Everything you need to know about drill presses

Drill presses are a very large type of drill used for industrial work and are fixed or mounted on the ground or workbench. Drill presses are a major investment, but are certainly necessary for most industrial purposes, when large numbers of holes need to be made through heavy materials, in a consistent manner on a daily basis. Smaller presses are also an ideal purchase for home workshops. They offer considerable advantages over handheld drills, especially for use with stronger materials such as steel.

These advantages include:

  • Drill presses utilize a much more powerful motor than most handheld ones. These motors facilitate drilling holes in heavy-duty materials and the use of larger bits.
  • The material to be drilled is held in a clamp on the bench of the press, which keeps it in place. In addition, the drill itself is held on a spindle that is also fixed to the head of the press, which allows for consistent and accurate drilling.
  • The bit is operated through a lever system fixed to the head of the press. This allows for place greater vertical pressure on the surface with less effort on the part of the operator.

Drill presses can either operate at fixed speeds through a series of stepped pulleys, or at manually adjusted speeds using a continuously variable transmission (common in medium-sized drills used in machine shops). In addition to being used for heavy-duty and precision drilling, drill presses can also be modified through various tool attachments, making them highly multi-functional. For instance, materials can be sanded by attaching a sanding drum to the drill head. Other rotating accessories may include honing wheels and polishing bits.

When selecting a drill press for your workshop, several options are available. Deciding which type of press to purchase depends mostly on your needs: what types of materials will be worked with, what size and angle of holes, how much versatility and flexibility is needed, etc. These are the different types of presses available, and the specific advantages and functions of each.

Bench-top drill press

These drill presses are very compact. They are ideal for low-intensity jobs and smaller materials. They also have fewer speed settings as well as a smaller speed range. When working in smaller spaces or on low scale projects, bench-top presses are great as they take up less floor space.

Floor-standing drill press

A floor-standing press, although more expensive than a bench-top press, is much more versatile and powerful. It is more powerful and can work on a larger range of materials or objects. They have a more drastic range of speed settings and have more horsepower, resulting in the ability to cut through thicker materials and through more objects.

Radial drill press

Radial presses are unique as they offer a tilted head for angled drilling (when the workplace is flat). The head of the press allows for an extended swing, more than twice that of a regular drill press. They work best for large pieces.

Magnetic drill press

A magnetic press is comprised of an electromagnetic design and is used for heavy-duty metals, such as structural steel. They are easily movable and offer very powerful operation. This tool is ideal for professional metal workers.