Introduction: Improve Your Drill Press - by Adding Lights

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So I have my drill press for a while now and started to improve and refurbish it so it runs smoother, and is well maintained (... love good running tools).
I thought its a good idea to make some instructables on my progress ... maybe someone is doing something similar and finds it useful.

But let's start and add some lights. Excited? good!

Key in this operation is flexibility. I don't know what my applications are gonna be in the future, so i need to be prepared for all sorts of repositioning of the lamps. I also like it sturdy/durable/long lasting thats why i walked away from those clip-on lights (...let alone that there is no spot on the press to clip-on light fixtures and they leave a cable mess around the work area)

Obviously i took some lamps apart that we had in the house, but even though they had the moving head,
they were just not flexible enough, and generally too short.

SO, plan B came into life:

I remembered that IKEA had some of those moveable head lamps. searching on their website, turns out they do have flexible lamps, that totally fit my needs and the best of it, fairly cheap as well.

They have two types of the lamp (named:Jonsjö):

  1. Flexible lamp with clip on (comes in all kinds of colors, and a clip .
    and they are $19.95 CAN each.
  2. The same lamp thing with a stand. price: $12.95 CAN.
    WHAT? How is a stand cheaper than a stupid plastic clip?

I am using 2 IKEA lamps to accomplish a good lighting situation.
I don't want to end up with a crazy shadow on the other side, thats why i was thinking two lamps
should do the trick.

Now I have a god and a bad message for you regarding these lamps.

The good one first: Since it is IKEA, the disassembling is already done for you :)
They are LED lamps which is awesome so they don't draw to much power, and they are sturdy and seem well built. (surprisingly!)

The bad news: Not quite all of the parts are disassembled and the one that aren't are terribly hard to get off.
But no worry folks, i show you just how to do it. Keep reading...

Step 1: Tools

You need the usual stuff listed below:

Adjustable wrench or the perfect size wrenches for everything you do (...but who has that?)

Drill and metal bits

Solder iron & solder


Wire cutter ( or any other tool that allows you to chew away nasty plastic housing)

Benchtop Belt sander (optional, but makes your life SOoOoOo much easier!)


Hot Glue gun

Heat gun

Step 2: Parts

2 x jansjö lights from IKEA (article 201.696.58)

1 x plastic container to hold the PCB boards (get something sturdy)

I had one, that was kind of flimsy, can´t really recommend it - broke right in the beginning, and after fixing it, the lid did not close properly. So, get something sturdy.
In my case i went to 1A electronics (Toronto) ( ...they also have a horrible website, thats not worth visiting) they have the most random stuff, i found what i needed right there, for about $3 CAD

1 x Toggle switch (ensure its somewhat sturdy, i cracked the plastic backing on the first one while tightening.I learned from the mistakes : the second one was metal )

Heat shrink tube (only if you like it neat and everything in order)

Some zip ties
(gives it a clean and organized appearance...meaning: looks super professional when the job is done )

Some metal clamp clips (to place and hold the cables in there postion)

A piece of (110v) household copper wire

Small wire ( connect the LEDs)

Nuts and Bolts ( to secure the electronics inside the drill press)

Wire connectors (optional wire caps)

2 washers to fit around the lamp shaft (we make some padding for them later)

2 Nuts that fit the lamps shaft threading (metric nuts that go on skateboards are the one that fit)

Step 3: Placement and Disassembly of Lamps

When i bought the Drill press I found that it had already some weird holes in the top (See Belt box), that seemed perfect for the lamp placement.

If you don't have them there already, which is really likely to happen, you have to figure out the placement and drill those holes yourself. Don't be shy, its just sheet metal :)

Just a word of caution here:

Don´t be stupid! Always unplug the Drill press when you are working on the switch or on the belt-box
Especially when it comes to the rewiring and you dealing with open 120v power supply. Always unplug it!

As you can see in the pictures, at first, i take the two screws off, that stick out at the end of the lamp.

The plugs that hold them are glued to the plastic, so you have to rip them out if you want to get rid of them.

