Drill Press Modification

About: Alan Walker a.k.a. "The Toolman" has been creative and worked with his hands all of his life. He has been employed in a wide variety of industries including a museum, a major power tool manufacturer, a natio...

Hey guys, I'm back. sorry to be away so long, Life gets in the way sometimes.

Like many of you, I bought a cheap Harbor Freight 8" 5 speed drill press for my shop. Let's face it, it has many limitations. Most of all the height and depth of what you can drill.

Well I came up with a way to get around that and any of you who follow me know, I love to tinker and modify stuff. So here's a breakdown of the project:Hey guys, I'm back. sorry to be away so long, Life gets in the way sometimes.

Like many of you, I bought a cheap Harbor Freight 8" 5 speed drill press for my shop. Let's face it, it has many limitations. Most of all the height and depth of what you can drill.

Well I came up with a way to get around that and any of you who follow me know, I love to tinker and modify stuff. So here's a breakdown of the project:

Step 1: Break Down Existing Drill

Remove the cast head and motor as on. Remove the drill table and we'll reuse that. Remove the metal base and toss it. Save the existing column as we'll reuse it.

Step 2: Make a New Shaft

Here's the custom part. I went to the local pipe supply and picked up some 1-1/2" cast pipe and some fillings to make this off set shaft; 1 floor flange' one 18" long piece, 2 90 degree elbows, 1 4" nipple and 1 3" nipple. Besides just screwing all these together' the finicky part is grinding the small nipple to slide inside the shaft hole in the cast head. Take your time on this and make sure you grind the sides uniformly so it doesn't tilt when assembled (you can compensate a little by placing a small washer or more under the shaft to keep it level as I did).

Step 3: Make a New Base

Once you have the shaft built, fabricate a new base and I used 2 pieces of 3/4" ply and I made it much larger than the original. Mine is about 16" x 18". Bolt the new shaft in place so that when to drill, you have the most central position for the head. Reference the photo.

Step 4: Re-purpose the Old Shaft and Drill Table

Since I was able to find a satisfactory method of making a new table, I reused the old one with several modifications. I bolted the old shaft next to the new one, added a longer tightening knob screw to existing one and extended the metal table out with a longer bolt. This modification allowed me to gain easier control of the tightening knob and extend the table out to the center of the drill chuck.

Step 5: Make a New Multipurpose Drill Table Top

Since the old drill table was too small, I made a new wider wooden one with removable inserts for different tasks. I bolted it to the old one underneath with some T nuts and wooden blot knobs. The inserts are made to remove easily and there's one for drilling and 2 for spindle sanding.

Overall this project turned out great and and a big improvement over the drill press I bought. One more thing- I removed 2 of the handles to gat better control over drilling small holes.

Hope you have fun making one for yourself.

As always, I'm the Toolman and leave me some comments or questions. Take care.

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