Drill press table

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  • Drill press table

    Hello Fellas,

    Planning to build a simple DIY drill press table for my floor standing drill. Some tables I see have a notch and extends beyond the main column on both sides.

    I am thinking of keeping it simple and just have a rectangle shape for the surface.

    Is there something am I missing if I don't have table surface that does not extends on both sides of the main column?

    Thanks in advance.


  • #2
    My take is bigger is better for overall use. A larger table will provide more stability for larger workpieces. I made mine from a laminate double sink cutout that was a throwaway at a countertop shop. It also has a 2 1/2" vac port underneath and clamps to the DP table with a threaded insert and shop made knob/bolt.
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    Jim Frye
    The Nut in the Cellar.
    ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”


    • nicer20
      nicer20 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jim, I like that insert made from scrap. Will try to incorporate it.

  • #3
    Hey Nicer, if I recall you have the Craftsman labeled Hitachi drill press like mine, I recall the conversation from earlier this year.

    On my Hitachi, I use the Woodpeckers whose current model does not extend behind the column.
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    But the one I bought from them has extensions on the outside edge. which as you can see I use to support the dust pickup jig. and to be able to move the fence full back (the locking fasteners use the outside track). Basically ears if provided are to allow the fence to move as far back as possible for drilling to the center of wide items.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	my woodpeck drill press table.jpg Views:	0 Size:	124.2 KB ID:	851443

    Remember, if your table has parallel slots (but I think the Hitachi has an "X" pattern) you can always move the table forwards and backwards for more support.. I made the mistake of mounting mine so the drill insert was centered exactly over the center of the original drill table. This is a mistake I've often wish I'd not done. I should have made it adjustable with the center of the new table moveable a little forwards and backwards and certainly if fixed a half inch off the center so that damage done to the sacrificial insert is spread over a greater area. I know I've mentioned this before in other posts.

    So, that answers your question sort of/

    I have to point out that I used the low profile woodpecker fence. The quill raising arms on the Hitachi drill press I think we share are long. They come very close to the drill press table than most.
    I found my original shop made fence which was 3 inches tall always hit the fence when the table was high enough for drilling short items.
    My high fence now has a notch in it to pass the handle. But mostly I use the low profile fence that came with the woodpeckers table.
    But its something for you to think about whether you build or buy.
    Your other option is to remove one of the three handles that hits the fence first, which I understand some do, but I can't stand it without. Partly because it feels incomplete and partly because I use all three handles when drilling some items. Or make the arms shorter which affects your control some.

    Of course you can lower the table and use the full extension of the quill, but that involves some travel of the quill to drill a shallow hole.

    Home built fence with pass through notch for handle (not pushed all the way back but you can see it) and how it works with the handle on flat work drilling. Also of course a notch for the chuck when drilling short, flat items close to the fence.
    There is a notch in the bottom wider support to allow the fence to go all the way back to the post as far as possible.
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    Last edited by LCHIEN; 06-29-2022, 04:24 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


    • nicer20
      nicer20 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Loring. This is quite useful.
      Yes mine is a Craftsman version of your Hitachi. You have a very good memory. And thanks to you + others who advised me on getting that DP & Sander. I am really finding both of these tools very useful.
      I remember you had a post and there was some discussion about the replaceable insert needing to be off center. I will definitely revisit that post and incorporate those ideas.
      Also thanks for pointing out the fence height problem with the handles. I will take that in consideration too. !!

  • #4
    I'll have to clear the junk off of mine to get a few good pics, but simply put, mine is a copy of the Grizzly Drill Press Table made from 3/4" plywood, 3/16" tempered hardboard and scraps of 4/4 walnut edging and is dowelled and glued. I do not wrap the column, instead I have T tracks and a fence with stops. I have 1/4" center inserts (replaceable) and would easily convert to including below table dust collection, but instead I am working on rigging above table collection. I don't care if it hits the floor, I don't want to breathe it...

    I bought my Grizzly used from LCHIEN years ago, but the MDF it was made from, and the high humidity of my shop at just around 1 mile from Galveston Bay just were not a good combination.

    If I had to do it over again, I would likely do the same setup. It works well and was easy to make...
    Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.


