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Old 01-10-2015, 13:05   #1
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Decent drill press?

Hey,

I'm building a self-steering windvane device from a kit and I have to drill/shape around 30 pieces of stainless steel, so I think a drill press would be a good option.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent smallish one? I intend to install some bolts on my nav table so I can bolt it there and then remove it and put in a cupboard when it's not in use.

Current one I'm looking at is the WEN4210 but I have no real idea what I'm looking for.
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Old 01-10-2015, 13:38   #2
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Re: Decent drill press?

You need a drill press that has a slow spindle speed. When looking and presses find one that has three Pully drive. this will allow spindle speed of 200 RPM or sO
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Old 01-10-2015, 13:51   #3
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Re: Decent drill press?

If you don't need the height of a bigger machine, you can always go up a size and then cut the pipe mast down to your cabinet height. Most are welded on flanges on one end, and a clamp fitting on the top.

I've tortured a cheapo harbor freight that stands about 2 feet tall doing all kinds of things that were never in mind when it came over from China... Just takes super sharp US made HSS bits, and a good use of spotting drills in stainless so you don't work harden the center punch mark to start your hole. Hit the punch once, spotting drill till you are up to the counter sink and then bathe in rapid tap cutting oil.

I would find a park bench somewhere, as the oil lubricant stinks when it gets hot and you'll be picking shavings out of your toe nails for the next month if you do it on the boat.

Cheers,

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Old 03-10-2015, 21:13   #4
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Re: Decent drill press?

Seconded, Zach's bench top Harbor Freight drill press. I have one on my boat, paid $60US for it. It comes apart for storage. Super tool.

Harbor Freight is in almost every US city. I don't know it they're in Victoria BC. They have a web site Harbor Freight Tools – Quality Tools at Discount Prices Since 1977
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Old 03-10-2015, 23:14   #5
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Re: Decent drill press?

In my experience working with stainless, you want something with the option for a significantly slower bit turn rate than 200rpm. As in 1/2 - 1/3 of that, and perhaps slower at times. Otherwise you may wind up work hardening a lot of the things which you're trying to drill. As well as destroying a good number of bits in the process.

For example, when I had a machinist friend of mine drill the mounting holes in an anchor roller made of 4mm - 5mm stainless. He setup his machine to run at around 40 -60rpm. And at times, during the process, ran the machine even slower. As even with the use of copious amounts of cutting oil, things were getting too hot (IE; close to the point of becoming work hardened).

It's worth talking to a machinist on this, to get professional recommendations. To include, what alloy(s) of stainless you'll be working with, & what thicknesses you plan to drill. Plus, if he has a suggested bit type, & make, as well.

Also, keep in mind when setting up your drilling station, that you'll be using a Lot of cutting oil, when drilling metals. Especially stainless steel. And that such oil is fairly penetrative in nature. So that any drips & overspray will wind up soaking into nearby surfaces. Leaving them permanently tainted with it's scent. Pretty much regardless of what they're made of, other than (most) metals.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:58   #6
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Re: Decent drill press?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
...Current one I'm looking at is the WEN4210 but I have no real idea what I'm looking for.
That is a toy incapable of the work you need done.

Have a machine shop drill the stainless for you.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:01   #7
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Re: Decent drill press?

Here's another option, less convenient for significant production volumes but much more portable as a take along tool: General Tools Drill Guide and Chuck-36/37 - The Home Depot

I'm not advocating this make, model or distributor, this is just the place I could quickly and easily get an example.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:21   #8
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Re: Decent drill press?

I bought a brand new benchtop one for $45 on a sale table at the hardware store. It has a 4 sheave pulley and works great. For the average user a Chinese one will work fine.
Pay attention to the throat depth that it will work for your project. The Wen appears to be taller than mine, not sure if you need that.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:20   #9
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Re: Decent drill press?

Thanks for the advice guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
That is a toy incapable of the work you need done.

Have a machine shop drill the stainless for you.
What means it won't work for what I need it for?
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:36   #10
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Re: Decent drill press?

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
Thanks for the advice guys.



What means it won't work for what I need it for?
It's more a learning curve thing. The answer is yes you can... Up to around 3/8 plate. But for the aggravation you are about to go through. On hobby grade equipment or freehand, I figure that for every 20 holes I need to have 5 bits on hand.

You can do a lot with a little bench press on stainless, but it helps if you've done a lot of it in a machine shop setting on real equipment.

Some things you need to know:

If you center punch twice, it'll break the tip off the bit. If you don't spotting drill, the bit will walk and you'll drill an oblong hole.

If you don't start out light on the first few seconds until the chamfer gets started the drill bit walks... Then you break a drill bit.

