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Thread: Turn a Drill Press into a Dedicated mill?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Sutter Creek CA
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    Default Turn a Drill Press into a Dedicated mill?

    So Let me start off by saying I work in the most dangerous place on earth... the local landfill. I get some amazing things in and lets just say that I might have saved the lives of a couple tools. I from time to time get in some awesome tools like Bandsaws both metal and wood and even equipment that I have no purpose owning. One thing I recently got was drill presses. I have three at the moment and they look like this. https://planlos-channel.tumblr.com/post/164103031917
    They are the larger ones and I know I don't need three but I can't bring myself to sending them to the heap... Anyways one thing I don't have and won't for a long while is a Vertical mill. Its on my list of dream tools as well as this.
    https://baq.haascnc.com/quote/Vertic...MILL#gsc.tab=0

    Anyways! As the title suggests I want to turn one of these drill presses into a Vertical mill. I am so new my lathe cord is still pulsing. I was thinking that maybe I could turn a brand new spindle that accepts the same collets as my lathe? Is that possible? Upgrade the bearings inside? Weld the table to the post? Turn new pulleys? Put on a decent Compound Slide Table? Think this would hold me over till I convince the wife to buy me a bigger Garage and bigger toys.... Anyways any Tips, Ideas, always appreciated.

    #PrayingsomeonethrowsawayaHAAS
    "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    1,609

    Default

    I wouldn't call that a big drill press. Standard Chinese offering. Take your Southbend and use a milling attachment, will take you further


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  3. #3
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    Default

    Total waste of time.
    No power.
    No rigidity.
    No spindle.
    No X-Y table.

    A drill/mill which will weigh 3-4 times as much as that drill press, is barely acceptable as a milling
    machine--a drill press would be a joke...
    Keith
    __________________________
    Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

  4. #4
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    Simply put, no. It would be so much time, effort and money to convert a drill press into a half-assed and completely inadequate mill, that you'd be leagues ahead of the game by just taking that money and buying any one of the off-the-shelf import desktop mills.

    Just to start with, you'd need to find a way to tighten the quill in the head casting, replace the spindle bearings with ones that can accept side thrust, make a new spindle that can accept collets of some form and a drawbar- which will likely require heavy mods to the drive pulley portion as well.

    Most aftermarket X/Y tables also aren't really meant for milling- they're basically just "drill press positioning tables". They're rough, weak, cobby and not terribly accurate.

    The column is too thin and whippy- don't ask me how I know that particular one - and would take a concentrated effort to keep from losing "zero" every time you so much as loosened the column clamp...

    Simply no, don't bother. There's a dozen YouTube videos about people trying the same thing, and if you watch them, you'll see that each one of those guys spends dozens or even hundreds of hours, hundreds of dollars in parts, and in virtually every case, will tell you at the end "nope, it wasn't worth it".

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  5. #5
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    Agree with all of above, but there is Rudy Kouhoupt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJYWUX0g6A8
    Bad counter-example as he was clearly a gifted amateur machinist.
    Steve

  6. #6
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    High, Wide and Handsome, Montana
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    No. Even Rudy's is a joke. You *can* do some light dodgy milling. Not well, not a lot and not for long. You can drive nails with screwdrivers too.

  7. #7
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    British Columbia
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    Sell two of the drill presses and put that money into the mill fund for all of the reasons already mentioned.
    I've got a drill press similar to yours and it's ok for wood but even when drilling an 1/8" hole in steel I have to put a hydraulic jack under the table in order to keep the wet noodle column from flexing.
    Who knows you might score an old mill out there while waiting.
    Home
    Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    i agree with the others, with the exception that I do use my drill press (Walker Turner 15in with modded HF X-Y table) for milling. I use a screw on collet holder that George Wilson gave me ages ago. It is just about maybe acceptible but is a complete frustrating PITA. Crazy chatter, tiny depth of cut, worries about what I'm doing to the bearings. Still, it's all I have until I can get a proper mill and I have done decent work with it. Just took ages longer than it should have

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Toronto
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    Quote Originally Posted by softtail View Post
    No. Even Rudy's is a joke. You *can* do some light dodgy milling. Not well, not a lot and not for long. You can drive nails with screwdrivers too.
    agreed. "driving a nail with a screwdriver"....good answer for the "well that video proves you can do it" objection

    There isn't really one good reason for it, except its free. On top of all the others, its not safe. A morse taper without a drawbar should not be subjected to lateral forces, the taper can release then you have a real sharp and heavy battle bot coming at you.

    imo those aren't even that good as a drill press - main complaint is the there is no split adjust on the quill so once its got the tiniest bit of slop, its sloppy forever. Had and one got rid of it because of that.
    .

  10. #10
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    Oct 2002
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
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    Turning a drill press into a mill is like turning one of these...



    into one of these...


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