Saturday, March 8, 2014

Drill press improvements

Having watched craigslist for years for a decent used drill press and never finding anything, I decided to make some changes to help with accuracy and safety while I continue abusing this Craftsman 12" consumer machine. I do like it because it has a good motor for the price, the digital depth gauge is great, the 3-1/4" quill travel is ample, and the horizontal handle is convenient, so why not?

This one was a purchase, plug, and play that turned into a project. I wanted to upgrade to a keyless chuck. I picked up this Shars 1/2" with integral shank on eBay and was pleased to note it was smooth and heavy. What I didn't realize was that I had no good way to tighten it without a shaft lock on the machine. It only has one knurled hand grabber to twist. By the time I realized this of course I had already installed it and perhaps dropped it out of the spindle once after failing to properly degrease it, perhaps even filed out a couple burrs on the shaft and installed it again.

Fortunately there was 1/4" or so of integral shaft showing and I was able to rig up a rosewood collar. It works.

As a bonus, the bit spins noticeably truer with this chuck than with the stock one.

I also added this adjustable handle to lock the quill for drum sanding and safe-t-planing. It locks it tight and does not move .001" in use, way better than using the spinny flimsy depth stop set screw in reverse like I did before. I pretty much followed this awesome video with modifications for my machine. I can almost do it half as fast as him after a bit of practice taking it apart.

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