Drill press

Update: Having moved servers, and stopped using my previous image gallery plugin, photos for this post are not showing up. Over the next few weeks, I will be working on fixing this, but please bare with me. Feb 11, 2012

Having completed etching my Quad Low-side motor controller board, I needed to drill out the holes, the only problem: I don’t have a drill press, and the nearest readily available one is at my grandparents house two towns away.

Normally this is fine, since I’m not needing a drill press all the time, but now that I have two fairly complete sets of Tungsten Carbide drill bits for PCBs, and I’m etching a board about once a week, I need an accurate, high speed drill press. The solution: Build my own drill press.

After heading over to the local Harbor freight, me and my grandpa found a cordless 9.6V Dremel rip off with a flex shaft, “Perfect!”  we thought; we could mount the flex shaft on a homemade slide and base mechanism, and then I could also use the Dremel for other projects that don’t need a high accuracy drill press.

After about a days worth of work: we found aluminum U-channel for the slide, build a “sled” for the slide out of hard nylon, built a back for the slide, built a neck to hold the slide off the drill deck along with several inches away from the back of the deck, and built the drill deck. All of this was competed with several sheets of a hard nylon, a few nuts and bolts, some aluminum U-channel, and a lot of pencil lead (and some Oreo cookies :D ). The end result not only looks nice and professional, but it also has, over all, less play than the collet in the flex shaft.

Total price for the project was ~$40.00.

In this short How-To I’ll give you the over all dimensions and shape, but leave it up to you to  figure out how to mount everything the way you think is best. as a result nothing like the specific size of bolts will be mentioned.

Parts needed:

Part (price)

  • Nylon sheets about half an inch thick, and over 10×20 inches big (free/recycled) Plastic cutting boards could also be used for this.
  • Bolts/Nuts to mount everything together (~$3.00)
  • Toolbox liner (~$5.00)
  • Harbor freight cordless Dremel knock off ($29.99)
  • Small sheet of ruber (free) This can also be thick foam tape, or more of the toolbox liner.
  • Aluminum U Channel (free/recycled)
  • Small springs (~$2.00)

Over all build time was about one day, which includes shopping time.

The setup

There are 4 main parts to the drill press. These include the base, the suspension bracket, the backing and the sliding mechanism. The base measures one sheet thick (one sheet is about half an inch thick) 13 (3/4) inches deep by 8 (1/4) inches wide. The drilling hole is in the center, at ~3 inches deep, and is a (5/8)ths inch big hole. The drilling area, which is the whole width, and 9 inches deep is covered in a thin toolbox liner that has a rubber quality to help hold the board in place while drilling.

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The suspension part is an L shaped piece, measuring 4 layers thick, the bottom half measures 4  (3/4) deep, and has a height of 4 (1/4) inches. From here on up it goes to a 4 inch tall, 8 (1/8) inches deep.

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The backing is a 6 (1/4) inches wide, 14 inch tall piece of nylon laid vertically, and supported about (1/4) inches above the drill platform by the suspension piece. The backing also have the railings placed in it, with two screws which hold the springs to return the slide platform to the top automatically.

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The slide platform is a 5 inch wide, 9 inch tall piece, shaped like an I beam, that stands vertically inside the aluminum U railing. It has two nylon mounts, which hold the Dremel flex shaft, inside of a rubber collet. The platform also has a nice handle to push/pull down on the drill. At the top are also two screws that line up with the two screws above them on the backing to hang springs that will return the drill to it’s highest point after you let go of the handle.

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Thats it. if you want feet on it, we used a small sheet of rubber to cut out 4 small square feet and screwed them into the bottom. All the edges are routered smooth into curves, making it less hard to hurt ones self of the drill.

Heres some pictures from both the build and the completed product (note the ones from it being built were taken with my phone so they’re not the highest quality photos one could wish for.) Feel free to leave a comment if you like it!

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