A Nicely Accurate PCB Drill Press You Can Build Yourself

Making PCBs isn’t always just about getting nice copper traces on a lovely fiberglass board. There’s often lots of drilling to be done! This PCB drill press from [w_k_fay] should help you do just that with the finesse and accuracy of a pro.

The design isn’t particularly fancy or pretty, but just simply focuses on doing a simple job well. There’s a basic DC motor, sitting on a linear rail so that it has minimal deflection in the X and Y axes as it moves up and down. Special care was taken to ensure the linear rail was mounted perfectly perpendicular to the base to ensure the drill doesn’t wander or splay off target.

A collet chuck is used to center the bit as well as possible for a good price. The build also includes a bright LED in order to give you the best possible view of your work. Power is via a variable bench supply which allows for variable speed as necessary. There’s a foot pedal to activate the drill which allows both hands to be used for positioning the work for added ease of use.

The total build came in at under $50 spend by the time [w_k_fay] was done. Alternatively, you could use this 3D printed design to build your own as well. If you’ve been whipping up your own useful tools for the home shop, though, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

6 thoughts on “A Nicely Accurate PCB Drill Press You Can Build Yourself

  1. With 0.5 mm and smaller drills, runout becomes critical. Depending on motor shaft diameter it may be necessary to add some thin metal as shim to get the chuck mounted right on center.

    Also worth checking that the Z axis is colinear with the rotation of the drill bit, to avoid bending and breaking it.

    Both of these can be checked with a cheap webcam / USB microscope by mounting it on the base and looking at the drill bit movement.

  2. It’s a simple project for sure, but the thing that makes it simple yet good is the linear rails on the backside. A bit of a shame you can barely see the rails in the picture. This nearly had me dismiss the project when I saw it a week ago on hackaday.io.

    These linear rails are quite affordable and they can turn a lot of relatively difficult hobby projects into quite simple ones.

    A few years ago I bought an Amscope stereo microscope, but I bought it with a simple stand because shipping of the big beam stand is quite expensive. The microscope itself is quite good, but the adjustment for focusing (by moving the whole microscope in Z-direction) is barely adequate, and that is an EUR60 part from Ali. With a few of such linear rails and some steel square tubes it’s quite easy to make a microscope stand that is a lot better in quality than any stand you can buy.

    Additionally, I’m thinking of adding a stepper motor for the Z-axis and a rotary encoder. The goal is to have a little uC that adjust the height when you turn the zoom knob so it always keeps focus during zooming. and also adjust the brightness of the light automatically. You need a lot more light when zooming in.

  3. It’s always nice to see low- or no-budget constructions that can outperform commercial offerings.
    It should be upgraded with a Bowden cable (from a bicycle brake) and a pedal for Z-axis movement.

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