|Drill press being used to drill into wood
||Drilling into wood and metal
The drill press is one of the most important machine tools we have. It is a semi-precision instrument used to drill holes. A skilled machinist can get 1/32" tolerance, but the expected tolerance is generally 1/16".
- Use a center punch to mark where the hole should be on the material.
- Insert the appropriate drill bit into the chuck. Tighten the chuck with a chuck wrench. It helps to tighten it in two of the holes on the chuck.
- Adjust the table so that the drill bit will be able to to through as much material as needed. It should also allow you to clamp the piece so that the drill bit is positioned over the punch mark.
- Place the piece on the table. Position it so that when the drill head is lowered, the bit will go straight into the punch mark.
- Hold the piece in place so that it can be clamped to the table. Another person is helpful here. Clamp it to the table.
- Check that the drill bit will still go straight into the punch mark. If the piece has shifted slightly, as it often will, use a mallet or something hard to tap the piece into position. Make sure that the clamp is still tight.
- Turn on the drill press. Slowly turn the handle to lower the drill bit onto the material and drill the hole. Follow the tips below for drilling technique.
- Pilot holes. If you are drilling a hole larger than 1/8" or so, it helps to first make a smaller pilot hole. For a 1/4" hole, a 1/8" pilot hole works well.
- For large holes, use multiple bits to progressively upsize a pilot hole. That way, you aren't removing as much material at once.
- Even then, you're still encountering a lot of resistance, so it helps to "peck": Go down a bit and then go up. This keeps the bit from getting clogged with metal shavings and also prevents the bit from stalling.
- Hole saws are helpful for 1 1/8" bearing holes. Thin-wall saws with guide twist drill bits are the best.
- Always make sure that you have a piece of wood under the work piece, or that the drill bit will go through a hole in the table.