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I know I always read "get a mill drill" when it comes to a drill press for homesmithing but I dont have a spare 1200-1500 dollars kicking around so I thought I'd ask what drill would be good for small gunsmithing projects? Say $100-$300. If theres nothing good new what are good features to look at for something used?
 
Posts: 1686 | Location: Western Wa | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here are two I've looked at as I know theres an almost infinte number of drills out there. Seem to have good reviews and features for the price.

I'd mostly be doing some stippling/making golf ball pattern serrations, drill and tapping and maybe at most some plunge milling.

https://www.amazon.com/WEN-421...0_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

https://www.amazon.com/WEN-421...-Speed/dp/B00HQONFY6
 
Posts: 1686 | Location: Western Wa | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
That's just the
Flomax talking
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My non-expert opinion is don't waste your money. Mass market drill presses are not very good for guns because the spindles don't run true enough and it is very difficult to get the table truly square to the spindle shaft. I also believe home drill presses turn too fast for metal work. Be prepared to spend more money on a table vise, dial gauges, etc.
 
Posts: 11242 | Location: St. Louis, Missouri | Registered: February 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by GaryBF:
Mass market drill presses are not very good for guns ....


What would you then recommend (without being limited to $300)?
I have often thought I would like to have a drill press for the purpose.

Added: After a little quick research, it seems the common advice is to use a milling machine instead—your thoughts?




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 38656 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I do own a decent drill press, but for gun work I use a mill. It's really a completely different and better solution. I happen to have a Bridgeport clone which you can sometimes find for a decent price if you follow the auction circuit, but its was overkill for what I think you are describing. A small mill drill (look at the jet ones to get an idea) is just about perfect for most projects. But a decent (even clone) drill mill will be way more than your budget.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 7215 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
That's just the
Flomax talking
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What would you then recommend (without being limited to $300)?

For the occasional project, I recommend going to a professional who has the right equipment and expertise.

(FYI, I own a made-in-Taiwan Buffalo drill press. It is good for making holes in wood, etc., but poor for precision work.)
 
Posts: 11242 | Location: St. Louis, Missouri | Registered: February 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Originally posted by GaryBF:
For the occasional project, I recommend going to a professional who has the right equipment and expertise.


That would be good advice except for the fact that I gave up on professionals for such work decades ago. Some had the equipment, but the expertise and work ethic that could be relied upon? Nope.

That’s not to say that such professionals don’t exist. I know that Bruce Gray and his workers can be relied upon, for example, but I would not pick one at random even if I were willing to drive the 100+ miles necessary to get to the closest possible candidate.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 38656 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
That's just the
Flomax talking
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That’s not to say that such professionals don’t exist. I know that Bruce Gray and his workers can be relied upon, for example, but I would not pick one at random even if I were willing to drive the 100+ miles necessary to get to the closest possible candidate.

That's my experience, as well. The alternative is big bucks. Home drill presses are just not up to the job. See hrcjon's response above.
 
Posts: 11242 | Location: St. Louis, Missouri | Registered: February 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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I appreciated all the comments here as I believe they saved me some money, and, more important, some grief and frustration. Thanks.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 38656 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah I've been doing alot of my own work after being unimpressed with alot of "pros". Not to say good guys and shops arent out there but I prefer to do my own work.

I get drill presses not getting things to a finished condition vs a mill but how about for roughing out the big stuff so I can finish with files and hand tools for the rest?
 
Posts: 1686 | Location: Western Wa | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Drill presses do not handle side loading well, spindles flex, and cheap 3 jaw chucks slip. Tools chatter if not held securely. Tables may not be flat. Holding parts securely is difficult.

You spoke of roughing out big stuff with a drill press. Roughing cuts are harder on a machine than fine finish cuts. I would not try it with a part that cost more than $ 10.00 to replace.
 
Posts: 716 | Location: Moved to N.W. MT. | Registered: April 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What about the compact milling machines? Would they be adequate for light home use?
 
Posts: 417 | Location: Georgia | Registered: March 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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1Song,
That seems to be the market they are geared for. Small shop, small projects, smaller lighter cuts, and occasional use. 120 volt power requirement.

Grizzly Tools has one in the $800.00 range. Some of the compact mills go up to and over $2000.00
 
Posts: 716 | Location: Moved to N.W. MT. | Registered: April 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Too old to grow up now
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Mine is a JET drill press. I have used it for a number of Gunsmithing project, including a 95% AR15 receiver milling. ASA receiver. Here's a picture of the finished AR.




I have seen JET drill presses used on Forged in Fire as well. My press is table is square to the spindle, bits don't slip in the chuck. I have been very pleased with it. I got no chatter when milling with it. I made a very nice brass shim for my Uberti Walker using it. I posted in Pieta vs Uberti thread with pictures.
I have drilled through my Ruger LC9 slide and installed Novak Tritium Night Sights, Novak said to drill the slide and install roll pin, that is what I did using a carbide spade bit.




I purchased mine for $519.00 in 2014. I have been very pleased with it. I see they have upgraded it, but the price has also gone up $250.00!
You will need a good quality cross slide vise to do any milling, I advise tearing it down, cleaning, and adjusting the way shims so it is nice an tight. As others have said, drill presses are not really designed for heavy side loading, so if you mill, take light cuts and be sure to use lubricant.



You can see my cross slide table with the DeWalt drill sitting on it in the photo that has my tool box centered behind the press. Drill vise is a Wilton. I believe my cross slide compound table is a Grizzly.


I made this brass shim for my Uberti 1847 Walker out of old toilet lid bolt, using the drill press. Not bad huh? Not a lot of run out there.



I also drilled and tapped a hole in a Parrot vise to upgrade it for the swivel device. If you tap using the drill press you can get perfectly straight threads using a Brown and Sharpe Ajustable Spring Tensioned Tap Guide


This message has been edited. Last edited by: George85019,


NO SIGnature
 
Posts: 2011 | Location: London, OH | Registered: January 05, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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