How to Measure Drill Presses

Jonra Springs

You can measure a drill press to determine the size of stock it is able to drill. A drill press is not measured for height, but capacity. A bench-top drill press may have the same capacity as a floor standing model.

The dimensions to consider are the chuck size, the distance between the drill chuck and table and the distance from the spindle center to the support column.

  1. Determine the machine size. This figure is derived from a measurement of the throat. The opening between the center of the spindle and the closest point of the support column is called the throat. The measurement of the throat is referred to as the swing. Twice the swing is the machine size. A 12 inch drill press has a 6 inch swing. The swing is doubled to show the largest circle a machine drills to center.

  2. Measure the chuck size. This shows the widest bit that can fit into the chuck. Most are 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch.

  3. Measure the vertical capacity. This is the distance between the chuck and the table. It determines how long a drill bit can be and how tall the material can be that it drills.