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  #1  
Old 01-16-2014, 10:48 AM
jdale jdale is offline
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Milling with a drill press

Does anyone have experience converting a drill press to a mill, or is it even possible?

I was wanting to mount a mill vice on the drill press table and use an end mill in the chuck to aid with cutting out slots for by guards.
Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2014, 10:56 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Generally speaking, its not a good idea. It can work if you have a large heavy drill press and take very light milling cuts but the smaller less expensive drill presses don't have much chance of working.

Drill presses are not designed to take side loading so attempting to mill with one often pops the chuck right off its spindle. Drill press chucks are usually held on by friction to a tapered spindle so side loading it just pushes it off. A mill has a draw bar that effectively bolts the chuck (or collet) to the spindle so it can't come off.

Also, a drill press normally has more run out than a good mill would have. That means even if you are able to mill with your particular drill press you won't be able to get as accurate a cut as you would with a mill....


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  #3  
Old 01-16-2014, 12:42 PM
jdale jdale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyRayTurner View Post
This was done with my Central Machinery Drill Press that Cost me Under $50.00 and a Milling Vise that Cost Under $50.00 as Well. Works Pretty Good and Made Making Guards for Me anyways a Lot Easier.

[ATTACH]Attachment 14223[/ATTACH]
That is basically the same drill press i have, just a few years older. I might have to give it a try. I don't have a problem finishing the guard fitting by hand, it just takes too long getting the initial slot open enough to get files in there.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2014, 01:24 PM
WBE WBE is offline
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It won't be long before you wear out the bearings, but have at it.
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:00 PM
jdale jdale is offline
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Originally Posted by WBE View Post
It won't be long before you wear out the bearings, but have at it.
I have had the drill press for at least 7 years now, and its paid for it's self many times over. I have been thinking about buying a larger one as it's small size makes drilling through blocks for hidden tang knives rather difficult. I guess if I kill the bearings it just makes the justification of buying another that much easier.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:36 AM
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C Craft C Craft is offline
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What he is trying to tell you the bearings in a drill press that hold the shaft your chuck is attached too are not designed for side to side load experienced when doing milling operations. Those bearing are designed for downward pressure only excreted when drilling!

The bearings on a mill are designed for the side to side movement and they have a much more substantial mounting area for the bearing itself!

Yes milling operations can be preformed with a drill press but you will eventually kill the bearings, that hold the shaft your chuck attaches too!

So why not save the drill press for drilling and spend the money for a mini mill. Even though I am not crazy about HF products, their is an opportunity there to get in on the lower end and see if that is what you need. Then if you like the operation in the future you can buy a better product!

Hey but like he said knock yourself out and then you will need too buy two machines. Once the bearing begin to wear in a DP it often allows for the bearing pockets too wear so when you try to replace the bearings if you can get them, the pockets are screwed, plus often the shaft itself has begun to wear as well and you basically end up doing a whole lot of work to get the machine back and running, "if you can"!

So can't say you haven't been fore warned!


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Last edited by C Craft; 01-17-2014 at 10:39 AM.
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2014, 12:43 PM
Jason Fry Jason Fry is offline
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Originally Posted by C Craft View Post
So why not save the drill press for drilling and spend the money for a mini mill.
Because the drill press he's going to ruin eventually is a $50 dollar drill press, and a cheap mini mill is going to run $400-600.

I don't think the OP is arguing that his setup is durable or precise. I think the point is that it's faster than using files for the coarse stock removal of getting the guard slot cut.

Seems like a valid work-around to me, until he can afford better equipment.
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:02 PM
mitchmountain mitchmountain is offline
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I use an angle grinder to make the initial slot and then rat files to finish the job, doesn't take too long and if I'm patient comes out nice and tight.
MM
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:05 PM
mitchmountain mitchmountain is offline
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Unless you are talking about a guard for a hidden tang, then my advice is pretty much worthless
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2014, 09:11 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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OK, ease up now. Using a drill press as a mill isn't the best idea but it probably isn't dangerous either. He is aware of the issues and he is accepts that his drill press might be trashed. We have all done things that we knew weren't a good idea and we did it for all kinds of reasons. He has made his decision so its time to be minding our own business....


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Old 01-18-2014, 11:54 AM
Hurley Hurley is offline
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"We have all done things that we knew weren't a good idea and we did it for all kinds of reasons." Oh Ray, how true this statement is and I'm STILL doing those things! But some work for me; those that don't get chalked up to experience.


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Old 01-18-2014, 12:46 PM
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R. Yates R. Yates is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdale View Post
Does anyone have experience converting a drill press to a mill, or is it even possible?

I was wanting to mount a mill vice on the drill press table and use an end mill in the chuck to aid with cutting out slots for by guards.
Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
Micro Mark has a very nice set up for that .


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Old 01-18-2014, 09:57 PM
jdale jdale is offline
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I didn't think that simple of a question would lead to two pages of back and forth. However, I think I came up with a good solution to my problem. I just forged out 7 blades I'll sell them and buy a mill. I should have thought of that in the first place
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2014, 08:54 AM
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J,

A hot topic just means people are paying attention! And this question has always been a hot topic every time it comes up (which is VERY often) ...


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Old 01-19-2014, 07:27 PM
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C Craft C Craft is offline
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Some folks including me like to explain that a good idea is not always the best idea. This one is kind of on the lines of deduced thinking! I think everyone that has been into knife-making especially those learning it without the benefit of hands on guidance has had this same thought! I know I did and my first reaction when I mentioned it out loud was similar to the one expressed here till I sit and thought about it!

First of all the workings of a drill press are not all that different, especially when you throw in the use of a milling vice. So the next leap of thought was why not use it too cut slots for guards???? When I threw out the same exact reaction as you got on this thread.
While it could be done it was not recommended!!!!!

I kind of let it ride and still it hung in the back of my mind till I saw another thread. A MS had pics of the insides of a drill press that was an old drill press but a great one. The owner had tried to use it the same way, as a mill! This machine is no longer being marketed and parts are unavailable. The friend of the MS that had been using the drill press as a mill had called him to help salvage his now ruined drill press!

Let me say again this machine was no longer being made, and so when they got into they had to machine parts. The shaft itself had been eaten up, the bearings for the shaft had gone and the pockets that had been holding the shaft had to be meticulously reworked to accept over-sized bearings! A repair that would have cost more than the machine in its infancy, however the two of them were able to rescue the old machine. Due to the fact one of them had access to a complete modern machine shop.

I got too thinking I had nearly $500.00 invested into my drill press and too destroy it made no sense. So unless I could figure out how to spring for a new mill I would have to continue to do it the hard way when it came to milling operations, such as slotting guards .

The older I get the more I realize what my Dad used to tell me. There are three kinds of people in this world.

"Those who benefit from others experiences,

those who can't be told anything and must experience it first hand, no matter the consequences and,

those who can benefit from a blend of the first two"!

Then he would ask me to look inside myself and see which of the three I was"!!!!!!!!!


So don't take offense if everyone is screaming "don't jump", that is your decesion!


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C Craft Customs
With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down !
If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner!

C Craft

Last edited by C Craft; 01-19-2014 at 07:34 PM.
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