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Will a drill press make a difference?

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Forum topic by skone posted 03-27-2011 08:19 PM 2079 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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skone

144 posts in 1530 days


03-27-2011 08:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tools wood drill press forstner dowel drilling question drill-driver milling

Hey everyone.

I am working on a project with moving parts. 3/4” dowels move within 3/4” forstner bored holes. Just like the axle on a car. It operates a lid of sorts.

Function is a no brainer. It’s simple. It’s accuracy that is killing me.

I mark my centers with a punch through a template. That works fine. But still, if you’re off by even just a bit on the ANGLE when boring the hole, the fit suffers and throws the whole thing off.

I started with freehand drilling. Too inconsistent for obvious reasons. I then got a drill “guide”—see it here.

The drill guide improved things, but it still is not nearly accurate enough. No matter how well I tighten the thing up it still has enough play in it to foul up the job. Fine for one hole, maybe. But not two holes with a dowel between them.

I am wondering if a drill press is worth acquiring. Obviously cost is related to quality. But at the same time, I’m not the type to work metal and would settle for a less expensive, bench top model.

Any thoughts?

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)


23 replies so far

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2377 posts in 1608 days


#1 posted 03-27-2011 08:23 PM

no matter what the guide, or how steady my hand, I can’t drill straight without a drill press.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View skone's profile

skone

144 posts in 1530 days


#2 posted 03-27-2011 08:29 PM

rob – thanks for the vote. that’s one for a drill press.
real reason i’m responding to you immediately though is because i had dinner with a buddy from thunder bay last night. lives here in vermont now just around the corner…

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View mattshack's profile

mattshack

45 posts in 1821 days


#3 posted 03-27-2011 08:32 PM

I would vote for a drill press. Also you could try clamp all the pieces together and then drilling the hole, this way the holes all line-up.

View skone's profile

skone

144 posts in 1530 days


#4 posted 03-27-2011 08:36 PM

thanks, matt. i am clamping them at this point and it does help a bit. but not enough. it’s the angle that kills it. if the bit is not exactly perpendicular to the face of the wood surface, it ends up boring at very slight angle. having that little angle on each piece of wood with 12” of dowel wedged between torques everything out of square.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View crank49's profile

crank49

3481 posts in 1696 days


#5 posted 03-27-2011 09:01 PM

A few comments here.
1. Those drill guide thingys are totally worthless. I can drill better by hand than with one of those guides. And, it doesn’t matter what you pay for it. I tried a cheap $24.00 one; no good. I bought a better $49.00; just as bad.

2. I tried a 10” benchtop drill press; 1/2 hp, 12 speed, typical China import. Drills good holes, plenty of power. PITA when you want to drill the edge of anything. There is never enough space between the drill chuck and the table, or even the base for wood working. If you get a benchtop machine, be sure to get one of the taller machines, They’re like 42” to 48” tall. If I had it to do over, I would definetly save up and get a floor model. Variable speed instead of changing belts is also a good option.

3. I found I get the best results freehand drilling by using a piece of 2” hardwood and drilling a guide hole in it with the drill press, then clamping this guide to what I want to drill. I also found the “Colt” brand double land, brad point premium drill bits at Woodcraft are great for this purpose. Using this method I drilled 8 dog holes through my 4” thick bench top and they are all perfectly lined up and completely plumb. I had to drill these freehand because there was no way to fit my bench into a drill press. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. Those Colt bits are not cheap, the 3/4” was around $9, but they work fantastic; have no tendancy to drift sideways or follow the grain.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Harry_Ch's profile

Harry_Ch

63 posts in 1401 days


#6 posted 03-27-2011 09:01 PM

May need to add a good machinist vise to that press. HF usually has the one that can adjust on three axis and bolt to the press table. That way you can set the first piece right and repeat away. Luck on that project

-- Deeds not Words.

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1799 days


#7 posted 03-27-2011 09:32 PM

For many years I used a small, benchtop drill press. Then a couple of years ago I bought a bigger floor model. In my opinion, 95% of the drilling I do could be adequately handled by a small (cheap) benchtop drill press.

I say this to make the point that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the added accuracy of a drill press. My only concern about the small drill presses is that on some of them the quill will only travel a short distance (2”). Mine traveled 4” and I know there are other benchtop presses with that much travel.

I highly recommend a drill press – even if it is a small, benchtop model.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View wseand's profile

wseand

2504 posts in 1766 days


#8 posted 03-27-2011 09:34 PM

I have the 12” Delta and it is a great machine but as Crank said it is limiting. I use it quite a bit in the shop, couldn’t live without it.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15030 posts in 2400 days


#9 posted 03-27-2011 10:38 PM

I vote the drill press for accurate drilling. I could have used one for years, but got by. One day i needed to be perfectly accurate, bit the bullet and bought one. I have never regretted it. I don’t know how anyone, even single moms in an apartment, get along without a drill press and a table saw ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bigike's profile

bigike

4033 posts in 2013 days


#10 posted 03-27-2011 10:43 PM

I would go with a drill press and drill it very slow because a bit still has the tendency to wonder.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

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TopamaxSurvivor

15030 posts in 2400 days


#11 posted 03-27-2011 10:53 PM

A brad point will help a lot with wandering bits.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View skone's profile

skone

144 posts in 1530 days


#12 posted 03-27-2011 11:44 PM

Thanks for all the replies, all of you. Good stuff. I did a lot of research on drill presses before I bought that Wolcraft drill guide (as the link shows in my post) so I’ve got a good jumping off point as I start looking at presses again.

I agree that Craigslist is key for good deals on used tools. I’ll likely shop online refurbs if Craigs is a strike out. I’ve had good luck with CPO. Thanks also for the tips on the range of motion that the quill may be limited to. Pretty important and not something they jump right out and tell you. And as for brad point bits, it’s funny—iIbought a nice set on clearance recently for doweling and stuff like that. They really are nice to have, I agree.

Topamax -Tell you what, those apartment dwelling single moms bake a mean bench cookie.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15030 posts in 2400 days


#13 posted 03-28-2011 12:09 AM

Yeah, but I still can’t figure out how they get along without a drill press and table saw ;-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View skone's profile

skone

144 posts in 1530 days


#14 posted 03-28-2011 09:32 PM

Well, a craigslist guy FLAKED on me as usual but I did find someone about an hour and a half away with this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150582827310&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_932

What do you think? $100 for this or $135 or so for a smaller, new Craftsman?

That is a pretty big press. Hmmm.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View skone's profile

skone

144 posts in 1530 days


#15 posted 03-29-2011 02:34 AM

Well, I done bought it. Hit the “Buy it Now” button, anyhow. I’ll be driving down there with cash in hand. Craftsman 15” floor Drill Press with a 1 hp motor. The only “new” tool I could find at that price is a refurb Skil from CPO. Wish me luck. Hope I made the right choice…

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

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