Introduction: Drill Press Table Enlargement & Drill Press Table Winch

This Instructable is like a "Two-for-One Deal" 1) It will show you how I increased the size of my existing drill press table using steel plate, and,  2) It will show you how I installed a winch to easily raise/lower (adjust) my existing drill press table.      Floor Standing Drill Press tables are just TOO SMALL for me and the type of work I perform with them.  I have an existing drill press in my shop upon which I installed a much larger working table that is 28" Wide X 18" Deep X 3/4" Thick and it has a rack and pinion gear setup to adjust the table up/down.  I recently received a second very special drill press which has boo-koo sentimental value to me because it belonged to my father, who at 90+ just cannot use it anymore.  I've enjoyed the larger table so much on my existing drill press, I just HAD to have the same for Dad's drill press.  But there was a problem:  Dad's drill press did not have a rack and pinion gear system with which to raise the table up and down as my existing one has.  Dad's drill press table is lowered/raised by HAND.  The 28" Wide X 18" Deep X 3/4" Thick steel plate table I wanted to also add to Dad's drill press weighs 108 lbs. so raising and lowering it by hand is impossible.  And so began my research on what I could use to install the new bigger & heavier table on Dad's drill press and also be able to adjust it up and down with ease.  This instructable will show you how I did just that.  DISCLAIMER:  Working with any tools can result in any level of injury up to and including death to you and/or others.  It is up to you and those who work with you to work SAFELY and I am not responsible for any actions taken by you or anyone, nor the results of those actions, or even bystanders regarding the content of this instructable.  Please be CLEAR that I am only posting an example of what I did with my machine.  I am NOT showing or even suggesting what you (or anyone) should or might do to any machine you may have or anybody else's machine either.  Do not follow this as a guide to do anything, ever.  This Instructable is provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a source of official information by anyone.  Any and all successes and/or damages incurred by the implementation and/or interpretation of the information in this publication are the sole responsibility of the end user.  Have a GREAT & SAFE Day!

Step 1: Determine New Drill Press Table Dimensions

Determine the New Drill Press Table Dimensions:  I needed to figure out what my new table dimensions needed to be.  I chose 28" wide X 18" Deep X 3/4" Thick A36 Steel Plate Table Size for both my 16" & 17" Drill Presses.  A36 Steel is mild inexpensive general purpose material but you can use whatever you can drill and tap.  A steel table of these dimensions is 108 Lbs.  I considered the tipping balance of the machine, sturdiness of the existing table and its clamping mechanism and side clearance as well.  My table can rotate about about the main pole and that was considered as well especially when the drill press is not bolted to the floor.  My Drill Press' factory table is square and is adjustable only in the vertical plane that is parallel with the back wall the press is up against.  Said another way the table is adjustable clockwise/counterclockwise as you look at it from the front.  This is important to note as I wanted to retain this capability and had to then make sure that the table DOES NOT protrude ANY farther back than the vertical plane of the back of the factory table (See Picture showing the back edge of the new table while mounted on the factory table).  I can always remove the new table in the (hopefully rare) event I need to do something that only the factory table freedoms of movement will allow.  For me, the larger table the better...Size does matter and I'm fairly sure that my mine is bigger than any of yours!

Step 2: Purchase or Cut the New Drill Press Table

If I had the material I needed then I could have cut it to size with whatever means I chose (band saw) could have marked/drilled the "through-hole" accordingly.  For the new table's "through-hole" I could have either used a drill of the corresponding size (tough drill through) or use an annular cutter a.k.a.  a "Hogan-Bit".  I spent some time considering the timing, marking and drilling of the through-hole in the new drill press table so it matches the factory table hole and allows for the same factory table tilting functionality retention.  This would be the case if I had the material, but I did not have the material!  I had to purchase my steel table and essentially went to an industrial steel supplier and gave them a drawing showing the dimensions of the table and the location of the "through-hole" which I specified to be the same diameter as the existing hole in the factory table.  If you go this route then ask for a "plasma-cut" piece.  The steel mill I bought from used a plasma cutter that leaves virtually no slag and I only needed to use a fine file to smooth out the top outside edges, corners and "through-hole" a bit.  The steel supplier may have "minimum" order values but I just talk to them about my situation and tell them I can accept the part whenever they can work it into the schedule.  I got my new table for $1 a pound or $108 cut to exact size including the through-hole.  I wiped my table down with mineral spirits (paint thinner) then lightly oil with synthetic oil.  I left the mill finish on the new table as it prevents rusting and is scratch resistant.

