# Drill presses and drill bits?

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### OverTheTop

TRF Supporter
IMHO consider getting a metal lathe if you are considering a lathe and can spring for the extra $. You can do metal, wood, fiberglass on a metal lathe, but on a wood lathe anything other than wood is pretty much a no-go. The disadvantage of a metal lathe turning wood is that the sawdust gets into everything and is a bit of a pain to clean. In wood lathes it easily drops through. The other advantage of wood lathes is cost. For the same cost you get a much larger machine. #### Bowman ##### Well-Known Member IMHO consider getting a metal lathe if you are considering a lathe and can spring for the extra$. You can do metal, wood, fiberglass on a metal lathe, but on a wood lathe anything other than wood is pretty much a no-go. The disadvantage of a metal lathe turning wood is that the sawdust gets into everything and is a bit of a pain to clean. In wood lathes it easily drops through.

The other advantage of wood lathes is cost. For the same cost you get a much larger machine.
Good points.
Also the Metal (engine) lathe will have provision for many more procedures and fixtures like knurling and threading to name a couple.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Generally speaking, I think you are better off buying as good as you can afford, and probably better to go for quality over features.
In this case, I'm just not sure how much use I'm going to get out of all this stuff.
This whole fire ban thing has me worried.
I got the chuck already. I get the drill press today. Maybe a new chuck wasn't necessary, but a keyless chuck will be more convenient, if it holds tight.

#### Bowman

##### Well-Known Member
Generally speaking, I think you are better off buying as good as you can afford, and probably better to go for quality over features.
Agreed
And there is a lower limit to acceptable quality that says not to buy as well.
It may be cheap but it might ultimately cost more than the next model up just trying to get acceptable performance out of it.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Who is HF?
I got the drill press today.
Didn't take too long to put it together. Instructions were pretty good, except a drawing showed the table tilt handle coming in from the right and it goes in from the left.
Way overkill. I think I could have gotten away with the $86 WEN drill press. This looks like a floor drill press with a shorter post. Huge. Even with the "better" chuck I bought, there is enough runout that I can see it with my naked eye. I might try taking it off, cleaning everything better and putting it back on. Otherwise everything works. The Forstner bit set and WEN rotary tool I ordered should be ready for pickup tomorrow, but I have some bike wheels coming too and want to be home when they show up because they cost$1,600. I don't want to risk some porch pirate taking them.
Band saw should be here in a few days.

##### Lonewolf.... No Club
Who is HF?
Harbor Freight... a.k.a. Chinese Junk

Congrat's on the drill press. Post up some photo's.

Last edited:

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Harbor Freight... a.k.a. Chinese Junk

Congrat's on the drill press. Post up some photo's.
After I get the rest of my shop together (band saw and bench sander), I'll try and post a photo, though I'm a little reluctant to show the complete disaster my downstairs family room is.
My "bench" isn't working out as well as I thought it would. I'm going to need to make some changes.
I'd be interested in seeing other's rocket building shops. Might make a good thread.

#### OverTheTop

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
There is already a thread for that.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
So, I have the drill press and I've been watching a few drill press hack videos and finding out there is a lot more you can do with a drill press than I thought.
I just ordered a cross slide vise, milling bits, and a center for a combination square.
One of the things I'm thinking about is making fin slots in balsa boat tails.
I think there are, at least, a couple ways of doing that.
I'm also thinking about making flutes in nosecones.
And, of course, I want to drill holes through transitions.
One of the problems I see with all these procedures is the softness of balsa.
Holding it in place without crushing it seems like it would be tricky.

#### prfesser

Be very careful milling on the drill press. Most have a Morse taper on the chuck, so it's held in place by friction. Milling forces tend to pull the taper out. Cut too deep and you may find the chuck+Morse taper landing on your suddenly-ruined workpiece. It's possible that the chuck+taper would go flying somewhere they aren't supposed to be.

OTOH if the chuck is held in with a draw bar---think of a long bolt that goes through the spindle and screws into a threaded chuck---then mill away!

Best -- Terry

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Be very careful milling on the drill press. Most have a Morse taper on the chuck, so it's held in place by friction. Milling forces tend to pull the taper out. Cut too deep and you may find the chuck+Morse taper landing on your suddenly-ruined workpiece. It's possible that the chuck+taper would go flying somewhere they aren't supposed to be.

OTOH if the chuck is held in with a draw bar---think of a long bolt that goes through the spindle and screws into a threaded chuck---then mill away!

Best -- Terry
Hopefully that won't happen with balsa wood. Very soft. Unless I take up another hobby, I can't see milling anything else. Well, maybe plastic.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I just did my first milling job.
I milled four fin slots into a V-2 boat tail, from Balsa Machining.
I made a bit of a mess out of the first one because I didn't clamp the vise down, but the other three look pretty good.
Should make a really secure and straight fin attachment.
Also should have cleaned off the vise first. Got black grease marks on the balsa.
Runout seems pretty bad. I'm guessing I need to clean everything better and put back together.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I wanted to cut the shoulder off a plastic nose cone so that I could insert the shoulder of a balsa transition.
In order for that to work, I needed to taper the balsa shoulder.
With no lathe, I tried drilling a hole in the transition, inserting a dowel, then inserting the dowel in the drill press chuck.
In order for that to work, the hole needs to be exactly centered and straight.
Apparently this is beyond my skill level. I believe I started the hole centered well, but it was not straight.
So, I've ordered one of these.