How Does a Drill Press Work?

A modern drill press is an electrically run, fixed or stationary drill that can be attached to a stable base and bolted to the floor or to a workbench.

The Drill Press

Drill presses are also called floor drills, pedestal drills, bench drills or pillar drills. A full standing drill press is usually equipped with a flat area called a table, upon which the user can place and secure the object being drilled. The press can be adjusted vertically, allowing for varying thicknesses of materials to be drilled. Some drill presses have tables that can be tilted for angled drilling. Drill presses are intended for more precise work.

A modern drill press is an electrically run, fixed or stationary drill that can be attached to a stable base and bolted to the floor or to a workbench. Drill presses are also called floor drills, pedestal drills, bench drills or pillar drills. A full standing drill press is usually equipped with a flat area called a table, upon which the user can place and secure the object being drilled. The press can be adjusted vertically, allowing for varying thicknesses of materials to be drilled. Some drill presses have tables that can be tilted for angled drilling. Drill presses are intended for more precise work.

Using the Drill Press

Bits are changed in a manner similar to the way it's done with hand drills, using a keyed chuck to loosen, remove and replace the bit. Speeds are belt adjusted in some models and on others are changed by a variable-speed motor. The size of the drill press is determined by the throat distance multiplied by two. (Throat distance is measured from the point of the bit to the column of the press---the actual space an object occupies when being drilled.) If the press is noted as a 16-inch press, the throat distance is 8 inches.

Radial Drill Presses

Radial-drill presses can extend the throat dimension further by moving the drill head horizontally away from the column. In fact, radial-drill presses are made with a drilling head that pivots, making it a great tool for drilling angled holes. The drill head and assembly can also be turned horizontally, 90 degrees in either direction, allowing a very large piece to be drilled more easily.

Parts Of A Drill Press

Each drill press is different, but there are some essential parts. They are the table, the spindle, the chuck, a chuck key, a drill head, a motor and belts. Most motors used by drill presses are induction run. Additional bits and rotation accessories can be used in the chuck so that presses can perform other jobs besides drilling, including sanding, polishing and honing.

Drill Press Advantages

The advantage a drill press has over its handheld counterpart is its stable base and ability to make the drilling process more accurate. Angled drilling is much easier to achieve and more precise with a drill press. Very large pieces are easily managed with the right drill press.

About the Author

Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.