The Drill press can be used to perform many functions.   Besides its primary function of drilling or boring holes.   You can also, mortise, route, shape and sand on a Drill press.  

   A Drill  Press is sized by the distance from the center of the chuck to the column doubled, e.g. if the distance from the chuck to column is 7 1/2"  inches, it is a 15 inch drill press.   You can drill a piece of material 15" in diameter.

CONTROLS: The controls on the 15" Delta/Rockwell drill press in the Materials Processing laboratory consist of the following; 

Off/On Switch, provides power to the drill. 
Elevating Handle allows for adjusting the height of the table 
Angle Lock allows the table to be locked at any angle necessary for the material being drilled. 
Feed Lever allows you to feed the drill bit into the material. 
Depth Stop is used to set a predetermined depth of the hole being drilled 
Spindle this is what actually turns, holding the chuck and drill bits. 
Quill lock this allows you to lower the drill into the material and lock it in one place. This would be used mostly during sanding, mortising and routing operations. 
Variable Speed Handle, allows you to set the correct speed for the material being drilled while the drill is turning.

Safety Rules: Due to the exposed turning bits used on the drill press, several hazards exist. The following safety rules must be followed.

  • Always wear safety glasses
  • Make sure that all guards are in place and are correctly adjusted.
  • Change belts only when the drill press is stopped and unplugged.
  • Hold the table securely when making table adjustments.
  • Keep fingers far enough away from from the turning drill to prevent contact with the bit.
  • Never use a drill press wearing loose clothing, jewelry or long hair that could become entangled in the drill.
  • Be sure to have a comfortable stance, never use the drill press while standing in an awkward position. You could slip and fall into the drill.
  • Avoid distractions, never take your eyes off of the drill while it is turning, don't look around while drilling.
  • A V-Block must be used when drilling round stock (dowels, turnings, etc) to prevent slipage.
  • Ensure the that the chuck key is removed from the chuck and table prior to operating the drill.
  • Only use proper bits in the drill. Don't use bits that are designed for hand turned drills or braces.  They could fly out of the drill head.
  • Always have someone help support long pieces of material. Don't try to hold  it yourself it could jam the drill.
  • Clamp thin stock to avoid the bit grabbing and spinning it.

This drill has a 1/2 horse power motor that produces 1140 RPM's. So the lower speed scale is the one used to adjust the speed of the drill.

To prevent injury from flying material, use a clamp or attachable vice for all metal and small wooden or plastic pieces.


  1. As you approach the drill press look at it to see if anything is out of place or missing.
  2. Check the drill bit being used to ensure it is sharp, not bent or has any burs on it and that it has the proper shank.  Always use a rounded shank, never a squared shank. 
  3. When installing the bit in the chuck ensure it is centered and the shank is deep enough in the jaws, then tighten using chuck key.
  4. Remove chuck key from the chuck and drill table before you start your drilling operation.
  5. Adjust the table to the correct height and angle needed before you turn the drill on.
  6. Align the hole in the center of the table so the bit will go through the hole and not the table.
  7. This is a variable speed drill. On this type of drill the speed must be adjusted while the drill is turning. Do not attempt to adjust drilling speed while the drill bit is in the material.
  8. Use a backer board under your material to prevent splitting of the wood when drilled.
  9. Do not clean wood chips or metal shavings from the table while the drill is turning. Always shut the drill off, wait until the drill stops, then sweep the table off.



Hammond, James J., Donnelly, Edward T., Harrod, Walker F., Rayner, Nonnan A. (1972). Woodworking Technology. McKnight Publishing Co. Bloomington, IL. 

Feirer, John L. (1988). Cabinet making and Millwork. Glencoe/Mcgraw-Hill. Peoria, IL. 
ITT 252 -Materials Processing 

Department of Technology 
University of Southern Maine 
prepared by Joseph A. Aldoupolis, 9/25/2001