A drill press is a valuable tool for any skilled woodworker and metalworkers to have in their workshop arsenal. Such durable and versatile pieces of equipment offer significant advantages over the traditional manually held drills and can improve the finished product’s quality whilst also saving time and effort along the way.
The drill press is also called a pillar drill by many woodworkers and metal workers.
There are 3 designs of drill presses on the market, all 3 still work on the same fundamentals and have the same components making up the machines, the hone feed to adjust the the drill up and down, belts that go from the motor and transfer the power to the drill, on/off switch off course, the chuck to hold the drill bit and rotate it at high rpm’s and the pulley.
The 3 main drill press types are:
Bench drill press
This is the most popular of the 3 design types owing partly to it’s ease of installing in small workshops and to any good workbench or table.
The bench drill press has a simple base for the user to mount it to the bench or table, this is normally carried out by bolting or screwing the machine via a metal mounting plate to your bench.
Because the bench version is quite a compact machine it takes up very little space in your home workshop, unlike the fixed mounted models which have a large free-standing metal frame that is quite large and heavy to enable the machine to remain stable whilst in use.
The benchtop model come in many sizes and even grades and you would really need a commercial grade pillar drill unless you will be using it everyday on tough thick gauge metals, the average home, diy woodworker or metal worker will get by just fine with a low – mid range model.
The bench drill press is also the most produced by manufacturers with many offering a good range of different grade and priced versions.
Some of the most popular and high quality manufacturers are Dewalt, WEN, Shopmaster, Delta, Skil and Shopseries, between these brands you can find every grade and price point.
Floor standing drill press
The floor standing machine is more often found in commercial workshops as a the most powerful of the 3 types. They are also the highest in price of the 3 types.
The floor standing pillar drill is a very well engineering machine that is built to last and designed to be used everyday in a heavy workload environment.
As good as the floor standing version is it is also a bulky and heavy machine that is not as suited to use in a home workshop as the bench drill press, especially if you are limited on space.
Mobile drill press
The mobile version main selling point is the fact you can take it out on jobs that are not located in your workplace or home workshop.
Normally fixed to a solid metal or wooden bench or table with magnetic fasteners or with a table clamp system they come into there own for portability.
Not as powerful as the benchtop one or the floor standing models but still powerful enough to deal with many metals and woods on the move.
The price of the portable model is quite high compared to the bench one but not as high as the floor standing machine, this is justified for its versatility and usefulness of being highly mobile.
Pillar drills are common among tradespeople who require both the strength and high degree of precision that would otherwise be missing and difficult to obtain with a handheld design.
Why the bench drill press is perfect for home workshops
The right bench drill press can help you complete your DIY project needs and all your precise drilling work.
Mainly used for drilling holes in wood, metal, and other materials with precision and complete the same depth drilling work time after time.
They have many features to improve the accuracy of your drilling work and the addition of a laser guide on many models means you will always hit your mark.
The entry level price is also another reason the benchtop model is so popular and you can get a decent quality machine to get you started for around $100.
That will give you a tool that will drill good depth woods and decent depth metals for your home and garden projects.
They are very easy to use and there are many great drill press tutorials for beginners on YouTube to get you started.
If you are using it often or putting through a tough work load with thick gauge metals then you will want to raise your budget to at least around $200 – $300 to get one that can stand up that and meet your expectations.
If you will be using it daily and using it on tough and thick materials you will need to go for one at least $500 and maybe a bit more because you will need a professional or commercial grade machine to withstand such heavy use.
Drill press bits
Now we can’t talk about drill presses without mentioning drill bits that it needs to operate at a good standard.
No matter how good your drill press is it is only as good as the drill bits you use, don’t try to save a few dollars when purchasing drill bits go for the better quality ones that have many good reviews over a long time period.
This may cost you a bit more but will save you money in the long run because cheap drill bits go dull very quickly so you end up going through a lot more of them in the long run making it a false economy.
Good quality drill bits give you a better quality of work and make your life easier, they also reduce the load on the pillar drill because users aren’t tempted to put to much pressure on the handle to complete the drilling tasks quicker they can let the drill bit do all the work.