Drill press - adaptable or not? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Drill press - adaptable or not?

Hey guys,

So I am in the market looking for a decent drill press for all my precision drilling needs. I found this one here, which has rave reviews but it only takes up to a 1/2" bit. My question is, does anyone have experience with a drill chuck adapter? Do they work relatively well with drill presses? I was thinking that it would save me a boatload of money to get this lower end model and then buy a chuck adapter since I only need the larger 3/4" drill bit for a couple of things. I just have no idea how many people actually do that or if they work well.
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 05:30 PM
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Almost all 3/4 bits are Silver and Deming bits, they have a smaller shank that fits into the 1/2 chuck, you can get up to a 1 1/2 S&D bit, although they are rare that size
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 06:42 PM
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Metal or wood drilling? If you're drilling wood, the bits you'll likely be using in the larger sizes (forestner and spade, with the occasional hole saw) will generally have a 3/8 or 1/2 shank, no matter the size. If you're using twist drills in metal, like Cat mentioned most twist drills larger than 3/8 have a reduced shank, to fit in the most common sizes of drill chucks. Also like Cat mentioned, those type of drill bits can usually be found up to the 1 to 1.5 inch range, though let's be honest, if you're drilling a hole that big you shouldn't be using a twist drill anyway

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post #4 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 07:08 PM
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I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 07:35 PM
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what do you need a 3/4" chuck for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
Hey guys,

So I am in the market looking for a decent drill press for all my precision drilling needs. I found this one here, which has rave reviews but it only takes up to a 1/2" bit. My question is, does anyone have experience with a drill chuck adapter? Do they work relatively well with drill presses? I was thinking that it would save me a boatload of money to get this lower end model and then buy a chuck adapter since I only need the larger 3/4" drill bit for a couple of things. I just have no idea how many people actually do that or if they work well.
Only the largest, most powerful drill presses and vertical mills have a 3/4" chuck. It would be hazardous/unsafe to try to drill a hole any larger than 1" in metal on a drill press of any size without really securing the work in clamps, holddowns or a proper vise. My 20" Jet has a 1 1/2 HP motor, but only a 1/2" chuck. Usually without the most delicate feeding pressure the "break through" will cause the drill to bind and lock up, and spin the workpiece. BTDT.

I have drilled holes up to 1 1/4" in 3/8" steel using a very slow speed drill running with a speed reducer and progressively using larger drills in a step by step process. It can be a bit scary .
I probably have drilled more holes in metal than I have in wood and than means thousands ...

A bench top drill press will have at best, a 1/2 HP motor, not enough to drill hole larger than 1/2" in steel. And then you may have to drill progressively larger holes... I donno? I use my bench top mainly for wood and small holes in metal.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-12-2017 at 07:44 PM.
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-12-2017, 08:33 PM
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That drill press will likely not be powerful enough to drill a 3/4" hole in steel even if the bit has a 1/2"shank, should handle a 3/4" spade or Forstner bit in wood and they will have shanks that fit in a 1/2" chuck.

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post #7 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
I am attempting to get some consistent straight holes drilled in wood. Drilling by hand is brutally ineffective for me, I haven't got the natural talent for doing it. I mean this should be more accurate than doing it by hand with a power drill right?

Just out of curiosity, what is your idea of a "machine"? Minimal price point?
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Metal or wood drilling? If you're drilling wood, the bits you'll likely be using in the larger sizes (forestner and spade, with the occasional hole saw) will generally have a 3/8 or 1/2 shank, no matter the size. If you're using twist drills in metal, like Cat mentioned most twist drills larger than 3/8 have a reduced shank, to fit in the most common sizes of drill chucks. Also like Cat mentioned, those type of drill bits can usually be found up to the 1 to 1.5 inch range, though let's be honest, if you're drilling a hole that big you shouldn't be using a twist drill anyway
I think you hit the nail on the head of my problem. I was looking at this thinking shank size was the same as the drill bit size. When I think about it, my 3/4" drill bit certainly has a smaller shank, and should fit fine. I bought this large bit as a twist drill, mostly out of lack of experience and it was the only normal looking drill bit at Lowes. I have since heard that twist bits are not good for accurate holes in, but also could really only be used with a drill press. I figure I can kill two birds with one stone by investing in a technology upgrade.
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 04:51 PM
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so many types of drill bits ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
I am attempting to get some consistent straight holes drilled in wood. Drilling by hand is brutally ineffective for me, I haven't got the natural talent for doing it. I mean this should be more accurate than doing it by hand with a power drill right?

