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Hobby/micro drill press suggestions


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I have the Dremel drill stand / press and I must be honest the the slop and play in the mechanism isn't good.  It moves in most directions and I have found that you need a really big centre punch mark to get it to drill where you want.  Would I buy another one - NO.  Unfortunately I do not have experience of the Proxxon version so I cannot comment on that.  I am currently looking for a far more accurate replacement.

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The first power tool that I bought was a full sized bench mounted drill press.  Almost 50 years later I still use it and find it useful on almost a daily basis and have never regretted buying it.  Like the Harbor Freight one that you are considering it was a “no name” brand.  As long as your’s has ball/roller bearings and a minimum of plastic parts I don’t see how you can go wrong.  You may also want to buy a quality set of pin vices as the Jacobs chuck may not handle very small drill bits.

 

Roger

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If you are needing the vertical drilling action and any milling is light cuts in model scale wood:

Eurotools DRL 300   - an Asian machine sold under many brand names.  It should not cost more than $80 US if you shop.

I bought mine from Otto Frei .   I added an X/Y table - it cost about what the drill did - I doubt that it has ball bearings for the spindle, so much lateral force is not a good idea,  blocks and careful cutting of notches in beams for carlings should be OK.

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The Harbor freight bench drill press is one of the best bang-for-the-buck tools I've ever bought. The keyless chuck is surprisingly good for a HF tool and it's still kicking 8 (or so) years later. Matter of fact, when I bought my Taig lathe and needed a motor I found it was cheaper to buy another HF drill press when it was on sale and take off the motor than buy one online. I had the dremel drill press stand beforehand and it was so sloppy. I guess you could get away with it but for the price difference it's better to an actual drill press.

 

Chad  

Edited by ChadB
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The Dremel drill press has always gotten poor reviews. A good alternative, and a much more versatile model using the Dremel mototool is the Vanda-Lay drill press or, if you want even more versatility, their Acra-mill drill-mill option. http://vanda-layindustries.com/

 

8_drill_table_w_o_dremel.jpg

Drill press without Dremel tool mounted. (They also make holders for 1" diameter Foredom handpieces.)

 

cutoff_saw_display1.jpg

 

y_table_drill.JPG

Acra-mill in various configurations. (It's essentially the drill press with an x-y table.) Not a bad deal for $160, all things considered. (Compared to the Asian $79 specials, remember, they don't include an x-y tablel!) It's limitation is, of course, the Dremel mototool's limited power, but, all things considered, it should be excellent for wood and light metal work. I don't  have the mill, but I have the drill press and am quite satisfied with it. I have other drill presses, as well, but for small bits held in collets, the Vanda-Lay drill press does the trick and doubles as a holding stand for the Dremel tool, which can be rotated to horizontal for small buffing and polishing applications.

 

micro_lathe_2.jpg

Vanda-Lay also sells a $50 11" lathe attachment for their Acra-mill.

 

Like Jim Byrnes' "Model Machines," Vanda-Lay is a small "mom and pop" operation in Southern California. They responded quickly to my email inquiries. Seemed like good people.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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I have the Dremel workstand and as others have said, it's a bit wobbly and imprecise.  You can make it work unless you are looking for absolute precision.

 

In addition to the other suggestions here, have you considered looking at mills?  If you are thinking of eventually purchasing a mill, then it might be worth thinking about pulling the trigger on a mill instead which can also function as a drill press.  I have one of the Sherline mills and have used it more than a few times to drill holes.  They aren't inexpensive, but they will last a lifetime as they are built like tanks.

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One thing to consider is that many milling machines do not have a lever-actuated quill. If you need to drill many holes, cranking the mill had up and down could be pain. On the other hand, a mill is likely to be more accurate than a drill press, which could be important for using flimsy drills below 0.5 mm diameter.

Of course, it is a question of space and budget, but these drill-press stands sold for Proxxon or Dremel etc. hand-held drills all seem to be quite flimsy things without much options for adjusting bearing surfaces to take out wobble. I think there are adapter rings for some of these machines to bring them up to the standard 43 mm throat diameter of DIY power-drills. You then can use them in DIY drill-presses that are much more solid and can be fiddled with to be more accurate.

If your budget allows for a mill, there are also so-called 'sensitive drilling attachments', which are essentially a sleeve on an arbor that holds a small drill chuck and can be moved up and down like a quill. These allows to rapidly drill small holes. However, I do not have any personal experience with these.

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I'm sure you'll be happy with your purchase. If you want a quality piece of workmanship at the best price, albeit within the limitations of the Dremel mototool power source, there's nothing better than the Vanda-Lay tool system. There's nothing to complain about with their fit, finish, and accuracy. Just remember it's a Dremel tool system, not a dedicated drill press or milling machine with the power to hog off large amounts of material at one pass.

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Just placed an order for:

ACRA mill with fine Z adjust and drill press option, lathe and a vice (hope I included that last item)

I might fo go for the router table for my birthday next year...

I was looking at Taig/Sherline mills but more that I really need (or can afford!) right now.

 

Merry Christmas to me!

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That looks pretty effective.

 

On mine I had to put a wedge between the drill holder and the support on which it revolves because it was very slightly out of the vertical. Is yours ok in that regard? 

 

I've enjoyed modifying mine as well. You can see all my mods to make it a mill in my build logs if you're interested.I

 

Tony

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