Introduction: Drill Press for ~$20

Picture of Drill Press for ~$20

Anyone who works with wood knows you have to make hundreds of holes for the screws and its almost impossible to make a series of holes perfectly straight and with the same depth by hand.

This instructable will help you to build a tool that will save you a lot of time and effort when drilling precise holes on wood, plastic, metal, or whatever material you're working with, it can also be very useful to carve sections of materials like wood thanks to its adjustable tool height.

You will need:

  • Wooden board (I used ~2 Cm thickness)
  • Wood slat (at least 2 meters, I used 25x35mm but any similar one will do the job)
  • 2x Small drawer guides
  • Around 30 long wood screws (and around 20 shorter ones)
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • High speed drill or similar tool to be attached.
  • M8 threaded rod M8 threaded tube M6 screws and nuts

Tools needed:

  • Ruler and pencil
  • Square and bevel
  • Wood saw and jewelers saw
  • Mitre
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Wood clamp (optional, but it makes the job a lot more easier)
  • Screwdriver

Step 1: The Base

Picture of The Base

Sorry about the lack of pictures, but by the time I decided this project to become and instructable I had already finished the base.

To made the base, cut four pieces out of the wooden slat, the dimensions are specified at the image, to avoid problems when assembling them I used a mitre and a clamp to keep the slat attached to it, this tool keeps the blade in a vertical position, avoiding irregular cuts, a minimal amount of sanding might be made afterwards.

When you've finished cutting the slat, make the definitive rectangle shape with it, play with the position of the slats to find the optimal configuration, once aligned, hold them together by applying pressure with the clamp to the short sides of the rectangle, now they're ready to be drilled. Mark the position of the screws, I've chosen to put them 1cm away from the edge. With some measurements, find the center of the slat and mark the position, once you have found it, drill the holes, which must be slightly narrower than the screw.

Once all the holes are drilled you can remove the clamp (or not if you prefer) and place the screws, I put some wood glue at each union to reinforce them.

TIP: If you remove the clamps when the holes have been already made, make some marking where two pieces come together (like circles, triangles, lines), if you disorder them, you can always put them together like a puzzle.

TIP: If your wood screws have an angled head you can use a special bit or a large metal bit (8mm for example) to make a countersink so the screws don't protrude.

To attach the cover, just draw the contour over some wooden board, cut it and attach it to the slat frame with more screws, I placed 2 at each side, leaving a gap between them of about 1/3 the length of that side. If you're like me, the chances are some of the slats or parts of the board will slightly protrude from the shape we're looking for, so grab that 80 grit sandpaper or an equivalent tool and start sanding until the edges are completely flat.

NOTE: It's not necessary to copy the dimensions to the millimeter, just get the general idea, and use the materials you find more convenient.

TIP: If you want your sanding to be more accurate put some sandpaper over a wood plank and use it to sand the wood, that will ensure your pieces will come out straight.

Step 2: The Arm

Picture of The Arm

The next part of the drill press will be the arm that will hold the guides to attach the drill. To make it, I cut a 40Cm tall board with the same width than the base, (Pic 1) then I sand the edges.

To install the guides we need to set a separation between the board and the drill, to achieve this I cut two pieces of wood from a slat (Pic 2), they are 17Cm tall. Once attached to the board they'll provide some separation so the drill can be more far away from the board and I can work with larger materials easily.

To attach these slats I mark the center of the large board, then I add 5Cm to each side, the space between the opposite edges of the slats must be 10Cm, with this in mind I use an square and a bevel to trace parallel lines to delineate the place where the slat will stay (Pic 4 and 5), also, I use half the width of the slat to draw another parallel, that line will be useful to know where I should put the screws.

To place the screws I divide the length of the slats by 4 (Pic 5), that will give me the space between each one of the three screws, I mark those places and proceed to drill the holes through them, then I attach the slats to their corresponding location with a clamp and using the holes I had previously made as a guide I drill the rest of the hole through the slats.

Once the holes are drilled, I make the countersinks (Pic 6) and insert the screws until the point comes out at the other side (Pic 7), that will be useful because I want to remove the slats, put some glue and then put them back in place (Pic 8). After this, I place the slats and screw them in place (Pic 9).

We don't want to attach the arm to the base now because that operation should be made when the guides are ready to be installed, that will allow us to make some corrections on the go if necessary

Step 3: The Guides

Picture of The Guides

Placing the guides is the most trickiest operation, they must be completely perpendicular respect to the base, and they must be completely parallel to each other to avoid getting stuck.

First I cut two 25Cm long boards (per 10mm wide) (Pic 1), notice I'm not throwing away any wood (Pic 2). After sanding the edges place my set square at one edge, and I do two marks, one at 10cm, and one at 90 (pic 3), I repeat the operation with the lower part of the board and with the other board.

