Before Operating the Drill Press:
It is important to know your drill press before operating it. The information provided here is of a general nature but appropriate for most drill presses. For specific data on your drill press, carefully check the owner's manual that came with it. By using the owner's manual, along with the information provided here, you will be able to get the most out of your drill press.
Note Safety Goggles. Safety goggles or a safety face shield should be worn when operating any power tool, including the drill press.
When setting up the drill press in your shop, make sure to locate it where you can easily handle any workpiece. Good overhead light is of utmost importance, even if the tool is equipped with a lamp attachment. A nearby storage area to keep your bits and other accessories handy is a good step-saver to consider as well.
While the bench-type drill press can be mounted on the workbench, its operation will prove more satisfactory when mounted on a wood or steel stand of its own. (A steel stand usually can be purchased with the drill press.) When mounting the drill press to the bench, use bolts and nuts to fasten the base of the machine to the bench top. If there is any tendency for the drill press to tip over, slide or walk on the supporting surface during operation, the stand (floor model) or bench must be secured to the floor.
On a wooden floor, the bench and stand models can be secured with lag bolts. On concrete, use masonry bolts and anchors. Connecting the Drill Press to Power. A separate electrical circuit should be used for your power tools. This circuit should not be less than 12 gauge wire and should be protected with a 20-amp time-lag fuse. If an extension cord is used, use only a three-prong extension cord in a grounded three-pole receptacle. The wire rating of the extension cord should be matched with the motor amperage of the tool and length of cord. Replace or repair damaged or worn cords immediately. Before connecting the motor to the power source, make sure the switch is in the OFF position and that the electric current is of the same voltage as that stamped on the motor nameplate. All line connections should make good contact. Running on low voltage will damage the motor.
The drill press must be grounded to protect the operator from electric shock. The motors for small drill presses are usually wired for 120 volts, single-phase, and are equipped with an approved three-conductor cord and three-prong grounding type plug to fit a properly grounded three-slot receptacle. The green conductor in the cord is the grounding wire. Never connect the green wire to a live terminal.
On all drill presses, a coat of paste wax or a rub-down with a piece of wax paper will protect the surface of the table. Wiping with a slightly oiled cloth will discourage rusting of the column and quill. Also lubricate the spline and quill with a light machine oil. Make sure to read your tool's instructional manual for additional lubrication points.
Speed and Feed
Factors that determine the best speed to use in any drill press operation include: the kind of material being worked, size of hole, type of drill bit or other cutter, and the quality of the cut desired. The smaller the drill, the greater the required rpm. The speed should be higher for soft materials than for hard ones.
On most drill presses it is impossible to get the exact recommended speed, but you can come close by adjusting the drive belt on the step-cone pulleys. You will find a chart giving the various speed ratios available with your particular drill press somewhere in the owner's manual or on the tool itself. Regardless of the speed selected, remember that the tool should cut steadily, smoothly and without excessive vibration, no matter what the material. Decreasing or increasing RPM is sometimes necessary because of differences in boards, even boards of the same type of wood. After some experience with your machine, you will know which pulley step is best in each case.
Feed is the amount of pressure you apply to control penetration. Too much pressure will force the tool beyond its cutting capacity and result in rough cuts and jammed or broken tools. Too light a feed, particularly with metal or other hard material, causes overheating of the tool and burning of the cutting edge. The best results will be obtained by matching the correct speed with a steady feed pressure that lets the tool cut easily and at an even rate. The proper feed and speed make the job easier.
How to Correctly Set-Up a Drill Press - Drill Press Adjustments
written by Paul Koch
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