If you slack up longer than it takes to break the chip and keep it from balling up to your elbow it'll work harden the swarf coming off and you'll break your drill bit when you put pressure back on it. That means if you break a bit, you need a fresh bit and have to start out light enough to cut a fresh chamfer without a broken bit of swarf in the bottom of the hole... Or a spotting drill that has the same diameter as the hole you are drilling to take out the broken edge.

If you don't flush the bit with coolant or oil while holding down 35-40 lbs of force at the slowest speed it'll run... but only the instant the shoulder of the bit is below the surface, the bit will go up in smoke and you'll wear the tip off it the second it turns purple.

You'll get 30 or so holes with a good High speed drill bit before you need something more substantial than hobby grade drill press. 31, and you better donate the bit to wood work.

Once the bit dulls, you'll start chipping bits and drilling oblong holes just because the bearings aren't tight enough in the quill to keep the bits straight unless the cutting edge is feeding quill down.

Lastly, if you don't have the plate backed up with something fairly substantial... either hardwood or some scrap aluminum it'll go through and key hole... then break your bit.

Cheers,

Zach
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Old 05-10-2015, 15:35   #11
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Re: Decent drill press?

I second the learning curve point, it's more about practice than the ability of the tool in this case.

That being said, it seemed that the Wen had a lot of negative reviews, if you're serious about doing it yourself, maybe this Craftsman might be a better buy.

Craftsman.com

It has a more powerful motor and comes with a fence which is a very handy thing to have when doing repetitive drilling.

I've had a little 12" Delta for about 20 years now, it probably sees more use than any other individual tool I have. I use it for anything from drilling holes in stainless, to making sheaves from nylon, to turning knobs made from epoxy resin.

If you choose to get one and drill the SS yourself, some additional things about procedure.

600 rpm or so is OK (slower is better though), the rate of feed is more important. Take your time.

You must use oil or cutting fluid and a lot of it. I use motor oil in a oil can and while drilling constantly flood the tip of the bit.

For stainless I like using regular 135 degree split point titanium coated bits. With patience and lubrication they'll last well through your project, and you'll be able to use them for other projects.

I like drilling pilot holes first, especially on anything 3/8" dia. or over. 1/8" is a good size.

Practice on some 1/4" thick mild steel first, with maybe a 1/4" bit, to get the hang of it.

The most dangerous time is when the bit starts to come out the other side of the work. The bit likes to take control and go through all at once which can make the work try and ride up the bit if the work is thin, or, if the work is thick, catch in the hole and flail around causing all kinds of mayhem. Best to get a couple of 3" or 4" C clamps and clamp the work to the table until you get a feel for it.

If you hold something to drill it, hold it with a big pair of vise grips.

Unless you're a masochist, wear safety glasses and a long sleeve shirt (those flying chips are hot). Around here in the summer it's too hot to wear much more than shorts, you just get used to it.
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Old 06-10-2015, 21:48   #12
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Re: Decent drill press?

Some amazing advice here, thanks all.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:01   #13
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Re: Decent drill press?

+1 on all of the good info in here.

Another tip, not yet mentioned, is that one accessory that's nice to have is a good drilling vise. Especially one which; is heavy, & or easily bolts to the press's table. In addition to (if you wallet can take it) has features which allow you to use it in as a milling device, in conjunction with the press.
Plus which, the hand crank, worm gear type, adjustments on such vises, let you precisely position a part to be drilled spot on.
Which, when coupled with the bolted down thing, is a big plus. So that the bit can't grab hold of the part being drilled, & tear it free. Usually resulting in some kind of mangling or scratching up of that which is being drilled.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:50   #14
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Re: Decent drill press?

Terra Nova, Zach and Uncivilized hit the nail...

Read these posts twice. Then approach a machine shop and ask how much just for the holes, they will be pre-marked. Then calculate the $ for the press, the many bits and the learning curve. Having attempted to do that once, I would pay to get it done. Stainless has no sense of humor and once you miss drill a piece, you ruin it, and just want to kick yourself.
..Just my 2cents.
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Old 07-10-2015, 13:14   #15
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Re: Decent drill press?

Just by luck, I just read a long conversation about drilling metal and sharpening drill bits. What stuck with me was:
  • Resharpen the bits instead of throwing them away.
    • Many of the guys found hand sharpening easy and quick to do vs using Drill Doctor.
    • There are YouTube videos on how to hand sharpen.
  • Use water to cool the drill bit instead of oil. Oil makes a mess and water will work just as well for this type of drilling.
The conversation was about regular steel and not stainless.



Later,
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