Drill press mod

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Forum topic by woodchuckerNJ posted 03-15-2014 08:17 PM 4146 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1355 posts in 2178 days

03-15-2014 08:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: depth stop caliper drill to depth drill-driver drill press

Saw this on
Figured what the heck, it could be useful. My drill press doesn’t have a depth rod, it has the collar which I find a pain at times. With this mod I can basically set zero as my stop depth and drill to zero. Or I can locate the drill on the wood, zero it and then make a 3/8 hole .375..
For my drill press I had to create a hole in the top to allow the caliper to fit in, and I had to add light to it, as I could not read it easily. It’s too dark, so I added an LED. The caliper is from HF.. The led came from one of the free flashlights.

Rather than use the existing small button cell, I used a radio shack box and added a AA for the caliper, and 2 AAA (they did not have the 2 AA holder at the time) for the LED which required 2 cells in a project box, with a single slide switch that is DPDT. The box has micro connectors glued (hot glue) for connection to the caliper and LED. So I can easily unplug and change the batteries.

Since I don’t have a stop rod, I had to make a collar to fit around the bottom of the yoke. It was cut in half after sizing and then screws clamp it back on the yoke.

The light is a great help. Not perfect, but the screen was too dark standing up, I had to hunch over to see it. Where I have positioned it causes glare, but LCD screens use polarization, so this is the only location to really put some light on the screen. The holder I made I included some aluminum foil to help direct some light down.. not sure how well that worked, but it couldn’t hurt.

Here’s what it looked like b4 it was wired up, and poking through the guard.. make sure you avoid your pulleys.

Of course this is not a necessary mod, but it is kind of neat.. and was fun to build.

-- Jeff NJ

14 replies so far

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 03-16-2014 03:25 AM

I think that’s pretty cool !! Took some thought, and some time I’m sure. I’m guessing you must spend some time working with your drill press to invest that kind of time. Again, pretty cool :o)

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View BacktotheWood's profile


125 posts in 3566 days

#2 posted 03-16-2014 12:32 PM

Definitely a cool idea.

-- Bob, --Silence & smile are two powerful tools. Smile is the way to solve many problems & Silence is the way to avoid many problems.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1355 posts in 2178 days

#3 posted 03-16-2014 03:13 PM

Well, not too much time. Enough..

it was about 3 hours work. probably 2 for soldering and setting up part.
The mounting hardware was a pretty quick build.
About $14 in parts, so it really wasn’t too bad.

We’ll see how it works in practical terms over the next few weeks. Of course I won’t abandon the stop collar for repetitive drilling. But this might be the tkt for one or two offs.

-- Jeff NJ

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 2181 days

#4 posted 03-16-2014 03:19 PM

Great job I like that

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2155 days

#5 posted 03-17-2014 06:23 PM

that is a great idea

-- steve, simple and effective

View Kelly's profile


2473 posts in 3488 days

#6 posted 04-20-2014 04:17 PM

Damn good job. Very creative, and useful.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


300 posts in 2167 days

#7 posted 04-20-2014 04:36 PM

Better yet, look at igaging DRO's About the same price, you can cut them to length, and you don’t have to turn your head sideways to read it. Or a quill gage made for just this purpose:

This one would be more expensive, but I got it for free. I too had to add some LED lights (not shown above) to make it easier to see.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3105 days

#8 posted 04-20-2014 04:56 PM

Nice work Jeff

I could never get past the wishing stage. I have been needing a DP table and just can not figure it out.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View MrRon's profile


5772 posts in 3788 days

#9 posted 04-20-2014 05:23 PM

Nice job WoodchuckernNJ. I was doing something similar using the HF caliper, but had a problem drilling holes in the jaws of the caliper. What type of drill did you use? I found that I couldn’t even make a punch mark in the metal.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1355 posts in 2178 days

#10 posted 04-20-2014 05:39 PM

That’s why I used the composite caliper as per the liink in the top piece.

Very easy, and the nice thing is it re-zeros every time you turn it on.

Thanks guys.. For the few bucks this was a good mod.. I have used it quite a bit now.

They go on sale quite regularly plus with the 25% off they are great. I’ll take pics of the battery box interior some time soon, as it’s worth the effort.

-- Jeff NJ

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1355 posts in 2178 days

#11 posted 04-20-2014 06:03 PM

Well waiting for family to arrive, so here’s some pics.

Hope this is clear enough.

-- Jeff NJ

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2437 days

#12 posted 04-21-2014 08:18 PM

This is interesting. I’m still using shreds of green tape on my drill bits as needed to gauge my drilling depths.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1355 posts in 2178 days

#13 posted 04-21-2014 08:24 PM

Yep, me too when using a drill hand held or if I have a lot of stopped holes, I use some split ring stop collars.

Like I said this wasn’t really necessary, but I like it anyway.

-- Jeff NJ

View MrRon's profile


5772 posts in 3788 days

#14 posted 04-22-2014 08:15 PM

woodchuckerNJ, Here is a sketch of a layout tool I made using a stainless steel caliper. I couldn’t drill through the hardened jaws, so I had to clamp them in place. I will rebuild my tool using the composite caliper.

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