How to Use a Drill Press

How to Use a Drill Press
Spread the love

A drill press does look big and intimidating. However, they really are quite easy to use.

The holes they drill are accurate and precise.

You just have to follow a few simple steps to use them. 

So, let’s go over how to use a drill press in a simple step-by-step manner right now.

Setting the Speed

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using a drill press is the speed at which you set the bit to rotate. Some drill presses only feature a single speed, but nowadays this is quite rare.

Setting the Speed

Most drill presses will have a variable speed function. How precise this variable speed setting is depends on the model of drill press you get.

Some might have a specific set of speeds to choose from, usually between 0 and 4,000 RPM, while others might allow you to choose a specific speed up to a certain point.

The important thing to remember is that drilling through metal usually requires a lot of torque, but less speed, whereas drilling through wood usually requires more speed than anything else.

It is recommended that you check a drilling speed chart to find out what the ideal drilling speed is for the exact type of material you are looking to put holes in. For instance, you will need a different speed for hardwood than for softwood.

Fitting in the Bit

The next step in the drilling process is to fit the bit which you will be using to drill the hole. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are drilling large holes, it is always wise to start out with a smaller hole first.

This will give you a good idea of what you are doing, plus drilling a large hole is easier for the drill press when there is already a small one there. So, choose the drill bit size that you require. You will not have to insert it into the chuck of the drill press.

This means that you need to use the key or a wrench to open up and loosen the chuck. Once you have done this, insert the desired drill bit into the chuck, in between the 3 teeth.

Now use your key or wrench to tighten the chuck. Make sure that it is very tight around the drill bit.

You don’t want the drill bit being loose within the chuck, because not only will this produce less than adequate drilling results, but it can also be very dangerous too.

Adjusting the Table

The next step in the drilling process, when using a drill press, is to adjust the table according to the project you are doing. What you need to keep in mind is that most drill presses come with a work table that can move up and down, some of which can even pivot to the left or right.

Also, the drill press in question will only be able to move so far down, with most standard drill presses being able to move down around 8 or 10 inches for drilling.

Adjust the table height so there is enough room to fit the work piece, but also so that it is close enough to the actual rotating bit as well. For instance, if you have a work piece that is 2 inches thick, and the bit itself has a drill depth of 2 inches, you might want to set the table so that it is around 4 inches from the tip of the bit.

Moreover, if you want to drill holes on an angle, some drill presses allow the work table to pivot up to 45 degrees in either direction so you can drill holes on an angle.

Setting The Right Depth

If you just want to drill a hole straight through a piece of wood, you might not need to set the depth accurately. After all, as long as the bit passes all the way through the work piece, you should be good to go.

Yet, if you are drilling to a specific depth, or want to drill a stopped hole, you will need to adjust the drilling depth appropriately.

Generally speaking, most normal drill presses come with knurled nuts that allow you to adjust the specific drilling depth. Simply adjust them to the appropriate level. Other drill presses might come with an electronic depth system, but those are super expensive.

Secure the Work Piece

One of the most important things that you need to do before you actually start drilling the hole is to secure the piece to the work table of the drill press. If you go to drill a hole into an unsecured work piece, the work piece will turn or spin.

You need to brace the work piece against the column of the drill press. You can also use clamps to secure the work piece down. You can even use both of these securing methods if you feel that it is necessary.

Drill the Hole

The final step is to actually drill the hole, which is quite easy. Simply turn the drill press on so it is spinning at the desired speed, with the work table at the desired height, the stop set, and the work piece firmly secured.

Use the rotating lever to swing the drill bit down into the work piece. Once the hole has been drilled or the desired depth has been reached, pull the drill bit back up  before turning the drill press off.


As you can see, using a drill press really is not that hard. These machines might look fairly big and intimidating, but as far as machinery goes, it’s one of the easiest things to use, plus being one of the most convenient tools.

The most complete home improvement manual on the market, this book offers more than 2,300 photos, 800 drawings, and understandable, practical text.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: