While it will never be as accurate as a “dedicated” manual milling
machine, yes - you can perform milling operations with a drill press.
We use both a “real” manual mini-mill and a converted drill press in
my wax modeling workshops.
You can make drill press do milling operations by truing the table
to the quill and adding an X/Y cross-slide vise. Ours is made from a
cheap Harbor Freight drill press and one of their smallest
cross-slide vises. Total cost for both items was around $70 ($39 +
$29 on “sale”) - plus about an hour to true up everything and tighten
the gibs on the cross-slide.
Works fine to square up wax blocks and slabs. Not as accurate as a
"real" mill, but accurate enough for those students who are on a
CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled. It refers to
computer guided milling, drilling and lathe operations. Before there
were computers to drive them there were (and still are) manually
controlled machine tools.
Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA