run true, but I’ve had success doing it that way.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View yarydoc's profile


417 posts in 3141 days

#2 posted 02-01-2010 03:10 AM

If its got a Morris taper on the chuck you can knock it out and clean it. Make sure its seated when you put it back. I put a block of wood on the chuck and tapped with a hammer. The table on my drill press was .035 off and had some flex in it. I put an old screw type car jack with a piece of pipe on it under the table and jacked it up until it was square. This also stopped the table from flexing. Hope this helps.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

View alby's profile


8 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 02-01-2010 05:29 AM

Before you go to the trouble of adjusting your chuck try this.
Pull the handle down so the quill is extended all the way out. Grab the chuck and try to wiggle it back and forth. If you can feel any movement at all, the problem may be bearings. If it’s an old press with a lot of time on it, you may have to change the bearings. If it is a newer press, you may have to upgrade to a different press or better quality.
Most presses have an adjustment mechanism for that problem, but I find it to be mickey mouse. I find that if it is adjusted fine enough to take out the play, the quill won’t go up and down.
The way I solved the problem was to upgrade.


View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 3810 days

#4 posted 02-04-2010 09:10 AM

Assuming it is not the bearings, what’s the best way to remove the chuck from the spindle? This is a delta drill press, maybe 12 years old.

-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View poopiekat's profile


4355 posts in 3731 days

#5 posted 02-04-2010 04:03 PM

I once took delivery of a drill press where I work, straight out of the box it wobbled badly. We checked for dirt or foreign objects in the bore. Turns out the morse taper of the adapter between spindle and chuck was machined off-center. A new adapter, and it ran fine. Hmmm, I think the tool you need is called a drift punch if you can’t unseat your adapter. There should be a slot machined into the spindle above the taper by which you can strike the adapter with the punch. My new Taiwanese drill press runs good, but periodically disgorges the chuck all by itself once in a while.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View MattinCincy's profile


128 posts in 3149 days

#6 posted 02-04-2010 08:43 PM

Poopiekat – so your drill press upchucks your chuck?

-- Wag more, bark less.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#7 posted 02-07-2010 06:53 AM

Sounds like others have some good ideas

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3610 days

#8 posted 02-07-2010 03:22 PM

mgradwohl – chucks are easy to remove from a taper. I use a box end wrench, big enough to fit around the shaft of the taper, inserted between the back end of the chuck and the flat of the quill above it. A quick rap to the end of the wrench with my hand and the chuck just pops off. Make sure you put some shop rags down to cushion the chuck so the jaws don’t slam down onto the table or floor! I”ve never used much force or resorted to a hammer; if it needs that much force, then you might run the risk of bending the quill.

This tip originally came from OWWM – although I was a little leery of it when I first read it, I use it all the time now and haven’t hurt a drill press yet. They also have many tips for removing a chuck that is really stuck to the taper – usually due to corrosion.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View sphere's profile


109 posts in 3027 days

#9 posted 02-07-2010 03:59 PM

I have an older Delta floor press, and it’s still dead on. I suspect if you used yours fro drum sanding or other side thrust uses, you MAY have worn the bearings or seats in the quill. The MT shaft may also have a slight kink it it was used as a handle while moving the machine. The bearings are not designed for sideways thrust, just linear.

Delta supplies a tapered “key” that goes in the quill slot and pops out the adapter, lacking that a tapered hunk of hardwood about 1/8th in. thick may work.

Once it’s out and you find the culprit, the next problem often is getting it to STAY in the MT socket.
Remove all the grease you can from both the shaft and the socket, paint thinner and paper towels. Then before reinserting the MT , rub it with chalk, black board chalk is fine , or line chalk powder..what have you.

Then line up the drive lug with it’s recess up inside the quill, and lower the quill to a block of wood and PRESS the works back. If you must rap it to get it to stay, use a dead blow or wood wonker to GENTLY convince it.

If the jaws of the chuck are hosed, just replace that part, not the whole MT adapter, and IIRC, you can even get a keyless chuck, that goes up to 5/8th in.

Good luck.

-- Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Wood Works

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