Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ToolBox Tuesday: Drill Press

Welcome to this weeks edition of ToolBox Tuesday.  I am super excited to show you one of my newest tools, the Drill Press.  These guys make my life so much easier!  I have a lot of wrist pain and using a traditional drill is super hard on my wrists.  I finally spent the $100 and bought the bottom-of-the-line drill press from Lowes and couldn't be happier!  I don't have to wait for my Hubbs to drill for me now, I can do it myself :0)

Here is my dirty machine...disregard the mess behind the curtain :0)  I started with my two cleanest machines in previous weeks.  Eventually I will HAVE to clean the garage in order to continue this series.  

This is my little drill bit box.  I have a couple more specialty bits up on the shelf, but these are what I use on a daily basis.  The two weird looking things on top are, first, the long flat one, a butterfly bit, and the shorter thing, the chuck key that opens and closes the chuck that holds the drill bits.  Don't loose that chuck key!!!  If you do, they sell them at home improvement stores, but it is just easier not to loose yours.  As for the butterfly bits, they are great for drilling larger holes {cheaper than a traditional bit that wide} and they can drill down deep without getting stuck.

So when changing the bit, use the chuck key.  Stick the little part that pokes out into the hole in the chuck, then turn counter clock-wise with the brackets on the chuck key turning the brackets on the chuck.  Sometimes you have to use some strength to get it going.

With the drill bit out, this is what the chuck looks like.  Just like your regular drill, isn't it?  Turning that darker ring with all the pokie parts will make those three teeth open wider or smaller to accommodate whatever size drill bit you need to use.

Insert your desired bit, then use the chuck key to close the three teeth tightly around the bit, holding it in place.  You will need to turn the key clockwise to get it to tighten.


Now this turny thing here, with all the handles, is what makes the drill bit go up and down.  It is kinda fun to spin it and have the drill bit sink down into the wood.  My kids love to help when I am using this machine.  It is safe enough, once I have it all set up, that I can let them do it on their own if they want...and they usually do.

Once again, ignore the mess and tell no one you saw it...The first thing you need to know is how to move the table.  There are two levers behind the table that you use to move it.  The lever on the left side {you cannot see in this picture cause it is directly behind the machine}... 
looks like this.  You turn this lever to loosen the bolt that holds the table in place.

This handle on the right side is used to crank the table higher or lower.  

You want a gap, somewhere around 1/4 and 1/2", between the top of your project and the tip of the drill bit.  Once you get the table to the height you want it...
make sure to turn the handle and plunge the bit down into the center hole BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON.  You want to make sure the drill bit and the hole are lined up like this.
I forgot to do this once.  Not good.  I hit the metal of the table with nearly rendered my drill bit useless.

My drill press came with a laser to help estimate where the bit will drill.  This part of my machine is battery operated, so I have to be super careful not to leave it on after my work is over.  

Um, I forgot to actually turn the laser on for this picture :0)  I decided to draw the green laser marks for you.  It looks something like this.  The point where the two lines cross is supposed to be where the bit will actually drill.  Sadly, it doesn't work quite like that.  I have discovered that my drill press actually drills just south and to the right of the intersecting lines.  It's OK though because you get used to it after a few times of using the laser. 

This is my on/off switch.  I pull it up to drill, and can easily push it down to turn it off if any emergency shut-off were to be necessary.

OK, so we have the table where we want it, 
Time to Drill!!!

Note that the turny handle has a little meter on it.  That is a ruler to tell you how far into the wood you have drilled.  

Pull the handle towards you, generally holding the wood {I was trying to take a picture while pulling the drill press down}.

When I am drilling things like my Cake Pop Stands, I have to drill many, many holes and they all need to be straight AND the same depth.  To be totally honest, I don't know where this meter ring is supposed to start, but I use a sucker stick to measure down how far I need to drill in the cake pop stand.  When I finally have the stick in as far as I need it, I look at where I am on this meter ring, then drill all the rest of my holes to the same measurement.  It is totally fabulous!

My husband reminded me to mention when drilling something very thick, like the 4x4 blocks for the Halloween Bats, drill down part way, come back up allowing the sawdust to escape the hole, then drill down farther.  For really deep things, like my wooden cupcakes, I had to do that several times.  I learned the hard way.  The wood was a little wet and when I tried to come back up, the drill bit got stuck.  
So remember*drill deep pieces of wood in a couple stages*

Check out that awesome hole.  Isn't it cute :0)  
Pushing it I know, but I am still not ever living without a drill press again.

Just as a side note, the table slants too.  If you needed to drill down at an angle you could tip the table, then drill the hole.  Fabulous! 

One more thing I want to show you {I am all about embarrassing myself today or something} This picture doesn't show super well, but that line down this piece of wood is ESPECIALLY wet with sap.  I wasn't paying attention to that and drilled anyway....

And guess what!?!  Oooops :0}  Lost the bit in the very, very sappy wood.  Um, make sure the wood you purchase is inspected for things like unusual wetness.

Now, how about some projects I have used this very drill press to make???
I know, I am excited too :0)

and HERE

Marshmallows for my Fire Pits

Whew!  Looking at each one of those projects just reminds me of how hard I worked on each one, always frantically last minute :0)  I think I need another nap.

Anyway, I will be back soon with a post about my favorite Hamburger recipe EVER!!!  See you soon, and as always, let me know if you have any questions about the fabulous Drill Press or anything else!


  1. How convenient, Eli is working on his craftman and one of the projects he is doing requires many holes drilled. We may beg you for a spare hour of your time so Eli could drill some holes!

  2. I like that so much your Article i appreciate that so much it is looking so much professional, i also want to tell you some , precaution about the Drill Press

    Follow Basic Safety Precautions

    Keep your work area clean
    Don't force the tool
    Wear eye protection
    Don't wear excessively loose clothing or jewelry
    Don't overreach or work off-balanced
    Check your parts often to make sure they are not damaged and working properly

    Craftsman Drill Press Manual


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