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Micro drill press


#1

I’d like to purchase a MICRO DRILL PRESS, but of course money is an
issue, and I am not exactly sure what features are the most
important to take into account. I know that I would like variable
speed and the sensitivity to drill jewelry-sized holes (ie, with
potentially tiny drill bits). (To-date I have been using my
flex-shaft, but find that I run through drill bits awfully fast and
that my hand is not always as steady as I want.)

Any recommendations?
What to look for?
Manufacturers?
Any testimonials, good or bad?

I see that Micro-Mark has a “microlux drill press”. Has anyone had
any experience with this particular model?

Thank you Orchid folk!
Tracy
@tracymunn2


#2

When I first started trying to make a living at jewelry making I
wish someone would have given me this advice: if you are having
trouble mastering a skill it means you need more practice, not a
special machine or tool. This advice would have saved me much money
and gotten me where I am today a little faster. Take a look in any
tool catalog and you will find a plethora of items, all meant to
part you from your hard earned money, that promise to make you more
proficient and skillful without you actually having to learn the
skill. One of my favorites is the flex shaft attachment to make
stone setting easier. What you need to do is just keep drilling,
practice, learn how to extract broken drill bits from your work,
practice, learn to resharpen broken drill bits and practice! You
already know what your problem is, so work on being more steady.
Try changing your attitude in regards to breaking drill bits, let it
be a motivator to inspire you to become better. As you drill, even
before you drill and at night before you go to sleep, hold in your
mind the vision of drilling the item and not breaking it (then also
hold in your mind spending the money you would have spent on the
drill press being spent on some other special thing you really
want).

If you buy a drill press you will have to have a place to put it,
then you will have to learn to use it (it’s limitations and any
other uses, which you will be spend a lot of time trying to find in
order to justify having it), you will have to maintain it, you will
probably want to buy some other things that will help make the tool
even more useful (and expensive) and every time you use it you will
have to set it up. Rather, why not save the money and use the time
to make yourself more versatile with a time honored skill that
thousands of goldsmiths from past generations learned, many of them
with equipment far less superior than a flex shaft.

Buying tools to do what God has endowed you with (two hands, two
eyes and a beautiful mind to guide them) is comparable to our modern
dependency on technology. Back in the 70’s when we were less
reliant on technology, the blackout was far less debilitating;
people were still able to type because many had manual typewriters,
people had cash because there were no ATMs, people were still able
to make phone calls because they didn’t depend on cellular like we
do today, etc. Now I’m not saying technology is bad, just that over
dependence on it has it’s price. Besides, there are things that you
can’t drill on even the best drill presses, so if you never learn to
use your hands, you will always be limited in your ability.
Practicing is not as sexy in the short run as having a shiny new
tool on you bench but in the long run it will be one of the best
things you will ever do for yourself.

This is my advice, do with it what you will.
Larry


#3

Have you considered getting the drill press stand that is made for
the Foredom flex shaft? The handpiece clamps into the stand and you
operate it just like any other drill press, controlling the speed
with the foot pedal. It may be a little less expensive to go that
route. --Vicki Embrey


#4

Hello Tracy, I bought one of the drill press units that is designed
for mounting a Dremel from MicroMark. It did not move smoothly up
and down, and wobbled back and forth as well. Worthless when
drilling very small holes. I then bought an inexpensive but rather
large drill press from Harbor Freight ($59 or $69) with a jacobs
chuck. It holds nearly all bit sizes (except very tiny sizes), and
works smoothly. Did I mention that it was large? And noisy? The
speed can be varied by moving a belt to different pullys, but that’s
rather inconvenient, so I leave it on one speed. It meets my needs
for drilling small holes in silver and gold, and enlarging holes in
Bali beads. If money is an issue, you might consider the HF unit and
try to catch it on sale.

Judy in Kansas, where the corn is toast and the beans are dropping.
At least there was a good wheat harvest.


#5

Hi Tracy,

I'd like to purchase a MICRO DRILL PRESS, but of course money is
an issue, and I am not exactly sure what features are the most
important to take into account.  I know that I would like variable
speed and the sensitivity to drill jewelry-sized holes (ie, with
potentially tiny drill bits).  

I’ve been using the Proxxon TBM 115 drill press. It comes with 6
collets (1 mm, 1.5mm 2.0mm, 2.4mm, 3mm, 3.2mm). An optional chuck is
available for tools up to 6 mm (.24"). It has 3 speeds, 1800, 4700 &
8500 rpm.

There are also a number of optional vises & an xy table available
for it.

I just recently completed a job that required 18 ga (.040") holes to
be drilled through the center of 12 ga (.081") square wire on aprox
.120" centers. One #60 bit (.040") lasted through 320 holes.

The Proxxon Drill is a German engineered & built tool. Depending on
where you get it, the cost is between $160 & $200.

Dave


#6

Hi, Foredom makes a small drill press that you mount a #30 handpiece
into and use your flex shaft. Sorry, I just sold one…New I think
they start @ about $130.00
http://www.pastimecompany.com/Tools/Foredom/Drill_Presses.html The
above link is to show you a picture of what I am talking about
only…Shop around for the best price you can find. Mark


#7

Tracy, We have a MicroMark at Metalwerx for about one year now. It’s
great. Any tool that can withstand the abuse of students and still
performs is a “passed” in my book. It comes with a second belt for
slower speeds and you can purchase some extra jigs to really hold
your work securely.

-k Karen Christians M E T A L W E R X 50 Guinan St. Waltham, MA 02451
Ph: 781/891-3854 Fx: 781/891-3857 www.metalwerx.com email:
@Karen_Christians Board Member of SNAG


#8

I have a Foredom DP30 drill press. I accepts a number of Foredom
handpieces. It is currently listed at $129 in the Stuller catalog. I
just drilled 520 1mm holes in 18 ga. sterling sheet with one drill
bit yesterday. With this drill press you have the total range of
speed of the Foredom motor.

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#9

Dave, I’m looking for a good quality SMALL vise for my drill press.
Where can I find Proxxon products?

Thanks,
Douglas Zaruba


#10

Hi Tracy and Judy, I also took the Harbor Freight path for a drill
press but took a different approach. I bought a drill press STAND
for $20 - something that has a fitting to hold a normal electric
hand drill that is then moved up and down like a drill press.
Foredom has the same product for their flexshafts. I modified the
fitting with a piece of angle bracket to firmly hold my #30
flexshaft handpiece instead of a electric drill. It now operates
just like the foredom product.

Linda in MA


#11

Hey Doug, Rio Grande has Proxxon equipment. including the vise
attachment you are talking about for about $18. I’ve got my eye on
their band saw. Have a great day!

-Kate
http://www.katewolfdesigns.com


#12

We sell the full Proxxon line with the most popular items in stock
and the less frequent items special order. They are tremendous
quality tools. I purchased my first Proxxon item at retail prior to
becoming a dealer and feel that it is well worth what I spent.

Tim 
A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc 
5151 S Federal Blvd Unit I-9 
Littleton CO 80123 
720 283-7200 
www.A2ZMetalsmithSupply.com

#13

I have a Dumore sensitive drill press that is practically new. It is
considered one of the best unit for sensitive drilling. The copy on
their web site states: http://dumorecorp.com/ AUTOMATIC DRILLS,
SENSITIVE DRILLS, DRILL ACCESSORIES

Dumore drilling and tapping products have always been at the
forefront of automated production. Dumore products provide versatile
and cost-effective, customized solutions for dedicated drilling and
tapping stations that turn out more precision parts in less time.

SENSITIVE DRILLS
Series 16 - 1/16 HP
Series 37 - 1/3 HP

SERIES 16 - 1/16 HP Compact and light weight, this bench type
sensitive drill press is a rigid, stationary unit designed to
consistently drill exceptionally precise small holes. Large, knurled
adjustment wheels provide for easy, finger tip control. Hand fed
table moves work to drill while Hole Depth Adjustment Collar
maintains selected depth - repeatedly. Three-inch throat and swing
away table add to versatility. Accessories available to control
drill speeds. With 8 ft. cord and 3-prong plug. You can see a
photo of this unit at http://dumorecorp.com/drills.htm#16 It is
however a rather expensive piece of equipment, but it is most
precise. The current list price is $697.00. I am selling this unit
for $300.00.

If anyone is interested please contact me at: Dr.Dule1@aol.com


#14

A word of caution about the Foredom drill press accessory. I had the
worst time trying to drill fairly large (#30 drill) holes in thin
stock with this setup. The mechanics of the press have a substantial
amount of side-to-side lash. The holes often ended up hexagonal
rather than round. It was very frustrating until I switched to a real
bench-sized drill press. What a difference. And a lot less expensive.

Edward


#15
    A word of caution about the Foredom drill press accessory. I
had the worst time trying to drill fairly large (#30 drill) holes
in thin stock with this setup. The mechanics of the press have a
substantial amount of side-to-side lash. The holes often ended up
hexagonal rather than round. It was very frustrating until I
switched to a real bench-sized drill press. What a difference. And
a lot less expensive. 

I too experienced the side-to-side lash problem with the Foredom
press (DP-30). Out-of-the-box it is not a very satisfactory tool but
I was able to pretty much eliminate the lash problems with some
carefully placed shims. It took a few hours of shim work but now the
press is quite satisfactory for short-throw, light pressure drilling
jobs which, of course, includes most of the things we do with jewelry
pieces.

That said if I had it to do over again I think I’d forego the
Foredom press in favour of a decent table-top drill press. If you
take the price of the Foredom press, a few hours labour to make it
usable and add a dedicated #30 handpiece --otherwise you risk scoring
the devil out of your regular #30 as you insert and remove it from
the press-- you’re getting pretty close to the price of a Proxxon,
for example, which in the end appears to be a much more satisfactory
drilling machine.

Trevor F.


#16

A couple of years ago I went on the hunt for a “real” micro drill
press and found several on eBay. It took a month or so but I ended
up with a beautiful SERVO for about $260 including shipping. The
precision is wonderful.

Dr. Mac