Transformation of Drill Press




About: Hi, I am crazy about creating things with my crazy mind. I love making unique things that can entertain, inspire and educate you .checkout my youtube channel for more awesome builds & be sure to subscribe.

This project is all about how I gave my drill press a new make-over. And I believe that it's not just a makeover the changes I made in this drill is absolutely necessary from day 1 when I purchase this machine. I purchased it three year ago, when I step into this work, at that time I wasn't aware of machines too much, and many of the problems I even didn't notice at that time, but as the time passes I get experience into making field and have some knowledge about the machine I conclude that I purchase a piece of crap in 40$. You gonna laugh but the machine actually runs like a horse and making a lot of sounds. If I start the drilling without clamping the machine to any surface the machine starts to walk on to the floor, and that is a huge pain. Then my brother told me to throw this away and wait for the new one but I always deny this decision because I knew that I can make a slight modification and make this usable. And I really can't believe, what I did in my past two weeks and the result is in front of you. I figure out all the problems and find out a better solution to that. So whatever is possible for me to make I tried my best and able to succeed in achieving that, hope you guys like this journey. If you have any suggestion for me then definitely drop that in the comment section down below.

Step 1: ​Figuring Out the Problems and There Solutions

So before starting work onto this machine, I figure out the problem, since I am using this machine quite a while I know what are the things missing in this machine.

1. Lack of structural stability

2. Motor mounting plate wasn't strong enough

3. Lack of height adjustment feature.

4. Lack of light during the drilling operations since I don't have camera lights.

5. The drilling base wasn't square with the top head and there wasn't even a tilting feature to overcome that problem.

6. Belt cover wasn't covering the whole area which seems dangerous to me.

7. Lever was also broken that's why it always fall off during the drilling operations.

8. There are no buttons present onto the machine to on or off, only a wire always connected to an extension or a board, which always remains a headache for me.

9. Belt tensioner also seemed to be missing in that mounting plate. Whenever I tighten the belt it always becomes loose and the drill bit stops rotating because of that loose belt, and also belt wears a lot because instead of rotations it just drags around that front Pulley. Once I made that list I started working on them one by one.

Step 2: ​Material and Tools Used.

Following is the list of material used for this transformation, although I highly recommend that the material I choose for the main shaft need to be kept small. In my case, the wall thickness of the pipe is around 12mm which took a lot of force to tighten, so wall thickness around 6-8mm is best for this kind of work. The second thing you have to take care is that the inner diameter of the pipe section does not exceed .5 mm otherwise it's going to create stability issue. The material listed is that which I used in my build you can change the dimensions but not change the thickness except the pipe I used for the clamping purpose.

1. Mild steel bar 10mm thick and 4” in width 7” long
2. Mild steel bar 10mm thick and 3” in width 5” long

3. Mild steel bar 10mm thick and 2” in width 12” long

4. 8” X 8” 10mm thick mild steel plate

5. Mild steel sheet 1.5 mm thick for the cover.

6. Lead a screw with nut

7. 20 mm MS rod

8. 28 mm MS rod

9. Pipe having id and od 29 & 38

10. Pipe having Id and od 46 & 72

11. M16 coupling nut

12. M16 thread rod

13. M16 nut

14. M8 Allen bolt

15. M10 Allen bolt

16. Switch ( you definitely have no need to do that electrical work which I did in my case because that thing already available in the market and also come quite cheap as compared to this and also not complicated as well)

17. Wire for connection

18. Led light

19. Paint

20. Thinner

21. Primer

22. Grease

23. WD40

24. Cast Iron wheel

Tools used:-

1. Cordless drill

2. Wired drill

3. Angle grinder

4. Chop saw

5. Thread tap set

6. Drill set

7. Tap holder

8. Flap disk

9. Grinding disk

10. Cut off wheel

11. Centre punch

12. Hammer

13. Hacksaw

14. Wrench set

15. Allen key set

16. Forge

17. Sheet metal bender

18. Bench vise

19. Welding Set

Step 3: ​Adjustable Base

The first thing I started of is from the base of the drill press onto which job has to be placed. I took a ring which is used for the clamping purpose. The shaft and the rod are 10” long. I mark the cut location. The mark on the rods kept half inch less than the pipe because onto the pipe a seat needs to be formed which is going to be welded with the pipe. There is a total of 5 parts in the tiltable base except for the fastener. I cut 6” long pipe which is welded with the ring and 5½” rod is welded with the 3-inch long pipe in T shape. 3” long rod cut which is fitted inside that 3” pipe. To bring that ring into the clamping action after the weld I cut it thoroughly so that when a threaded rod is tightened this ring collapse and hold that shaft on to which this is going to be a mount. Then I weld two pieces to either side of that cut, drill it, and tap ⅜” thread inside them. Now the clamp is ready to hold the main shaft.

Step 4: ​Make a Base for Turntable

To hold the round turntable onto the drill press I made a U shape which serves as the holder for the rotary table and also serves as a hinge joint and conned to that 3” rod with Allen bolt. For this, I cut down 2 inches wide 10-millimeter thick mild steel bar to the required length. And during the cutting, I take care of the rod and the pipe up around which I am going to who join this U section. What's the welding has been done I grind off the excess weld. I cut down a piece of pipe 1 inch in length, that pipe will easily fit it into the bottom tenon of the turntables. To increase the welding surface I weld a piece of half-inch square rod to one of its sides and then welded it onto the U section. To convert that round ring into clamp after doing the weld I cut them thoroughly and creates a gap. After that, I insert to nuts into the Bolt and space them according to the cut I made on to the turntable holder and then weld it onto the clamp. While building U section one thing you need to take care of is that do not increase the length of side arms too much because, in the end, I will going to affect the overall drilling length of your machine.

Step 5: ​Connection of Both Assembly

To connect both assemblies together I first measure the diameter of that pipe which is in T shape then I transfer that dimension on to the side arm of the U section. Then I measure the centers of that pipe and transfer that center on to the U and drill down the 8-millimeter hole. I am not going to threaded this section. Then I mark the center location on to the rod which is inserted in that 3-inch long pipe. After drilling the holes on both sides I tap them with M8 thread tap and they are ready to serve as a tiltable base.

Step 6: Making the Hold Down

Once the assembly connected together I need something to hold it to the required position. For that, I am going to drill a hole to one of the sides and tap them with M8 thread tap but unfortunately, the material I am using is already hard and so it was not possible for me to drill hole. Then I fire up my forge and place the material into the fire so that I can normalize them. Once the pieces are normalized I drill holes and threaded them with M8 thread tap and now the adjustable table base is ready.

Step 7: ​Reconstruct the Head

so I don't want to rebuild the top head of the drill press but it was way too tight and extremely difficult to move up and down because there was no lifting mechanism in that and if I need to modify that there was not enough room I'm in that casted head that I can do much of the work. So I decided to rebuild the clamping section only and used the remaining head as it is. For the construction, I am using the same material which is used for the clamping action for the adjustable base. I cut down 3½” X 4” piece and these pieces are going to be connected to either side of the head. To start the build I cut down two spacer piece and the width is equal to the width of the drill head. This dimension varies according to the drill head you are using. So I clamped the pieces with the spacer block and then weld it with the pipe which later on going to be converted into locking clamp. Once this thing welded completely I cut down from the backside and then weld 10 mm thick latches at either side of that cut. Then I drill the hole and tap ⅜” tap on one side and onto other side drills 10 mm hole.

Step 8: Fusing the Head Together

This is definitely a complected thing for me because welding on cast iron wasn't a good experience for me. Buy before connection I need to cut down the portion which was already a part of that head. So I lay it onto the floor and mark the cut mark after that cut it with the help of angle grinder. To prevent blade catch, I didn't cut it completely and leave some of the portions which going to knock off with the hammer blows. Then I placed the drill onto the flat surface by making sure that it touches the surface and then slid the piece which I made earlier in the backside. Then I leveled both the pieces and clamped them and mark the hole location drill, tap and connect them together. I drill and tap two-two holes and thread on either side because if you connect only one then that would be considered as pin joint.

Step 9: ​Motor Mounting Plate Holders.

