Drill Press

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Flaturner

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Dec 1, 2009
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93
Location
SW Florida
My shop is very small since I am currently living in a rented condo with a .95 car garage. To get myself started, I went to Harbor Freight and bought an inexpensive (I hesitate to say cheap) bench-top drill press. One of the guys who helped me get started told me I would live to regret that purchase. So far, I haven't but you never know what the future holds. I have been able to create work-arounds to compensate for the problems it raises. I have also seen others' shops on the forum who also use a bench-top DP. Currently, when I set up to drill blanks I check that the bit is running true to the plane of the blank, drill in about 3/4 of the way, stop the press, add a 2x4 shim under the blank-drilling vise, then complete the hole. It is a pain in the hiney to do it this way, but I am not doing volume work and it doesn't really present many problems. I have, however, ruined a few blanks by being off-plumb with the blank/bit orientation. Any and all suggestions to make my life easier, short of buying a full sized DP, would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you in advance.
 
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WWAtty

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Jan 24, 2006
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As to the off-plumb issue - what are you using to hold the blank while drilling? A pen blank vise? Perhaps you could make some kind of L-shaped fence to maintain the alignment both laterally and longitudinally when raising the workpiece with the 2x4 shim.
 

WWAtty

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Jan 24, 2006
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263
OK, then the issue is just keeping the vise in the same X-Y location when you elevate it for the second stage of drilling. Perhaps build a simple jig from scrap wood to act as a fence on 2 perpendicular sides.
 

Flaturner

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Dec 1, 2009
Messages
93
Location
SW Florida
Lathe drilling

AFAIK -- No can do! My lathe was a gifted WoodWrite, Ltd 363 with Taig system and the tail stock won't allow for adding on a bit nor will the head stock allow adding on the jaws to hold the blank. Well....that is unless you know something I don't know about the system. I have looked it over six ways from Sunday to try to figure out how to do just what you suggest and I can't figure a feasible way to do it. So, the DP is currently my only option.
 

Rick_G

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Nov 30, 2007
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1,982
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Bothwell, Ontario, Canada.
I did that for a few years and it worked out fine. See if there is someone near you who can run your 2x4 or another block of wood through a thickness planer. The sides of your 2x are likely not exactly parallel to one another and when you put it under your vise it cocks it slightly.
 

jjones

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May 24, 2011
Messages
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Location
Houston
WoodWrite Lathe Accessories

I poked around the WoodWrite site and looked at their accessories. They offer a Drilling Tailstock for $99.95 (KT-18) which will hold the three sizes of Jacobs Chucks they offer. (WoodWrite, Ltd. Lathe Accessories) The headstock spindle appears to be 3/4" 16TPI, so you could replace the standard collet chuck with one of WoodWrite's 4 Jaw Chucks (Collets/Chucks) or a chuck from another vendor. I noticed that AMTools (f/k/a "800watt") offers 3/4" 16TPI backplates for their jawed chucks and collet chuck (WWW.AMTOOLS.COM - Lathe Chuck & Backplates), but I have no personal experience with AMTools chucks.
 
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Flaturner

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Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Messages
93
Location
SW Florida
Well.....

The problem with getting the accessories from WoodWrite is that they have basically been down for over a year. I attempted to buy some basic stuff like the V-Belt and there was no response. I am convinced that they are out of business. I tried for six months to get some response from them to no avail and my last attempt was at least a year ago. If it sounds like I have a negative answer for every positive suggestion it's because I have been through this with other issues over the last year. I can't use the table on the DP because there is not enough room so I set up on the base. I think running the 2x4 through the planer is probably the best bet if I can find someone around here that has one.
 

Glen Schumann

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Apr 23, 2011
Messages
625
Location
Winona, Minnesota
Is there a small machine shop in your area that might be able to fabricate a solution for your table problem? I had a local machine shop make an extension to a Grizzly Baby Drill press to solve a problem using longer bits and blanks. I am able to drill as far as the 2 inch depth will allow and then raise the blank up in the blank press I have to complete the drilling. It's a little cumbersome but seems to work for me (at least at my level).
 

ghostrider

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Feb 3, 2011
Messages
951
Location
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I used to have HF's cheapest drill press, and then last summer upgraded to the next model.

I always had problems with the blanks not getting a straight drill consistently.

I found a cross slide vise on Craigslist, and found that that pretty much eliminated my problem with straightness. However, the new vice presented a newer problem in that it doesn't fit so well under the drill press. Before getting the cross-slide vise, I just used my regular drill press vise, and put shims underneath it to keep the blanks true to the bit. Another solution would be an angle vise to hold your blanks. That way you've got both 'X', and 'Y' adjustable axis. I can understand the frustration. Sometimes it seems it took longer to drill than everything else combined.

Questions:

Do you know where the drill is off at? Is it consistent? For example: does it drill toward the front every time, or is it random.
 

DSurette

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Feb 3, 2011
Messages
123
Location
Ooltewah, TN
I also have an inexpensive HF drill press and I found a solution that works for me. I think it was posted on this forum a while back by another poster.
I got some threaded rod, I think maybe 3/8 or 1/2" and cut it down to the appropriate length. I raised the drill press up to its highest position. I put the rod into the drill press chuck and rotated the dp table to the back because it couldn't get low enough. Put the vise on the base of the dp and lower the threaded rod into the vise. Tighten the vise on the rod and let it raise up. You now have the vise centered on the chuck and up off the base of the dp. Put some sticky back Vecro, both hook and loop pieces together, to the bottom of the vise. Then lower the vise to the dp base and press it down to adhere the velcro to the base. Open the vise and remove the rod. If all went well you should now have a vise centered on the drill press and you don't even need to mark your blanks to drill them. When I have to drill in two steps I just loosen the blank and raise it up higher. The whole thing is much easier to do than it is to explain. But it is a time saver to just be able to put a blank in the vise and know that it is centered.
 

jjones

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May 24, 2011
Messages
26
Location
Houston
Currently, when I set up to drill blanks I check that the bit is running true to the plane of the blank, drill in about 3/4 of the way, stop the press, add a 2x4 shim under the blank-drilling vise, then complete the hole.
I think what you're saying is that you're placing a block of wood underneath the bottom of the base of your vise, raising up the entire vise and its base and throwing off the alignment. I have a suggestion: permanently mount 1-1/2" wood blocks under vise's two end support plates to increase the clearance from the bottom of the vise jaws to the the top of the base to which the vise is mounted. In other words... I believe the vise in the photo will accommodate a 1/4" thick sacrificial wood block between the bottom of the vise's jaws and the top of the vise's base. I'm suggesting that you increase that 1/4" clearance to 1-1/2" to 1-3/4". Then, once you have the jaws of the vise and the stroke of your drill press aligned in all three planes, clamp the vise in position, and they should remain aligned. One or more pieces of scrap slid underneath the blank would support the blank at the needed height for drilling without affecting the alignment. Might that work?
 

Ted

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Joined
Apr 1, 2012
Messages
5
Location
Western USA
Blacksmith I once knew used a scissor jack under the table of this monstous old floor press he had, seemed to keep the alignment between the work and the quill just fine for the type of work he did. Might not be precise enough for pen work but since they're almost free for the asking it might be worth a try. He had his bolted but a clamp'd do for a quick tryout. Maybe a lab jack on top of the table would work better but the really good ones ain't cheap.
 
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