You Know the Drill (Or Do You?)

No matter if you’re building up your power tool collection for the first time or you’re an experienced contractor, a drill press is an essential tool for your garage or shop. But what makes a drill press more powerful and accurate than your standard handheld drill? Let’s take a look at the pros of drill presses that are ideal for anyone, whether you’re a pro or not.

Any woodworker needs the ability to drill precise, straight holes from time to time. Sure, you can put your trust in the more compact hand drill, but for serious projects you’ll need to take it a step further. From furniture construction to handling bigger projects like home repair, a drill press is the tool for the job. Because of the importance of accuracy and the likelihood of drilling hundreds of holes in situations like these, a drill press allows you to set precise depths and angles that match up every single time. Even if you’re drilling into metal or plastic, a drill press is perfect with the correct bit and drill speed in mind.

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Of course, a drill press is going to take up more space than a handheld drill so you’ll need to account for that as well. But if you have the room in your shop or garage, it’s a no-brainer.

When choosing a drill press, you’ll first need to decide between a floor drill press and a bench top drill press. A floor drill press will provide more power for those heavy-duty tasks while a bench top drill press will take up less space and can be easily stored away when not in use. For the DIYer or casual carpenter, the bench top drill press is usually the way to go. A 10” to 12” model will provide the most versatility, like the 10” 12 Speed Bench Drill Press (Item #: 60237).

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Drill presses are categorized by the maximum-diameter workpiece that can be centered under the bit. To get the throat depth of the machine, just divide that maximum-diameter in half. Throat depth refers to the distance between the bit to the main column of the drill press. This will indicate how far a hole can be placed from the edge of your workpiece. So, a 10” drill press will feature a throat depth of 5”.

Operating a drill press is easy enough that even a novice will have no trouble with it. With your drill press powered up and settled on a flat surface, just select the proper bit for the job and tighten it into place. You’ll then need to set the depth of your hole and you’re ready to go. Once you’re ready to drill into your workpiece, set the drill to the speed required for the job and lower the drill using the attached lever. With the depth and speed set, you’ll be able to achieve identical holes repeatedly in one piece or over several work pieces.

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Pretty simple! It is recommended that you clamp your workpiece to keep it from turning as you drill. This also allows you to keep your hand free of the drill bit while you’re working. Also, while drill presses are relatively safe to some other power tools, it’s still a good idea to wear eye and hearing protection during operation. Take a quick look at this video to see the Heavy Duty 16 Speed Drill Press (Item #: 43378) in action.

Another common addition to the drill press is a drill press table and fence, also available from Harbor Freight Tools. Modify your machine with the Drill Press Extension Table with Fence (Item #: 96395) for even more options!