How To Use A Drill Press


Anytime you’re using a new tool, it’s important to understand how it’s going to move, how to control it, what safety features exist and which precautions to take, and techniques to get the cleanest work out of it.

Step 1: Plan your Job

What type of material are you going to be drilling into? Do you have the right bit for it? Is your drill press powerful enough to handle the job? Plan your holes, measure everything twice, and then it’s time to start working, almost…

Step 2: Get Everything Together

It’s a good idea to gather up all of the materials and tools you’ll need and to have everything in one place. While a drill press isn’t the most dangerous of power tools, you still don’t want to be running around, looking for stuff, losing focus…

Step 3: Attach The Correct Bit

Use the chuck key to loosen the chuck so you can put the correct bit in place, make sure it’s tightened up nicely after replacing it with the correct bit. You can adjust it by hand, and then use the chuck key once again to tighten the chuck to ensure the bit in securely in place.

Step 4: Clamp and secure your Material

Once you’ve got your bit in place, it’s time to line up the material you’re going to be drilling into. Some drill presses will have a clamp attached to them, but for others you may need separate clamps, it also depends on the size of your material.

Step 5: Power on your Drill (and Safety Glasses)

Make sure you’ve got your safety glasses on, then turn on the power switch for your drill to start it.

Step 6: Drilling

Slowly lower it down, you don’t have to go too slow but don’t rush it, either. Bring it up, shut it off, wait for the bit to stop turning completely, loosen the clamps, and you’re all set.

Step 7: Clean Up

Have a brush handy to clean off the work surface, if you use your hand for that you can easily get all sorts of splinters and that’s no fun. It’s also a good idea to lubricate your drill press occasionally. With so much heat, power, and movement… things can start to get wonky if you aren’t properly maintaining your machine, but we’ll save that for another post.

Also see: How To Remove Drill Press Chuck

The drill press moves in very predictable ways, so using it safety is a matter of understanding how it works, and how to control it. Even with simpler tools, it’s important to keep your focus strong. A drill press is less intimidating than a table saw, for instance, but can be just as dangerous if you interact with it in the wrong way.