DrillPress - which one is best

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Ron Regier

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2007
Messages
11
Hi All

I to buy a drill press, and I am wondering if a bench model is good enough or do I need a floor model. I saw a model that included an occilating head, Is this desirable. I am building a Tandem Fly Baby (wood & metal parts). Is speed an important consideration? I have almost no metal work experience, but plenty of wood work experience.

Thanks for any input Ron
 

PTAirco

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Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
3,507
Location
Corona CA
The bigger the better. At least buy one where the table has a crank that moves it up or down. Not having that is a real nuisance. Also get something more than 1/2 hp, anything less and using a flycutter will make you say many bad words.

I have bought many cheap brands (Harbor Freight tools etc.) and never had any problems with any of them.
 

wally

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Joined
Mar 31, 2004
Messages
926
Location
southwest TN.
Hi,
You can actually build your plane with only a hand drill. So a cheap bench model should do fine. I bought one at a place called Big Lots. It was very cheap, only $20. What I found was the table would flex down when I put a lot of pressure drilling something hard. So look over whatever you buy carefully. I also have had and used a $200, 1/2 hp floor model and it didn't make much better holes but then I didn't use either one very much.

Try to find one that has a jack-shaft (2 belts) speed reduction. I would recomend one with the slowest speeds you can find will be the most usefull. A drill press is handy for cutting large accurate holes and slower is better. For small holes, a high speed hand drill works fine.

And speaking of large holes when you are using a dangerous tool like a fly-cutter. Leave the belt tension as loose as you can and still turn the cutter. That way if it catches and throws the part or hits something (like your hand), it will do less damage. Clamp whatever you are drilling down so it won't move.

A fly-cutter is a very cheap tool to cut nice round holes in sheet metal and thin wood of various sizes. But they can really BITE you - have fun but be carefull.
Wally
 

jumpinjan

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Joined
Oct 3, 2004
Messages
313
Location
Dayton OH
A friend gave me his Chinese drill press and I couldn't stand it, so I gave it to my nephew. I then purchased a '50s vintage Atlas, and I'm pretty happy with it.
Jan
 

Tom Nalevanko

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Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
1,316
Location
Alpine, WY
I agree with cheaper is better. It is not a high precision tool. I built a Stallion which I sold for nearly a half-mil with a drill press that I bought at a Harbor Freight parking lot sale for $5. I was lucky to get it because you usually have to fight the Mexicans for the best deals. But on that day they were fighting the Nicaraguans so I come out OK. Not to sound racist but it is simply a fact that much of the HF stuff sold in the parking lot sales in their main office in Camarillo, CA gets exported to Mexico and Latin America. Some really great deals and you can practice your Spanish... :)

Save your money for where it counts... You will need it!

Blue skies,

Tom
 

gahan

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Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
204
Location
three rivers mi..
Morning I have three drill presses I have a new off shore piece of marginal equipment , but use a heavey old bench top for almost everything. the chuck will close down to take a .040" drill bit for drilling cotter pin holes and safty wire holes. but I do have a small bench top that takes a hand electric drill motor and has an attachment for a dremmell tool it takes up no space and I love it I bought it in a yard sale 5 years ago and found the dremmell attachment in another yard sale a year later I still don't think it could have been $30 new If I rember correctly I have $7 total (from Sears), Its worked so well it's in my will to my son:nervous: the only thing i couldn't do was Engine turn the fire wall and Instrument panel. If your going to buy new take some tiny drill bits and make sure the chuck closes and gripps them tight. you will be suprised at how few drill bits you will need I bet by the time your done you'll find that you have broken more bits from droping the drill than any other form of tool abuse;) when you start looking , think about tooling an x/y vise a pair of v blocks make your own hold down clamps you will learn a lot about what to expect out of your tool. Oh an oil can (no squirt gun to messy) with a pint of taping oil good luck tom gahan
 

orion

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Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
5,800
Location
Western Washington
Personally, I don't mind spending a few bucks if it gets me a superior product. But that of course has limits. My shop has two drill presses - one is a 1-hp bench-top model and the other is a 2-hp 24" bench top mill from Grizzly that I use for drilling just about as often as I use it for milling. Actually, I think I use the mill about 90% of the time. The reason is simple - being a mill, it is much more rigid and true than the drill press. That, combined with a digital x-y readout, gives me hole quality and positioning accuracy that you're not going to get with a simple manual drill press.
 

Greg Mueller

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Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
112
Location
Rainy WA State
I also agree with Orion.
The reason I ask about how much money you have to spend is that if you have the money and the space, a used Brigdport type vertical knee mill is just the thing. You can do almost anything with one of these. You will think you have died and gone to heaven.
In the days before computers they did do everything with one of these.

A set of R8 collets and a couple of accessories and you've got it made
 

JMillar

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Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
233
Location
Antigonish, NS, Canada
Just wanted to say thanks, and bring attention, to what Wally said above about leaving the belt as loose as possible. That's one of those ideas that leaves me wondering, why didn't I think of it. Not long ago, a stupid mistake tore a large chunk out of my palm.

And I have to agree with Greg about the mill. A Bridgeport can do more than any other tool, and if you look around they aren't even that expensive. Doesn't need to be an actual BP, just that style of knee mill. I'm actually saving for one right now, which is why I currently use a HF bench drill press. Does work decently, especially in an automotive shop where the demands on it are quite low.
 
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