DIY Semi-Automatic Drill Press




Introduction: DIY Semi-Automatic Drill Press

About: Being a science student i love to indulge in projects related to engineering as i love to learn things practically...

This instructable will get you through the idea of making a semi-automatic drill press thats small enough to fit on a table top and is made out of common hardware that anyone can easily get access of.

Besides of having a bunch of cordless hand tools I always look forward to build or modify my own tools that make a particular sort of job easier to do than by using a traditional tool. So the idea of making a semi-automatic drill press came in my mind as I was making a bunch of floating shelves and needed to drill a straight hole almost all the way across the hardwood boards. So for that I needed a drill press and I just thought that what if we make a drill press thats operated by a foot pedal so that I can hold the object with both hands making sure the hole goes in the right place. So thats exactly what we are going to do, building a semi-automatic drill press.

Lets Built it.....

Step 1: Material and Tools

The list of material for this project is:

The tools recommended for this project are as follows:

  • Handsaw
  • Hand drill
  • Drill bits
  • Soldering tools

Step 2: Cutting the Parts for Structure

The structure of the drill press is made completely out of 10mm thick MDF sheet as to its a convenient material to work with and good enough for small jobs.

I have used a bunch of tools to cut down all the parts accurately which includes a miter saw, a circular saw and a table saw as we need to complete the project as soon as possible. If you don't own these tools don't worry you can still get it done with a handsaw a bunch of extra efforts.

The dimensions and the quantity of the parts as listed below:

  • Base Plate: 12in*10in (with angular cut)(1pcs)
  • 1in dia PVC pipe: 1/2in length (4 pcs)
  • Spacers: 70mm*12.5mm (4 pcs)
  • Centre Plates: 70mm*70mm (4pcs)
  • Base Support Plates: 70mm*90mm (with angular cut)(2 pcs)
  • Stepper Motor mount plate: 70mm*45mm (1 pcs)
  • Drilling platform side plate: 70mm*15mm (with angular cut) (2 pcs)
  • Drilling motor mount: 70mm*110mm (with angular cut)(1 pcs)
  • Nut mounting plate: 70mm*42mm (1 pcs)
  • Top mount bearing plate: 70mm*75mm (with angular cut)(1 pcs)
  • Top mount side plates : 65mm*33mm (with angular cut)(2 pcs)
  • Top mount front plate: 70mm*33mm (1pcs)
  • Top mount rear plate: 70mm*23mm (1 pcs)

Yup I know these are a bit too messy details about the parts list. I will try to provide the CAD designs in the upcoming projects. But I hope this will work for now.

Step 3: Making the Base Plate

The base plate needs to be elevated from the workbench so I have glued four PVC pipes measuring 1 inch in diameter and cut to 1/2inch in length.

Next I have glued all the pieces together to form the base support thats going to hold the sliding rails and the drilling platform.While gluing the spacers make sure you place the aluminium rails in between them to have a good fit.

Next the Support is glued on the base plate. This support is also going to act as the stepper motor holder thats going to drive the drilling platform .

Step 4: Mounting the Stepper Motor and Sliding Rails

To move the drilling platform accurately we are going to use a Nema 17 stepper motor. The reason behind not using a DC motor is that to have the required amount of torque we need to add a a gear box and thus unable to achieve the required precision.

Now the motor is mounted on the base support with four screws.The aluminium rails are then added and to hold them in place I have used a pair of screws on the side walls.

Step 5: Making the Drilling Platform

The drilling platform is made made in the same way as of the base support. On on side of the platform we are doing to mount the motor. The motor we are going to use is a speed 775 DC motor as its cheap and easy to find but I would recommend using the geared version to achieve a bit more torque which will improve the drilling capacity of this useful tool upto a great extent.

As I have glued all the parts together I have mounted ted the motor and the nut on the other side which will help us drive the platform using a threaded rod. Now make sure this nut is at the same axis as the motor shaft to keep the sliding motion of the platform as smooth as possbile.

Step 6: Mounting the Drill Chuck and the Drive Screw

Next I have attached the drilling chuck to the motor. This particular drilling chuck comes with a 5mm mounting hole so you can easily mount it on a speed 775 motor.

The drive screw is then mounted to the stepper motor shaft with the help of an aluminium adapter. The threaded rod measures 8mm in diameter and it goes through the nut mounted inside the sliding platform. As the stepper motor rotates the sliding platform moves up and down depending upon the direction of rotation.

Step 7: Top Assembly

The last part of the structure is the top assembly thats going to maintain the distance between the sliding rails and the screw through a ball bearing attached to the mounting. After gluing all the parts together I have mounted the top frame using some screws.

Step 8: Reinforcing the Structure

To reinforce the whole structure I have used a bunch of screws on each joint to make sure that the whole structure have the strength to do what its meant for.

Step 9: Stepper Motor Driver

To drive the stepper motor and control the speed of rotation we are going top need a controller.Now we are not going to mess around with a micro controller as we are going to use a 555 timer IC do do the job. As upto the point everything seems to fit perfectly so we decided to built the driver on our customised Printed circuit boards. So we designed the schematic and later converted the whole design into the PCB layout.

Next we headed upto PCBWAY, after going through a bunch of options there we just uploaded the gerber files and we are done ordering our customised PCBs. Yup, ordering customised PCBs have never been that easy but hats off to PCBWAY for offering excellent quality services at amazing prices so be sure to have a look at their website.

Besides that the purchase link for the PCBs along with the schematic,gerber files and the list off component is avliable here.

I have received the boards within a week and the quality is flawless. After gathering all the components I have started to place them as indicated on the board. The components were then soldered and then the 555 timer along with A4988 driver boards are then inserted in place. The controller is then tested and seems to work fine.

For more details about this DIY Stepper Motor Controller visit this instructable.

Step 10: Wiring Everything Together

Now to wire up everything together we need to understand the requirements. First we need a switch to turn the drilling motor on and off. The input to the motor driver is shorted with the input for the drilling motor.

Now to move the drilling platform up and down we are going to use the foot pedal where we are going to use a DPDT switch.The will help us to control the direction and help us to limit the moment of the drilling platform between the upper and lower limits that we are going to set later.

Later the speed of the stepper motor is controlled by a 10k pot thats provided on the from side of the drill press to make it easily accessible.

The link to the wiring diagram for this drill press along with the stepper motor controller is here.

Step 11: Foot Pedal

The foot pedal is made using two pieces of MDF sheet measuring 2.5in*4in. Both the pieces are joined together using a pair of plastic hinges. The DPDT switch is the mounted at a slight angle using some plywood pieces.

Step 12: Final Results

Finally with the drill press working I tested it on my finished hardwood boards to drill holes measuring nearly 4 inch deep. Accuracy and convenience of working is on point. The drilling performance can be significantly improved with a gear box added to the motor.

Now as far as MDF being the main material used for the structure of this drill press might seems like now the most durable material but with the wooden screws the whole structure seems to hold up pretty nicely, at least upto the point and is able to handle small jobs easily. But as the whole thing is a DIY prototype so the material for the structure can be selected as per need.

Overall, the whole project turned out to be a success with an addition of a customised useful tool to my workshop.

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    excelente material y diseño..te felicito! encantan estas cosas novedosas...muchas gracias.


    4 years ago

    Very impressive. I was worried when you were using CA glue on all of the MDF parts, then relieved when you added wood screws. Haha. I do like the idea of using CA glue for temporary mock-ups, though. I'll have to remember that.


    4 years ago