Making a Bench Top Drill Press Into a Floor Model Drill Press

When I bought my drill press, a couple years ago, I had three criteria:

  1. I wanted it to be sturdy
  2. I wanted a depth-stop that wouldn’t wander or slip
  3. I wanted it to be cheap

I was not looking to buy the best tool I could afford, simply because I had very basic needs.  I didn’t want lasers, bellows, work lights, digital readouts, mini fridges, or anything else manufacturers find necessary to attach to a drill press.  All I really wanted to do was drill repeatable holes. So I ended up buying a Skil drill press from Lowes for about $90 (it has a laser, but as far as I can tell, the laser was free).

When I was building my dining room table, I designed the top to be held together with doweling, and so I had to drill straight holes into the ends of 4-foot long pieces of wood to receive the dowels.

Since I could not fit a 4-foot piece of wood in my drill press, I loosened the top of my drill press and swung it out over the edge of my workbench so that I had as much clearance as the space between the drill press chuck and the floor.

Today, I was working on re-arranging my shop a little bit, and in the process of moving my drill press, I decided to solve the problem in a more permanent way.

The first thing I did was remove the base of the drill press. I set it on its side to make this easier.

Drill Press - Removing the base

I then started to install the base in the new location, but deliberately installed it backwards to bring the mounting circle closer to the front of the workbench. Since my drill press only had two mounting holes, and would be hanging over the edge of my workbench, I made a small metal plate to span the slots in the base so that I could add additional screws near what was now the back of the base.

Drill Press - Base Partially Installed 2

I then also bolted the base down through the normal mounting holes.

Drill Press - Base fully installed

The last step was to re-attach the press to the base, backwards relative to how it was initially mounted.

Now it looks a little funny, but as you can see, the chuck is hanging over the edge of the bench, and so if I need to work with a piece that is too long for the standard bench-top capacity, I can swing the drill press table out of the way and work with the floor as my lower limit.

Drill Press - Side

Another benefit of this arrangement is that the shavings from my drilling fall onto the floor, instead of onto my workbench.

Drill Press - Front


7 thoughts on “Making a Bench Top Drill Press Into a Floor Model Drill Press

  1. Great solution, I have a similar DP and the problem I’m trying to solve is how to install a decent larger table on it with a fence. The crank arm for raising the table is in the way of a larger table surface.

    • That’s a tough one. Off the top of my head, you might be able to resolve this by giving up a little vertical capacity. If you build the larger table and then put some spacers in between it and the cast iron mounting surface, you may be able to raise the retrofit table enough to give the crank room to move while still having enough space between the chuck and table for almost everything you will use it for.
      Usually I see people using the larger tables because the are working with longer and wider pieces, and they don’t typically use all the vertical capacity the drill press has.
      Good luck, let me know how things turn out!

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