Easy Drill Press




So I woke up with this incredible urge to own my own drill press without paying for one (and I don't mean by stealing one). I wanted a drill press since I make my own PCB's and it would be a lot easier to use a steady drill press than just a handheld drill or dremmel. It occurred to me that I had 2 dremmels, so why not use the older one to make a permanent drill press.... I definitely over-planned this process. Kinda went for the whole measure twice and make once design, but the make step used the measurements from the third measuring step (the one I didn't do). So in other words, I designed two drill presses and then made a completely different one. I will post the design that I made and then explain what I actually made (since it was a lot easier and was missing pieces)

The way I actually made the drill press requires these materials:
  • dremmel
  • drawer slider (any slide length)
  • plywood (any thickness, make sure its flat and smooth, I used 3/8")
  • wood (any dimensions; 2x4's and 2x6's work best)
  • stick (or pvc)
  • spring
  • gorilla glue (most helpful stuff on the planet!)
  • A metal rod (once you see what it is for, it is easy to see alternatives such as a 3" screw)
The materials I would have additionally needed for the original design are just screws of the appropriate length (which I didn't feel like buying since this was supposed to be free for me). I also decided to incorporate metal into the design, but I would recommend not doing that unless you can weld the channel pieces together better than I could. The metal ended up making the entire structure crooked, so I used gorilla glue to shim it up straight.

Step 1: Materials

gather the materials below:
  • dremmel  (probably can find one for $10-15 if you dont have one and really want to do this)
  • drawer slider ($0.50 each at the local surplus store)
  • plywood (any thickness, make sure its flat and smooth) (find it for free outside)
  • wood (any dimensions, 2x2, 2x4, 2x8 all work nice) (find it for free outside)
  • stick (or pvc). use the width that feels best in your hand for a lever
  • spring. wing it, find a spring that feels like enough to pull back up the dremmel, but no stronger. ($1 at hardware stores) (maybe get 2)
  • conductive anything (i used steel rod) (find free outside and clean or use foil or something)
  • gorilla glue (most helpful stuff on the planet!)
  • a metal rod or long-ish screws
  • a soldering iron / gun + solder

Step 2: Design

Draw up your design! Here is my design file in SkethUp (which I am not very proficient in at all). 


1)     I wanted a stable base that would have a level, square surface. This would be made out of plywood. I used 3/8" thick, 8"x8" square piece of flat plywood for this.

2)     This base was held up by a cross of metal (you should use a 2x4) that was connected to the vertical back.

3)     The vertical back was made out of wood / metal (again, you should probably just stick to a 2x4 or 2x6).

4)     the drawer sliders were spaced inwards with a piece of plywood and then the dremmel was mounted to the drawer slider with a spacer of a 2x4. The wood spacers were added so that the dremmel was positioned further towards the center of the base plate.

5)     the arm was attached to the vertical back 

*** I am having some trouble uploading the SketchUp files to ibles. You can find them at my website using the following link: http://lumierelab.net/projects/drill_press.html  (this link itself is not a download link, but you should see the file download links on the page).

Step 3: Re / Wiring

Parts of this step are optional and highly not recommended unless you know what you are doing! Skip ahead to the end of the caution zone if you want to just get to the "safe part".

I wanted to rewire the dremmel on/off switch so that it was easier to turn on / off. The original dremmel wiring was to a switch on the butt of the dremmel that was fairly sticky and hard to flip. So I pulled the switch out (I left it there, but only as a backup switch in case I wanted it later.


I instead wanted the dremmel to turn on as I lowered the lever, and to turn off when the handle was all the way up in the resting position. I was going to leave the primary switch on the power cord so that you could lock it off when not in use. I liked the idea of the dremmel only being on when you were pulling it down to drill and this way you didn't have to flip a switch at all when you wanted to drill a single hole. (See the videos at the end if this is still unclear)

The most cautionary part of this plan is that I have exposed mains power on one of the power lines. YOU SHOULD NEVER DO THIS. None-the-less I did... The lower part of the lever arm has a metal rod screwed tightly to it. There is a small (1 cm) length of exposed metal that is difficult to touch but non-the-less exposed. It is not in the slightest dangerous when the primary switch is off, but should be cautious of this zone when the dremmel is in use.

Take the active wire from mains (while power is off) and cut it. The active wire in American 3-prong outlets is the black wire. We are going to re-solder the one end of the black wire to the lever arm conductive area. The other end of the black wire is going to be soldered to the pin that the lever uses to push the whole dremmel apparatus down. So when you pull the lever down, it will make contact with the pin as it pushes the dremmel down, thus completing the circuit and turning the dremmel on.

I chose to insulate the vast majority of the wrapped conductive wire around the lever just to be as safe as possible. I will most likely get a lot of criticism here, which is why it is cautioned use. I don't think it is very dangerous, just intuitively bad practice. I used liquid tape (electrical liquid tape, not just glue) and lots of electrical tape. Same with the pin.



If you don't want to re-wire anything like this, you will just have to use the pre-installed switch on your dremmel to turn it on / off.

Finally, I just tied back the cable so that it was out of the way of the dremmel. You can use duct tape, a screw, a twist-tie, glue, a rubber band, etc. to accomplish this.

