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Drill press: is bigger always better?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, Apr 7, 2005.


  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I've been looking and looking, and just can't find a post that mentions an answer to this:

    as far as drill presses go, would I need an upright, full size, w/stand model, or would a table-top smaller model do? Or is it that either would work, but the larger makes it easier?

    Just trying to get a more accurate idea of possible expenses. Thanks once again!
     
  2. My experience is that size matters less than quality. I have a large one & a small one, both fairly cheap- which means sloppy. When trying to drill at any kind of angle, it tends to deflect rather than go right into the wood. Beyond that, what's the largest(capacity)you will/would need? Go a bit larger than that, & you should never need a larger one.
     
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Thanks sir...the check is in the mail :cool:

     
  4. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Think of it this way. If you have a body that's 13 inches high and you want to drill a hole in the lower edge of it for a jack at a bit of an angle (like not straight down on the bottom of the body, but on the rounded part like most instruments) you're going to have to get the body under the bit at the right angle for the bit to go in straight, which means you're going to need more than 13 inches UNDER the POINT of the drill bit (they're usually 3-5 inches themselves). So depending on your particular body you may need 20 inches of clearance for the body, if you've got one of those big 1/2 inch drill bits it might be 5 inches long, that easily makes 25 inches, so a 24 inch press isn't going to cut it. That's the only point in LARGER drill presses. Other than that, like bassteban said, quality should be your main concern.
     
  5. Surely it would be easier to use a hand held drill for that kind of job. Else get a drill press that has a table that can tilt 90 degrees? then you could just secure the body to the table and tilt it? means the table would need to move radially to the machine post.
     
  6. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Point well taken. I did start to wonder about tilting/removable platforms, but I think that ultimately I should work around the idea of maximum necessary clearance, as you stated. Thanks!
     
  7. There's a spec in drill presses just like lathes - "swing" - the distance from the post to the center of the bit that makes a difference. The larger you go the more material can be fit between the stand post and the bit meaning a larger object can have a hole drilled in it's center.
     
  8. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    i am sure there are many reasons why NOT to do this, but its something that i figured out as i put my drill press together (its just a 9" Delta model). if i need the extra room for doing something such as input jacks or straplocks i can set the drill press on the corner of the workbench and rotate the head/drill assembly on the stand and get extra height that way. i havent actually tried this, it is still an untested theory.

    always go for higher quality though. nothing is more frustrating than knowing you could have had a higher quality cut or hole if there was no wobble or run-out inherent in your tools.
     
  9. Doug, you're fine doing that. It won't help any with W-I-D-E subjects but tall stuff can be tackled that way. That's essentially why they make the rack elevators so they can swing out of the way with the drill table on the floor stand models - so you can accurately and safely bore out Grandpa's old flintlock you found in the attic and want to convert to .50 cal. for plinkin' in the backyard! :eek:
     
  10. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    :eek: ...you're a sick, sick man ;)

    So, go with a size that's appropriate to the work's dimensions. Got it. Now, many of you have said that quality is just as important (my words)...can you mention some of the preferable brands, as well as brands of bits? Or conversely, ones to stay away from? I have a couple Jet lathes and a Jet bandsaw, and haven't been disappointed so far, but my scope has been narrow.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Jet is probably good, as you've found w/other tools. I like Delta; don't like Black & Decker or Ryobi- both are usually lightweight(not steady)hobby-level stuff. DeWalt, despite being affiliated w/owned by B&D, is good, as is Ridgid. Don't know much specifically about bits. Just out of curiosity, what are you planning on doing w/this?
     
  12. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Well, I find that 7 holes in the head just isn't enough...actually, I'm probably better off with an 8th hole than what I'm actually thinking:

    I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to have a custom bass made versus starting to work on making my own. I'm working up a list of tools, suggested brands, prices, etc.
     
  13. I'm 90% done w/a mini-bass for my 6-yr-old son. I also have a couple of 5 string EUB's about half done. I encourage you- if I can do it(which for the most part has yet to be seen)so can you. There are lots of people on TB doing their own thing, w/lots of info(as I'm sure aware).
     
  14. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Part of my inspiration is at the bottom of this page: http://www.eshenbaughguitars.com/Photos1a.html . The body shape is nice, streamlined, elegant. Of course, he's got the experience. So, I need to get started on it!
     
  15. My son's bass has a purpleheart top, fingerboard & headstock overlay(purpleheart is his favorite color)& a similar bridge/string anchorage. I like the one above it, too- the way the top looks like coffee that has just had the right amount of cream poured in it, swirling...
    Another cup, please!
     
  16. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    No kidding! Those models are sweet...and it sounds like your son is getting hooked up too :bassist:
     
  17. Yeah, I cosider his bass a prototype or 3/4 size exercise for me. On that note, I've roughed out a couple of Barbie-sized(I have a 3-yr-old daughter, too)basses, & found it really helps in planning how to achieve the shapes I'm imagining.
     
  18. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    yes sir, i like the way you think.
     
  19. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    I love my floor model drillpress, I once set my tube amp on it's table to drill out a larger hole so I could fit a Fender style amp jewel.

    Like hambone pointed out, 'swing' is another thing to look for, a 13" drillpress only has a 6.5" center to column capacity, which I find to be fine for getting bridge post holes and the like.
     
  20. I took one of the small cheap 5 speed Chinese imports (that built 1½ racecars BTW!) and put it on a homemade stand to dedicate to being a drum sander. I just leave it at it's highest speed and got a drum kit from Harbor Freight. I built an extended melamine table so I could slide the blank around the drum. Works fine. I can ruin a body about as fast as a router with it if I'm not careful!