A drill press is a tool that most woodworkers should have in their arsenal. This is because drilling is arguably the most important task, after sawing, when it comes to woodworking. The set up and maintenance of one of these tools is simple, if done correctly, and can yield many happy drilling years to come. Appropriate safety measures, proper set-up, and general maintenance of this power tool are the keys to woodworking success.
Before setting up, you must make sure there is enough space in your workshop to ensure that you can work any piece, move around appropriately, and avoid potential accidents. When setting up a clear workspace also be conscious of the location of the power supply. Other safety measures that are extremely important during the entire course of your project are wearing appropriate safety goggles and avoiding wearing loose fitting clothes. Also, remember to avoid placing tools on the drilling table and do not support the equipment by hand, instead go through the designated support process.
Supporting this power tool correctly is the most important step on the way to safe functionality. When working on a wood floor it is recommended to use lag bolts to strengthen the foundation that the drill will be built upon. You must drill a hole completely through the area before inserting the bolt and then add a nut for extra security. Lag bolts are used in this instance because of their amazing strength, which can support much heavier loads than the average sheet metal or wood screw. Their massive size and coarse threading make it one of the toughest fasteners.
Masonry bolts and concrete anchors are used when setting up on a concrete floor. Masonry bolts hold to the sides of the concrete when inserted, therefore the consistency of the concrete should be considered before going ahead with the project. Concrete anchors come in two types: shear load and tensile load. Shear load is when the force is parallel to the screw; tensile is when the force is perpendicular to the anchor. Tensile concrete anchors are the most likely choice for installing supports but knowing which to use will tremendously help in your set up. Properly installing supports that best match the ground that your press will be built will greatly strengthen the foundation. This precaution will make the tool more safe and effective to use.
Before running the tool, ensuring a safe electrical environment is a must. To be safe, you should use separate power plug-ins when using multiple power tools. The circuit should be at or higher than a 12-gauge wire and should be protected with a 20-amp time lag fuse. If an extension cord is necessary, only use a three- pronged cord. Make sure that the motor is switched off before connecting it to a power source and that the motor, as well as the electric current, is at the same voltage. Grounding the press will protect you from electric shock. Within the 120-volt motor, the green conductor is the grounding wire. Please be sure to never connect the green wire to a live terminal.
The best speed and feed can be determined by several factors. The first of which is the type of material that is being used. A higher speed is needed for soft materials, and a lower speed for harder material. Also to be considered, is the size of the hole, type of drill or cutter, and the quality of the cut desired. The smaller the drill bit, the greater the required rpm, or revolutions per minute. This affects accuracy and the desired effect.
The final, and possibly most important, step is the correct maintenance and care of the machine. Clean your press after every use; this includes the t-slots, grooves, and dirt from belts and pulleys. Because of the heat and friction that is caused in the machine during use, lubrication is a must. By using a coat of wax or a sheet of wax paper, you can protect the surface of the worktable. Use a slightly oiled cloth to prevent rust. For additional information specific to your drill press, refer to the instruction manual.
The conditions under which you work can have an impact of the effectiveness of the press. Consideration of weather and temperature does play a part in general upkeep. During the winter, especially during dry, cold times the machine’s metal can become brittle. This can make the parts easily break or fracture within. Hot temperatures can cause an over heating of the motor. Another factor than can damage the motor and cause potential malfunction is the overworking of the machine and motor. If a shaking or general hotness emanates from the device, let the drill rest and cool down before continuing work.
Finally, regularly checking the entire machine, top to bottom, for signs of distress is part of general maintenance. Be sure to check the spindle and belt for signals of wear and tear. If you are cleaning the mechanisms and chuck, as you should, then rust and/or other problems should be apparent.