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I have a Ryobi 10" drill press and fitted with a cheap ($14) Delta drill press vice.  In preparing to drill the holes for forms, and other work, I tried square the platform and vice by using a small square, form the work to the drill bit.  I found that a bit cumbersome, not knowing for sure if I was at a square point of the drill bit.

My question is: What method do you guys use to be sure that you are drilling squarely when using a small press such as this?  (Denis Dunderdale)

    I used a 6" machinist's square and played around with the vise and some shim stock for some 30 minutes to an hour.  I still don't know how square I got it, but I was close enough I reckon.  Maybe some cheap 1-2-3 blocks from J&L or even Harbor Freight would work to square it up.  I have the machinist's square and you are welcome to use it.  Don't have the 1-2-3 blocks, but I'd bet someone locally could be persuaded to share the use of some.  (Rick Crenshaw)

    I had a piece of stainless steel angle I picked up years ago.  I clamped that to the table and had to shim up one side so it was parallel with the drill bit .  I also positioned it so when the form was clamped to it, the holes would be drilled in the center of the form.  Like Rick I also used a machinists square.

    Probably more important then being square to the drill is making sure that if you are off, you are off the same amount each time you drill a hole.  Be sure to support the ends of the form.  The end of a 6 foot piece of metal hanging out in thin air will pose some alignment problems.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    Chuck an approximately 10" length of coat hanger wire or similar.  Put a bend in the wire of a little less than 90 degrees such that the free end still points toward the table.  Raise the table slowly as you rotate the chuck by hand.  When the wire contacts the table evenly as it traces a circle on the table, your set up is pretty square.  (Grayson Davis)

    It sounds as if you and I are in about the same place. I don't know the method of squaring, but the way I heard to check the square is to use your dial calipers on both sides of the hole. Measure from the ID of the hole to the OD of the stock on matching sides. the measurement should be the same. As for the long axis, I don't know, but I guess you could use a long dowel and a square. Just do all of the checking on some scrap.  (Shane Pinkston)


My 50 or 60 year old Craftsman drill press will no longer drill precision holes.   There is slop in the head even when full retracted.  What do I do to rehab the beast?  Or is it just cheaper to punt and get a new drill press?  (Chris Lucker)

    My old Craftsman metal lathe has a collet type brass spindle bushing that can be tightened as it begins to wear.  Look for a spanner nut on the lower end of the spindle.  You  may be able to adjust the play out of it.  If you tighten it up and still have slop, there should be somebody out there who sells replacement bushings.  (Tim Preusch)

    First, it's probably cheaper to get a new one, depending on your mechanical ability and available equipment.  (i.e. if you hire it fixed, it's going to cost a lot more than if you can do it yourself.)

    Second, a new one will probably not have the quality of the old Craftsman.  I have a couple of 1950s Sears tools and they are better quality than any you can get today without spending a bloody fortune.

    If it were mine, I'd have a go at fixing it myself, then get a new one if I decided I couldn't fix it.  (Neil Savage)

    Does the drill press use bearings or bushings for the quill?  You may be able to replace the bushings/bearings and do away with the slop.  On the other hand, they might be pured babbit bushings, and the only way to fix that is dig 'em out, melt 'em down and re-pour them.  I absolutely dislike much of the crap called drill presses today.  The quality and fit of the quills are terrible.  I've had my eyeballs on an old South Bend drill press at work.  It's as tight at the top as it is at the bottom.  If they ever decide to excess that puppy, I'm all over it.  They don't make drill presses like they used to.  (Mark Wendt)

    I've been amazed at how long Sears supplies parts for their stuff.  Recently ordered bearings for a 30 year old circular saw - thought it would cost more than a new saw, but it was $10 including shipping.   All they need is the model number.  Take it apart and find what's worn, some have adjustments.  (Carey Mitchell)

    There is a terrific lathe list on Craftsman Lathes and other items.  Go to the sign up and ask your question.  The guy in the Planing Form ad is Bruegeman in Arizona I think.  I don't have his location at present, but I could probably find it.  (Ralph Moon)


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