Harbor freight drill press.

Discussion in 'Spare Parts, Tools & Product Developement' started by Al.Fisherman, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2012

  2. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    an OK drill press. I've had mine for a couple of years and it continues to work well; the plastic depth stop ring clamp is very prone to breakage, though.
  3. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

    I had one of those a few years ago. It works fairly well, but I eventually got tired of triangular holes. The chuck is simply pressed on to a tapered shaft, no center screw. I tried over and over to get the chuck to mount true and square, and I did get it pretty darned close.
    Don't get me wrong, for the price it still is a decent drill press.
  4. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    I bought a similarly crude drill press about 20 years ago. I think it was an Enco, but it has been 20 years, so I may not remember accurately. I never did use the thing enough to justify having bought it, because I always had a decent drill press available at work, and it was always worth the wait or other practical considerations to use a good tool for any job that warranted a drill press.

    If that were the only drill press I had access to, I guess I'd use it and be grateful to have it.

  5. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    I have one of the benchtop models and for 1/4 inch and thinner it does a decent job anything thicker and a bigger drillpress should be used
  6. DougC

    DougC New Member

    It's entirely possible that the drill press has quality shortcomings, I cannot diagnose that from across the internet. However-

    ...The drill chuck "just being pressed on" is not a problem for drilling. The taper is called a Jacobs taper and normally it doesn't need anything more to hold the drill chuck on. If both the arbor and the hole are clean, you tap the chuck on with a brass mallet, and the chuck should stay on until you use wedges to take it off.

    ...Triangular holes are usually caused by the poor center-cutting ability of bad drill bits (bent bits, dull bits or bits with too great of a center-chisel edge). Split-point drills greatly reduce hole triangulation, but all drills go dull and there's no cheap way to resharpen split-point drills properly. (a Drill Doctor will NOT do it right despite what they say, the cheapest machine that will is a Darex V390 that costs up around $1500 new)
    The usual cheap way to minimize the issue of triangular holes is to do two-step drilling: first drill a hole that is 1/2 the diameter of the final hole, and then (with everything still clamped in the same position) drill the final hole. The first hole may be triangular but the second hole shouldn't be, since the second larger drill bit won't be doing any center-cutting at all.
    Also use cutting fluid while drilling both holes, especially if you're drilling in steel. Use canola oil if you don't got the real stuff.

    edit: wrong werd
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  7. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Member

    Agreed on the two step drill approach. As for the drill doctor I will hand sharpen my bits at the table grinder in less less time than that junk Drill Doctor. I got into a lot of fab work early on. An old timer down there showed us how its done. Don't get me wrong a Drill Doctor works! But I got no use fore it. Least not for everything I have encountered.
  8. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

    Drill works great for the things I do around the house. My last one, after 12 years of my use (second hand at that) bit the dust, (no telling how old it was), caused from material binging and bent the shaft. I use the two step approach, and lube with cutting oil. Since buying it, it has paid for itself in a short time. No square holes here. Because of the first one bending the shaft, I bought a drill press vice. For my use it was well worth the money.
  9. Triangular shaped holes are caused by using too large of a drill in thin material!

    The rule is simple for drilled holes...the material should be 1X the thickness of the drilled hole diameter.

    1/2" drill...minimum 1/2" material.

    Drills will "corkscrew" in thin material. Use an end mill for protos...stamping dies for production runs in thin material.

  10. DougC

    DougC New Member

    You can gash the chisel tip of a cheap drill with a dremel tool w/cutoff wheel, to help reduce the tip from wandering. That plus a center punch to start the tip help a lot.

    Another thing you can do (to place holes accurately with a cheap drill press) is start the hole using a single-flute 120-degree countersink-
    Above is only 1/4" diameter, but that doesn't matter, since you don't make an actual hole with it,,, you just need to make a small divot where the "real" drill will start.

    If you are using a hand-held drill to drill holes in steel much thicker or harder than home A/C ductwork, you will constantly wreck drill bits one-after-the-other. The drill bit edges get bent up badly if it wobbles at all while going in. Evan a sad-looking $75 Harbor Freight drill press helps a huge amount with this issue.

    Two problems:
    First,,, most people got no mill, and have no way to use stamping dies either
    Second,,, of those that do have any mill, many have the 'mini mills', and many benchtop mills aren't stiff enough to drill with a mill bit (without step drilling)

    If you want to drill clean perfect holes in thinner material, there are straight-flute (die) drills. The all-carbide ones cost a lot, but the carbide-tipped ones aren't too expensive if you only buy the ones you need.
  11. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

    Also think about using a center punch...

    Typically a center punch tool is used to aid in drilling. The impression made by a center punch into wood, plastic or metal marks the area to be drilled and helps the drill stay on course as it goes through the material. The traditional center punch is used with a hammer and the automatic center punch uses a spring tension mechanism to create a force hard enough to make the indentation.

  12. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    I seen a thread a while back where a guy modified a HF drill press so as to attach a HF digital caliper for a depth gage. Was that here on MBC?