TIP: To do the markings with the set square, use left edge of the small boards (pic 2) this edge comes perfectly straight, so errors and other problems when marking won't be a problem.

Once finished, these lines must be parallel between each other, now, with the set square I do a line 1.5 cm above the lowest edge, perpendicular to the other two, that line will help the guides to be at the same height.

With the lines that define the position of the guides I place them so the longer lines pass through the middle of the holes, then, with the pencil I mark the shape of those holes, and I drill them out of the wood (Pic 4).

TIP: Maybe this is useful or maybe I'm too paranoid, but I marked the guides to know which goes where after marking the holes to drill, theoretically they're exact, but anyway, let's not risk it... After the holes are have been drilled, screw the guides to the small board (pic 5).

Important: Notice the my guides have different sets of holes, on one side there are lots of them, but on the other one there are just a few. The side with just a few holes will be the side attached to the arm, this is because it'll be easier to disassemble in case the guides get stuck, or to do any adjustment...

To screw the board to the spacers we need to follow a special procedure, this board must be perfectly parallel respect the big board, to do so I made a simple but effective tool to align the board (pic 6), I slide it along the flat edge of the board and check that the screw is always touching the small board, once I'm sure the board is aligned I clamp it in place, drill the holes, and without removing the clamp I insert the screws (pic 7 & 8).

After this we just have to screw the guides in place (Pic 9). I

IMPORTANT: While placing the screws the board can change of position to accommodate to the screws, to avoid this place the screws with the clamp attached, that way the screws will have to get accommodated to the wood, and not the other way around.

Step 4: The Union

Picture of The Union

This is also one of the most crucial operations, the guides are now aligned, but if we goof it when joining the board with the base we'll end making holes with a certain deviation. Luckily, there are some tricks that make this process easier.

We first clamp the base to the board by eye, make sure the edges are more or less aligned, don't apply to much pressure because we want it to have a certain degree of movement (Pic 1), then, we place a carpenter's square touching the base, the board must be parallel to the side touching it, and also, when we slide down the guide, the board must remain at the same distance from the square (Pic 2), if it gets closer or further we must change the inclination of the base by tapping it gently at the bottom, the clamp will allow us to make and conserve those subtle adjustments.

Once the base is aligned with the guides we clamp it strongly, and we mark the places where the screws will be attached (Pic 3), make sure you don't get in the way of a previously places screw. To make the lines I divided the length of the slat and board by two, that way I'm sure the screws will go through the middle of them, in my case I placed 4 long screws up (at the slat) and 4 short (at the board) (Pic 4), this is just temporary.

Now I've got a problem! and I guess some of you will have the same one. The board is misaligned with the base (Pic 5), this is not a serious problem and I kinda expected it, to solve this, I sand the upper part of the base, where the board is attached, so it forms a perfect 90º angle. It might take some tries but the hardest part is finished.

Step 5: Adding the Drill Support

Picture of Adding the Drill Support

Now I must create a support for the drill, since I might also use a high speed drill, I opted to use have a general holder and some kind of screws to hold the tool in place regardless the diameter of it. This part is kinda general, since some measurements might change due the tool used.

I cut the last piece of wood, then I make a hole though it, I'm not very proud of how that hole came out, jeweler's saw and thick wood don't get along, but that's easy to fix with sandpaper wrapped around a tube (Pic 1 & 2). The diameter of the hole is the diameter of the high speed drill since it's the widest power tool I'll be using.

The flat side (the side that hasn't been cut) will be attached to the guide board, the other sides are sanded to remove the saw dents and I do a mark at the middle of each of them to do a hole to pass the screws through.

I check the support is perfectly straight and I clamp it while I drill the holes to install 90º brackets to hold the support in place (Pic 3 & 4), then I insert the screws, when all fits correctly I unscrew the thing to proceed with the next operation.

I mark a point at the middle of each side, then with a 6mm wood bit I drill holes through them, the screws to hold the tools will go in there (Pic 5).

I carefully cut away a piece of wood equivalent to the size of an M6 screw nut, that will keep the nuts in place and will allow them to be attached without protruding and touching the tool (Pic 6)

I attach another support, this time a bit higher, I also use some screws to allow some margin when holding the tool (Pic 6, 7 & 8).

Step 6: Final Details: Hole Depth Adjuster

Picture of Final Details: Hole Depth Adjuster

To be able to make holes at the same height we'll need some sort of adjustable stopper. I've used a 8mm (M8) threaded rod, I've cut it to a length of 50 Cm and I sanded an extreme to give it a round shape and to dull the thread a bit (Pic 1). Next I make a hole at the base (Pic 2), that hole must be big enough to let it rotate freely but not to be to loose (Pic 3).

