Drill press upgrades

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
Earlier this year I bought a used Delta 16-1/2" drill press. I bought it to replace an older Rockwell that I have. The "new" one offers more capacity and has the hand crank to raise and lower the table. My old one does not and, with the addition of a larger table, it is difficult to raise or lower.

My first modification was really more of a necessity. I didn't realize until I got it home that the depth stop bracket was cracked. I described that fix in detail, earlier. The replacement is made out of a 3/4" block of aluminum and made a real mess of my shop in the process. Works great, though.

DepthStopBracket.jpg


I've never seen or used a drill press that came with a decent table for woodworking out of the box. Next up was to give it a decent work surface. These were my main goals:
  • Large enough to support the work (about 30" x 28" in my case).
  • T-tracks for holding awkward pieces.
  • Decent fence that can be easily adjusted and/or removed as necessary.
  • All the adjustments on the front -- no reaching around or under the table.
  • Decent dust collection.
  • An adjustable light source.
After looking at various plans and options this is the result. I'll explain some of the details in the following pictures. It was an interesting and lengthy project, often having to waiting until I had solved the next problem. I am very pleased with the results, though.

IMG_3634.JPG


The top is a plywood core 1-1/2" thick, banded with maple and covered on top with laminate.
IMG_3455.JPG
IMG_3514.JPG


Bringing the controls to the front required a bit of engineering. I replaced the lock bolt and hand crank at the back of the table with bevel gears. These transfer the action to the front cranks via two 5/8" shafts. The left crank controls the lock and the right one raises or lowers the table. I turned the bearing covers from a bar of aluminum. I had a little bit of room left between the controls so I added a small drawer.
FrontControls.jpg


These are all the individual parts for the table (not including the fence), then pre-assembled and ready to mount.
IMG_3609.JPG
IMG_3618.JPG


The fence also required some engineering and finding the right parts. The key is a slide I took off of an old TV wall mount. It's like a heavy-duty drawer slide. I stripped this of paint, added brackets to extend through the table to the adjustment rod, and then epoxied cherry to the sides to make it uniform. On the top (not seen) is an aluminum plate to give it a flush surface for mounting the fence.
FenceSlider-1.jpg


The slider is flush with the top. The fence mounts onto this and the control at the front moves the fence forward or back.
FenceSlider-2.jpg


The fence has studs that drop into holes in the slider. Once in place a cap screw locks it in place. To remove the fence, I just unscrew and lift.
FenceSlider-3.jpg

The dust collection has to curve around the pole and not take up too much room. I formed this using a vacuum press and some thin stock.
FenceDustCollection.jpg


Last up was to make a couple of stop blocks for the fence. These can be removed or flipped back when not in use. I also added a micro-adjustment rod to fine tune them. Materials are aluminum, purple heart, brass and steel.
StopBlocks.jpg
StopBlocksParts.JPG


The final touch was to add a lamp. This came from a light that Mike (@pop-pop) was kind enough to pick up for me a the $1.25 Store. I disassembled it, discarded the base, tapped an existing hole in the drill press frame, then make a box with aluminum plate for the switch. Perfect solution.
IMG_3647.JPG
 

Wilsoncb

Williemakeit
User
Nicely done! You could sell that design to Rockler.

Now, can you figure out how to automate changing the RPM belts. ; )
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
Now, can you figure out how to automate changing the RPM belts. ; )
I've given it some thought, but nothing so far. I tend to pick a speed and stay with it. I am thinking of replacing the belts with the segmented ones. Solid belts develop a "memory" as they sit unused in the same spot over time, leading to vibration. So far this one seems to be running smooth.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
You should sell a kit!
The difficult part is that every drill press model/manufacturer is slightly different. You could probably put together the hardware with instructions for making the table and modifications for a particular model.
 

Charlie

Charlie
Corporate Member
But not many people would be willing to pay $1995.00 for one. Lol.
I know how much time goes into something like this.
Jim would be making about $10/hr. Lol

Jim, all fun aside. Excellent design and execution.
But I would expect nothing less from you!
 

charlessenf

Charles
Senior User
Earlier this year I bought a used Delta 16-1/2" drill press. I bought it to replace an older Rockwell that I have. The "new" one offers more capacity and has the hand crank to raise and lower the table. My old one does not and, with the addition of a larger table, it is difficult to raise or lower.
The final touch was to add a lamp. This came from a light that Mike was kind enough to pick up for me a the $1.25 Store.
FLEDDL.jpg

Funny (Not HAHA) but I picked one of these up at teh Goodwill Store a week or so ago ($2) thinking I'd gotten quite the bargain! Are they actually selling these for a dollar and two bits?
On my drill press (Rigid) there is a light socket that takes a standard base bulb up behind the quill switched independently of the motor.

I found an old desk lamp with a flexible neck, fastened it to the housing (drilled a hole for it) and wired it to the existing switch. The lamp came with a switch at the back of the shade so I've the option of one or two light sources. The Sunbeam is much prettier looking (did I notice you used it's switch in that box? - Nice touch) However, there is no option to replace the bulb in it - or did I miss something?

Your work is most impressive!
 

charlessenf

Charles
Senior User
replacing the belts with the segmented ones
Trust me, you will not regret swapping for Link-Belts. So much smoother operation. I use them on every large power tool. HFT used to offer 20% off Coupons and that's when I get 'em. I save any unused links - building a spare on link at a time.
 

Unknownroad

Sarah
Senior User
But not many people would be willing to pay $1995.00 for one. Lol.
I know how much time goes into something like this.
Jim would be making about $10/hr. Lol

Jim, all fun aside. Excellent design and execution.
But I would expect nothing less from you!
I bet the hardware alone is worth more than my old Delta DP!

That's an amazing piece of work; it would never have occurred to me to move the table lift/lock to the front due to the complexity involved, but the utility of it is obvious. Now you just figure out how to add another wheel to work the chuck ;)
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
(did I notice you used it's switch in that box? - Nice touch) However, there is no option to replace the bulb in it - or did I miss something?
Yes, I reused the switch that came with the lamp. I made a small wooden box and aluminum face plate. AFIK, the bulb in these is not replaceable. However, it's an LED and the claim is it will last for 25,000 hours. If it lasts a tenth of that I'm ok. For $1.25 I had Mike pick up four of these so I have three spares in case this one goes out.

I hadn't thought about HF as a source for the link belts. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
Now you just figure out how to add another wheel to work the chuck
Interestingly, that is a future upgrade I'm planning. I want to try a hand wheel in place of the three spoke design. Something about the ergonomics of rotating a wheel with a handle seems easier than the current one. We'll see.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
But not many people would be willing to pay $1995.00 for one. Lol.
I know how much time goes into something like this.
Jim would be making about $10/hr.
You are so right, Charlie. I paid $225 for the drill press and about that much more in parts for the table. The real cost, however, is in the time spent. The reward is when you see it all come together.
 

pop-pop

Man with many vises
User
Interestingly, that is a future upgrade I'm planning. I want to try a hand wheel in place of the three spoke design. Something about the ergonomics of rotating a wheel with a handle seems easier than the current one. We'll see.
Jim, try removing two of the three handles. One handle works better than one would expect.
 

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