Introduction: Drill Press Laser Alignment Tool
This will help you realign your drill press table if you have to change drill bits in the middle of a project, have a piece clamped down and need to move up a size, etc. If you adjust your table height, there is the risk of moving side to side and this tool will get you back on track.
Step 1: What You Will Need
This project doesn't take much in the way of supplies, and the tools I used aren't required by any means-there are lots of options. Make it yours!
Here is what I used:
-Magnets ($4)(craft store, home store, online, etc)
-Laser Pointer ($1)(Dollar Tree)
-Hot Glue Gun
Step 2: Layout Your Dimensions
You want to hold your scrap wood or whatever you are going to use on the top of your drill press and mark on the wood the width of the part of the lid that comes in contact with the board. This will show where the bounds are for drilling for your magnets.
Make sure the end of the board sticks out slightly past the widest part of the lid, as shown in the picture.
Step 3: Drill for Magnets
I used a forstner bit to get a flat bottomed holes for the magnets. Use one of your magnets to check your depth-ideally the magnets will protrude ever so slightly from the board. Flush would work, too, but proud is best.
Technically you don't have to even drill holes for the magnets, you could probably just hot glue or epoxy them to the board, but I felt inspired (it being a drill press Instructable and all). So if you need this tool just as fast as possible, skip the drilling.
Step 4: Get Into the Groove
Cut a small groove in the direction as shown in relation to the holes for the magnets (or if you skipped the drilling, the face where the magnets will reside). The groove doesn't have to be very deep, maybe a 1/8-1/4". The groove is there to help keep the laser aligned on the block.
This is another step you could technically skip, but because the laser needs to be parallel to the drill press post, I recommend the groove to get the angle right.
Step 5: Secure the Magnets
I used hot glue, just a dab in each hole. Again, try to make sure and keep the magnets just slightly proud of the surface of the board.
You could, of course, use epoxy or something else instead here.
Step 6: Add the Frickin' Laser Beam!
Place your laser in the groove (if you cut one).
Attach the laser to the board with the wire nails. Make sure the laser is pointing as shown in the pictures, with the laser output end on the same side of the board as the magnets.
Just leave enough room around the switches so that they don't stay on and that you have room to operate the switch.
If your wire nails are not as tall as the laser is big around and they should hold very well.
Step 7: Target Practice
Stick the alignment tool to the top of your drill press. Turn on the laser and adjust its position until it is on the drill press table away from your setup.
Put a target on the table of the drill press where the laser is shining. Make a set of crosshairs where the laser beam is. The thinner the crosshairs, the more accurate you can make your setup and the more repeatable your results will be.
Photographing a laser turns out to be a little harder than I expected- you can see the pictures of the crosshairs, with the center missing from two pictures and the crosshairs are intact in one. The intact crosshair picture is with the laser off, the other two show the laser on and centered on the crosshairs.
Step 8: Wrap It Up
So now you can get your drill press set up, sight in your laser, and if you have to make any table movements to change drill bits or depth or whatever, you can get your table lined back up by just lining up your laser dot!
This particular build will officially be a (working) prototype for a couple of reasons:
-While the magnets I used are strong, I wouldn't mind getting stronger ones still, just to insure less chance of any movement
-My dollar store laser was cheap (literally a $1!!!), but it only stays on when you hold the button down. It would be much easier to find one (even if I have to pay a few more dollars) that switches on and off rather than holding the button while trying to align everything
There you have it!
I hope you enjoy your laser alignment tool