DIY Network

How to Use a Drill Press

It's often difficult to keep a handheld drill steady, especially when drilling at an angle. Using a drill press can make things much easier.

More in Home Improvement

Step 1: Understand the Components of the Machine

The drill press consists of a powerful motor, usually 1/2 horsepower to 2 horsepower (Image 1). A series of gears on top of the drill press sets its speed (Image 2). The chuck accepts bits of various sizes (Image 3). The arm is manually turned to raise and lower the chuck and bit (Image 4). The table may be raised and lowered, tilted to various angles or moved out of the way to make room for large work pieces (Image 5).

Step 2: Attach a Circle Cutter for Circles

To cut a circle, attach the circle cutter and clamp the work piece to the table. Place a scrap piece of wood underneath the work piece so the circle cutter doesn't damage the table. Drill into the work piece at a slower speed so the circle cutter stays in place.

Step 3: Use Sanding Attachments

Attach a sanding-flap wheel to the chuck when sanding irregular shapes. To sand a regularly shaped work piece, attach a drum sander to the drill press.

use sanding attachments for irregular shapes

Step 4: Apply Cutting Oil as Preventive Measure

When drilling through metal, set the drill press at a low speed. Because metal is a dense material, drilling through it at high speeds can burn out the drill bit. As an additional preventive, apply a few drops of cutting oil to the metal before drilling.

set drill press at low speed when drilling metal