Do you have a drill press? Because if you don’t, you should! One of the most versatile tools on any jeweler’s bench, the drill press can do more things, more quickly, and with more precision than a lot of hand tools can.
But a new tool, especially a drill press, can be intimidating. If you don’t know where to begin or what to do with one, never fear—here’s a handy guide to getting started, plus a few tips on what to do with it once you get going.
Set up and Installation
Install the base plate onto the main post, and then the head stock onto the main post. To hold the headstock on the post, tighten the clamp wrench.
Install the lever. This installs at an angle.
After everything is set up, you can install the drill bits.
Set the height of the head stock to the appropriate height. You want to make sure there is clearance between the bit and the work…but not too much. If you have too much clearance, the bit won’t be able to reach the work as you pull the handle.
Operation of the Drill Press
There are some key safety points to remember during this process. Be sure to use safety glasses while operating the drill and to keep your hands clear of the drills. You will also want to pull back long hair and avoid wearing loose clothing, as they both can get wrapped up in the bits.
When the bit and headstock are set to the correct distance, plug the press in, turn on the motor using the control knob on the side, and set the speed. Then slowly pull the handle, lowering the bit to the work and drill.
Drilling Glass or Stone
We happen to have a very good video featuring tips and tricks on drilling stone. Take a look!
While we don’t have a video for drilling metal, the setup is much the same as it is in the video for drilling stones, except that you will use a steel twist drill instead of a diamond bit. Never use a diamond bit to drill into metal. It doesn’t work and it will ruin the bit.
When drilling metal, you might find the drill locking up, especially when using larger bits. When that happens, it might be good to change the location of the belt on the wheels to the smaller wheels. This will provide more torque and decrease the chance of locking up. So let’s review that process.
Replacing, Tightening, and Moving the Belt
The first thing to do is to remove the cover and loosen the bolts on the motor in order to adjust the coupling plank.
Replacing the Chuck
Sometimes the chuck on the press can get loose and fall off. It’s a simple tapered spindle chuck, and is easy to put back on. Just take a piece of wood and tap the chuck back on.
Other attachments can be added to the vice for greater versatility, like the Universal Work Holder. Just remove the handle and place the head in the vice, or use it in conjunction with Jett Fixturing Compound.
If you ever have any questions about a drill press, remember that Rio’s Jewelry Tech Team is just a phone call, email, or chat away! We’d love to hear from you, and enjoy the drill press—you’ll get addicted pretty quickly.