Yesterday’s Drill Press Packed With Tomorrow’s Upgrades

Those who hibernate in their workshops have a habit of re-imagining their relationship to tools. And [Marius Hornberger] is no exception, but the nine upgrades he’s added to his grandfather’s old drill press puts this machine on a whole other level.

In proper storytime fashion, [Marius] steps us through each upgrade, the rationale, and the time and effort that went into crafting the solution. Some of these upgrades, like a digital readout (DRO), add modern features to an old-school device. Others, like an oil mist cooling system and a compressed air chip blower, borrow from other machines with similar setups. Some, like the chip guard, are nice personal touches. And a few, like the motorized table with automatic clamp, transform the entire operator experience. On the whole, these upgrades follow a gentle theme of personalizing the machine to [Marius’] tastes, giving him a delightful, more personal operator experience that’s tuned through his everyday use. Amid the sheer volume of tweaks though, we’re convinced that you’ll find something that tickles your tinkering fancy.

It’s worth mentioning that the pneumatic table clamp alone (at 4:28) makes the entire video worth the watch. If you’ve ever had the mishap of pinching your finger or struggling to hold the table steady while clamping it in place, this little upgrade takes all of that away, replacing the swivel handle with a homebrew pneumatic cylinder made in the shop. With a single button press, a swoosh of compressed air either clamps or releases the table. Best of all, the setup still sports a hand clamp if [Marius] is operating without a compressed air source.

It’s also worth mentioning that a couple of [Marius’] upgrades completely skip the CAD step altogether. Instead, [Marius] creates templates directly off the drill press with tracing paper and then immediately transfers them onto stock materials. It’s a nice reminder that not every small project needs to start with a 3D model.

If all these upgrades are getting you ready to modify your machine, look no further than the video description where he’s courteously posted inks to key components behind these upgrades.

The story of many-a-workshop often involves reinventing your machine tools. If you’re looking for more tales of tool upgrades, have a look at resurrecting a machine from literal ashes or a machine that improves itself.

10 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Drill Press Packed With Tomorrow’s Upgrades

      1. You can always press in new bearings.

        As for my favorite drill press upgrade? I’m partial to fitting a small 3-phase motor and running them with 110V input variable frequency drives…… With… Wait for it…
        Forward and reverse foot pedals, a nice pot, and a big fat braking resistor. You can tap holes all day and I’ll also make a safety argument too. AutomationDirect has cute little 1 HP VFDs that work great and power 208V motors.

        Be on the watch for second hand three phase equipment too. It’s often cheaper because the average Joe can’t plug it in their garage.

        1. Washing machines switched to VFD’s awhile back. My 2012-ish machine has one. These are getting to end of life. Just replaced the tub seal in mine. Wouldnt take much to bolt the motor up to a drill press. and reverse engineer the control signals.

  1. I’m looking to buy the compressed air that uses an electric pump. These come on bench tools like presses & saws, but I can’t seem to find them on line. Even the stores selling the presses don’t know how to get ahold of them or what they’re even called. Can you help me?

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