Unlike the portable power drills in many home workshops, a drill press is a stationary tool. These machines are available as both benchtop and larger freestanding models. The chief difference between a drill press and a portable drill is the precise holes a press makes. The relative positions and orientation of cutting tool and workpiece can be fixed when using a drill press, allowing greater control over the position, orientation and depth of holes drilled with the tool.
Drill Press Cutting Tools
The drill press originally was designed to bore precise, repeatable holes. The tool's fixed head and adjustable table maintain a precise relationship between the rotating tool and material to be cut, allowing fine adjustment of hole location and preventing crooked or misshapen holes common with portable drills. Besides drilling holes, drill presses are used to deburr holes in metal and ream existing holes to highly precise diameters. Woodworkers also use drill presses to cut large-diameter holes with hole saws or small wooden plugs with a plug-cutter bit. A special mortising chisel bit allows woodworkers to cut a square hole, or mortise.
Operating a Drill Press
Adjust the table's position to the desired orientation and distance from the drill bit or other cutting tool. Position the workpiece so the target point is directly beneath the cutting tool, using a center finder or other targeting device, and clamp it in place. Adjust the depth stops if necessary. Power on the drill press and pull or turn the spindle feed lever to lower the cutting tool into the workpiece.