One of the most useful tools for every project is a drill press. This stationery or benchtop power tool is used to drill holes into wood and other materials, accurately and neatly. Similar to handheld drills, they use a variety of drill bits to create holes of different sizes. Unlike handheld drills, they are stationary, however. Due to their size and function, these tools are best suited for bigger DIY projects that involve drilling wood or metal.
Wondering how to choose a drill press? And, more importantly, how to use the tool once you’ve chosen your press?
Choosing a Drill Press
To choose the right drill press, it first helps to understand the uses of this tool so that you know whether to invest in a press. It also helps to know what to consider when choosing the right tool for your needs. In this guide, we share some tips to help you get started.
Why do you need a drill press?
First things first, why would you use a drill press? As we mentioned earlier, these tools are best suited for those who do larger projects that go beyond very basic DIY jobs and woodworking. They can be used to drill precise holes in wood, metal and plastics. These tools are heavy, cumbersome and not cheap. With that said, they offer a very effective way to increase the precision of your drilling.
While handheld drills require arm strength and a very steady hand to drill clean holes, drill presses get the job done without any help. A rotating handle controls the movement of the spindle, which is attached by a chuck. The spindle can only move vertically, ensuring that you can create very precise holes easily. Depth stops make sure that holes are created with a consistent depth.
You can use this tool for a huge variety of projects. Whether you’re building furniture and need to drill holes for pegs or joints; sanding edges of wooden parts; cutting tapered plugs from wood; cleaning metal parts; boring large holes into dowel joints or doing any other work, this tool will come in handy. Twist bits, spade bits, hole saws, and other drill bits can all be used in a press.
What type of drill press is best?
Now that you know how this tool is used, how can you choose the right press? Here are some things to consider when making your choice.
The two main types of drill presses include benchtop and stationary. Benchtop presses are usually smaller and lighter, making them easier to move. Stationary presses are typically heavy and hard to move around. On the upside, these presses will often have more power and more features than a smaller benchtop model.
Besides the physical size, there are other elements that affect the size - swing and spindle travel. Swing applies to the distance between the tool’s central column and its spindle. This distance is multiplied by two, determining the width of material that can be placed onto the press to drill holes in the centre. Spindle travel applies to the depth your press can move downwards when the handle is turned. Benchtop presses have a lower depth while stationary presses can move deeper.
There is a simple way to determine the power of a press. Working out the watts can be done easily, as presses show amp and volt on their electric nameplates. You can calculate watts by multiplying the amp and volt together. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the press. More powerful presses will be able to get through tougher materials. Stationary presses will deliver a higher power level, while benchtop presses will have a lower wattage.
Speed is important as it allows you to control the drill bit speed according to the material you are drilling. You don’t want to risk damaging your bit or material by drilling too fast on tougher material. Rotation speed settings make it easier to drill different materials more efficiently. More expensive models will usually offer more speed options. Stationary presses usually have more settings than benchtop presses.
It’s also always a good idea to look at the features of the press. The workpiece sits on the drill press table. On most models, the table moves up and down to make space for your material. Many models may also have a sideways tilting option, with anything from 45 to 360-degree tilts. This allows you to drill at every angle. Some top of the range presses have LED or laser guides to show you where to drill. The best way to see what features are offered is to do your homework when looking at any press, just as you would when shopping for any other power tool.
We hope that this guide makes it easier to know how these tools work and how to choose the right tool. Once you’ve chosen your drill press, you can stock up with all the drill bits you need at Ruwag, to get started on your project.