Drill Press

A Hole Creation Device

You would be surprised how much of prototyping is just making holes in things! Drill Presses are one of our main two tools for doing that. Compared to it's little cousin, the handheld power drill, drill presses are (quite a bit) less portable, but allow for more pressure, more torque, and holes that are more perpendicular to the adjustable table.

Operating a Drill Press


Figuring out drilling speeds can be a tricky business. Go too slow and the drill bit will not have enough rotations to remove the necessary material to create the hole, whereas if you go too fast there will be excess friction and heat, which could damage the bit or your workpiece. In either case, you could end up with a broken drill bit or ruin the finish on your part. Even though there are formulas to help you calculate the proper speeds, as well as helpful charts like the one above, there are a few helpful ideas that work in most situations.

Smaller-Faster, Bigger-Slower

For smaller sized drill bits, the bit generally needs to be rotating faster. This makes sense because a small bit has a tiny diameter, which means it needs to spin faster to remove enough material. For larger drill drill bits, the speed doesn't need to be as fast, and if you go too fast there will be too much heat from friction, so the speed can be slower. For harder materials, you should generally go slower.

Changing the Speeds

Our Jet drill presses have a series of belts and pulleys that need to be adjusted to change the speed. Start by removing the safety pin to make sure the machine stays off. Then, open up the top of the drill press, loosen the tensioner, adjust the belts, and then re-tighten. If you need a hand, feel free to ask!

Drill Press Tips

For cutting metals, use machining oil to lubricate the drill bit. This helps keep the bit cool, reducing wear and making it less likely to break during drilling.

When drilling through-holes in wood, use a piece of scrap material (a "sacrificial" layer) to keep the wood from splintering when the bit breaks through the underside of the piece. In this animation, you can see the splintering take place, referred to as "chip out" or "tear out." Our drill press tables have a layer of sacrificial material screwed to the table for this purpose.

The PDL drill presses are also equipped with lights and laser sights to assist you with all your drilling needs!