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Thread: Need Suggestions for a Drill Press

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Need Suggestions for a Drill Press

    I had been hoping to snare a nice used medium-sized milling machine, but after almost a year searching around here, none have materialized. So my next thought is a new (or used) drill press that, with a good machinist's vise, could do double-duty as a light milling machine. I'm not sure if the presses I see at Sears, Home Depot, etc, are sturdy enough to do the trick.

    If someone has a similar setup, I would like to hear your recommendations/lessons learned/etc.

    Thank you,
    Richard

  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert on drill presses but I own 3 and will mention some areas for you to consider or read more about to help you make a decision:

    - If you can afford a variable speed model (speed change by lever with readout, not moving belts) I would go for it, unless you're drilling the exact same thing all the time it will really pay off. It's amazing how much better everything drills when you are at the correct speed for the material & hole size, and making speed changes easy is the key to actually doing that.
    - Lots of people say you don't want to put much side pressure (milling) on a drill press as they are not designed for that and you will wear parts that cause sloppiness much quicker than if used correctly. I have never tested this theory but thought I should mention it.
    - If you're looking for a budget model I would steer clear of home depot/sears and go with Grizzly, they have good support/service and usually keep parts for machines long after they retire them from current inventory
    - not sure if you use craigslist but there are a couple milling machines listed on there in WY right now and a few drill presses as well

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Using a drill press for "light milling" is not a good idea. It's tried a lot, but is not a good practice. The Jacobs chuck that is used to hold drill bits in drill presses is not designed to take a side load. Additionally, the spindle in drill presses aren't made for a side load either.

    My suggestion is to be on the lookout for a cheap mill-drill that uses R8 collets.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I have a 17" Jet floor model drill press and like it very much. It is allot of press for the money. Using one for milling is not a good idea as the bearings won't hold up to the side pressure needed for milling.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    A good drill press can do a lot and be very usefull. Abusing it and pushing it past what its meant to do is a different story. I have a X-Y table here for my one drill press. Its used to locate holes and patterns similar ton the way you do it in an end mill. Jost drill presses table locks arnt solid enough to take millings side pressure. The spindle bearings arnt meant for the side pressures of milling or the vibrations. Drill presses use a simple morse taper for chucks and bits. An end millm uses a collet tightened and locked with a drawbar thru the spindle. The vibration and side forces will cause a morse taper to release. You will be better served by using a end mill as a drill press than the other way around. Even the X-Y table dosnt have the gibs or end play for milling accurately.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Not really a workable idea, milling with a cross-slide vise on a drill press. If you want a decent drill press, look on Craigslist for a nice used one, estate sales/barn sales often turn up a whole shop full of tools.
    Got a .22 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    A drill press isn't made to do milling and a end mill that applies a side load to the spindle will almost always release the Jacobs taper on the chuck resulting in a big safety problem. Those tables are for locating holes and not recommended for milling. A cheap small mill from a company like Grizzly will give you much more satisfaction doing both, and doing it safely. The days of finding a good used Bridgeport mill for under $1500 have come to a end, any found now at that price now almost always need lots of work. If you need a drill, buy one, need a mill and a drill, spend a little more and get one of those mill/drill combo units, even if it's a cheap one, and you will be much better off and safer.
    Chris

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    One other plus to the milling machine as a drill press is most Bridgeport style mills have a digital read out and hole patterns can be ran with little layout work.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a smaller milling machine from Grizzly and am very happy. Plus side it wasn't expensive. About like a larger drill press. Check them out. It's a table top model.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    RG1911, With over 35 years machining experience I can tell you that all the above is good advice. "country gent" also has a very extensive machining background. Side or off-axis loading is likely to be more destructive than creative. Drill chucks are often ruined by side loads and don't hold on to end mills securely. They are specifically designed to hold tools such as drills and reamers that do not have hardened & polished shanks.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    The other problem with end mills and drill chucks is that most end mills are double end and drill chucks arnt deep enough to have a solid grip on the center portion. The best drill press bore machine Ive used was a morse jig bore, would drill and bore with a boring head and accurate to .0002 on location and size depending on boring head used. But even it wasn't meant for the side thrust and vibration of end mills. A good Bridgeport with hardened and chromed ways in good shape and a good readout is capable of .0005 with the right operator on most hole patterns.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    For general shop use, DO NOT BY A 12" DRILL PRESS.

    I say this for one main reason even if it were not too small for some of my needs. That reason is, even though the bit speed can be varied with a simple belt change, it will NOT do slow enough for many jobs this being especially true as bit size increases.

    I made the mistake of buying a 12" Delta and have MANY times had reason to regret that choice!!!!!!

