Introduction: The Wooden Cordless Drill Press

About: I'm the kind of person who's mind doesn't stop. Literally, I take medication to fix that just so I can sleep at night. I have an unhealthy obsession with making things and believe, firmly, in sharing what I le…

Recently I was working with my drill press when the motor burned out. Lacking the funds to replace it, and in the middle of a project that required one, I thought it would be fun to come up with a press built completely out of wood. Taking it further, I wanted it to house my cordless drill so that it would be completely portable and stowable.

The design incorporates a box drill guide which, by itself is useful for drilling straight holes in projects that are too large to be brought to the press, or with the addition of an extra strip of wood as a guide, it can easily be converted into a dowel hole tool, ensuring perfectly straight joints in your work without the use of a jig.

Now the measurements I used were based on an 18v Royobi cordless drill, so you may have to make some modifications in the dimensions to fit your own drill. Since drills come in all shapes and sizes, It'd be impractical to give you a 'plan' to work from. Rather, like all of my instructables, it's my intention to create a set of design rules that, if followed, will allow you the flexibility to modify it to whatever need you may have.

Step 1: Tools and Material


  • Cordless drill and bits
  • mitre saw, hand saw, jig saw, or table saw, etc.
  • combination square
  • 2" hole saw
  • 2 1/2" hole saw
  • 1" hole saw


  • 1x3" - roughly 16'
  • 2x3" - roughly 14'
  • 2x4" - roughly 6"
  • 3/8" plywood
  • carpenters glue
  • 3" deck screws
  • 2 1/2" deck screws
  • 2" deck screws
  • 1/4" hex bolt
  • Expandable spring

Step 2: Boxing Your Drill

The first step is to cut your 2x4" to length. It's length needs to be the width of your drill + the width of your two 1x3" pieces + 1/4" gap on each side of the drill. You can create it flush with your drill, however mine had the forward and reverse switch protruding out so I thought I'd leave space to switch it unhindered. Next you need to drill a 2 1/2" hole in the dead center of the 2x4". This is where the chuck will pass through.

Now set your chuck into the hole of the 2x4" and measure the length of your drill. Add 1/2"-1" space and cut your side pieces out of the 1x3". The extra space will be for an adjustment screw that we will be mounting in the back of the box.

Finally cut the back piece, out of 1x3" the same length as your 2x4". For the adjustment screw, I simply used a 1/4" hex bolt, and drilled the hole slightly smaller. I then threaded the bolt directly into the wood, and added a rubber bumper on the end that contacts the back of the drill. I could have used a nut, on the inside, however the thickness of the wood was enough that there was no risk of the bolt pulling free, so I omitted it.

Once you've created your box, glue and screw it together tightly, using 2 screws per joint. You don't need to line up your drill yet. We'll take care of the angle once our enclosure has been built.

Step 3: Installing the Guides

The guides are simply two 1/2"x1/2" pieces screwed and glued to each side, leaving a 1 1/4" gap between them. In the gap I attached a 'wing' that was 2" long, again screwed and glued. It's important to make sure they are even and straight as these will guide the box in the channels of the frame. I recommend sanding the corners slightly round to prevent them catching.

Step 4: Creating the Frame (The Box Drill Guide)

The front and back of the frame are made of 1x4" boards. The length of each piece is; the width of the box + the width of the channel boards + 1/16 play. A 2 1/2" hole is drilled in the center of one of them, then using a coping saw, the hole is extended to the edge to create an arch. I drilled a hole in the other board to accommodate the adjustment screw, but found I didn't need it.

The channels of the frame were cut from the 1/3" boards reducing them to 1 1/4" wide. The length of the channel boards are a bit subjective. I took the length of the box to the tip of the chuck then added 4", which seemed to work out pretty well.

Fine tuning needs to be done as the box is being assembled. The trick is to leave enough play so that the box slides in the guides unhindered, but not so much play that it wobbles. A good tip is to taper the frame a bit so that it is more snug nearest the drill and looser towards the top. That way it glides in the channel smoothly, but doesn't wobble as you drill. You can sand any high spots down as needed.

First lay down your bottom guide bars, then set the box in place. Adjust their position then screw and glue into place. Next lay the top two guide bars and position them. Ensure your box slides freely, and that play is left to a minimum. Mark their position, then you can remove them, add glue and screw them into place.

Now you have a box drill guide. As mentioned before, you can create a dowel jig and use it 'as is', however our goal is to turn it into a handy wooden drill press so we'll go to the next step.

Step 5: Creating the Base

The base is created primarily out of 2x3" boards with a 1x3", cut to 45 degrees on each side for structural support. The two vertical boards are 24" long with the box created out of 12" lengths. Not in the picture is an 8 1/2" piece that sits horizontally, just in front of the vertical pieces to support the plywood platform, which is made out of 3/8" plywood. You can use thicker grade plywood, but it isn't necessary as you won't be drilling into it. Your drill bit, at its lowest position should hover 3/4" over top allowing space for jigs and clamp boards.

Step 6: Mounting Your Drill Box

Cut two 12" pieces of 1/3" and mount them to the vertical boards of your base spaced at the top and bottom of your frame. Now cut 2 10" pieces and attach them to the back of your drill box, making sure you only attach them to the frame. Now lay the box on top of the base, center the 10" boards on the 12" boards and screw them into place. Your drill is now mounted into place.

Finally, you'll need to attach your spring. Where you decide to mount it is up to you, however it should be connected to the drill box at one end, and to the frame at the other. You should now be able to draw the drill downward, and have it rise up on its own without assistance. If not, tighten the spring by removing coils, or by replacing it with a stronger spring.

Step 7: The Lever

The arms, of the lever are made of 1/3" boards, Sliced to 1/2" wide and cut to 16" long. I tapered the end that mounts to the base, but it isn't a necessary step as it doesn't affect operation either way. A 2" hole is drilled roughly 6 inches from the pivot end into each board. This will be the toggle for the 'wings' created on the drill box. Save the cut out from the holes.

The cross brace of the lever is a piece of 1/3" cut the width of the space between the two verticals of the base. I confess I miscalculated the length of the arms, and the battery clearance as they should have attached to the sides of the cross brace. Instead of cutting new ones, I simply glued a block to widen them, then screwed and glued them into place.

Attaching the lever to the frame is easy. When the drill is in its upper most position, the lever should sit at a 15 degree angle. Now I would have preferred to use bolts to mount the lever to the verticals of the base, but didn't have any on hand, so I just used deck screws, utilizing the cutouts from the holes as washers. I intend on replacing them in the future, however, if there's no issues with it, I may not even bother.

Finally you need to attach the handle. The handle I used was a spindle, I created, for another project, but you can use whatever you have handy including dowel, or simply a block of wood.

**Important** You need to ensure you can remove your battery to replace it as necessary. Verify this before you attach everything permanently.

Step 8: Adjusting Your Drill

Insert a drill bit into the chuck, then use a square or a drill gauge as I've used. If you don't have either, you can use a block of wood, or anything you have on hand that you're certain has a perfect 90 degree angle. Loosen the hex bolt holding your drill into place, line it up then tighten it down again.

Step 9: The Power Switch

As promised, here is a quick power switch design. It's basically a lower case letter 'b' with a hole drilled offset. As you can see in my image I had originally cut a slot to house the rubber strap, but found that a simple piece of wire worked better. It acts as a toggle against the groove in the handle holding the trigger depressed when you flip it down, then releases it as you flip it up again.

Step 10: Finished

That's it. You should now have a fully functional drill press, created out of wood with your own two hands.

As usual, I hope you enjoyed the instructable and thanks for following.

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