Alternative to floor-mount drill press for drilling 2x4's (one hole size)
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  1. #1
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    Default Alternative to floor-mount drill press for drilling 2x4's (one hole size)

    I'm working on a project for a client to replace tempates that they use to mark hole locations where they drill 7/16" diameter holes (only on 2 x 4's, along the center-line). The main function is to use a programmable drill stop (similar to a Tigerstop, different brand). This part is all designed including all the necessary interlock and safety features.

    The current drill press is a Grizzly G7948 which, on one hand is more than enough capability but all kind of a piece of junk. The head stock has play (not in the bearings, in the carriage part), the return spring is really "crappy" (when adjusted to a high-torque it's very hard to activate and when low-torgue it doesn't retract). There's also some other repairs that this needs that is leading me down a path to evaluate alternatives.

    I looked at self-feeding drills and they were either expensive or incapable. I also made a trial unit on a pneumatic slide (with a pneumatic drill mounted to it) and it came "close" but the overall torque on the drill was a bit low. Might be a future option. What I'm ideally looking for is a good quality bench-mount dill with an adjustable stop, price around $750 or less would be likely a no-brainer if I could find a good one. Alternatively, wondering if there's another setup to use for just drilling holes in 2 x 4's, one boards & one hole at a time.

    Doesn't have to be hand acutated and the drill bit will be fully guarded as part of a shopvac system to collect chips. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

    Thanks,
    The Dude

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    Buy a used Bridgeport. You can pick one up for nearly what a good new drill press costs, and it will out perform almost any drill press available.

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    A Bridgeport for $750 would be a trick, and apparent overkill.

    There are plenty of good autofeed drills out there that would work at $750. Avey, Leland /Gifford, Rockwell and that's just part of the domestic lineup. The only autofeed bench drill I know of is a Walker/Turner 20", but you may not need autofeed. Sounds more likely that hand operated would be faster.

    Knowing the workload would be handy. 24/7 requirements are a bit different than an hour a day.

    Publish workload requirements and we'll have a shot at it.

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    Try HGR for "Drill head"

    made by "Drill Unit" "sugino" and others.

    The external motor types are belt driven, and can be upwards of 5 hp.

    I picked up a clean one from HGR made by Snow, it has a 1 hp motor, and a belt drive
    with step pulleys like a normal DP.

    Uses a concentric air cylinder to feed the spindle, IIRC 4" or so.

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    Thanks guys, yes, a Bridgeport would be overkill! Small, compact, simple and no more capacity than needed is the ideal goal. I will look into some of those units. I didn't mention but I have done some searching but didn't find anything which is the main reason I posted.

    Workload requirements: drilling 7/16" holes in one layer of 2x4 (about 2-2.5" of total travel, 1.5" under load). Operation goes on all day but not under full utilization (I'd say about 10% as not all rails they pull need drilling).

    Future goals: ideally get the hole size down to 3/8" or even 5/16" (they are over-sized due to accuracy issues today, which this will be part of an effort to increase accuracy). Also, maybe I should have mentioned, but it may be automated in the future, but that would likely be for accuracy, not labor savings. The rails are roughly 4' to 7' long and only three holes at most. Many are drilled in just one hole at the end, which will be the "idle" spot for the machine if they just want to throw it up there and drill just that.

    Another note: I did post about this earlier and got some suggestions for the autofeed, but due to the current nature of how little payback and extra integration an autofeed will need, trying to just find a good manual unit.

    Much appreciated!
    The Dude

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    If you've already rigged up a slide for a drill head, Milwaukee makes several electric drill motors that will certainly have more torque than your pneumatic drill. I can't give you model numbers from memory, but you can buy the drill unit for their mag drill separately. That's probably the easiest to mount. They also sell some stand-alone drill motors, but these are probably too low-speed for drilling 2x4's. Not bad for a small improvised field boring outfit, though.

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    My delta 4 head drill press with 3 of the heads removed......

    seriously if the process is working, just get a real drill press

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    Get real Get a real drill unit With autofeed Fast to drilling position and fast retract
    Saves a lott in time in inventing the wheel again Possible a used unit Plenty of Suhner unit available on ebay it seems

    Suhner Automation Expert - Monomaster,Kombinierbare Pinolen-Bearbeitungseinheiten

    Peter

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    I am looking into a mag drill now. That may be the best solution, especially if at some point the drilling motion could be automated but not all that important.

    Thanks,
    The Dude

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    I think you are doing the client a disservice by ruling out self feeding drill units.

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    Another option is a bench top mortiser. This will be under budget, new, compact, have decent ergonomics on the hand feed, and have an integrated hold down to keep the 2x4 in place. Most of these run around 1750 rpm which is just about right for a 7/16" hole in softwood. Main question would be adapting a proper chuck or being happy to use one of the many 7/16" bits available with a 1/2" shank.