Gluing a piece of slat to the top with a hole drilled through will keep the rod stable (Pics 4, 5 & 6)

With a small wood block a long screw/nut and a threaded tube I make a stopper (Pic 7). It will be touching the board, so when I twist the rod it goes up and down setting a limit for the tool with a lot of precission (Pic 8). I also added a small red knob to the rod to make it easier to turn.

Step 7: Final Details: Optional Improvements

Picture of Final Details: Optional Improvements

You can make an automatic regression mechanism by attaching some sortof spring or elastic bands to the parts depicted, but since I mostly use it for carving wood I personally haven't made it.

A handle could also be easily attached by attaching a piece of wood to the top of the guide.

Another interesting add-on would be some sort of clamps, like the ones used on CNCs, they could be easily made out of wood and could be screwed to the base with M6 screws to hold pieces tightly, although I don't find these clamps to be very practical when used on a drill press.

I've been also thinking about installing an LED powered by a couple of batteries to have a better illumination when drilling.

Step 8: What Can You Use It For?

Picture of What Can You Use It For?

As I said, this tool is very useful to drill straight holes with a minimal effort, but combined with a high speed tool and a carving bit can be a great help to carve holes or to cut borders at the same height, as seen in the pictures.

Another interesting property is it can cut perfect squares out of a roughly square-shaped piece of wood for example.

As always, thanks for viewing, if you have any questions just let me know.


SherylinRM (author)2016-09-11

Great ible.

The hole depth adjuster alone was worth the read.

Thanks for this :)

Victor805 (author)SherylinRM2016-09-12

Thank you for your comment!

andrewty (author)2016-08-26

How good are the drawer slides at holding an accurate Up/Down motion?

Victor805 (author)andrewty2016-08-30

They do a pretty good job, they don't have any slack, or displacement respect the horizontal plane, but it might depend on the slides you buy.

boesh made it! (author)2016-08-05

Did it.

Now i need to think about a handle to move the drill up and down, didnot figure out how to do that yet.

Attach a gear to the drill board and a spiked strip on the back board for the gear to ride on and attach handle to gear

Maximark (author)boesh2016-08-23

That's easy. You need additional screw and lever ( piece of wood or aluminum ). Just attach your new lever to the stand- vertical part half way of travel of the drill behind it. Than mark most upper and most lower position on the lever and cut the slot where screw holding the drill is. Once you have the slot ( size it a bit larger than diameter of the screw holding drill for smooth operation), unscrew screw holding the drill and reinstall thru the slot on the lever. You can add a spring from same screw to the top of vertical part of base to get automatic lift.

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-08-23


tkaya (author)2016-08-23

I love it, I want to buy it can be collected again then. How much money do you sell it to me?

RalphW8 (author)2016-08-09

Will make looks nice I work on guitars would be handy for small detailed items. Might I add that you add a scale ruler and a pointer to dial in exact depths.

JC41 (author)2016-06-30

Great ible. Simpler than most other designs.

I would add a couple of triangle wedges to the two sides of the carriage. They will help maintain perpendicularity. That becomes more of an issue when drilling small holes, e.g. PCB holes.

Yonatan24 (author)2015-09-29

Hi, I've added your project to the "Top 5 DIY Dremel Drill Presses"

This is the link If you are interested:

Victor805 (author)Yonatan242015-09-29

Great, nice collection

manuelmasc made it! (author)2015-08-31

Today I finally found a couple of hours to work on it! Here it is my result.

I was able to make it from a 2€ fir wood panel of 20cm x 100cm! I still have to add the lever and the drill support but it's almost finished.


Victor805 (author)manuelmasc2015-09-02

Neat, it looks great.

manuelmasc made it! (author)Victor8052015-09-10

Today I finished it! Thanks again Victor8o5!!

I really have to say that it is a very good structure since It's sturdier than the bought (plastic and metal) versions. I'm able to use it as a drill press (with the useful feature of the height stop block) and, if I have to carve something, I just need to unscrew the spring on the left and to carve the piece of wood setting the height of the bit with the stop block.

P.S. It works great with my as you can see down below.

Victor805 (author)manuelmasc2015-09-11

Really nice, the LED ring illumination is a great idea, I had some problems when working with mine since the tool blocked the light, I might also add some LEDs. I'm glad you've found this instructable useful.

manuelmasc (author)Victor8052015-09-15

Well we have the same tool so you could follow my ible to make something similar! Furthermore I suggest you to buy the LEDs that I used since they are sooooo bright!!

Hlazo (author)2015-08-16

Thanks for the idea but I will make it from metal as I think this would be more durable. I have quite a handy scrap pile so the cost will be negligible!

Victor805 (author)Hlazo2015-08-27

It sounds like a great idea.

Brucesmith50 (author)2015-08-16

I like this!... But I think if you want it to remain straight and square you should avoid the knots in your wood. Over time, with humidity and lack of it, the knots and the base wood will expand and contract at different rates. This is a case where it really pays to use a better quality raw material.

We can get good, clear ( of knots) poplar at a reasonable price at Home Depot or Lowe's here in the U.S., and oak or maple if you want to spend more.

Victor805 (author)Brucesmith502015-08-27

Good to know, I didn't think about it since I don't have that much experience when working with wood, but I'll take it into account from now on.

fixmystuff (author)2015-08-18

Love your project! Why buy one if you can make one and even better when you share them too. Thanks for sharing. :)

faelenor (author)2014-08-12

Nice, but the official Dremel press drill adapter is less than $40 and is easier to use and probably more precise:

amclaussen (author)faelenor2014-08-15

NOPE! The Dremel drillstand is a piece of junk! Don't buy or even recommend it.

It has a lot of play and flexibility (lacks needed rigidity). I know... I commited the mistake of buying one. It is made of flimsy plastic and has a lot of play. It is almost useless. This one made of wood can be way much better, depending on the care put into assembly and the quality of the sliding devices.

Since my Dremel made drillstand attachment was so bad, y decided to make an accesory to attach my Dremel 1395 tool to my Sears 9" drillstand, in order to get more rigidity and precision. Amclaussen.

Kwarseck (author)amclaussen2015-08-17

can you make the accessory an instructable? I'd like to do something like that.

LarryB2 (author)faelenor2015-01-16

I owned one of these - as amclaussen says, it is junk. The outside was metal, but the gears were actually made of plastic and cracked after a couple months of use. Dremel did not return phone calls nor emails. This DIY solution is far superior.

Victor805 (author)faelenor2014-08-12

In my case I used wood I had laying around, the only things I bought were the guides and the m8 threaded rod, and they cost me around $5. If you buy a full board of wood and a full slat it will cost you like $15 more, but there would be plenty of wood that wouldn't be used. In terms of net materials I wouldn't say it costs more than $10 or $15.

thaiengin (author)2015-08-17



wuj-truj (author)2015-08-16

Thanks, nice idea, good instructable :-)

jeane.d.allison (author)2015-08-16

What a bevy of problems you have solved with this ible and given me my next project. Nicely written. Thanks!

Closer (author)2014-08-12

You mentioned the possibility of making an led for the drill. If it is a dremmel or comparable tool you can use this

I have one on mine and it works great. I know there are instructables on here for making one but this one is self powered.

JimTheSoundman (author)Closer2015-08-16

However that light is $50, which is crazy expensive. If you are determined to buy a light, this would be a better option I think:

Crism3 (author)2015-08-16

This seems a very useful jig, I will make one of this, thank you for the nice idea

marcodden (author)2015-08-16

think you could turn it on its side and make a mini lathe out of it?

blueaxe (author)2015-08-16

Very cool! Nice job!

sasarani (author)2015-08-16

Very good thank you

mxx (author)2015-08-14

Congratulations! Very nice design!

samir salah (author)2015-05-25

Very great thank you

roccot21 (author)2015-03-18

Great invention!!! love it i will try it

killer1479 (author)2014-12-05

i will like to make this soon so i can mount my ryobi rotary tool into it, and paint it in the ryobi colours maybe! :D

thanks for giving me an inspiring idea :)

truokpooria (author)2014-09-30


Victor805 (author)truokpooria2014-10-01

Thanks to everybody for making this possible.

travderose (author)2014-09-29

This is a great idea! Thank you

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-09-27

Very Useful, Thanks!

Nico0974 made it! (author)2014-09-10

Very great.

script_coded (author)2014-08-15

Perfect for us who don't have the money to buy a "real" one!

Alderin (author)2014-08-13

Very nice and simple design!

I like your general tool holder
design, but you did gloss over the details of how you made the slots for
the nuts that hold your adjustable bolts. I would have liked more about that.

A spring and a handle would be good for my needs, but as you said, fairly easily added.

Thanks for posting!

Victor805 (author)Alderin2014-08-13

Yes, I might have been quite imprecise at that part. I drilled a 7mm hole at the middle of each side, then pass the bolt trough and place a nut until it touches the wood and leave it with its flat sides heading left and right, perpendicular to the edge, where that nut touches the wood you do two marks, you remove the nut, you cut out a piece of wood with the same depth as the nut. The point is the nut won't be able to turn because it's flat sides are touching the wood, the wood kinda acts like a wrench, what allows you to turn the screw without needing to hold the nut in place.

nickivan (author)2014-08-13

Drawer guides - pure genius! And why I love Instructables.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an electronic engineering student. I don't usually have much spare time but I like to work on random projects to keep myself ... More »
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