View Full Version : Trueing a drill table

David S Newman
05-13-2009, 04:30 PM
I have aquired a very nice sensitive drill, the table is adjustable in all directions, any ideas as to how to quickly set the table square to the spindle ? A dial indicator will be a pain as the very small table (about 6x5 inches) is slotted. I have set it about square now by putting a rod in the chuck checking it with a set square on the table, there must be a better way ??? David

05-13-2009, 05:35 PM
The dial indicator mounted on a surface gauge with the ball end of the surface gauge at the bottom, against a rod in the chuck.

Ron of Va
05-13-2009, 05:54 PM
In my youth, I have used a coat hanger. Form a piece of coat hanger in the form of an “S”. Put one end in the drill chuck, and extend the other end down to the outside of the table. Raise the table until the coat hanger just touches the table. Spin the chuck until it just there is equal distance all around.

I don’t do it like this anymore. I am much more scientific in my old age. I also have used a dial indicator to level the table. It is the most accurate way.

Lately I have used one of these. They work to one tenth of one degree. I got it for woodworking. A Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Now this is quick.
The gauge is magnetic, chuck up a drill rod, or large drill bit and hit “zero”. Put it on your table and go to work making your leveling adjustments.

05-13-2009, 07:07 PM
You can always use an old bearing cup or other precision ground piece of round on the table. Anything that is precisely ground to the same thickness will work - some parallels, 2-4-6 block or 1-2-3 block with only one hole, etc. Then you can sweep quickly and easily without worrying about the slots...

05-13-2009, 10:18 PM
I wonder how close you could get with chucking up a valve out of a large engine.
leave the table loose, lower the spindle(with the valve stem clamped in the chuck) until the valve head meets the table and tighten the table.


05-14-2009, 04:07 AM
I use the coat hanger idea, except I used heavier gauge wire. All you really need is one bend not quite at 90 degrees, with one leg a couple inches long and the other long enough to come about 1/4 inch short of the outside edge of the table. Mount the short end in the chuck of course. Alternately raise and tighten the table until the wire just touches at some point as you rotate the spindle by hand. The rest is self-explanatory- use a paper strip that you pull between the wire end and the table to gauge the level of friction at various points around the table. When you can feel the same resistance with the paper at front/back/left/right, you're close to done.

Don't forget that things could change as you rotate the table. You might find that you need to alternately rotate the table, then tighten, then test, to find one point where the table is good front/back. Mark it somehow so you can return to that position when best accuracy is needed when drilling. Getting it good left/right should be obvious since there's usually an adjustment method and possibly a degree scale.

I haven't checked my newer drill press yet, but the old one has a table where the stem (which it rotates on) is not perfectly perpendicular to the surface of the table. Bit of a pain, but if you want best accuracy you have to be aware of all the things that could throw things off. Cranking the table up and down can do that too, depending on the shape the column is in. Dont overlook the mounting of the head to the column as well. As you put drilling pressure on, there can be some flex which ultimately throws off your precision.

05-14-2009, 09:20 AM
I have been looking real hard at the SPI Spindle square gage in the tool catalogs.

05-14-2009, 09:45 AM
I have been looking real hard at the SPI Spindle square gage in the tool catalogs.

I made my own based upon the same idea. I did a final 'calibration' cut by spinning the completed frame/mounting shaft assembly in the lathe in order to equalize the two bottom extensions of the frame (where the indicators extend from). I then followed up by standing the frame on a surface plate, inserting the two dial indicators till I had equal readings and locking the indicators into the frame with pinch bolts.

Cost me about $20 in materials and works great!!