In addition to its obvious function as a precision tool for accurate drilling and boring in all materials, the drill press can be equipped with a wide assortment of different attachments and accessories. These enable the tool to perform operations normally expected of a power sander, a router, a shaper, a grinder and a planing machine. Special bits and other attachments are also available so that a good quality drill press can be used for cutting mortises (square holes) and dadoes (interlocking joints used in assembling drawers) .
Particularly useful to the home craftsman who plans to build or repair furniture and cabinets or for similar projects, a drill press actually consists of a vertical spindle with a drill chuck at the lower end. This spindle is enclosed in a head. The head also supports the motor, which is mounted at the back. The spindle revolves in bearings which are mounted inside a movable sleeve, called a quill.
This head assembly ( quill, motor and spindle) is mounted on top of a vertical steel column which is supported by a cast-iron base at its lower end. Between the head and the base there is a movable table which can be slid up and down on the vertical column. This table can be clamped at any point between the drill chuck and the base to support work of various dimensions.
Most of these machine tools are designed so that the spindle is driven by a multistep cone pulley that permits varying the spindle speed. In use, the work is supported on the movable table at the proper height while the rotating drill bit is fed downward by pulling on the handle that controls the quill travel. Since the head assembly is usually designed so that the spindle is always vertical, accurate positioning and boring of holes is a simple matter.