Step 3: Mount the New Drill Press Table to the Factory Table

Once my new drill press table was prepped to size including the "through-hole" then I was ready to mount it to the existing factory table.  There are two important alignments: 1) Align the "through-holes" of the new table and the factory table.  2) Align the rear edge of the new table to ensure it does not protrude past the rear plane of the factory table edge thereby preserving the tilting capability necessary to drill angles later.  Clamp the new table to the existing table then recheck the alignments above.  When all alignments are good then I used a scribing tool (awl, tungsten tipped pen, sharpened nail, etc..) and traced out the slots in the factory drill press table from underneath the table.  When I had traced the slots clearly then I removed the clamp, flipped the table over and marked the drill through locations with a punch and hammer.  I choose the locations for these holes so as to allow you small final alignment adjustments before I bolted the new table to the factory table for good.  I then drilled the holes I had marked in the new table with the appropriate Tap Drill size, tapped the holes (I used 3/8" NC) and deburred the holes very lightly especially on the working surface side.  I was now ready to mount the new drill press table to the factory table.  I used a quantity of 4, 1.25" long 3/8" NC Hex Head bolts with two (2) washers.  I doped up the bolts with nickel anti-seize compound to make them easy to remove.  In my situation the bolt length and use of washers brought the bottom of the bolt virtually flush with the top working surface of the new table which is what I was striving for.  OPTIONAL: I considered drilling "blind holes" (blind holes do not go all the way through the new table) for the new table mounting which makes the top of the working surface entirely smooth (my other drill press features this).  When I did this on my other drill press I was really careful with the drilling depth and had to use special tools like a bottom drill and bottom tap to ensure I got enough threads to bite with my bolts.  Bolt length and washer stack up are critical as well.  The result is nice when you have the time + tools for the effort but, in this case, I just did not want to spend the time on this one...  If I had already had a rack & pinion gear system capable of raising and lowering my new drill press table then I WOULD BE FINISHED and sitting back admiring my handiwork.  Unfortunately Dad's drill press DID NOT have an existing rack & pinion gear system capable of raising and lowering a new drill press table so I had to CONTINUE TO THE NEXT STEP!

Step 4: Using a Winch to Raise & Lower a Drill Press Table

When I effectively added 108 Lbs. to my drill press' factory table by bolting a new larger 28" X 18" X 3/4" steel plate table to it, then it was no longer possible to raise and lower the table by hand as it was designed.  After looking at all the potential options short of a factory rack & pinion system I realized there was not a readily good solution to this problem although there LOTS of people who seemed to have the same issue.  To be fair I did see a nice idea out of Australia called the Easy Riser (TM) but it looks like it is not available to purchase plus, in the end, it would not serve my purposes due to the shear weight involved in my situation.  So I do as I always do and I looked at the drill press before I went to sleep a few times and worked on the problem while I slept.  What finally came of this is what follows and that is I simply adapted a readily available boat winch to the main pole of my drill press to raise and lower the new heavier table.  The winch I selected is the Reese "Towpower 74337 600 Pound Capacity Winch" ( )  I paid $19.90 delivered.  It could have been any winch (or better yet a hoist) that I deemed safe, reliable and capable but I had to ensure that I considered not only the weight of the new table but the entire weight of the table, vise(s), work, fixtures, etc. and added a safety factor when choosing the winch, cable and all components that were to be stressed.  I'll refer you now back to my disclaimer in the beginning of this instructable concerning safety and your responsibilities.  Note also that I selected this winch based upon it's line pull capability at a given drum layer and NOT it's winch rating.  I am aware that no one can select on the winch rating alone!  To the purists looking at the angle of pull in the picture you are right on.  The angle affects the capability/rating of the winch too.  I discuss my optional choices for alternative attachment points deeper into this instructable.  To see what I did to mount this winch to the drill press refer to the following steps in this instructable.