Just out of curiosity, what is your idea of a "machine"? Minimal price point?




There are brad point bits, spade bits, Forstner bits, and also twist drills which are the least desirable for drilling clean holes in wood. The brad points and Forstners have sharp perimeter edges that slice the wood fibers on the outer most portion of the hole rather than shear them off like a twist drill.

A bench top drill press will be accurate as long as you mark and center punch your starting hole, in both wood and metal. If the arbor is so out of round the drill bit wobbles to the naked eye, then NO, it will not be accurate. Drilling holes in metal almost always requires a pilot hole for larger sizes. The pilot hole allows the web of a larger drill bit to start cutting much faster and sooner than without one. A pilot hole in wood may be required if using a twist drill also, because it gives a path of least resistance for it to follow.
The Siver and Deming bit mentionede above:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-13-2017 at 07:28 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
I am attempting to get some consistent straight holes drilled in wood. Drilling by hand is brutally ineffective for me, I haven't got the natural talent for doing it. I mean this should be more accurate than doing it by hand with a power drill right?

Just out of curiosity, what is your idea of a "machine"? Minimal price point?

That is a pretty small drill, but it would probably work if you are just drilling wood, just don't push it too hard

For some reason I was thinking you were drilling metal, guess it was because I was on one of the machine tool sites right before I came to this site, I have multiple addictions LOL
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
I think you hit the nail on the head of my problem. I was looking at this thinking shank size was the same as the drill bit size. When I think about it, my 3/4" drill bit certainly has a smaller shank, and should fit fine. I bought this large bit as a twist drill, mostly out of lack of experience and it was the only normal looking drill bit at Lowes. I have since heard that twist bits are not good for accurate holes in, but also could really only be used with a drill press. I figure I can kill two birds with one stone by investing in a technology upgrade.
Nah, don't give me credit for that one, Catpower pointed most of it out first, I just added a little extra explanation. As already mentioned though, if you're looking for accurate holes in wood, look for either brad point drills or forestner bits. Either one will give you much cleaner, more accurate holes in wood. Twist drills are okay all-purpose bits, but wood responds much better to the single purpose bits.

And I wouldn't get too put off on the bench top drill presses. No, they aren't nearly as good in terms of build quality or accuracy as something like a floor press, but they're still plenty capable of putting a hole in wood where you want it. Just take the time to make sure the table is square to the chuck, lock it down and never move it again
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post #12 of 19 Old 06-13-2017, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
I am attempting to get some consistent straight holes drilled in wood. Drilling by hand is brutally ineffective for me, I haven't got the natural talent for doing it. I mean this should be more accurate than doing it by hand with a power drill right?

Just out of curiosity, what is your idea of a "machine"? Minimal price point?
A lot of those bench top drill presses are so light duty if you drilled a hole in a wood like yellow pine it would follow the grain of the wood instead of drilling the straight holes you need. You could get a pretty descent drill press for three to four hundred dollars. I bought one made in Taiwan in 1982 and I've been using it ever since.
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-14-2017, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
Now don't be making fun of my super accurate POS Harbor Freight 8 inch drilling beast! It'll poke holes in the toughest of cotton balls!

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-14-2017, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
My bench top drill press has performed every task that I have asked it to do for the past 35 to 40 years. AS long as you understand that a 9" machine will not do the job of a 14" machine there is no problem.

George
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post #15 of 19 Old 06-14-2017, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
I agree with Steve, and not trying to throw gasoline on the fire but I don't think I've ever seen 'Wen' and 'precision' used in the same sentence. But it will certainly be more consistent than drilling holes by hand as long as you work within the machine's limitations.

