Drill Press Island

I've already got two benchtops that pretty much permanently have the same tool mounted. 1/4-20 tap and 10-32 tap in tapping heads. I may rarely use
oen of the tapping heads for another size, but pretty much the only time those taps come out is when they get replaced. I've been playing with the idea of setting up six drills press (4 more) with the two heads and the four drills I use most often. I do a lot of casting and injection molds with 10-32 or 1/4-20 clamping screws, 1/4 alignment pins and hinge pins, and 1/4-20 threaded handles. I don't typically drill them on the CNC mills because I do them on the little high speed spindle machines that really don't drill all that well. They spiral mill nicely, but often I have to put pins and screw holes in places that would hit my vise or other fictures so I spiral mill only part way through. Even on the crappy floor model drill press from HF (my bunchtop are also HF, but they both seem to be better quality) I can finish the holes accurately enough for my type of work. I just start the drill press with the bit already in the hole.
Every single day I use #21, #7, D, and F drills. I buy those bits in screw machine length half dozen at a time so I never find myself without a good sharp one. I've found that I spend a modest amount of time drilling to finish up molds, but I also find myself changing bits often too. Since I do mostly small custom work I am often taking just one mold out to the back shop to drill, tap, and pin.
I know there are some reqally nice multiple drill stations out there, but I am curious. Of those of you who have one in your shop do yourself setting up jobs with mutiple tools on multiple heads, or do you find the multiple station drill presses more often get used by different people working on different jobs? If the former do you feel it saves you much time. I think few minutes on every mold would save me a few hours every year. That's worth atleast one drill press. The thing is I might spend that couple hours doing more design work. One more custom mold done is worth a couple more. Maybe.
I doubt I'd spring for a high end multiple press. More than likely I'd get 4 more of the benchtop 12 speeds I have my tapping heads in, and bolt them to a heavy steel plate top table.
Yeah, Yeah, I know. This seems counter to my comments about using a foot switch I posted about a couple days ago, but its really not. I use the foot switch so I can hold down the mold plate with one hand and start the bit in the hole with the other. I don't have to use a third hand to turn on the drill press. If I setup a table like this I can easily see wanting a foot switch on every machine. I'd just walk a mold around the table and then back to the arbor press to set the pins.
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wrote:

I am a one man shop most of the time. I have one drill press modified with a big Procunier tapping head so that it is only good for tapping. I have another with another Procunier head semi-permanently mounted. This head has been modded so that it just spins one direction and I use it for countersinking. Sop the countersink only spins when there is pressure against it. I have another press that mostly gets used for installing Heli-Coils, again with a Procunier tapping head. It has the foot switch. Another press gets used for all sorts of different things. And it is going to get a foot switch and a reversible motor. I have run ganged drill presses in the past. I hated them because the work was production and boring. Usually only one person would run a ganged press because otherwise the operators interfere with each other. The biggest advantage of the ganged presses is that the table was one long continuous surface. This allowed parts or fixtures holding the parts to be slid along the table from station to station. I have also run turret drill presses. These machines have a turret that rotates about an axis perpendicular to the drill or tap axis. When the drill is raised up to a stop the turret indexes to the next tool, which can be a drill or a tap. The ones I ran were Burgmasters. Here's a link to a pic of a small one:
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/J4FEmIIi_90/hqdefault.jpg
And to a larger model:
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/qh1AAbz_4qw/hqdefault.jpg
They come in many sizes. You might want to consider a small one. Their big advantage is that the part or fixture doesn't need to be moved from press to press. The tool changes are fast and there is assistance when moving the head up and down so you don't have to try to move a bunch of weight up. The first time I ran one was 42 years ago and I had never seen anything like it. It was a little scary, it moved so fast. Eric
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