Drill press table too small -- workaround offered

I'm sure that others have the same problem from time to time that just hit me. A drill press which is fine for most work -- but whose table is too small to deal with certain things. I was making a new front table for a DiAcro 24" bench shear (this one had none), and needed to handle a 24" x 6" by 1/4" piece of steel -- drilling a grid of holes out to pretty close to the end.

My drill press is one of the Taiwanese ones from about 1977 or so, though more recent ones are very similar. Round table (about 10" or

11" diameter), with six radial slots, and the ability to swivel. Arm fitted with a crank engaging a rack gear on the column, also able to move around the column at need.

But the table is too small to properly support the workpiece while drilling and tapping the holes near the ends. I *could* have clamped it for each hole, but the positioning prior to the clamping would be a real pain.

A table of just the right height beside the drill press would have worked -- except that it needed to be *three* right heights -- one for the center drill and the countersink for later deburing, one for the drill bit itself, and one for the tap in the tapmatic head. The head on this drill press will not move up and down to adjust to a fixed table height. Also, there was no place for a table to one side, and the other side was the path to the shop door.

So ... I took two lengths of 2x4 3' long, held one with the end almost to one edge of the table, and parallel to a pair of slots on opposite sides of the center hole, and clamped it. Then I reached up through the slots and marked the rough outline of the slots on the underside of the 2x4.

I then drilled two 3/8" holes within those marked slots, and about half-way across the width of the '4"' side of the 2x4 (really 3-1/2"?), and made the other one a mirror image of that one.

I then attached both to the table by passing 2"x1/2" lag screws (with washers) through the table to lock the boards into position, leaving enough space between them for another 2x4 on edge (so drill bits and taps would pass through the workpiece without hitting anything).

The table could be rotated to allow access to all of the lag screws to clamp them firmly in place. A touch of an angle grinder took the fraction of an inch of the tips of the lag screws down flush with the top of the 2x4, and the table could then be rotated to allow support off to the side.

If you do this -- be careful of the weight off to one side of the drill press. Too much will topple it sideways. But for something in the weight range of my workpiece, this worked out well. I could work from each end of the workpiece to the center, and then turn it end for end. And with 42 1/4-20 holes to tap in 1/4" steel plate, it was very nice to have a TapMatic tapping head on the drill press.

If I wind up using it more often, I will probably put some strips of wood across joining the two pieces close to the table and at the free end, but it worked well enough just lag screwed to the drill press table.

This seems to be simple enough to not need any photos -- and that way the massive clutter of my shop can remain a secret. :-)

Enjoy, DoN.

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DoN. Nichols
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Another solution is to mount the drill press base to the ceiling rafters and invert the drill spindle. Now you have unlimited room for any project that will fit in your shop with no interference from the column!


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