The size of a drill press is determined by the distance from the vertical supporting column to the drill bit. This establishes the diameter of the widest board the drill press can handle. In other words, a 12-inch drill press can bore a hole in the center of a 12-inch circle. This tool would measure 6 inches from column to drill bit.
When the tool is to be used for jobs other than drilling, the drill chuck is removed and replaced with a suitable arbor or collet chuck. In some cases, the spindle to which the chuck is attached will also have to be changed. On most models this changeover is comparatively simple, taking only a minute or two at most.
To equip the drill press for routing ( surface carving or gouging) , a wide assortment of special router bits can be inserted in the chuck. The tool is operated at one of its highest speeds, and the quill locked in position after the bit penetrates to the proper depth. The work is then moved around on the table so that the router bit gouges out the surface in the desired pattern.
One of the most useful functions of a drill press is for mortising (cutting square holes in) structural members for the assembly of cabinets and furniture. This type of hole is needed for mortise-and-tenon joints where a rectangular piece of wood must fit inside a rectangular hole on the adjoining member. For this, a special mortising attachment and hollow chisel are used. The attachment has a guide fence and hold-down clamp to hold the work firmly; the cutter consists of a hollow square chisel with a special bit on the inside to pull it down into the wood.
To shape curves or moldings along the edge of a piece of lumber, a machine tool called a shaper is usually required. However, in the home workshop an ordinary drill press can be used for this job. Special multi-blade cutters are attached to the end of the spindle so that the edge of the board can be fed past them while the cutter is rapidly rotating. To help guide the work in a straight line, and to keep it at the proper distance from the cutter, a special fence and guard are used.
To use a drill press for sanding, there is a wide assortment of sanding drums which can be attached to the end of the spindle. These come in various diameters and sizes, and they permit the craftsman to sand the edges of curved or irregularly shaped pieces, as well as straight edges.
A grinding wheel attached to an arbor and inserted in the chuck will enable the drill press owner to use his tool for sharpening, grinding and similar chores. Wire wheels and buffing wheels can be used also to polish and clean metal objects.
Drill press can also be used for sanding