    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      I remember that. Actually it was an MLCS but it was exactly the same as sold by Grizz and others at the time.
      I seem to recall I had some issues with that design.

    • dbhost

      Editing a comment
      Hmmm. I could have sworn it was in a Grizzly box.. But you could be right, it was a long time ago now. If nothing else it was great for using as a template. I really had no issues with the design. Admittedly attachment to the CI table could be better, but it works...

  • #5
    Added some more stuff to my original answer, reread above #3 answer.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


    • #6
      My DP table does not wrap around the column; it's a simple double-layer plywood rectangle attached to the factory metal table. I did put a few T-Tracks in it for hold-downs and for the fence. Even though my table is ahead of the column, it still interferes with the crank handle on the table height adjustment mechanism. Whatever you do, make sure you can access that assembly as needed. Since my fence rides in a pair of T-tracks, the fence can't move any further back than the column itself... so having tabletop surface alongside or behind the column is unusable surface unless I remove the fence. Simply clamping a fence to the tabletop, rather than making it ride in T-tracks or miter track, lets you orient the fence at any angle which then allows that extra surface area to be utilized. My fence's "L" base does reduce the DP capacity: the fence face and "L" are about 2 inches total which means I loose 2 inches of capacity. My drill press is a "radial" style drill press however so I can move the whole upper part if the DP (the motor, belts, and quill) in/out quite a distance; in face I can extend the quill to be well past my table's front edge. Where a "9 inch" drill press can drill to the center of an 18 inch wide board, my radial drill press can reach anywhere from ~4 to ~30 inches so my loosing 2 inches to the fence is almost meaningless. In theory, I could make my fence non-adjustable and simply use the in/out capability of the radial drill press to position the bit on the workpiece... But moving the radial part in/out in tiny amounts is difficult so I move the fence most of the time.

      My fence is actually the extruded aluminum gizmo Harbor Freight used to sell; I picked up a couple when they were being clearanced. It's basically a metal "L" base piece that mounts to T-tracks, the face has a mouse-hole of sorts and two aluminum pieces that slide left/right similar to typical router table fences. In fact it looks like a router table fence and I did have one on my router table for a long time. It works okay... and the DP quill handles clear it most of the time. I made a box to mount to the backside of it to enclose the mouse port with a dust collection fitting. That gets only some of the shavings... it only works for flat workpieces. For taller workpieces, the mouse hole gets covered/blocked so dust collection is miserable. I have a "Y" fitting (splitting my 4 inch duct flex hose into two 2.5 inch hoses) with the second hose loose so it can be manually positioned above the workpiece, similar to the hose in Loring's #3 reply. The combination works pretty well. I don't have any below the table dust collection. A box below the table, like Jim Frye's pictures show, works great for certain drilling operations but is especially good when you equip the DP with a sanding drum setup. I have other sanding machines, including the Ridgid EB4424 belt/spindle sander, so I don't need DP mounted sanding drums.

      Mounting the "sacrificial insert" piece off-center relative to the drill chuck/bit, so that you can rotate it 90 degrees when a section gets worn out; lets you get more useful life out of it compared to an insert centered below the chuck. My insert slides front-to-back on my table so I can simply slide it in/out as it wears; the table surface has a 3 or 4 inch wide slot with angled (dovetail) edges; the insert has inverse angles to hold it to the table. For most DPs, you can also swing the table left/right around the column to expose fresh insert material; the table does not have to be aligned to the upper part of the DP. Just don't swing it too far and end up drilling into the body of the table below the insert!

      So, my answer your question, is "it depends on the style fence you plan to use. Clamping a stick across the table lets those ears/wings be used, using T-track running front-to-back on the table means the post will get in the way before you can utilize those ears/wings. If you will also use the DP for sanding duties (which often don't need the fence) then the ears/wings give you extra workpiece support area."

      Last edited by mpc; 06-29-2022, 12:03 AM.


      • LCHIEN
        LCHIEN commented
        Editing a comment
        "Where a "9 inch" drill press can drill to the center of an 18 inch wide board,"

        Correction: The is called the "Swing" of a Drill press. A 9" drill press has a swing of 9" and can drill to the center of a 9" wide piece. It only has a column to drill axis distance of 9/2 or 4-1/2 inches.