To make the holders I am using M16 coupling nuts. With ⅝” drill bit, I remove the internal threads so that the plate rods can be easily slid inside those holders. After drilling the holes I attach these pieces to ½” square rod. The main reason for this is to increase the distance of the holder slightly out because I am using M16 threaded rod and nuts which are going to use for the tightening or loosening the belt. To weld those pieces onto either side of the machine head I leveled the head and then place those nuts on either side, first tack weld and then complete the weld.

Step 10: ​Motor Mounting Plate

To build the motor mounting plate I am using 10 mm thick and 8” X 8” plate. Then I measure the distance of the holders and transfer that location onto the plate. The old one is complete trash because the base of the motor is larger than the base onto which it's going to mount. When I am going to tighten the belt by the rotation force of the belt the joint goes loose and the rod which connects the holder and plate together become loose. That's the reason I decided to eliminate that. For the adjustment of the hight, I drilled a series of holes and remove the remaining with files to make the long slots which further used to adjust the motor location. Once the plate work has been finished I cut down M16 thread rod to the equal length and then with the help of magnet make it completely vertical and then first tack weld and then recheck and the made complete weld.

Step 11: ​Motor Lifting Mechanism

To build the motor lifting mechanism instead of using a rack and pinion system I am using a nut and a lead screw. I got this from the scrap yard and decided to build vise but I use this here. So to provide the base to the lead screw I am using 3” wide 5 “ long bar having 10mm thickness. First I tape the bottom area of the drill press and made the template, then I use that to transfer the pattern on to the plate. After cutting the contour I mark the hole location and then transfer those holes on to the base of the drill. The plate holes are drilled to 8 mm and the M8 threads are made onto the base of the stand. So that they could connect together.

Now, this process might seem odd to you but to hold this to its place this process seems easier to me. I drilled and tap M8 threads in the base. Before proceeding to the next step I first align the head in the center of the base. You need plumb bob for this but I use thread and a washer for this operation once it aligns I thread the bottom of the lead screw and then drill a through hole into the plate to make a secure holding until I get the final dimensions. For the lifting mechanism I need to fix the nut onto the head and I can't weld MS to the cast iron, so to counter this problem I decided to thread both of the pieces and connect them with M10 bolt. Once it's done I secure the lead screw to its place and insert that nut assembly and with the help of inclinometer aligned it parallel to the main shaft of the drill press. Once I did that I mark the distance I cut it. Later on, a little bit of tweaking has been done with the file. After getting this I weld it with he head making sure that it remains straight and after the weld the lead screw shift just .08° which I think don't go to create a problem.

Step 12: ​Turning the Base Into Spherical Shape and Making Collar.

To reduce the friction between the lead screw and the base I decide to make it spherical shape like you saw in c clamps. With the help of grinder, I made it almost close to a sphere and then I found a piece which I am going to use for the collar of that rounded bottom. I resize with the help of step drill and give some shape with a carbide burr. So that it fits that contour of the lead screw. Then I cut it in half and recheck that and slightly do some work to remove that friction. After that, I drilled the holes onto those clamps and then transfer those holes onto the bar. After that thread that collar and connect them and now I am not using any bolt which holds it earlier under the lead screw. Now the lifting mechanism completed. To fix the wheel to the lead screw instead of the pin I use M5 Allen bolt and make it permanently fixed and after doing this when I rotate this the whole head moving up and down.

Step 13: ​Making the Belt Cover:-

To make the belt cover I use 1.5mm thick sheet of metal. I designed the cover in such a way so that I can make an electrical connection inside that as well. So the first thing I do is to cut down the strips with a jigsaw. Working on sheet metal jigsaw works fantastic. The strip I am using was not so long so I have to join both strips by welding before starting the bending process. Then with the help of sheet metal bender, I start the process of bending those strips into a rectangular shape. The rectangle made with thinner strip has a top as well. Then I start the weld and finish up everything. To guide the top cover I welded some pieces to guide the door to the inside. Later on, I welded some round washers to the outside as well. And this welding is done on to the bottom cover but it works for both sides.

