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Thread: What do you put under a drill press?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    What do you put under a drill press?


    If you happened to catch my previous thread about adjusting the height of the DP table you will know I had a bad time with that. The answer to that eventually came down to purchasing a new Delta with adjustable table (17-959L).

    The instructions say bolt it to the floor or mount it on a sheet of ¾” plywood 28 x 21 inches. The Rockler sales person said do not use a dolly (Is this logical?). OK so I mount it on the plywood. What is going to happen to the plywood in a few years sitting on the cement floor in my garage? I foresee wood-rot.

    I trimmed down a sink cutout to the designated size. I painted the plywood side with exterior primer (2 coats). I painted over the primer with two coats of exterior acrylic. Then I got chicken. Knowing me, I assume that the DP will get moved once or twice---scratching through the paint. Will that paint prevent rot even though scratched? I think not.

    If I lay out a sheet of plastic under the plywood it will probably get scratched through the first time I move the beast. I could put a new piece under it after the move. However, that is one HEAVY piece of machinery. Tilting it to put plastic under it scares me.

    I could lay the cutout so that the laminate is down against the cement. However (There had to be a however didn’t there?), the laminate is sure going to look better under the DP than the painted plywood. I don’t know why I am concerned about that; after all it is a woodworking shop. I suppose looking at some of your shop pictures makes me want to be “Not-ugly.”

    Back to the dolly question. I would sure like to be able to move this beastie once in a while. However, I can understand the Rockler salesperson's concerns. This machine is tall and not only heavy but top-heavy. If I raise it on 4" casters, I am going to have to get a footstool to change the speeds.

    I am, also, one of those, "If in doubt, build it stout." (Remind you of anyone?) type people. If it is going to have wheels, they will need to be heck for strong and the platform is going to have to be large enough to be a real base.

    I can certainly live without wheels, however it will be inconvenient. Teflon skids? Whatevers? I sincerely doubt that it will ever be moved as much as six feet.

    Enjoy and thanks for your help.

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    I have seen people who put mobile bases under their DP. Not a lot, mind you, but several.

    If you build a base somewhat like this, it'll only raise you up an inch or so.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Austin TX

    I've had my Craftsman DP since 1987 and it is sitting directly on the concrete floor with no bolts connecting it. I never noticed it showing any signs of tilting or wobbling. Maybe I've just been lucky.

    For what it's worth.
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Tokiwadai, Japan

    I mounted my DP on a mobile base. I don't move it a lot, but it is handy when I need to. Have not had any stability problems at all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    I never put a base on my DP but I move it so seldom that I can slide it around when I need to. If you're going to move it on a regular basis, a base of some kind would be nice.

    I don't have mine bolted down or atached to a sheet of plywood or anything else and I don't find the DP to be "tippy". You'd have to push pretty hard to tip it over.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    The idea, Jim, is to get a bigger footprint for this very top heavy machine. I have mine bolted down, but then I don't plan to move it. In all the years I have had a drill press, the only time I moved it was when I moved the entire shop!

    Another thought. You live in a part of the world where the earth shakes occasionally. So did I. If you put it on wheels, make sure your footprint is large enough to keep things from wobbling over when the shelf plates in the Pacific decide to move.

  7. #7

    Is the floor actually wet or are you just thinking about damp coming through the slab? The truth is that unless the floor is actually wet it will be quite a few years before that cutout is suffering decay.

    I'm not a fan of floor standing DP because they are inevitably a bit tippy. I use benchtops and bolt them onto a cart. I personally wouldn't leave it freestanding or put it on wheels. If you don't bolt it down definitely add the base and don't worry about rot because if/when it does occur you can just change the plate anyway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I have my 17" drill press on a mobile base much like Greg's. When the wheels are retracted, it's plenty stable for my current needs. (If I was handling larger or longer pieces of wood, it might be a different story.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Bedford, KY
    Jim, I have found I can move my drillpress with a 2 wheel cart. Just lean it enough to get the wheels to roll. I don't think you should have much of a problem with the plywood rotting, unless water is running into your shop. I never thought about a quake tipping over a drillpresss, until I read this thread. We had a small quake here last month, maybe I should attach mine to something solid.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Barley View Post
    Is the floor actually wet or are you just thinking about damp coming through the slab? The truth is that unless the floor is actually wet it will be quite a few years before that cutout is suffering decay.

    I have a big enough shop that moving my Drill presses are not an issue. But they are top heavy, so I wouldn't consider a mobile base a good option. When I do move mine, I just grab the dolly and move it.
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 05-13-2008 at 05:26 PM.
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