Everything About Drill Press: Types of Drill Press and Function

What Is Drill Press?

A drill press is a machine with a well-known drilling mechanism for making holes into various workpiece surfaces such as woods, plastics, etc. The workpiece has to be clamped on a table or a bench for stable drilling. Here You can find some best Drill press for metal for a drill press for metalworking.

The spindle grips the drill from a chuck, controlled by 3 handles that are radially movable in accord, and brings down the drill onto the workpiece surface. 

[Encyclopedia Britannica]

Types of Drills

In order to use a drill press for various hole-making purposes, you must know its types, functions, and significances.

We are going to explore the various types of drill presses in the following:

Basic Drill Press Types

1.    Upright Drill Press

The upright drill press is known for heavy duty drilling tasks. The machine usually works with a geared drive spindle-head.

The upright drill press is popular for making larger holes on the workpieces such as woods, metals, or resins. Technically, such drilling involves the larger or heavier parts of the machine.

The drilling mechanism in upright drill press could be hand-feed or power-feed. Hand-feed requires the operator to manually draw the drill into the workpiece whereas the power-feed automatically pushes the drill onto the workpiece.

You may find some upright drill press with automatic table-raising mechanism, which makes it even easier for the operator to drill the workpiece perfectly.

2.    Upright Sensitive Drill Press

Next, comes the upright sensitive drill press, which works the drilling mechanism in light-duty drilling tasks. This type of drilling machine involves a belt drive spindle-head.

Any light to moderate duty drilling is possible with an upright sensitive drill press. This type of drilling machine only functions on hand-feed. You can still drill on the lean brass-metals, woods, and resins while getting effective holes to serve your purposes.

For being a hand-feed mechanism, the operator can feel the drilling or piercing through the workpiece with a sensitive drill press.

The upright sensitive drill press is available in floor style or bench style.

3.    Radial Arm Drill Press

Being reputed as the work horse in the drilling machine arena, the radial arm drill press would be a great choice for heavy and versatile drilling works.

When working with a radial arm drill press, the operator doesn’t require raising the workpiece towards the drill, rather he can set the spindle right over the workpiece. Its spindle works on power-feed. The radial arm can work automatically for lowering and raising.

Amazingly, its wheel-head can move back and forth along the radial arm, making it much convenient to drill on multiple places of a workpiece.

You, as an operator can drill diagonally into the workpieces as the radial arm drill press has an option of tilt-table option. It means, you can equip a trunion or a tilting table for making angular holes into the workpiece easily. 

Drill Press Types for Special Purposes

Apart from the basic and regular light-to-heavy duty drilling operations, a drill press may be needed for some special hole making works such as multiple holes at a time, or making the tiniest holes on a workpiece.

Let’s check some of the special drill press machines below:

1.    Gang Drilling Machine

If you long for making asymmetric holes into the precious workpieces, then the gang drilling machine is the thing for you.

A gang drilling press has a fascinating disciplinary function. Usually, a gang drill press contains 4 drilling heads equipped above a single table. Each drill-head has its unique task to do on the same workpiece.

Simply put, the first head on the queue spots the drill on the workpiece surface, while the next head taps the spot. The third work head taps the hole and the last head chamfer the hole for smoothening the hole’s edges.

2.    Micro Drilling Machine

For a speed drilling and compact spacing, the micro-drill press is the right choice. It gives an accurate drilling on workpieces for a fine finishing.

The name suggests that a micro drilling machine is small and typically workable on bench-top. These machines are popular for small drilling works as they are efficient in handling smaller mechanism parts.

Its chucks are only capable of clutching small drilling tools.

3.    Multiple Spindle Drilling Machine

Otherwise known as the multispindle drill press, a multiple spindle drilling machine is well-known for its several spindles equipped to the primary work head.

Whether for saving time or for multiple hole making requirements, multispindle drill press is an ideal machine. If a workpiece requires several holes in close spaces, the multiple spindles will drill down the workpiece simultaneously.

Generally, such drill press is used for meeting the requirement of large quantity of workpieces, and those in need of close-distant holes.

4.    Turret Type Drilling Machine

In this type of drill press, several drill heads reside on the chuck in a clock-wise design.

Every drilling head allows the next head to drill once its work is done. Each drill head consists of different type of piercing tool for distinct cutting into the same hole.

Today, the turret type drilling machine is computer-run as it’s necessary to position the table swiftly and appropriately before drilling.

[Wisc Online] [Drilly]

Drill Press Parts Diagram and Their Functions

A drill press commonly has some basic parts that team up to back the overall functions of the machine. Let’s get to know about those parts and their functions:

drill press diagram-parts of a drill press Source

Drill Press Machine Parts and Functions

1.    Head

The head is the part where the spindle resides. The head enables the spindle’s vertical movement onto the workpiece.

The head is responsible for adjusting the drill height, speed, and feeds.  

