How to set up your drill press and work area

Drill presses are fantastic machines, but they won’t work properly unless you set them up well! A well set up drill press will be your ally in the workshop for many years to come, so it’s best to take your time and do it right.

As a primer to this guide, I would recommend you watch this video


The first thing to understand about the drill press is that it’s a heavy piece of equipment/machinery and needs to be either bolted or mounted to the floor or the workbench, for that matter. Before buying the drill press, you need to ensure that you have allocated or found a place in your work area, where the drill press can be set up. A couple of points that you would probably want to consider is that –
It should be placed to close to the area where most of the work is done or handled.
There needs to be a good light source to ensure you are working with enough visibility.
Having storage nearby, especially to keep unfinished pieces of work would be an advantage.

Image: Drill Press Pro

If you have a drill press with a length of about 8 inches then it’s probably best to mount it to your work bench, ideally near your bench vise and other tools for easy access. If you buy a floor drill press (taller column) then you’ll need to bolt it to the floor instead. When you’re mounting your drill press make sure that the base is secure by doing the bolts up tightly. This will prevent wobble, and make sure you drill accurate holes (it’s also important for safety). If you’re mounting your drill press (benchtop model) to your table then be sure that the table has sturdy feet that will not become wobbly when using your machine.

You should check that the area you’re placing the drill press has good ventilation. Ventilation is important because drilling produces a lot of wood dust (or metal shavings) which can be dangerous for your lounges and eyes. Ideally you would have some kind of extraction system for the dust, but it’s not always necessary as long as you are careful about keeping your work space clean. Another safety tip is to ensure all of your tools, including the drill press are connected to a surge protector so they aren’t subject to dangerous surges in voltage that can occur.