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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,

I just bought a Harbor Freight 20" floor standing "production" drill press. After making room for it and bolting it to my concrete floor, I immediately set to work doing some metal drilling that I've been putting off for 6 months due to lack of a drill press. I used oil, so the press's work table is all oily. Now that I'm done, I want to use the drill press for some woodworking projects. I have a small shop, so I'll probably swap back and forth like this once or twice a month.

I used my shop vac to get most of the metal chips out of the work tray, and I wiped it down with paper towels, but I know there is still quite a bit of oil on the table that will transfer to any wood I place there. I'm guessing I need a degreaser of some kind to remove it?

What's the best practice procedure for cleaning up after metal work in preparation for wood work on a drill press? Cleaners? Liners? Technique? Etc.

Thanks!
 

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I do not know best practice, but in your situation I would make a cover from e.g., MDF to lay across the table for the wood work. Cheap to make and cheap to replace if/when needed.

It will be difficult to continually clean off the oil and residues from the metal work.
 

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I use to do the same, then one day I ruined a project by contaminating the wood with cutting fluid residue. I swore then that as soon as a could i would get another drill press for wood only. It took a little while but I finally did and now I can even leave dust collection set up on it.

You have to be very Diligent about the clean up. I would wipe it down vacuum everything then wipe it down again with mineral spirits and let it dry. You have to worry about the cutting fluids and any small pieces of Metal. If it is ferrous a very small piece can ruin any project that is being finished with a water based finish.
 

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cutting fluid vs thread cutting oil

I use either a cutting fluid or a thread cutting oil like for threading pipes when drilling metal. There is no easy way to clean up afterward other than to use a sacrifical board for the metal large enough to capture the chips and oil. However, it may eliminate the use of slots to hold your vise to the table. Ordinary motor oils contain additives to reduce wear, not what you want when trying to cut metal.

I actually have a separate drill press for some heavy duty metal work and the speed is greatly reduced to avoid overheating the large size bits. Speed is very important in the cutting efficiency of drill bits. See the table listed here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speeds_and_feeds


A cutting fluid is not an oil as far as I know, but a chemical concotion that may include water. It is also a coolant used to keep temperatures at the cutter tip down. I use this: http://www.mscdirect.com/product/00261917

Mineral spirits or a solvent based cleaner like Brake Cleaner will remove the oil if it get on the drill press table.
 

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HF sells a crappier and cheaper version, too: http://www.harborfreight.com/drill-press-extension-table-with-fence-96395.html

It's what I use. I've not done enough heavy metal work to use anything more than a drop of 3 in 1 oil on a twist bit here and there, but if I was worried then I'd just take the woodworking table off and use the stock metal table, then put the woodworking table back when I was done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess I should buy some real cutting fluid. I've just been using left over (unused) motor oil. Seems to work ok. Keeps it cool and lubricates. I'm sure it's not ideal. The oiler on this press is pretty crappy anyway. I'll probably replace the whole thing once I find something suitable.

I like that LV extension table, but I wonder how useful that tiny hold down clamp will be. Looks like it has limited vertical capacity. I do like that it has dust collection.

I'll try brake cleaner this evening and run a few tests and see how that goes. I suspect a table like the LV extension table or a second press is the best option though. I'd hate to ruin a piece due to forgetfulness.

I guess brake cleaner is ideal for cleaning drill bits too?

Ultimately, if I decide to get another drill press exclusively for woodworking, what would you recommend? Floor standing, preferably. I have enough heavy tools on shelves. I think I could squeeze another press into the shop somewhere and I'd rather not have to move it from a shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Had some time on my lunch break so I grabbed a can of brake cleaner and went to town on the drill press table. Three passes. When it was dry, I took a clean square piece of scrap pine and rubbed it all over the table. Still got a few black streaks on the board and a few scratches from the t-slots.

I think that decides it for me. I'll be getting one of those drill press tables in the short term. We'll see how I like that.

Thanks for all the input, everyone. I had no idea those drill press tables even existed. Looks like a really good solution.
 

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I've been considering a second drill press for that reason. So far I just blow the drill press off with compressed air and then wipe the top off with lacquer thinner.
 

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I have the HF 16" model. No room for a second one (and no real need in any event). Made a woodworkers type table of mdf, with fence, and use "T" bolts to attach it to the metal table using the slots that are already there.

Just a few minutes to change over and works great.

Sometimes, when the drill press is set up for metal and I need to drill just a couple of holes in wood (or vice-versa), I just slap a sacrificial piece of scrap plywood or mdf on top of whatever table is installed and knock off the one or two holes.
 

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I'm still pondering the fact that you bolted your drill press to the floor. That's very fastidious. I looked at one of those 20" HF DP's today and it looked like it would be hard to knock over with a car.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
They're extremely top heavy. I know. I lifted the head onto the column by myself and somehow managed to not injure myself. :) Man, was that a challenge. Cross fit should make that a thing. The drill press head lift. 10 reps, then run 1000 miles and do it again.

I teach my kids to use these tools, and the concrete in my basement was a self-pour from the 80s. It's very uneven and slopes in places, though I did manage to find a spot where all four feet touch the floor without shims before drilling. Call me paranoid but I just didn't want to have to worry about it. You never know what dumb stunt a teenage boy will try to impress his friends. Ugh. They'll be teenagers soon. Shoot me now.
 

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I'd read that you were to bolt them to the floor, but I rearrange things too often... I bolted it to a 2'x2' double 3/4" plywood slab which is bolted into a mobile base. It works well, for small things I can leave it in its nook and can still pull it out if I need to drill into something very long. Once my daughters are old enough to wander the house on their own and still young enough to try to hang off of it, I ought to have the basement finished and can lock the shop if need be.
 

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This is how I solved the problem .... I have my custom wood table on one side, and a metal working setup on the other.
Great invention for a drill press owner who does wood working but needs to do metal or non wood table work as well.

https://vimeo.com/89447986
 

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This is how I solved the problem .... I have my custom wood table on one side, and a metal working setup on the other.
Great invention for a drill press owner who does wood working but needs to do metal or non wood table work as well.

https://vimeo.com/89447986
I'm sorry but I can't see any advantage to that setup. When I am drilling in metal I have cuttings, shavings and cutting oil going everywhere. With your combination unit, setup for metal drilling, all the cuttings and cutting oil is going right down on the bottom of the wood table. I don't see how you could possibly keep the wooden table part clean, so that it wouldn't contaminate your woodworking projects.
 

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revolving drill press table

Thanks for the comments.

The bottom side of the table is finished with multi coats of industrial polyurethane .... You could apply something more robust but for my metal shavings and slag that hit the bottom surface are easily cleaned up. I am primarily a wood worker however, and my metal working is reasonably moderate to light.

For me the ability to move the wood table down and have a blank surface is valuable regardless of the metal application.
 

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Removable table

This small drill press see mostly wood use and no cutting fluids , when drilling small holes in metals like aluminum. I drill larger holes in steel on a larger DP and that's where I use cutting fluids, but no wood drilling. This little table just slips on and is contained by strips on either side. I use a magnet to hold the chuck key in plain sight.
 

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