2.    Spindle

Spindle rotates the drill and controls it throughout the drilling operation. It is considered to be the most significant part of a drill press.

The arm, which is attached with the column, holds the spindle. The spindle can move up and down conveniently due to its return spring.

A chuck is positioned under the spindle, which keeps the drill bit in order.

3.    Spindle Chuck

A drill chuck is the device that wedges the cutting tool or the drill on the spindle. The chuck varies in keyed, keyless, or hybrid functions.

These different types of chucks are used for versatile drilling works. You will find this part useful for holding the drill in variable torques: tightened or loosened.

4.    Drill

Drill or the drill bit is the main cutting tool that pierces through the solid workpiece surface by the help of a spindle. A drill is a rotary intersecting tool, which cuts through the surface in a diagonal maneuver.

Available types of drill are twist drill, masonry bits, flat bits, universal bits, titanium bits, etc. that are used in different drilling purposes on different workpieces.

5.    Motor

If you are familiar with the manual drill machines, then you would understand the importance of an electric drill press. A manual drill machine was efficient, yet it took longer than an electric drill to make optimum holes on a workpiece, especially in the industrial demanding hole-making jobs.

Upon the invention of electric drill press, things have turned more efficient lately. So, a motor is the main power unit, which fuels the electric drill operation. It’s generally attached at the upper-back of the machine.

A motor can be of various powers depending on the type of drill bits you’re using and the type of drilling you aim to do.

6.    Power Transmission

The power transmission sources from the v-bolt and the pair of pulley stacks set in a faceoff position. Obviously, the power is generated from the electric motor and transmitted to the spindle for the drilling operation.

The pulley stacks maintain the speed of the spindle.

7.    Table

The table of a drill press is where you would lay your workpiece for the drilling. A table is a horizontal and strong frame made of cast iron, plywood, or hardwood.

A drill table can be of various sizes depending on the size and amount of your drilling work. The table can be fixed or movable for the drilling convenience.

[The Average Craftsman]

8.    Base

The iron or steel foundation that holds the whole drill machine above is known as the base. It supports the column and makes sure the overall operation is stable.

A T-slot is equipped onto the base so it can hold the bigger workpiece tightly to it. The base formation can be flat on floor or mounted.

9.    Column   

 The column is the backbone of the drill press machine as it maintains the table as well as the drill head. Its cylindrical cast shape makes it firm enough to support the radial arm for sliding upward and downward.

It’s positioned at the backend of the base and the electric motor is set atop it.

Drill Press Bits

1.    Taper and Countersink Bit

The very first drill bit, the taper and countersink bit is mostly popular for its ability to create screw shank holes into the workpieces.

Besides appropriate screw shank making, it makes a perfect flush for the screwhead to settle in a perfect torque on the hole-surface. You may adjust the collar around the bit vertically so the screw hole is made in the proper depth.

2.    Forstner Bit

Forstner bit is used for flat-bottom drilling holes, overlapping holes that creates mortise, or partial intersection deepening off the board-edge.

A Forstner bit usually consists of a saw-tooth rim or a plain rim, which is available from 316 inches to 4 inches.  

3.    Self-centering Bit

The self-centering bit is a spring-nosed drill bit, which enables the screw settle into the hinge leaf. The drilling encounters a retraction. 

4.    Twist Bit

One of the commonest drill bits in the hardware stores is the twist bit. It has a 118° tip, which is able to drill into plastic, metal, and wood.

When drilled, the hole encounters tear-out due to wood fibers on the periphery occurring by the cut

5.    Brad-point Bit

A brad-point bit is an ideal bit for an unwavering drilling. Its sharp edges intersect cleanly through the workpiece while accomplishing a smooth side-walls.

It reduces the tear-out possibilities and leaves a counterbore in the bottom.

6.    Spade Bit

Spade bit can be used for short-term construction related wood projects. However, you may not prefer these bits in carpentry drilling.

It offers a smooth hole as the centerpoint guides it through the drilling process and the outer spurs lessens the tear-out of the hole edges.

What to look for in a drill press for metal

Key Factors to Look for When Choosing A Metal Drill Press .

  • Motor power.
  • Speed range consider the speed or speeds the drill press 
  • Number of Speeds.
  • Kinds of metals.
  • Quill travel.
  • Drilling capacity and Steady feature
  • Chuck size.
  • Accuracy – Is assured by the depth stop and effective clamps
  • Can you make some deep holes with ease?
  • Good value for money.

When it comes to a drill press, size does matter. Important Note:10” table will have a 5” throat. If you wish to drill a hole in the center of a 12” piece of metal, you will need a drill press with a 6” throat.

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Dencan Brain
I, Dencan Brain BOŽIDAR, call myself a Torque master. I've always been fascinated with cars and tools accessories. You can call me gearheads or petrolheads. I recently started a blog about welding gear.I am also a DIY welding enthusiast because it is affordable for any household work. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and tumblr.

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