Since I made this cover by myself so there is no room for the mounting system so I make them. For that, I cut down some flat stock and by welding them together make u shape so that bottom piece gonna mount onto the head and side arms are used to hold the cover to its place. Now my machine has a lifting mechanism I need to clear the area for that main shaft so that whole thing can be moving up and down. To fix the U onto the head I first transfer the distance of head onto U and then by taking the reference of that bracket drill the holes into the head and threaded them also. Later on, I drill and thread the holes for the side arms also just by eyeballing. To cover the bottom portion of the head I also cut down a sheet and then made a layout onto it. Later on, I cut it with a jigsaw. It's mostly hit and trial method. A small cover made for the bottom of the head. This plate is also going to serve as light mounting. Once the cover completed I made a test fit and found a small mistake but I draw the layout around the motor unit and cut it so that the motor mounting plate can be inserted into those holders.

Step 14: ​Connecting the Belt Cover Together.

To connect both the top I decided to use regular 4” long door hinges. Before this I was planning to use piano hinges but since wall thickness wasn't too thick so too many screws are protruding from the inside which I don't want so I choose these once. I clamped them to its place and the drive the screw into the sheet. But after the paint job, I cut down the screws and use a smaller one because threads are already formed into the sheet so that would not be an issue.

Step 15: ​Paint Job

For this first, I use an angle grinder to remove rust from the metal and also to remove the weld spatters. But I didn't use it at every place because it will also be going to remove the filler also. So with the help of paint remover, I made two cycles. I didn't go too harsh because that gonna deteriorate the base and the machine was not rusty also. Then after removing the paint I cleaned it with acetone and starts the paint job. First I made one coat of grey primer. Then I decided to give it a two-tone look, which I already give to my forge and bar clamps. Once the paint dried up it's ready to assemble.

Step 16: ​Assembling.

To assemble this thing I started from the tiltable base. That is going to provide stability to the structure before moving further. To insert the parts I Grease them from inside so that it would be easy to rotate them. Then I assemble the top head and also insert the lead screw in it because it's easy to do now because of the weight of the head. Then I attach the remaining components of the head. After that with some grease fixed those clamps as well around the lead screw base. Then I fixed the light to the bottom. Although this work needs to be done after the assembly of the head but I forget to do. I attach it to the plate and then attach that plate to the head. After that motor mounting plate, the motor itself and cover have been assembled. Then I start the electric work.

Step 17: ​Electrical Connection and Lighting:-

I drilled the holes before the paint job with the help of step drill. The size is around 22 mm which is available in step drill. For the electrical connection, I am using NO NC switch with a contractor. I also use a red and green indicator to indicate the current. There was definitely no need to use these buttons because of this kind of premade button already available in the market. But if you wanted to do that then follow the image to do the connections. I also mount 5 watts LED to the bottom so I need to extend the wires. I made a joint and then protect it from shrink sleeves. Now it's easy for me to record the work onto the drill press because of that light. And connect everything with those buttons.

Step 18: Making the Lever

This part is made outside my shop and the reason behind that is I doesn't have a lathe in my shop. For this, I use 2" diameter piece 2" long and then turned it into the shape of the holder which comes with the machine itself. Turing and tapping part is done by the machinist and I was not present at that time. But I think The construction was very simple. The old handles are used and I replaced the black knobs with the file handle. But after this the machine was complete.

Step 19: Finally

I really Like the overall construction of this build and really enjoy the process of making this machine. While starting the project I wasn't too much confident about this build But as this thing turns out, It makes me proud of myself. Hopefully, you guys like as well. See you in the next build.

Trash to Treasure

This is an entry in the
Trash to Treasure



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019

    10 Discussions


    11 days ago on Step 19

    Wow, what a transformation. I have a drill press the looks a bit like the "before", but I'm afraid this project is beyond my skillset.

    1 reply
    AMbros Customtrimbandit

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks, brother, much appreciated. Just kept faith in yourself


    11 days ago on Introduction

    I bet the company that makes that drill press wishes that you worked for them!
    Maybe you should start A drill presses company and make millions of them!
    I like the way you found the problems on it and improved on the original press!
    darn good good!
    later brocephus..

    1 reply
    AMbros CustomGregS278

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks brother, very appreciated the words you said, means alot...