    I recently bought a jig system for "machining" and aluminum 80% lower and while the drill press is doing OK for the size bit used for the largest holes in the jig, the "milling" is done is very small steps with a router.

    Buying a drill press, buy a floor standing press and only if it has a full range of bit speeds!

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    I saw plans from an old booklet for making a light duty milling machine from a drill press. It involved running a parallel shaft that was securely anchored at the top and bottom bearings of the shaft. It was a pamphlet on eBay. I couldn't read it. I just saw the cover. With that said. I use my drill press for a makeshift milling machine all the time. HOWEVER.I put very little sideways pressure on the spindle. I do not use mill bits. Instead I use diamond bit cutting wheels for a dremel type of grinder. That rig is very useful. That way I am grinding on the side of the work instead of forcing a bit into it.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    If you want a decent drill press, look on Craigslist for a nice used one, estate sales/barn sales often turn up a whole shop full of tools.
    Google typed in craigslist laramie wy and hit enter, found this one, I'd haggle to $150 and call it a good deal!

    https://fortcollins.craigslist.org/tls/6052658276.html

    I have had almost the same one for the last 30+yrs, was gifted a 3/4 Jacobs chuck on a MT2 taper and never needed anything more since then. I'd like to have a small mill but hey this post is in reference to a drill press, and my suggestion mimics how I got mine and about the same size and quality and I guess $200 2017 bucks is about the same as $150 1985 bucks so about the same price too!
    Got a .22 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Here are my suggestions......Do you have a very sturdy work bench, one that has 4x4 legs and bolted to the wall with lots and lots of lighting? If so then get some storage/drawers/shelves and even a movable smaller bench with storage for chemicals, ETC. If all that is okay then I'd suggest the drill press, a floor model that is heavy and solid. I bought a Harbor Freight 12 speed (I think) that weighs a ton and so far it has lasted 26 years or so. Then get a small sized flat screen TV so you can watch/listen to sports or races or whatever you like while doing boring stuff like inletting an octagon muzzle loader barrel. While all this is going on, look for a 3 in 1 drill/lathe/mill combo setup using Craigslist or ebay. I see you are in WY so things are more spread out than in Southern CA where I live so check surrounding states I guess. I was lucky and found a HF 3 in 1 made in 1998 about 4 years ago from a fellow Schuetzen fellow who passed away and his estate liquidator knew I was looking called me and I got it for $500 which included about $1000 of mills, cutting tools, ETC and a huge heavy table to bolt it to. It had been used for doing work with hardwoods so I pulled all the bearings apart, cleaned them and greased with Mobile 1 racing grease and it really hums along great. The only exciting things I have done is to cut barrel dove tail slots but I practice now and then. Look in your area for estate sales or death notices, that sort of thing.

    The previous posts about no side strain on a drill press are spot on, the spindle is not made to handle sideways loads, only axial.

  16. #16
    Just one more negative on using a drill press for milling, it is hell on end mills. I trashed carbide on aluminum with mine before buying a small Grizzly mill. You can do a lot more on a "cheap" mill than an expensive drill.

    Sent from my K011 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    You may look for a used R30 style mill. They are a light weight mill (not a floor model) and it will do anything you cited in your original post. They will run you about double the cost of a good drill press and quite often are provided with basic tooling (vise, R-8 collets, drill chuck). As others have pointed out prior, a drill press is for poking holes in stuff, not milling. You will only have to try a milling cutter held in a drill chuck one time to understand.


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  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Never use a drill press for milling!!! The quill won't stand the gaff and the milling cutters will work loose and ruin the work. No Don't you need a mill drill with a collet quill. For light work a Mini will work and Craigs list has used bigger ones for sale.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Okay! No milling with a drill press!

    I expanded my craigs list search into Colorado, as far as Fort Collins, which is 100 miles from Laramie. So far, nothing usable is showing up.

    As gunshot98 suggested, I took a look at the mills at Grizzly and came up with two that, by going on a diet of bread-and-water for a few months, I could afford:

    This one is $795 before shipping and is designated as a mill/drill. I'm a bit hazy on the meaning of that designation, unless it means that it is intended to do double-duty. The specs say it includes a DRO:

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/4-x-...ll-Drill/G0781

    This one is $665 before shipping, although the designation as a Mini makes me think that something a bit larger would be preferable. The specs do not list a DRO:

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini...-Machine/G8689

    I also checked a mill at Harbor Freight, but it was outside the budget and did not include a DRO. A mini mill at Little Machine Shop was only a bit over budget, but it did not list a DRO, either.

    Would one of the Grizzly mills be a reasonable purchase, or should I be looking elsewhere?

    Many thanks,
    Richard

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Personally, I trust Grizzly waaaaaaaaaay more the Harbor Freight.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

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