A drill press really is quite the handy tool, and there is a whole lot that you can do with it. Of course, drilling holes is the main function, but it can do a couple of other things too. The chuck of the drill press is an important component, one you might need to remove, clean, or replace. So, how to remove a drill press chuck, how to clean it, and put it back in, is what we are here to discuss in this article.
What is a Drill Press Chuck?
If you don’t know what the chuck on your drill press it, is that part with the three-jawed clamp. The purpose of this item is to tighten evenly and securely around a drill bit in order to keep it in place when using the drill press to drill holes. Most drill press chucks come in at around ½ inch in size, which is generally the minimum. However, some even allow for drill bits up to ¾ inches in size to fit inside of them.
The chuck, usually a keyed chuck, is tightened using a geared wrench, which is called a chuck key. Most drill presses will come with these included just to help make life a little but easier for you. Inserting the shank or drill bit is quite easy. Simply open up the jaws of the chuck using the chuck key, place the drill bit inside of the jaws, then use the chuck key to tighten the jaws around the bit.
Keep in mind that there are little holes above the collar into which the bit needs to be inserted before you tighten the chuck in a clockwise direction.
How to Remove a Drill Press Chuck
You might be familiar with normal hand-operated drills and how to remove the chuck on them. Those chucks are most often easily removed by loosening a screw or two within the jaws of the chuck on the hand-operated drill. Well, this is not how you remove the chuck on a drill press, at least not usually. This is because, for one, they are much bigger chucks than on a hand-operated drill. On a drill press, the chuck usually features a tapered shaft which has been pressure fitted with the spindle which it sits inside of.
To remove the chuck on a drill press, the process is a bit more labor intensive, but not all that hard. Start off by pulling down the handle in order to lower the quill of the drill press as far down as it can go. You will need to turn the quill lock to hold it in place in this position. Now look for this big vertical slot that is inside of the shaft of the quill.
Most drill presses come with this shaft. This means that you can use a specialized chuck removal key to release it. If this is the case, insert the chuck removal key, and use something like a mallet to knock the chuck out of spindle of the quill.
Some drill presses do not come with this slot or a removal key, so the process will be a bit different. For this, you need to raise up the quill until the top of the collar is about ½ inches below the housing of the drill. Now tighten the quill lock in order to secure it into place. You will need to use an open-end wrench, slide it over the quill spindle, above the collar of the chuck. Next, push down, usually quite hard, in order to remove the chuck. You will probably need a good deal of muscle for this.
Cleaning the Drill Press Chuck
You probably want to clean the drill press chuck, which is not hard to do at all. You want to rotate the collar so that the jaws are fully extended. Use a cloth that has no lint, a dry cloth, to wipe everything down as well as possible. Now you want to retract the jaws as much as possible. Use compressed air to blow any sawdust out of the jaws of the chuck. This is very important to do because you need to blow out any grime, gunk, and sawdust that may have gotten stuck in there.
After you have cleaned both the inside and outside of the chuck, you will want to lubricate it for smooth operation. Use a high-quality drying lubricant to do this. Spray some of it into the jaws of the chuck when they are open. Open and close the jaws a few times, and rotate the collar back and forth several times, to work the lubricant in. You should then use a dry cloth to wipe away excess lube.
Replacing the Drill Press Chuck
The final step is to replace the chuck into the drill press. Raise the quill as high as it will go and use the securing mechanism to lock it into place. It is wise to rotate the drill press table out of the way so it does not get in the way of the re-installation of the chuck. Simply slide the tapered shaft of the chuck and back into the quill spindle.
There is a square receptacle inside of the quill spindle. You might need to rotate the chuck a bit until the square on top of the chuck slides into the receptacle. Then, retract the jaws of the chuck as far as possible. Use a mallet and smack the chuck from the bottom, hard enough to really seat it inside of the quill spindle.
You can now rotate the chuck collar a bit to see that it turns properly. Afterwards, it is advised to do a couple of test runs to make sure that everything operates smoothly.
The chuck is indeed an important part of any drill press, and maintaining it is essential. Simply remove the chuck, clean it out, and stick it back in every now and then to make sure that everything is working properly.