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post #16 of 19 Old 06-14-2017, 09:59 AM
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what does "precision" to you....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chughes10 View Post
Hey guys,

So I am in the market looking for a decent drill press for all my precision drilling needs. I found this one here, which has rave reviews but it only takes up to a 1/2" bit. My question is, does anyone have experience with a drill chuck adapter? Do they work relatively well with drill presses? I was thinking that it would save me a boatload of money to get this lower end model and then buy a chuck adapter since I only need the larger 3/4" drill bit for a couple of things. I just have no idea how many people actually do that or if they work well.
We have settled the issue of the large chuck for 3/4" bit above, but the issue of "precision" has been raised. To me, precision means "lack of run out in the arbor"... what else is there to measure or "go wrong"? If the table is set 90 degrees to the bit, an easy adjustment to make, then that issue is also settled.

Typically, "arbor runout" is not one of the specifications listed for the economy drill press and for many others either. The Wen is typical of the smaller 10" or 8" drill presses that are "probably" made by the same manufacturer somewhere in China or Taiwan.
I own a Craftsman 10" and it is my "go to" drill press for small holes, under 3/4" usually and for use with my Forsnter bits up to 2 1/4" or 35 mm for hinge cups. I am surprised by the power of the 1/3 HP motor in this press. It has a nice variety of speeds as well, although I can't remember changing the belt since I bought it 10 years ago.

This is the Wen model, which gets 5.5 stars in the reviews.
https://www.amazon.com/WEN-4208-8-In...en+drill+press
Listed at $65.00


This is the 10" Craftsman I have:
https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-Ben...an+drill+press

Listed at $160.00, or one hundred more than the Wen. It does have the laser alignment feature which I seldom use because I center punch my hole location when I need precision OR just eyeball it when I don't.




This Harbor Freight 8" drill press boasts a 1/2 HP motor and is just $4.00 more than the Wen, but it does have a work light a great feature. The HF extended warranty could make this a "no risk" purchase. If you can go to a HF store, grasp the chuck and see if there is any side to side play which would indicate "arbor run out" and then avoid this model, which also got 4 stars in the reviews. Check all the reviews for these drill presses for arbor run out and that will help make your purchase decision.

This was a review for the Wen:
5.0 out of 5 starsNo better deal for the money!
Bymlb6d9on January 11, 2017
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Got the HF version (with coupon) prior to this one, and returned it. It wasn't terrible, but it had too much play, wobble, and was noisy. Spent the extra $20 and got this one - QUITE a difference. The WEN base is more solid and substantial - same thing with the table. Better machined surfaces where they count. The pipe stand is a little beefier, and fits more squarely with the drill head and base. On top of that, it is quieter, no wobble, little if any runout, and it has a place for the chuck. I haven't drilled any holes just yet, but from what I see so far I don't predict any issues. I almost feel guilty paying the measly $72 that included shipping!
The only con I have found thus far is the table handle being on the left side - however, for the price I can deal with it. I look forward to using this as my all-purpose garage drill press.

01/15/17 Update: Drilled a bunch of holes today in 1/2" thick steel Flat bar for a project, and it performed well. Very happy with it so far -

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-14-2017 at 10:40 AM.
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post #17 of 19 Old 06-14-2017, 10:35 AM
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I have 4 Taiwanese built drill presses and have replaced the chucks on all of them, the factory chucks had a lot of run out, but the replacement chucks still made in Taiwan were perfect, go figure
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-07-2018, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't think you can expect any accuracy from a table top drill press. They are more of a toy than a machine.
My "toy" Craftsman bench top drill press has done everything I wanted/needed over the past 40 years with sufficient accuracy. Both metal and wood drilling.

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post #19 of 19 Old 03-07-2018, 11:06 AM
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https://www.lowes.com/pd/PORTER-CABL...ess/1000132463 I bought this one from Lowes several years ago and when I was looking many would not fit a 1/16" bit even with a 1/2" capacity they were more expensive ones also.

I drill everything with mine 1/16" to 3" forstner bits, in oak. I also would consider quill travel, I think mine is 4 1/2" mine also has a laser which is very handy. The only thing I wish for is having reverse for tapping wood.

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