Drill press bit wander issue..

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Airframer posted 06-23-2013 05:52 PM 4261 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 1948 days

06-23-2013 05:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill press

Last Christmas my wife bought me the small HF drill press. It works and yes it;s cheap but I have yet to be able to drill a straight hole with it. I have done all the alignment tricks from chucking a bit and using a square to make sure it’s straight with the table all the way to chucking a bent wire in it and turning the chuck to see if it’s straight and all indications say yes. However, when I turn it on to drill a hole in anything thicker than 1/4” the hole will ALWAYS be angled when finished.

I though perhaps the bit was bending in the wood but my 1” bit does the exact same thing. Aside from salvaging the motor and throwing this guy off a cliff what am I doing wrong and what could be causing the drill press to drill consistently at an angle other than 90!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

13 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2034 days

#1 posted 06-23-2013 06:24 PM

Normally I’d say cheap drill = lots of runout but the symptoms don’t really match up in your case. If there was a lot of runout you would have trouble with the real small drills, not just the ones over 1/4”. If you’ve got bad runout you can break a 1/16” bit just by waving the board in its direction. What exactly do you mean by angled? Does the bit wander? Are we talking about 1/2” deep mini-holes in balsa wood or 4” deep in red oak?

Deep holes tend to wander. Deep holes with cheap or dull bits tend to wander a lot. If it’s deep holes, the bits and the feed rate might be the problem. If it’s short holes, then the bits probably aren’t the problem.

You say “consistently at an angle other than 90” Is that the same non-90 every time, say 84 or 87.6? That could mean the table is off, or the drill is so cheap that the quill isn’t perpendicular to it. If it’s a different angle every time, then maybe the table is loose, or I’d go back to those drill bits.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 1948 days

#2 posted 06-23-2013 06:30 PM

Basically any hole I try to drill in anything be it red oak or pine the hole will be 1/8” to 1/4” off from center on the back side. I had though bit flex but like I said my 1” bits will do the same thing. Is it possible it is an issue with table flex? That is just about the last thing I can think of to check.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View Loren's profile


10380 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 06-23-2013 06:33 PM

Check the allen screws in the side of the drill head to
make sure the head is bottomed-out on the steel

Sounds like something is shifting.

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3121 days

#4 posted 06-23-2013 06:41 PM

Actually it really sounds like your table is not trued up (flat and squared to the bit).
I had to put on a new melamine surface and used shims made from aluminum cans
Like Joe asked… it is drilled hole always angled the the same side?

The only other thing I could imagine, is that it was dropped at some point and the whole top part is skewed to a slight angle and you’d only know when you plunge the bit. But that is a wild guess.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2563 days

#5 posted 06-23-2013 10:09 PM

or you’ve got really bad bits. What type of bits are you using?

Can you move the end of the bit when its chucked and not running?

I had a small Harbor freight benchtop that worked great for 10 years. I gave it to my son-in-law and he’s still using it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2859 days

#6 posted 06-23-2013 10:12 PM

I agree with the table likely not being flat. If the table checks out, remove the chuck and clean the
shaft and inspect. Check for burrs on any of the surfaces. Clean well and then put the assembly back

View diemaker's profile


10 posts in 1966 days

#7 posted 06-23-2013 10:22 PM

Did you check for play in the quill ??

-- Ray, New Hampshire,

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 1948 days

#8 posted 06-24-2013 12:22 AM

Thanks guys. I’ll have yet another look at the table. That was the first spot I looked but all my measurements say it is square to the chuck but I’ll have another look.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2412 days

#9 posted 06-24-2013 12:42 AM

I would take a perfectly true 90 degree cut board approx 2” tall and slowly approach (slide the end of the board untill just touching the bit) a 3/8 inch bit while the drill press is running. I’d do it from eight sides. And, i’d do it with the bit at the top of the board and then each time I lowered the bit 3/4 of an inch. I.e., without raising the table but instead by lowering the bit as though drilling a hole.

It’s also possible the quill is not maintaining 90 degrees as it is lowered into the workpiece. That is, the quill/bit goes out of alignment when there is pressure on it. To check this I would drill a hole into a board, but after each additional increment of depth turn the press off and see when the hole becomes out of round.

While I expect a lower-priced drill press to be less than perfect, it still should be within some standard and you will need to contact HF to find out what their spec is—a few thousands inch or many thousands.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3609 days

#10 posted 06-24-2013 01:45 AM

The real problem on these cheap drill presses is that the quill travel is not lined up to be perfectly parallel to the column. Try this – run the quill up and down and watch the tip of a drill bit. Just running this simple test on most of the cheap Chinese presses for sale today I can see the tip of the drill move as much as 1/8” sideways as the quill travels.

This has nothing to do with runout and the drill bit may stay perfectly square with the table.

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

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3147 days

#11 posted 06-24-2013 07:32 PM

I’ve been having the same issue with my cheap drill press. Trying to drill 1.5” holes into Hard Maple end grain sucks. Maybe it time for a new drill press.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Hammerthumb's profile


2844 posts in 1970 days

#12 posted 06-24-2013 09:58 PM

You might also check to see if the table is shifting when you apply pressure with the bit.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

#13 posted 06-24-2013 11:02 PM

If you have a dial indicator and magnetic base, press the plunger against the side of the chuck (not running) and press on the chuck and note the deflection. Lower the chuck (and table) in 1/4” increments and press again on the chuck and note the deflection readings. If the readings get bigger as you lower the chuck and table, you have found the problem. It could be the top bearing in the DP. By lowering the chuck and the table the same amount, you will be taking consistant readings at the same spot on the chuck.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics