Introduction: New and Improved Drill Press Table

Picture of New and Improved Drill Press Table

Like many woodworkers, I too found the crude metal platter common on most drill presses inadequate for much of the woodwork that I do so a couple years ago I created a much needed wooden table for my drill press. I was quite eager to get it finished at the time and didn't put as much effort into the adjustable fence as I should have.

Motivated by the FIX IT Contest I decided to create a New and Improved Drill Press Table.

My idea is to implement 'T' track embedded in the table surface to accommodate a sliding, locking fence.

I found a piece of aluminum angle stock that I can use for the fence.

Step 1: What I Started With...

Picture of What I Started With...

I have a Delta DP300L 12" drill press.

The drill press table I built is 30" wide by 13" deep. It is comprised of two layers; 3/4" plywood on the bottom and 1/2" pre-finished birch plywood on the top. I created a 4"x4" hole in the center of the 1/2" layer to accommodate a 1/2" sacrificial insert. The lower layer has a 3" x 3" hole in the center thus supporting the sacrificial piece and allowing debris to fall through to a catch cavity I can vacuum out occasionally. I stacked 3 layers of 3" x 9" x 3/4" plywood mounted to the underside of the table on each side of the center cut-out, then a 9" x 9" x 3/4" base below the two stacks which bolts to the metal drill press table below.

I also drilled several 1/2" holes through the entire top to accommodate a table clamp for holding down working material.

You may have noticed several horizontal lines running across the table surface, they are spaced 1" apart and used mainly as a quick visual reference for drilling repeated holes where absolute accuracy is not critical - kind of an at-a-glance guide.

The fence was simply a piece of 3/4 fir plywood with a extension fastened at one end that hooked under the edge of the table and a crude 1/4" ready rod clamp at the other. It really wasn't very stable... let's move on.

Step 2: Tools and Materials...

Tools:

Drill press

Tape measure

Router

Cutoff saw or hack saw to cut aluminum

Materials:

Two pieces of 3/4" x 3/8" 'T' track equal to depth of drill press table (T track at Amazon)

Two 3-1/2" x 1/4" 'T' bolts (T bolts at Amazon)

Two 1/4" threaded knobs, preferably 'T' type (Knobs at amazon)

>>Note: Amazon has a great T-track kit

Six #6 x 3/4" flat head wood screws

Several 1/4" washers and or spacers (may need to adjust spacing to fit your specific fence design)

One piece of aluminum angle stock 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 3/16" long enough to fit width of drill press table

(I used 1-1/2" angle and would have preferred 2-1/2")

Step 3: Preparing the Old Drill Press Table for 'T' Tracks.

Picture of Preparing the Old Drill Press Table for 'T' Tracks.

I'm quite excited about this step because it involves using my recently enhanced router table (featured in my previous instructable).

I chose to place the 'T' track 3-1/2" in from each edge of the drill press table.

The 'T' track is 3/4" wide and 3/8" deep so setting up the router is as simple as locking the fence at 3-1/2", inserting a 3/4" straight bit and setting the depth to 3/8". Two passes, Voila, done! OK, you should (I did) run a scrap piece through as a test.

Step 4: Fitting the 'T' Track

Picture of Fitting the 'T' Track

The drill press table is 30"w x 13"d so I cut each track to 13" long.

The full track was 36" long and had some mounting holes in it but I pre-drilled and countersunk extra holes so each track had a place for 3 screws.

Use six #6 x 3/4" flat head wood screws to fasten tracks to table top

Step 5: Making the Fence...

Picture of Making the Fence...

Remount the drill press table on the drill press.

Flush one end of the aluminum angle stock against one edge of the table and mark the other end at the other table edge.

Cut the aluminum angle stock to length, this is your new fence.

Slide a 'T' bolt in each track a few inches in from the front edge of the table.

Place the fence on the drill press table again with the vertical face towards you and the horizontal face laying away from you, parallel to the front edge of table and nudged up to each 'T' bolt. Align the ends of the fence flush at the edges of the table and carefully mark the back edge of the fence at the center of each 'T' bolt. Extend the marks inward 1/2" and mark for 1/4" drill hole. Note: don't make your mounting holes too close to the vertical portion of the fence as this limits the type of knob you can use to tighten the fence (next step).

Now mount a 1/4" bit in the drill press and make the two holes in the fence to accommodate the 'T' bolts.

Step 6: Mounting the Fence...

Picture of Mounting the Fence...

Mount the fence on the table, inserting the two 'T' bolts through the mounting holes.

Place three 1/4" washers over each 'T' bolt, followed by the 1" spacer, then three more washers and finally spin the tightening knobs on.

Note: depending on your tightening knobs you may have other spacing requirements and means, however the objective is to keep the tightening knob above the fence edge. Also I chose to use a 'T' handle knob so it can be kept parallel behind the top of the fence face so it won't interfere with taller material that will sit against the fence. I would have used 2-1/2" aluminum angle stock if I had some laying around and then a round knob would have been the obvious choice.

You're done!!

Enjoy your drill press table with the new and greatly improved, adjustable, securely clamping fence!

Step 7: Conclusion...

Picture of Conclusion...

I loved making this Instructable. I have been putting off dealing with the drill press fence for quite some time, literally all it took was seeing the FIX IT contest featured and I knew right away it was time to put procrastination aside.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Instructable. If you found it helpful I'd love to hear your comments.

I'd also very much appreciate your support in the FIX IT competition, thank you in advance for your vote.

Kent at the FrontierShed

Comments

KarlH52 (author)2017-10-05

Thanks to your posting, I am now going to replace my table with yours. Nice project. Wondered where you got the 1/2" table clamp for the holes you drilled - if you even need it with the addition of the T-Track. Also unclear where the table hold-down bolt at

FrontierShed (author)KarlH522017-10-07

Amazon has a similar Drill Table Clamp to the one I used.

I could have used T-track clamps but were too far from the table center to be effective without adding more tracks.

KarlH52 (author)2017-10-05

One other question. I am not clear on how/where the bolt used to hold the table to the drill press is used. Understand lower attachment, but not clear on how it attaches to the new table top.

FrontierShed (author)KarlH522017-10-07

I have created a supplement video that describes the design of the original drill press table including mounting, clamping, etc. Let me know if you have any other questions Karl. Good luck with your build!

Link to Supplement Video

ajayt7 (author)2017-10-03

Well fixed

FrontierShed (author)ajayt72017-10-03

Thanks, glad you like it.

K2kelly (author)2017-10-03

Awesome....nice job.

FrontierShed (author)K2kelly2017-10-03

Thanks K2!

autotech1 (author)2017-10-03

I recently purchased a used drill press and upon using it the first time, I also found the table to be woefully inadequate. I want to build a new table for it, so I'm glad that you show how yours was made and I will be using it as a guide for when I build mine. I will also probably use your fence as a guide for the fence I build because your design is the best I've seen so far. I have a question; why did you stack six pieces of plywood between the table base and the table top? I was just wondering. Thanks for the instructable.

FrontierShed (author)autotech12017-10-03

Thanks for the feedback. I wanted a cavity below the sacrificial insert to catch drill shavings that otherwise might build up and be hard to clean. I poke the vacuum in the pocket below for easy clean out. As I'm sure you know, the bolt to hold the table on the platter is located through the middle so good to have a bit of distance between that and the surface. In hind sight the cavity wouldn't have to be so deep; sometimes i have trouble fitting tall pieces in. Hope that helps, and hope to see your build when you're done!

autotech1 (author)FrontierShed2017-10-03

Thanks, that answers my question. My drill is an 8" model so I'm sure I will have to make mine shorter. Again, nice job.

jimofoz (author)2017-10-03

Pretty nice. One difference I used on mine was to use some laminate covered shelving for the table. That way glue and other stuff doesn't stick.

FrontierShed (author)jimofoz2017-10-03

Yes, good tip!

Old Shooter (author)2017-10-03

Very nice. I wish that I could have built my table as wide. Due to short arms that must reach the height adjustment handle I must have a narrower table. In any case, everybody really needs a drill press table even if it is a tad different from the rest.

FrontierShed (author)Old Shooter2017-10-03

Thanks Old Shooter. It is cool to see variety in shop fixtures, I've certainly learned a lot by studying other peoples designs.

Alex in NZ (author)2017-10-02

I love it. I'm still getting annoyed enough to fix mine, but your ideas might help prod me in the direction of doing it.

Thank you for sharing :-)

FrontierShed (author)Alex in NZ2017-10-02

Glad you like it Alex, good luck with the rebuild.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-10-02

Nice setup. I need to do this with my drill press.

Thanks, It makes drilling a lot more fun!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Hi I'm kent. I am a maker with a lifetime of experience in electronic systems and automation design. I am also developing skills in ... More »
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