Using small drill bits in drill press

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Dave Harris, Mar 8, 2001.

  1. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    The tool thread below got me thinking. Am I the only one using number drills (61-80) in a drill press. I only know of one other modeler who does it. A few years ago I built 4 three truck HO Climax locos, the side frames alone had over 20 .020 holes in the 1/32 X .020 brass,EACH, that's 240 + holes. I would still be drilling side frames with a pin vice. Why are most modelers afraid to use the drill press with these small bits? What really surprised me is that my press is a Taiwan import that has a chuck that goes to 0, I bought a Craftsman for the garage & found it only closes to 1/16. I think I only broke 1-2 .020 bits on the climax's, the drill are stronger than one would think. I'd like to hear if there are some of you doing the same.

    L V Dave
  2. leon

    leon Member

    hi dave;

    I have a drill press and was always wondering about using it to drill models with. My question is: how much of the drill do you leave exposed?
  3. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Chuck the shank as you would any drill. The trick with these drills is to use as high an RPM as possible and very little pressure. If you have an Optivisor, I recommend getting in really close to watch the flutes do their work. The quality of the ribbon will indicate how much pressure to use in various materials.

    If you can, rig some sort of a lubricant dispenser; your bits will last a very long time in something as soft as brass. At the very least, a can of CRC lubricant with a spray tube will be of great use.

    Contrary to common belief, WD-40 is NOT a lubricant though we all use it as such. The letters stand for "Water Displacement;" this is what it was designed to do, displace water.

    Oh, one final thought; you can improve the operation of your drill press by replacing the bearings. Higher quality bearings will have negligible runout which, in turn, improves the centricity of the spindle. Something to think about for the future.
  4. leon

    leon Member

    Thanks Dave;

    I thought you had to have a fast feed also. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Using small bits in a drill press is a good idea: as long as the work piece is secured, there's a lot less chance of breaking bits due to side pressure. Working with hand tools, even with the work clamped in a vise, it's difficult to maintain an even pressure that remains perpendicular to the piece being drilled. Of course, not all of us own a drill press. ;)

  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    how did a 7 year old post with no replies get dragged up? The funny thing, is I think i can remember the original post, but wasn't a member of this forum way back then...??

    Is something weird going on with the dates on the post?

  7. Dave1905

    Dave1905 Member

    I buy drill bits from Drill Bit City that are designed for machine use, they are resharpened carbide bits in numbered sizes with a 1/8 in shaft, so no worrying about how small a bit your chuck can handle. Also eliminates problems when you don't get tiny bits centered in the chuck.

    Dave H.
  8. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I use a Dremel drill press but have been somewhat unhappy with the amount of play and vibration in the press action. There may be some way to tighten it so it won't wiggle so much. Otherwise, I've been very happy drilling with the tiniest bits.

    Someone suggested to me to use a dremel to drill holes in a cast metal loco hand. Recently I stabbed myself when a bit broke and that was just in a pin vise! I can't imagine the carnage from drilling with a dremel by hand. I use it for grinding, etc. and drilling with larger (standard size) bits, but I'd be hesitant to use it for anything in the #61-80 range. I feel safer using it in a press.

    On safety - I recently watched some vids on Youtube of a modeler (who shall remain nameless) working on a steam engine using a dremel and cutoff wheel. Yikes! You only get one pair of eyes and although fingers can be sewed back on, they never quite work as well as they used to! I watched this video in half-horror just waiting for the blood, like that old SNL parody of Julia Child.

    Oh, and Singer sewing machine oil makes a decent lubricant for drilling, grinding, etc.

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