Drilling Machines


    This chapter contains basic information pertaining to drilling machines. A drilling machine comes in many Shapes and sizes, from small hand-held power drills to bench mounted and finally floor-mounted models. They can perform operations other than drilling, such as countersinking, counterboring, reaming, and tapping large or small holes. Because the drilling machines can perform all of these operations, this chapter will also cover the types of drill bits, took, and shop formulas for setting up each operation.

   Safety plays a critical part in any operation involving power equipment. This chapter will cover procedures for servicing, maintaining, and setting up the work, proper methods of selecting tools, and work holding devices to get the job done safely without causing damage to the equipment, yourself, or someone nearby.

Figure 6-1. Upright drilling machine. 


    A drilling machine, called a drill press, is used to cut holes into or through metal, wood, or other materials (Figure 6-1). Drilling machines use a drilling tool that has cutting edges at its point. This cutting tool is held in the drill press by a chuck or Morse taper and is rotated and fed into the work at variable speeds. Drilling machines may be used to perform other operations. They can perform countersinking, boring, counterboring, spot facing, reaming, and tapping (Figure 6-2). Drill press operators must know how to set up the work, set speed and feed, and provide for coolant to get an acceptable finished product. The size or capacity of the drilling machine is usually determined by the largest piece of stock that can be center-drilled (Figure 6-3). For instance, a 15-inch drilling machine can center-drill a 30-inch-diameter piece of stock. Other ways to determine the size of the drill press are by the largest hole that can be drilled, the distance between the spindle and column, and the vertical distance between the worktable and spindle.


Figure 6-2. Operations of the upright drilling machine.

Figure 6-3. Determining the size of upright drillign machines.


    All drilling machines have the following construction characteristics (Figure 6-4): a spindle. sleeve or quill. column, head, worktable, and base.

  • The spindle holds the drill or cutting tools and revolves in a fixed position in a sleeve. In most drilling machines, the spindle is vertical and the work is supported on a horizontal table.

  • The sleeve or quill assembly does not revolve but may slide in its bearing in a direction parallel to its axis. When the sleeve carrying the spindle with a cutting tool is lowered, the cutting tool is fed into the work: and when it is moved upward, the cutting tool is withdrawn from the work. Feed pressure applied to the sleeve by hand or power causes the revolving drill to cut its way into the work a few thousandths of an inch per revolution.

  • The column of most drill presses is circular and built rugged and solid. The column supports the head and the sleeve or quill assembly.

  • The head of the drill press is composed of the sleeve, spindle, electric motor, and feed mechanism. The head is bolted to the column.

  • The worktable is supported on an arm mounted to the column. The worktable can be adjusted vertically to accommodate different heights of work. or it may be swung completely out of the way. It may be tilted up to 90° in either direction, to allow for long pieces to be end or angled drilled.

  • The base of the drilling machine supports the entire machine and when bolted to the floor, provides for vibration-free operation and best machining accuracy. The top of the base is similar to a worktable and maybe equipped with T-slots for mounting work too large for the table.

Figure 6-4. Construction of an upright drilling machine.



   Lubrication is important because of the heat and friction generated by the moving parts. Follow the manufacturer's manual for proper lubrication methods. Clean each machine after use. Clean T-slots. grooves. and dirt from belts and pulleys. Remove chips to avoid damage to moving parts. Wipe all spindles and sleeves free of grit to avoid damaging the precision fit. Put a light coat of oil on all unpainted surfaces to prevent rust. Operate all machines with care to avoid overworking the electric motor.

Special Care

    Operations under adverse conditions require special care. If machines are operated under extremely dusty conditions. operate at the slowest speeds to avoid rapid abrasive wear on the moving parts and lubricate the machines more often. Under extreme cold conditions, start the machines at a slow speed and allow the parts and lubricants to warm up before increasing the speeds. Metal becomes very brittle in extreme cold. so do not strike the machines with hard tools. Extreme heat may cause the motor to overheat. so use intermittent. or on and off, operations to keep the motor running cool.


    There are two types of drilling machines used by maintenance personnel for repairing and fabricating needed parts: hand-feed or power-feed. Other types of drilling machines, such as the radial drill press. numerically controlled drilling machine. multiple spindle drilling machine, gang drilling machine, and turret drill press, are all variations of the basic hand and power-feed drilling machines. They are designed for high-speed production and industrial shops.

   Drilling depth is controlled by a depth-stop mechanism located on the side of the spindle. The operator of the machine must use a sense of feel while feeding the cutting tool into the work. The operator must pay attention and be alert. to when the drill breaks through the work, because of the tendency of the drill to grab or snag the workpiece, wrenching it free of its holding device. Due to the high speed of these machines, operations that require drilling speeds less than 450 revolutions per minute cannot be performed.

   Reaming, counterboring, and counter-sinking may require slower speeds than drilling and may not be able to be performed for all materials on these machines.


    The hand-feed drilling machines (Figure 6-5) are the simplest and most common type of drilling machines in use today. These are light duty machines that are hand-fed by the operator, using a feed handle. so that the operator is able to "feel" the action of the cutting tool as it cuts through the workpiece. These drilling machines can be bench or floor-mounted. They are driven by an electric motor that turns a drive belt on a motor pulley that connects to the spindle pulley. Hand-feed machines are essentially high-speed machines and are used on small workplaces that require holes 1/2 inch or smaller. Normally, the head can be moved up and down on the column by loosening the locking bolts. which allows the drilling machine to drill different heights of work.

Figure 6-5. Hand feed drilling machine.


   The power-feed drilling machines (Figure 6-6) are usually larger and heavier than the hand-feed. They are equipped with the ability to feed the cutting tool into the work automatically, at a preset depth of cut per revolution of the spindle, usually in thousandths of an inch per revolution.

These machines are used in maintenance shops for medium-duty work, or work that uses large drills that require power feeds. The power-feed capability is needed for drills or cutting took that are over 1/2 inch in diameter, because they require more force to cut than that which can be provided by using hand pressure. The speeds available on power-feed machines can vary from about 50 RPM to about 1,800 RPM. The slower speeds allow for special operations, such as counterboring, counter- sinking, and reaming.

The sizes of these machines generally range from 17-inch to a 22-inch center-drilling capacity, and are usually floor mounted. They can handle drills up to 2 inches in diameter, which mount into tapered Morse sockets. Larger workplaces are usually clamped directly to the table or base using T-bolts and clamps, while small workplaces are held in a vise. A depth-stop mechanism is located on the head, near the spindle, to aid in drilling to a precise depth.

Figure 6-6. Power-feed drilling machine.


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