Step 4: Gorilla Bond!

Thanks to the amazing versatility of Gorilla Glue, you don't need a single screw for this entire project (turns out, I used a total of two to attach the springs). 

Glue everything one piece at a time to ensure everything affixes straight. You can glue it all over the course of a weekend (which I did). Just have 4-5 hour drying periods in between glueings. Clamps are optional, I always just use a book or brick if I think weight is needed. 

Before you begin glueing, make sure you are in a well ventilated area and have laid down scrap paper or cardboard so the glue doesn't reach anything pretty like a carpet or floor you plan on using ever again. This glue is strong! I way overused the glue when attaching things, but I know it wont ever break of move at all :)

First, glue your base together firmly. A flat and level base is the most important part. Maybe use weights or a clamp here.

Next, glue the vertical back to the side of the base. Maybe use weights or a clamp here. This connection will need to be the only structurally strong connection in the project (well, it needs to be the strongest at least).

How you can either play it safe here and use screws to affix the 2x4 spacer to the drawer slider, or you can risk gluing it on. The benefit of screws here is that you know you wont ruin your sliders. The benefit of glue is that you dont need any screws and its risky! :) and I suppose with glue you can position the angle while its drying so that you are 100% sure it is sliding straight down. What I want to point out though is that if you take the screwing method, you must do so NOW, because we are about to cover up the backs of the drawer sliders.

Next you will be glueing the spacer plywood to the vertical back and then the drawer sliders to that plywood. BE VERY CAREFUL when glueing the drawer sliders on. Apply minimal glue so that it doesnt expand up into the drawer slider's sliding section. If this happens, you will need to buy new sliders.

Once all of this has been glued, and your switch for the dremmel is removed (if you want it to be), then proceed. Locate the important parts of the dremmel: the on / off switch (if still mounted), the chuck lock release button (located at the bottom of the dremmel), and the speed adjustment (if there is one). Make sure ALL of these are facing outwards and not about to be buried in glue. Next you are going to glue up your dremmel on one side only and hold it right onto the 2x4 spacer. Perhaps it would be a good idea to tape it in place while it is drying to ensure it doesnt shift around.

You are all done with the assembly stage now! It should look and feel like a drill press at this stage. It is even operational! All we have left to do is mount the lever arm, finish wiring it, and affix the springs...

Step 5: Springs!!!

This should be quick. You can use glue here, but this is one step where it is just faster to use screws (of any size)

I used mounting holders, but they are 100% ancillary. Just screw the end of the spring right into the wood on one end, and right into the slider on the top end. [As pictured]

Play with the length the spring needs to be at before permanently mounting it. This length will vary based on how long your spring is, how strong the spring is, and how heavy your dremmel is.

Step 6: Pull the Lever, Kronk!

You can use a dowel or PVC pipe for this step, whatever you like better. Just find a stick that fits well in your hand.

measure out the distance that feels right to you (I cut mine to 12") and cut it.

Drill a hole in the end of it (with your working new drill press!).

I used a bent metal rod that fit into two holes in the side of the drill press to make the lever pin. The pictures do a better job explaining the shape you want. Do a similar thing to install the second contact pin (the pin that the lever will come down to push the dremmel down). To secure the pins in the correct positions, drill a hole and then fill in some gorilla glue and stab in the pin for good.

Before attaching the lever to the drill press, attach a conductive element (in my case, a metal rod) to the bottom of the lever where it will come into contact with the pin to complete the circuit. Then you can affix your lever on to the drill press.

Step 7: Finished Product

To finish it all off, I glued down the switch and cleaned it up a little. Here are some final pictures to show what all the sides should look like. It is really quite self-explanatory from the pictures. Of course, feel free to ask questions!

Also, here is a video of the lever arm being pulled down in working action!

Before starting this project, I probably could have done a bit more research on if it has been done before. I designed the whole thing in a coffee shop and got all the materials before ever getting back to the internet. Now that I have finished the whole thing, I finally posted the video online and can easily see that many have done similar things already. What sets my drill press out from the rest is two things: 1) the knife-switch like mechanism of my lever to complete the circuit and 2) that I used Gorilla Glue as the primary tool in this project :) So enjoy! It is easy and fast (a weekend)!

3rd Annual Make It Stick Contest

First Prize in the
3rd Annual Make It Stick Contest



    • Games Contest

      Games Contest
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • Sew Tough Challenge

      Sew Tough Challenge

    44 Discussions


    3 years ago

    simple solution to to cautioned scary electrical work on in this instructable I suggest adding a momentary thumb switch of some sort in the lever. just saying might save a life or a hair do.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    that switch is dangerous in deed, you should try a microswitch or even a doorbell switch activated by the lever


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good one.
    I created a similar one with draw slides, steel pipes & flanges. No handle though :)