After that, you start chewing off the plastic with pliers and/or the wire cutter. Make sure you do not cut all the cables, we need them later to power up the lamp. (leave just enough to be able to solder other cables to it later)

Once you got most of it off you can gently sand off the excess plastic with the belt sander while holding the wires away from the sander. check frequently to make sure you are not sanding through the metal.

After this you should be able to peel the rest of the plastic off, and you will be left with a beautiful metal piece that even has a threading on the end (that's the one we use to secure the lamp and fit a nut on the other side)

Now lets get to the circuitboard:

I took that apart too, because i wanted to make my own housing for it and besides, i wanted to see what it looks like. Take the Dremel, and gently cut around all the plastic seem. don't cut right through, you might cut some of the capacitors that are right against the inside of the wall.

When you think you cut all around, pry the rest open with a screwdriver.
What you are left with is the circuit board and the connectors. You have to re-solder the part with the prongs later, because they are just wiggling around.

if you don't want to make another encasing, you could just use the plugs and instead of taking them apart solder the cable right on the prongs completing them with a nice shrink tube to ensure everything is safe.
That of course leaves you with the question of how to install them in the Belt box...i leave that to you.

Back on track. First i used a plastic case that was to weak to hold the pieces in place after the 120v cables where soldered in, so it cracked and i had to change plans.
I got a different box, that was serious plastic, and even had some vent slots on the top half. I certainly liked the look of the board being visible when you open the belt box. So you just have to find something thats sturdy enough to keep things in place even if you move those stiff power cables.

Step 4: The Assembling, Electrical Stuff and Wiring

Attaching the box and the inside of the circuit board is kind of a forth and back, you have to make sure the length of the cables coming from the drill press junction are long enough, and lay them out.

You also need to make sure you have the holes marked and predrilled in the plastic box, as well as in the belt box of the drill press.

I attached the circuit box on the top of the belt box with two bolts that hold the assembly. it's sleek enough to not touch anything on the inside (which btw. is crucial).

To hook up all the stuff you have to take off the switch cover off the drill press ( in my case thats 2 small philips screws ( big deal). I created a link from the junction to the lights by cutting the white (+) wire and run it it to the plus that goes to the light. The black ground wire (-) runs to the junction box as well and is connected to the black wire with a 3 wire clip-connector, to allow the power to flow equally in both directions to the drill press switch as well as to the lights.
By doing this i make sure those operations work autonomous, meaning the drill press doesn't have to run in order to turn the light on.

I fed the cable right through the body of the machine. it didn't seem to interfere with anything inside and the hole in the middle of the belt box probably helped my cause to feed it through.

After connecting the cable and feeding it through the bottom of the belt box, i fit the switch in the centre hole and secured it with the nut.

Before placing the lamps i cut a piece of shrink tube and put it over the end of the lamp ( to give it a clean look afterwards). Then fit the lamps in the remaining 2 holes using the padded washer and a fitting nut on the inside to hold them in place.

Now let's get to the electrical and wiring inside the belt box.

Before you solder everything together, make sure you put shrink tube over all the cables, so you can cover the connections later, and make it look neat.
Also try everything with some crocodile clamps first, just so you don't run into surprises in the end.

After both lamps are in place, you take the small cables that come out of the lamps end, and either solder them to a bit longer ones, to make them reach the switch, or if they are already long enough, attach them directly to the switch.
In my case, the white (+) cables connect to the circuit board directly (with the cables that have the handy plug on it), and the black (-) are the ones that interrupted by the switch.

You only have to secure the cables to the belt box hood, and this side is done.

The power cables coming in from the other side of the circuit board ( in my case the right side) have to be secured on the belt box hood as well. I also used zip ties to hold the cable string together.

The last thing you want here is hanging cables that get caught in the belts, imagine that mess...
Also the cables have to be bolted down to the box case, to stay in place.

After all that effort, you should have a nice – bright – set of lights, that allows you to see
what exactly it is you are doing in front of you.

If you have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to ask or comment. We are all in this together!