Drill Press Table

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Introduction: Drill Press Table

About: DIY Montreal is a do-it-yourself projects website focusing on home decor, furniture, lighting, as well as simple tips & tricks for common household problems. At DIY Montreal, we aim to share creative DIY...

When I think of woodworking jigs, my mind usually goes straight to jigs used for the table saw. But what about the drill press? The drill press has much to offer but always seems to be neglected in my shop due to complicated and lengthy set up. That all changed when I made a drill press table.

A drill press table just makes the drill press so much easier to use. Faster set-up, consistent repeat hole making, added safety, better stability, and better accuracy. There are many DIY drill press table designs out there, so what’s different about mine? I’m glad you asked. When designing this drill press table, I had 3 things in mind:

  • Minimal hardware investment ($)
  • Easy to mount/dismount in seconds
  • Extra T-tracks for greater flexibility

Step 1: MATERIALS

For this project I used Baltic birch, which provides a smooth flat surface. You’ll only need part of a 24 x 48 panel, no need to buy a full sheet.

Materials used

Tools used

Step 2: Cut List

Start by cutting down the pieces of plywood as per the cut list below. I used a combination of my circular saw to break down the large panel, then moved on to my miter saw and table saw for the smaller cuts. The drill press table dimensions are 12″ x 24″ with a 2 inch tall fence.

3/4 Baltic birch plywood

  • (1) 12 x 24 – Table base
  • (2) 12 x 3 5/8 – Top end pieces
  • (2) 12 x 4 – Top midway pieces
  • (1) 12 x 7 ½ – Top center piece
  • (2) 2 x 24 – Fence
  • (4) 2 x 2 – Stop blocks
  • (2) 2 x 8 – Toggle under mount

1/4 Baltic birch plywood

  • (1) 2 x 24 – Fence

Step 3: Make the Table Top

You can buy factory made T-tracks and T-slot bolts, but I wanted to make this drill press table as inexpensively as possible, with readily available materials. So instead, I chose to make my own T-tracks. Here’s how.

Using a router table (or handheld router) and a straight bit, cut a rabbet on each of the edges highlighted in the diagram above. The rabbets should be 1/4” wide and about 1/8” deep.

Once the rabbets are cut, you can now cut down the 7 1/2 center piece in order to have a removable sacrificial insert. Cut a piece at 2 5/8 starting from one side, then repeat the cut on the other side. You’ll be left with a 2” insert (without any rabbets).

Before pulling out the glue, you’ll need some 3/8” spacers. The spacers will create the T-tracks and allow for the toilet bolts to slide freely between the boards. I made my own spacers by cutting a 3/8 strip on the table saw, then cutting it down into little 2” pieces with my crosscut sled.

Apply glue to the back of the top pieces, careful not to get any squeeze out into the rabbets. Add spacers and continue moving left to right as per the layout in the diagram above. Remember not to add any glue to the 2” piece in the middle! This is the removable insert. Add some weights across the entire surface and let the glue dry.

Step 4: Make the Fence

Glue and clamp together the two 2 x 24 pieces into a sandwich.

Once dry, make a dado down the middle about 3/4 wide and 1/8 deep.

Glue the 1/4 plywood on top, careful not to get glue into the dado. Clamp and let dry.

Use table saw to cut a shallow groove (blade just high enough to cut through the 1/4 plywood). The groove should be approximately 3/8″ wide, just wide enough to let a toilet bolt slide smoothly in the track.

Place the assembled fence on the drill press table and mark where the table’s outer T-tracks meet the fence. Drill a hole through the center of the fence using a 3/8 drill bit.

You can buy extra-long toilet bolts, or simply use a Forstner bit to countersink the handles just a bit so they can reach the threads.

Step 5: Mounting the Drill Press Table

I wanted a fast and easy way to quickly mount the drill press table or take it off when I don’t need it. Many makers use bolts to mount the table to the drill press, but that seemed way too impractical for speedy removal. Instead, I decided to use toggle clamps. You can buy a 4-pack for under $15, so it’s really affordable.

I centered the table on the drill press, then simply marked the underside on each side of the table. I screwed on a piece of plywood on each side, then mounted the toggle clamps to these boards. Now the table can be mounted and removed in seconds with a flick of the hand.