Step 5: Marking / Drilling / Tapping Winch Mounting Holes

I had to determine where I could mount my winch by checking the rotating "swing stroke" of the winch when in use.  I wanted to mount the winch as high as possible to get maximum lifting capability.  Ultimately I decided to (slightly) modify the winch crank handle by cold bending it on the two angles it has on it already.  Modifying a winch or hoist is not recommended by anyone including me so don't do it.  In this case the risk is mine, all mine.  After I determined where to mount the winch I marked the pole with a punch, drilled pilot holes, followed with a tap drill then tapped the holes with a 3/8" NC thread.  My drill press pole had sufficient wall thickness for me to trust this method of mounting.  Optional alternatives in the case I had a pole which was thin walled would have been to include backup washers and nuts inside the pole which would have been really fun (hard but I could do it) to install at the least.  I could have also drilled all the way through both sides of the pole and mounted long bolts to affix the winch.  This would be the easiest safe way to attach the winch.  After weighing the choices in my situation I chose to tap the pole wall radially and accept the risk in this situation.

Step 6: Mounting the Table Winch to the Drill Press

By now some of you are invariably thinking that mounting a table winch is code for having a go with a waitress but pull yourself out of the gutter for a moment and concentrate on the issue at hand which is mounting the winch to the pole (wow there's another one).  After my pole holes were drilled and tapped I deburred them ever so slightly as to not remove holding material.  I placed anti-seize on the bolts and used a stiff bolt head washer on top of a stiff fender washer to help keep the winch from rolling side-to-side.  I next tightened them and at this point the winch was installed!  I was not done however... Next Step!

Step 7: Winch Cable Attachment to Table

Now that I have winch mounted to the pole I need an attachment point to connect the winch cable to the table.  It became apparent to me that there were a few ways to do this and, obviously, I chose the one highlighted in the pictures.  I took a piece of scrap steel 1/8" thick and modified it to sit next to the washer on the drill press table clamping bolt.  This was convienient & functional and did not require any further modifications to the table clamp of fabrication or other parts, not that there's anything wrong with that!  Pictures tell the story.  This is the first version of my attachment of the cable to the table pole clamp and it works just fine.  When I release the pole clamp I simply rotate the table (around the pole) to where the clamp winch attachment point is in the center of the winch drum and I raise or lower the table as necessary making sure to rotate the table back to "square" when done.  There are a couple of options I considered to do it differently: A) Fashion an upside down "stirrup" from the clamping bolt tightening handle location to the bolt head end (will need to modify the bolt on mine) and connect the lifting cable in the center of the "stirrup".  B) Fashion a thinner version of the lifting connection that I have shown here and simply locate it inside the centrally located split-line of the table clamp with the bolt going through it and in shear for the lifting/holding.

Step 8: Finished!

For functionality and safety I connected a suitably strong aircraft cable and hardware to the winch and was sure to tighten everything appropriately.  I am very satisfied with the result of adding the bigger drill press table and installing the winch to lower it up and down with ease so I can do what I really want to do which is drill holes in things and stack gobs of things on the new found table space.  For those who may have noticed a picture or two that looked a bit different I can relate that the method I used to attached the winch to the pole the first time entailed installing four short lengths of chain (2 top & 2 bottom) to the winch and "wrapping" the short lengths of chain around the pole (they were to short to connect) and connecting them with a bolt that tried to pull the ends of the chain together and in doing so tightened then around the drill press pole.  I was effectively trying to make chain clamps but the execution was not pretty nor functional so I regrouped and drilled the winch mounting points directly into the pole.  It's my drill press after all and I can do whatever I want!      I hope you found my project interesting and my Instructable clear in it's explanation of same......  Baytownian


charlessenf-gm made it!(author)2017-01-25

They make an automated device that raises and lowers the tongue wheel on a trailer using 12VDC. I would think such a device could be adapted to raise and lower the table using a simple ON-OFF-ON DPDT switch.

Just a thought

jeremy.s.king.1 made it!(author)2015-01-16

Thanks Baytonian for the winch idea. It's a lot cheaper than the linear actuator idea that I had because it wouldn't have worked very well with the table that I want to build when it came time to turn it to use the side table. The only difference that I've decided to make is to go with a winch with a worm gear so that I can make smaller adjustments and I don't have to manipulate the lock. Also the handle is on top so with a little extra plating and removing the handle, after I mount it I'll be able to raise and lower the table from the front using my cordless drill.

king298 made it!(author)2014-10-27

excellent! good job.

finton made it!(author)2013-10-21

The use of the winch was a stroke of sheer genius, Baytonian! Well done!

blkhawk made it!(author)2013-10-21

Very well documented project! Congratulations!

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