Drill Press

A drill press (also known as pedestal drill, pillar drill, or bench drill) is a fixed style of drill that may be mounted on a stand or bolted to the floor.

The main parts are the column, table, spindle, chuck and drill head. The drill head has a set of usually three handles that lower the spindle toward the table. The table can be raised or lowered along the column generally by a rack and pinion mechanism.

Early Drill Presses

The first electric drill was patented in Australia in 1889.

pillar drill

Pillar Drill patented in 1893, found in factories or large machine shops, usually driven by an overhead line shaft often powered by a steam mill engine.
Thanks Vintage Internet Patents

post drill

Post Drill patented in 1883, hand powered by a crank, spindle was lowered by screw mechanism, usually found in the local blacksmith shop.
Thanks Vintage Internet Patents




For precision drilling a drill press is pretty well a necessity, a good heavy duty model will have at least a 3/4 HP motor and a 5/8" chuck.

The size of a drill press is determined by the distance the drill bit is from the column, a 12" drill press would be capable of drilling a hole in the center of a 12" disk.

A common misconception is that floor models have a larger capacity than bench tops. There are small bench top models but with the larger sizes the bench tops are equipped with the same drill head as the floor models.

Speeds are selected by the arrangement of belts on stepped pulleys, most have three pulleys and two belts, to deliver a range of 12 or 16 speeds from 210 to 3840 RPM.

Floor Model

Bench top

Shop and Compare



Speciality Items

Radial Drill Press

This type of drill press with the extended throat allows a hole to be drilled in the center of a piece 45" round.


Rosette Design Carbide Cutters for Drill Press
Get rich details affordably with these carbide cutters--designed especially for use with the drill press. (Images shown in order from left to right, 24840, 24854, 24847, 24861)

Rosette Design Carbide Cutters for Drill Press

Rosette Design Carbide Cutters for Drill Press

1'' and 2'' MicroplaneŽ Rotary Shapers
Razor-sharp teeth quickly shave wood and leave a smooth edge without clogging or heat buildup. Rotary shapers have razor-sharp teeth that quickly shave wood without clogging or heat buildup. Creates shavings — not dust! Hardened stainless steel. 5/16" shank. Can be used at speeds up to 2500 RPM. Easy attachment to drill press. For use on wood, plastic and other non-metallic materials. Includes drum and steel blade. Replacement blades sold separately. Materials being fed into the shaper should be fed left of center to reduce kickback. Always wear safety goggles and gloves. Not for use with routers.

1'' and 2'' MicroplaneŽ Rotary Shapers

Circle Cutter
Produce precision circles in sheet metal, brass, copper, soft steel, aluminum, plastic, wood and composite materials. Cuts circles ranging from 7/8'' to 4'' diameter. Comes with replaceable 3/16'' cutting blade. Maximum safe speed is 500 RPM.

Circle Cutter

Circle Cutter
15 Piece Drum Sander Kit and Replacement Sleeves
Sands and polishes virtually any corner curve or irregular shape. Fits hand drills flexible shafts and drill presses.

15 Piece Drum Sander Kit and Replacement Sleeves

15 Piece Drum Sander Kit and Replacement Sleeves

1. Wear eye protection.

2. Run drill at correct cutting speed.

3. Use a vise or clamp for small material.

4. Remove chips with a brush, never by hand.

5. Ease up on pressure as bit breaks through material.

5. Ease up on pressure as bit breaks through material.

6. Don't drill with too much pressure, if the bit is dull sharpen or replace it.

7. If drill binds, shut off machine, turn chuck backwards by hand to free bit.

8. When drilling deep holes withdraw drill to clear chips frequently.

9. Remove drill chuck key immediately after using.

10. Keep floor area around tool clear.

13 X 19 Shop Poster

download free .pdf image

Drill Press safety rules on 1883 Post Drill original patent drawing background.