Step 6: Stop Blocks and Hold Down Clamps

With the left over plywood, you can cut out some extra 2 x 12 inserts to have on hand for once yours wears out. You’ll also want to cut some 2 x 2 stop blocks and drill a hole in the center with a 3/8 drill bit. You can mount these to the fence as a stop block to make repeated cuts in the same exact spot, or mount them to the T-tracks in the table to help hold your work piece in place.

Something I forgot that would be really useful here are hold down clamps. They are basically T-slot clamps that do just that: hold down the work piece. These can be especially useful when drilling into small pieces that you can’t put a hand on to hold them down to the table and prevent them from coming up off the table as you raise the drill bit. You can get them for a few dollars, so I just ordered some online to complete this drill press table build.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Be sure to check out the video tutorial if you haven't already done so. If you like what you see, subscribe to my YouTube channel for more DIY videos.

You'll also find more projects on my website at diymontreal.com projects like:

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Please be positive and constructive.

2 Tips

Merveilleuse idée je vais la faire c'est trop pratique. Bravos!

Et merci surtout.

If the sacrificial 2" wide insert was a bit wider, one could make additional inserts and drill holes through the insert to accommodate sanding drum attachments. The sawdust would build up in the holes but you could slide the insert out to dump it. The sanding kits from HF come in various diameters. One insert would accommodate two different sized sanding drums. Just insert the drill bit insert after the sanding is complete.

Questions

18 Comments

This is good work. Thanks for posting. I just finished the built with a few tweaks. I made my own handles since I didn't want to wait to get them shipped to me. I used T-nuts, a hole saw, and a forstner bit to make them. Worked out great. I also chose four screws for fastening instead of the clamps. Easy enough to get them removed and even less cost. You can see before/after pics attached.

IMG_2830.JPGIMG_2832.jpgIMG_2834.jpg

love the table have to make one

Very nice, I will be referring to this instructable when I make a similar table for my new to me old Craftsman press! Thank you!

WOW, Mary !!! This instructable has to be the best one I've seen for making a drill press table!!
So well thought out and so detailed that even I can build it ! Thanks so much !!

PS - You now have a new subscriber...\

1 reply

Awesome, thank you! And thank you for the feedback :)

Great Post! Thank you

nice build,i like the toggle clamp idea for attatching it to the drill; much easier than messing about with g-clamps like i have been doing! but leaving off-cuts on the running saw is a NO NO... if they vibrate into the saw blade they get shot like bullets,in your direction! (as i found out!) ; o)

Great idea & instructable!

Toilet bolts! I didn't think of that when I made the fence for my table saw. The people in the hardware department of the store I went to didn't know what I meant when I asked for T-track bolts, they just stood there gawking at me. When they do that, I feel stupid, like maybe I asked the wrong question. I ended up purchasing carriage bolts and filing, (yes filing, since I don't have access to a grinder), the heads flat enough to fit into the T-track. I now know better when I build my drill press table. Thanks for the instructable.

1 reply

Yep, I know what you mean. I hate when they look at you like an alien. But filing down carriage bolts was a smart idea, just a bit time consuming ;) Toilet bolts to the rescue!

Ok , you have convinced me to build one. Honestly, it's almost mandatory to have one for wood working. This will be great for prepping wood for making pens and ornaments on a lathe. Is your drill press a floor model or bench top model?

1 reply

Cool, glad you like it. I sincerely recommend getting the hold down clamps, especially if you're going to work with smaller pieces. I'm still waiting on mine, but I'll try to update the tutorial & video when I get them.

My drill press is a table top model, but a tall 13" Craftsman older model.

Superb. Turned out very well. I don't know why you would ever take it off to be honest. If I may, I would suggest you route out a recessed area around the middle where you could have a replaceable insert. That way you wouldn't wear out the table by going through the wood.

2 replies

Just you did that. Lol well done. I apologize for my lack of attention.

No worries! Just glad I thought of making that insert ;)
As for taking the table off, I'm sure there will be the occasional time, when I want to drill into a tall piece perhaps. Let's just say I like keeping my options open!

What a great Instructible! Thank you!

mary i love it.fantastic job going to have to make me one of them.

1 reply

Thanks for the positive feedback! You should definitely make one, I'm so glad I did. It improved my relationship with my drill press ;)