The pillar drillThe pillar drill is one of the most useful stationary machines in a workshop. You can find information about their multitude of applications here!
Thus, not only the accuracy of the drilling is highlighted, but in particular the versatility of applications. But what should you look for when buying such a machine and what can you do with it, other than simply drilling? I will explain the most important factors to consider when making a purchase. I will also show you how build a large drill table with stop yourself.
What can you drill with a pillar drill?
Of course, a drill drills holes. But would you have thought that you could turn a pillar drill into a stationary spindle grinder, or saw or polish holes with it? You can even remove rust from metal parts with a round wire brush. I will show show you later how to do so!
Using a pillar drill, standard drilling is not only quicker, but also more precise than with a hand‐held drill. With some models, the drill table can not only be moved up and down, but even in different angles (radially). With some home‐made accessories there are a variety of different processing options.
But let’s start at the beginning.
What should you look out for when making a purchase?
As with almost all tools, the purpose is decisive. The size of the work piece to be processed, as well as the question of its material are decisive factors that should be considered when making a purchase. However, if you’re more of a model maker, you do not need a 1.6 m tall, 700 watt drill with 24 rpm and 400 volt connection, but rather the smaller version. DIYers who work with both wood and metal and want to pierce a 5 mm flat iron but also sometimes a 100 mm wooden beam, should opt for a drill with sufficient power and a reasonable chuck.
Speed regulation and performance
Most pillar drills have speed regulation which is controlled by different stepped belt pulleys and with the appropriate V‐belt. A proven system, which is in a higher price category, upgraded with a stepless digital control. The smaller the drill, the higher the speed should be. In case you want to cut a thread, it is also important to have low speed. A constant speed heavily relies on the power of the motor. The higher the power, the more uniform the speed. Speeds of 120–2,500 rpm are standard and sufficient for DIY applications. The power should be between 350 and 700 watts.
The mount for the drill is offered as a scroll chuck or better with a quick release chuck. You don’t need a drill foot key with a quick release chuck. The size of the mount is important. With larger drill chucks these usually only start at 1.5 mm and are therefore out of the question for passionate model makers. The maximum mount size of 16 mm leaves the allrounder enough play for special applications. If the drill still has a cone mount (e. g. MK2), you can swap the chuck for another one.
The main area of application is metal working, because precision matters more here. This can be seen in the usually relatively small drill table, which in addition to slots for fixing machine vices is also provided with a groove for cooling liquid. If you want to cut threads with the machine, a right/left rotation switch is important. The drilling depth is of course important if you want to drill large parts. It is usually between 50 and 80 mm.