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    AutoDrill | 2100 Series

    Have you looked at something like this?

    Or try Leland-Gifford on ebay, not a bench top drill, but would do plenty at a (relatively) cheap price...

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    Any 'automation' that does not allow you to drink coffee while it is running is a waste of money
    If you can clamp it and drill three holes at once, fine, but I see thousands of dollars and lots of time in setup for little return

    I am only half kidding about the Delta, there is a 3 head on ebay for 750 right now. drill and tap for ficturing
    Otherwise, any drill press that isn't a toy is the answer

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    Any 'automation' that does not allow you to drink coffee while it is running is a waste of money
    If you can clamp it and drill three holes at once, fine, but I see thousands of dollars and lots of time in setup for little return

    I am only half kidding about the Delta, there is a 3 head on ebay for 750 right now. drill and tap for ficturing
    Otherwise, any drill press that isn't a toy is the answer
    Now here's someone who understands automation much better than the average person.

    To everyone one else who doesn't (which isn't everyone else on this thread): please don't waste your time trying to convince me, I went down the path and backed-off because it didn't save any labor (might actually take longer) and required much more integration (as opposed to two simple plug-in devices). I do very much appreciate that people "try to help" but sometimes it goes beyond that. To be clear though, I got some very good leads on alternatives to a large & cheap drill press (still checking out mag drill & mortiser and any other options).

    Thanks!
    The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    Any 'automation' that does not allow you to drink coffee while it is running is a waste of money
    If you can clamp it and drill three holes at once, fine, but I see thousands of dollars and lots of time in setup for little return...
    Yup.

    Clamping seems unnnecessary. + or - 1/64" location of a 5/16" hole in a 2x4 should be easy with a set of adjustable disappearing stops and a fence. At that point, length tolerance of the 2x is prob worse.

    Hold the 2x down with one hand, drill hole thru with the other, dust collector port in the neighborhood to keep everything clean.

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    Simple bench top mortiser, this is mine by the way. All it's good for is a drill press. Delta 14-651 Bench Top Hollow Chisel Mortiser - tools - by owner - sale

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenscabs View Post
    Simple bench top mortiser, this is mine by the way. All it's good for is a drill press. Delta 14-651 Bench Top Hollow Chisel Mortiser - tools - by owner - sale
    Good unit, good price. I did just buy a Jet at the local Woodcrafters and gotta say that, aside from the motor taking up some visibility (it's right in front of you), this is a very good application for this process. If we do automate in the future (still questionable as far as payback), this unit could be integrated into that process easily via the "more accessible" rack & pinion (more accessible than a drill press). Much more compact, less moving parts, very quiet, less play.

    Thanks to everyone that helped me move this in the right direction!

    The Dude

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    If you ever decide you need to go to high production volume and aren't happy with the accuracy of the current methods you should look into a used point to point cnc such as a Weeke, Busellato etc. We had a couple Busellato's at the old job and one of them would be the hot ticket for this because of the parametric programming.

    If you haven't used parametric programming before, you can have a single program that is capable of drilling any combination of hole patterns and dimensions based on 1 or 2 inputs from the operator. So in your case as I understand it, you could have a stack of random length blanks and the operator just has to measure the length of each, type that into the control, load part, hit cycle start, measure the next while it drills the holes. I did this on a couple part families and it works great. They can also route, saw etc so you could even have them cut the length if you wanted. One company I worked with did closets and other cabinetry and they had 1 program for every closet they did. All the holes for adjustable shelves, hinges, dadoes, back rabbets, overall dimension of the panel was automatically done off of 2 variables the operator put in the control. It took them a little while to get it tweaked in to run without any problems, but it paid off for them. A simple 3 hole pattern on varying lengths would be much easier to write and dial in.

    I never got around to using it, but ours had a bar code scanner on it and it was designed to load a program and setup sheet off the bar code. So you print out the bar code labels, then scan the bar code at the machine when you want to run that part and the control automatically loads that program and set up sheet. The operator moves the vac pods and rails to the proper location, loads the blank and starts the cycle. Then apply the label to the parts as they come off the machine.

    As for clamping, ours had pop up pins that were the fence to line it up to when loading. When the cycle starts they drop down out of the way. You can put mushroom tops on these pins and use them as mechanical clamps to hold it down vs relying on vacuum only on a small rough part like a 2X4.
    My experience on them was on 90's vintage machines, so anything newer is just going to have more options, I'd expect you could get a running driving used one for under 10K, I know that is many times more than a drill press, but if you need the capability it is a pretty good buy.

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    Delta (back when they were an industrial brand) used to make benchtop versions of all their floor standing drill presses. I'm sure you could find one under 750.


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