    2 replies
    andrea biffi

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable. I just upload a drill stand too :-) (cheap-precision-drill-stand)
    I had thought to sliders for mine too, but I hadn't them available.
    Don't worry if lot of people had already design this, it's always interesting look how our brains works! And the switch idea it was great!
    I've only some notes to make about your project. You shouldn't have disassemble the drill, it should have been enough make another circuit with a switch (which it should had press by the lever) at which connect the original plug of the drill.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'd love to make one of these, but make it hot-swappable, so that i can take it out and put it back in if I'd like. Great instructable, looks like you saved a bomb on a proper drill press. One thing though; most dremels don't tend to have the torque of a proper drill press or even screw driver, so watch what your drilling.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    ok...what i want to know is will this work for a normal drill? of course i'm not going to wire it up and all...i just want to know if your contraption will work with a normal drill...not the light weight dremel type. I've been working on a portable drill press for my drill...so just wondering if this will work too :-)

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent idea but why do you want to work it with a sort of micro switch? All the drill presses I used were running all the time when you use them. If I make printed cards then it will be troublesome to keep the switch down when I got to remove copper from unwanted areas. It is also not too healthy to start / stop the Dremel as the commutator get pitted. I lost a cheap unit this way. The English B+D was used maybe that was the reason but if you are scared of electric shock, get yourself a INSULATION transformer.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    umm, my Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Work Station cost me about $30 from Lowes... .just saying :D

    I like your press, it reminds me of the monster I have out in the outside workshop.

    the monster is a 1/2" industrial hand drill. It's from the 50's low speed, tremendous tourque, and it's design purpose is to make very large holes in very thick hardened steel.

    but it also has a tabletop press attachment. and that thing is comprised of three 1" steel pipe, the two outer ones are guides for the drill carraige that the drill itself clamps into. the center tube holds the drill carriage, the pivet for the cantilever. and a big return spring.

    The cantilever arm is made so you can put any length of steel pipe you want as a handle. longer the handle, the more the leverage.

    5 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Cool.! =////=======> I have a "60"s Craftsman Aluminum Drill Press for a 1/4" Aluminum bodied Craftsman drill, Press Model 335.25921, that I can Do a bit of shimming to work with My Dremil, It comes out good & square with a bit of fooling around. I checked on Ebay and there's a same Model Press with a 1/4" Drill included and shows setup. It's also Model 25921, with a Buy It Now of $ 29.95 plus about $ 20.00 Shipping. It's offered by seller I.oppleman Item # 280965909827. No bids so far with a bit over a day left. Time here now Pacific Mtn. time = 9:18 P/M 10/11/2012. Just thought I'd mention It. G-G


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Probably very similar! the one I have is also Aluminum bodied. and mine is the Home-utlity 1/2" electric drill 110v ac-dc 2.9amperes 375 rpm Model #1
    patent pending by the black & decker Mfg. co. Towsen MD USA.

    and I'm sorry folks, I completely misrepresented what the stand looks like, it is simple one pipe that the drill and spring carriage rides on.
    no side guide tubes. I have no idea why I thought of it that way when I was describing it earlier, well besides I was hanging out at the pub after work in the brewery...
    but, in any case, I was inspired to go out yonder to the garage to visit the beast to take a pic.
    the first pic shows how the assembly works, the second show the data plate of the drill itself. she still works very well, but the smallest bit I can work into the is a 5/32 which, conveniently enough, is the last largest bit I cant fit in the dremel.1/8 being the largest a standard dremel chuck or keyless dremel chuck will take.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yup looks basically the same, the nose of the 1/4" drill goes into a "Tapered Socket" designed for the drill to sit in, then theres a brase from the single pipe to the top of the drill to help square it, then long 1/4" u-bolt with a "Notched Bend" = } on top to fit the top of the drill and the U-bolt runs down each side to ttighten Er' down. But very much like Your's. I'll try add image, never done that yet. G-G


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    adding images is a simple prospect, just click the add images button under the reply field. and that should lead you the rest of the way ;) and you sure you don't meen a 3/8" drill instead of a 1/4"?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I did that and thought it worked. The one for saale at Ebay stated 1/4" I have tryed 3/8" drills and they don't fit. I'll try the photo again. G-G Yup I see it.

    Picture 13.jpg

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, and thumbs up for making it real! But I think that if I were to build this, I'd just use the on/off switch on the tool itself rather than the open switch. I'm the kind of person that would forget it was on and an ER visit would follow...


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I don't make many comments but I have to echo the concerns of some of the other people here regarding the open switch and the hazards from it. While an automated on/off function is a neat idea and I applaud you making it work, it's extremely dangerous. I think it's especially dangerous in a series of instructions that are meant to be followed by other people. I know you've put in a fairly clear disclaimer about how people shouldn't use it if they're not comfortable with it etc but if I were you I'd take that part out of the instructable. There are people out there who will not head the warning and either think they understand the danger involved and don't or they'll accidentally touch an area on the completed project by accident and get shocked or worse. Or, someone else will use the completed project (family member, child, etc) who doesn't know about the dangerous area and they could get hurt. I certainly wouldn't want instructions of mine out there for a project that had even the potential to cause injury if I could help it by simply changing the plans a bit.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Why not a microswitch an optionally a relay to power on the drill?

    Could be magnet/reed based or an actual physical switch with a tang to press it at the right place. Seems a lot safer.

    Just cos something works doesn't mean it can't be improved.