Manuel 5 Axis Drill Press/ Lathe/Mill

Introduction: Manuel 5 Axis Drill Press/ Lathe/Mill

I want to show you an idea of how i setup a 120 dollar drill press with a horizontal/vertical mounting frame, positioning a 40 dollar cross vise and a 1/4 inch col-let router into a 4th axis precision milling machine for all those wood acrylic aluminum projects.

Things your gonna neeed

  • Bench-top drill press
  • 2x4 mine was made from scraps but two 8 footers should be more than enough ( all that needs to be accomplished is keeping the module from falling over, keeping the motor off the table, nice and level, allowing enough range of positioning for the platform, cross vise, and router. should be able to move freely about the circumference of the post with out getting in the way of the frame, also the feed lever should be able to rotate 360 degrees. basically the higher the better,
  • 3/16 pilot bit and some 3 inch screws
  • Cross Vise from ebay range from 40-100 dollar
  • Router i got mine at harbor freight for about 36 dollars, the smaller in diameter the easier it is to mount on your cross vise( Im thinking it would be nicer to make a cross vise out of maple and threaded rod and some fabricated hardware, the iron cross vise are heavy bulky, the xy actuator is not very precise, and it sides 1/2 inch too high on the platform so the router cutting tip is off the center axis by 1/2 inches, yet it is very solid and works just fine)
  • Router bits
  • box saw
  • drill bits,1/16-1'
  • hole saw and the smallest flange fitting you normally find in the plumbing section at a hardware store makes a face plate in order to screw on your raw material, id recommend buying a solid face plate with a solid 1/2 inch spindle or something that'll fit onto the chuck, yeah i know, I've been cutting corners. This is just an experimental version.
  • Hardware just long enough to bolt the base plate of the press to the base section of the frame
  • Creativity
  • Brain
  • Saftey glasses
  • short screws

Step 1: 3 Steps on Building the Frame

step (1)since the chances are that most people have different sized drill presses you'd want to start out by tailoring from the press's center of gravity. measure from the center out of the feed lever radial plane, with that info you can Dimension up the "weight-support" column traced out in step one of the picture, in away so this support structure doesn't obstruct the feed lever. The support structure also needs to fabricated so its not in the way with the motor, the z axis needs to mount on it and its needs to be as far away from the cross vise/ platform as possible.

Step (2)

this step is not about cutting these sections but measuring the total width of the support column from the face or top what ever and simply add 3 inches(actual thickness of two 2x4s). That number will be the length of your base section(aka the section of wood with the two blue colored holes painted on it. cut it to size and bolt that bitch on your press.

Step (3)

in the picture, is a painted letter 3. you should measure long enough to extend past the edge of the base and with the same reach as your support column, then you want to screw that bitch onto your base-section, then measure how much you'll need to extend just enough past the center of gravity and that just about covers the frame part. pretty simple ehhh? If you don't want your shit to fall over nor rock about id suggest making accurate measurements and cuts. and that's all there is to it. Some wood can be warped don't expect everything to be straight as an arrow, that's why things are done in order.

I think that covers it in this lesson. wood is nice because it tends to absorb vibration.

Step 2: Precautions

This is a dangerous operation!

always be aware of the tolerances of your fasteners aka screws on your workpiece the table lock, vise, faceplate should be locked tight, don't wear long sleeve shirts or put anything that can get snagged and reel in the spindle. You do not want unless your a freak to get whacked in the teeth by an insecure work piece nor do you want your fingers getting mangled between clothing and the spindle. Always be careful, wear saftey glasses DO NOT wear gloves. and you might just end up with some pretty nifty round objects.

The whole concept is to beable to position the drill press up for milling/ drill pressing or lay it down for lathe operations.

Step 3: Couple Examples of What You Can Do

The shift knob started from a square oak block into a cylindrical blank using the router, and free shaped by hand

Second piece is just an experimentation done with the router clamped onto the cross vise.

Step 4: Modifications

thank you for checking this it out! i've got a lot more projects along the way.

Be the First to Share


    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest



    2 years ago

    Awesome project I am now inspired to try this conversion on my floor standing drill press. In my mind I was seeing how to use your ides on bolting the slide vice on the table to attaching a metal latch tool holder and turning soft metals. Thank you so much for the very inexpensive project.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Quite a neat idea. Thanks for sharing


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This looks incredible! More info to make it reproducible would make it near-perfect.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    yeah i should for the skil drill press, i think there are better drill presses out there this is just experimentation. its not difficult to construct really, all it takes is common sense about measuring and cutting and screwing. ahaha, and then going to harbor freight with a list of items. Thanks dood!