      • nicer20
        nicer20 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you so much for all these tips. You have a knack of articulating in such a way that it projects the picture in front of you. Also learnt something new - "Radial Drill Press" !

    • #7
      Loring's fence NOTCH is a necessity. the one item that caused me more headaches - were the handle hitting the fence. It didn't do this all the time - depending on what I was drilling and I didn't take the time to rectify that because it only happened once in 10 drills, so I didn't fix it for a long while. Then the 1 in 10 came along and it just got tired of it. Fixed it kinda like Loring did.

      That was most aggravating part to the DP table.

      Radial Drill Press: I have one, had it about 20 years. It sure is handy on some things, but it is not as solid as a normal drill press, as it can flex if a tad too much pressure is put on it. I gave it to my 16 year old grandson and explained its advantages and disadvantages. He is a master at tool usage for his age.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


      • mpc
        mpc commented
        Editing a comment
        Radial drill press + dull bits = bad combination. With sharp bits and a slightly slower feed rate I have had very good luck with my Rikon radial drill press. I find the stock table flexes more than the drill head actually. I think I've used the "radial" function maybe twice... though I do use the in-out adjustment fairly often. I use the in-out capability to get the drill bit as close to the column as my workpiece allows, then I use my add-on table & fence to fine-tune the workpiece position under the bit. This procedure keeps the "lever arm" of flexing stuff as small as possible, limiting the effects of flexing. A small advantage to radial drill presses: moving the head in-out lets you use more of the sacrificial insert plate! That's why mine is a rectangular piece running front the front to back edge of my table rather than the usual small square patch.

        Radial drill press + those add-on mortise kits = likely a really bad combination. The mortise chisels demand a strong push which can make even regular drill presses (esp. cheaper ones) flex, let alone radial drill presses.

        Another option for handle clearance: if you have access to tap-n-die sets, you might find shortening the handle arms an inch or two is worthwhile. Longer arms make it easy to apply torque to the bit but require longer arm reaches. I've thought about shortening the handles on my DP as an experiment as working the handles has been an issue for me (I'm not tall by any stretch of the imagination). A shorter travel/shorter throw for each handle would be better for me. I want to make shorter handle shafts as a test; if they suck I can always re-install the original shafts.


    • #8
      The main thing I found is to make clearance for the lift crank. Other than that,build it however you want.


      • #9
        To be honest there's more than one way to fix the handle hitting the fence problem.
        • You can get a low fence and a high fence for when you need them
        • you can cut off the right end upper part of the fence to make it lower, if you have taller items you usually dont need vertical support all the way to the right
        • you can make a notch like I did
        • you can remove one handle and have a two handle drill press but its awkward I find. The handle that hits first is the one that normally is in front and you pull down on to start drilling so you will miss it and when making a deep drill you will have a hard time doing the hand over hand process for deep drilling.
        • Removing the handle a lot leads to it becoming loose. (tip for those of you whose handle becomes habitually loose I use a couple of wraps of Teflon tape and it never comes loose any more.)
        • The last thing is if you have such a depth stop as mine... a vertically running threaded rod attached to the quill that passes through a fixed bracket on the drill head. I use a threaded split clamp made for a quill stop and you can place it above or below the bracket. Above limits the down travel. Placing the clamp below the bracket stops the quill from going all the way up. So I can lower the quill 2-1/2 inches, place the stop. Now I have one inch quill travel good enough for that flat work where you get in trouble with the fence and the quill starts out much closer to the work. I can still set a vertical depth stop using a second quill stop.
        • The last thing is you can use a 2x4 along the fence to support your work and raise it up 1-1/2 inches. It also provides sacrificial support for breakthough splintering. But its not always convenient and you may need several to support awkward pieces.
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 06-30-2022, 05:08 PM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


        • #10
          One other advantage to a rectangular table, compared to one that extends past the column, is that you can rotate the table to make angled cuts. Most drill press tables can be rotated +/- 90 degrees... though few people ever use this capability because getting the table back to 0.00 degrees is a nuisance. It is usually easier to make a plywood jig to hold workpieces at angles. Just something to consider.