Drill press

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This tool is for making holes in wood, plastic or metal


Wear safety glasses when using the drill. Concentrate all the time on what you are doing.

Hazards include:

  • chippings flying off at high speed
  • clothing being caught in the rotating parts
  • the piece being drilled getting caught in the drill, and rotating freely
  • the chuck key being left in the drill and flying off when the drill is started

Before use

Check that the Drill Press is plugged in to the mains supply


Select a drill

Fit a drill bit into the drill chuck. Choose a drill bit that corresponds to the size of the hole that you want.

There's an exception to this rule: If you want a big hole, first drill a smaller hole (known as a pilot hole). The small hole can be more accurately positioned, and it acts as a guide for the larger drill bit.

The chuck has a collar that can be rotated to open or close the jaws that grip the drill bit. After the collar is tightened by hand, fit the chuck key and turn it clockwise a little to fully tighten the chuck.

Select a drill speed

Select a speed for the drill. As a general rule, larger drills work best at low speeds and smaller drills work at high speeds. The best speed depends not only on the size of the drill, but also on the hardness of the material being drilled. If you are not sure what speed to set, go for a medium-to-high speed.

To change the drill speed, open the top cover. You will see a stack of pulleys above the drill chuck, and another stack of pulleys at the motor end. A black V-belt joins the two stacks together, connecting two pulleys of different size.

The drill speed can be set by choosing a different pair of pulleys for the belt to run on.

The drill press will run fast when the smaller pulley is at the drill chuck end. It will run slow when the smaller pulley is at the motor end.

When changing the belt, take care not to get your finger between the belt and a pulley, as that is easily done and it is painful.

Mark the hole and clamp the workpiece

The material to be drilled should have the required position of the hole marked on it. On wood, a pencil cross is adequate. On metal, either a scratched cross can be made, or an indent can be made using a centre-punch.

It is usually best to clamp the material being drilled, on to the adjustable-height table below the drill bit. If the material is a small object, hold it in the jaws of a flat vice. Don't attempt to hold it by hand. The drill is a lot stronger than you are.

Using it

Switch on the drill by pressing the red button on the side of the drill press. The drill will start turning immediately.

Use the three-handled lever on the side of the drill press to lower the drill bit into the material being drilled. Continue pressing the lever as the drill works its way through the material, but use gentle pressure. Let the cutting edge of the drill do the work.

When drilling deep holes, the drill bit can become clogged with cuttings. Raise the drill clear of the workpiece, stop the drill and clear the flutes of the drill with a pointed tool. Beware, the drill bit will be too hot to touch with the finger.

Deep holes in plastic are sometimes unsuccessful because the drill heats up and softens the plastic. It cannot cut soft plastic. The drill bit will become coated with plastic and will be useless.

When finished

Remove the drill bit (remember it may still be hot). Return the drill bit to the drill stand or case. Put away the chuck key in its holder. Don't be the person who lost the chuck key!

Brush away drill swarf and chippings, to leave the drill ready for the next user, and disconnect the mains supply to leave it unconditionally safe.