Woodworker's Journal fall-2008, страница 11

Woodworker

A drill press does more than just drill holes, it also makes a fine mortiser (above) and can switch over to spindle sanding with a set of sanding drums (left).

Variable-speed control, available on some new full-size and benchtop drill presses, takes the fuss out of speed changing. There's need to touch a belt when switching bit sizes anymore.

Both floor-standing and drill presses can grow with you if you select a machine with a generous table, straightforward depth stops and an adequately sized motor.

A drill press doesn't need a beefy motor, provided your bits are sharp. What's more important is that it has a table large enough to support your work properly. In my opinion, the bigger the table, the better. Check for flat edges underneath the casting; you'll need these spots for installing clamps. The chuck should be easy to tighten and accept 1/2"-shank- bits.

Most drill presses have pulley clusters for changing speeds — and speed control is more important than folks realize. Big bits should be operated at slower speeds than small bits. They'll eject chips more effectively, cut cleaner rims and be safer to operate. Generally, you'll have to move a set of drive belts between the different pulley sizes to change speeds, but a few new models have electronic variable speed. It's an awfully handy feature

and will keep your fingers free of that messy drive belt grime.

When the time comes to buy a drill press, you'll probably wrestle with the choice of benchtop versus floor-standing machines. Here's what to keep in mind: A full-size drill press will provide a bigger motor, large table and more clearance between the column and chuck for wider workpieces. However, if a drill press seems like an occasion-a!-use tool, save your money and buy a benchtop machine. Most can be had for the price of a top-end drill/driver, which seems astonishing for a stationary tool. Yet, you can still drill large holes, cut mortises and drum sand all with a little 1/3 or 1/2 hp machine.

Drill Press

A drill press probably won't be one of the first big tools you buy, but it's surprisingly versatile and worth keeping in your long-range investment plans. It's designed to bore perfectly straight stopped or through holes ... a nearly impossible feat to do by hand.

Clamp a fence to your drill press table, and it's tailor-made for repetitive drilling tasks. With a set of plug cutters, you can fabricate grain-matched plugs to hide screws. A set of sanding drums converts it from drilling to shaping and smoothing in a heartbeat.

Before I bought a dedicated mortising machine, my drill press chomped mortises on a regular basis with a couple Forstner bits. Although I've never timed the process, my fancy mortiser doesn't seem to do the job much faster than my old drill-and-chop method.

Maximizing Your Drill Press Potential

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