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Notching/Flatcutting w/ Drill Press and Router Bit?

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Could anyone give some tips or links to how they use a drill press to notch timbers or square masts etc. using repeated plunge cuts?

I am not really wanting to get into a micro-mill, just a drill press with vise and depth stop.


Looking into a machine with vise with slot to fit fence on the table like the more expensive MicroMark or the Proxxon . 



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Hmm, an endmill can plunge, or router bits can be used, although they are designed for much higher speeds.  You might try a spiral router bit, although I don't know if an up- or down- spiral bit would be better.  


But if I were to do it, I'd use a very fine pullsaw and a bench hook or V-block to define the sides of the notch, and then clean up with a chisel or knife.


Here's a link to a jig that I made for cutting guitar fret slots with high precision to a specific depth.  The principal feature is the magnetic fence that guides the sawblade.  



Edited by Bob Blarney
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In principle, drill-chucks should not be used for milling, because they are not desgined for side-loads. However, when milling small pieces of wood, this may not be an issue. Having said that, you need a way to move the piece of wood in a controlled way. Normally, this is done with a cross-slide or -table.


You may, therefore, considering getting the small Proxxon KT70 cross-table for your drill press. Prices seem to vary quite a bit, but for about € 65 / USD 70 you should be able to find one. I seem to understand that you don't have the drill-press yet. If you get the PROXXON one, then it will have collets, which are just the thing for milling.

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Wefalk is correct - do NOT use a router bit in a drill press as it will pull the chuck out and hurt you and the work.  Standard drill presses have a Morse taper in their quills and cannot withstand the side loads.  If your drill press has a draw bar to hold the taper and the chuck is threaded to the taper, then you can rout and mill with the machine.  Otherwise, look for a milling machine and stay safe.       Duff

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Small machines, such as the PROXXON TBM do not have Morse tapers. Their spindles are usually threaded on the outside for the drill-chuck and in the case of the PROXXON machines they also have a proprietary taper for collets that are tightened with a nut. Owing to the popularity of ER collets these days, you may also find machines with a taper for say ER11 collets (takes drills/end-mills/router bits of up to 7 mm diameter).

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Thank you gentlemen!  Yes, I am just in the shopping phase now.  My experience level is low, and am trying to speed up some of the tasks that have turned out to be tedious and hard on my somewhat arthritic hands.


Drilling and "slotting" are two things that have taken a lot of time and seem boring to me.  Planking using only hand tools has proven very enjoyable.  And shaping  masts by hand has also been very satisfying, but future builds will require adding square sections to some of the masts and making lots of pinrails.


Money is limited so getting a nice drill press seems like a good first step and perhaps not too messy to use in the spare room workshop.


Upgrading to a micromill will double the purchase price, but might be for the best.

Edited by jbford
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I have by no means a commercial connection with PROXXON ... I bought a PROXXON TBM in the early 1980s (and still have it and use it) and it has been for a long time my only stationary power-tool.


Soon after the purchase I slightly modified the fence, to that I could use it as an (inverted) router with the ubiquitous dental burrs with 2.45 mm shaft.


When I purchased it, they were also selling a kit for it, with which one could convert it into a simple (and somewhat wobbly) wood lathe; it had a face-plate, revolving centre, and a tool-rest as well as a longer pillar, which in fact I kept installed.


The face-plate, together with tool-rest (which has an adjustable fence) turned the machine also into a disc-sander. However, rather than using it with the face-plate I used it with a grinding-stone to grind the tools for my first watchmakers lathe.


As the head rotates around the pillar, one can also use it as a mobile pillar drill on oversize work, clamping it to the workpiece or the table for drilling outside the table.


So it was a worthwhile investment for a student and earned its life. Not sure, whether the current version of the TBM still can do all these things.

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  • 1 month later...

I bought my drill press 50 years ago and have never felt the need to replace it. The entire tool is built from cast and machined steel the only plastic parts are the adjustment knobs.  If I was looking to replace it I would try to find a well built used one like a Delta.


Although the Morse tapered spindle will not tale side loads, I was able to buy an inexpensive collet chuck that locks onto the spindle via a threaded nut.  With that accessory the drill press is perfectly capable of operating router bits.



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