Drill press used as turning tool - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Default Drill press used as turning tool

Picked up a 5" cross sliding vise for my 13" Craftex drill press on Friday.... thought it would be a welcome addition for metal working and also light aluminum and plastic turning/clean up.

Yesterday was nice enough outside that I worked on the Mustang for the first time in 5 months. Cleaned up the trunk and interior, cut out some damaged Dynaliner; also made up a stainless steel clutch cable bracket and installed it on the swaybar re enforcement plate using stainless steel 12 point ARP brand nuts.

Next up was the dipstick and tube; re affixed the bracket to one of the valve cover studs and examined the billet alum dipstick handle. Shortening it and threading for the Ford Motorsport handle is going to happen later, but I figured after hand sanding it a little......

why not mount it into the drill press and use the rotary motion to sand/buff the top and side surfaces.........

Worked pretty well, had to increase the speed of the press but it yielded decent results. There are some deep scratches which will require sanding with more aggressive paper (maybe 150 or 200 to start) to make it perfect. For now it's much better than before and allows me to move on to other more pressing matters like re installing the brake lines and master cylinder, finish the underhood plumbing and wiring and move on to the interior of the car.

Anyone else use their drill press for light turning operations ? I have a bunch of small stuff that will end up in there; also grabbed some carbide cutters to mount into the vise. Should be interesting.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 10:31 AM
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Paul,

Be careful with that drill press, particularly the chuck used as you describe. Many drill chucks (not just on drill presses) mount by tapers only. Some are threaded. Some of both/either types have a screw that locks the chuck in place on the threads or the taper. The ones with the screws are probably okay for light use as you describe. None are meant for nor can they take much side pressure, which even light turning imparts. Those without the screws can break free from their mount and send the chuck and part careening off, potentially causing significant damage and/or harm.

Please, save your money to buy a small lathe for what you need in the way of these turnings and polishing.

Rick

"If you want nice, clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes a bit cheaper."
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 10:35 AM
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I don't have a wood lathe, so on occasion I will set up my craftsman 12' drill press for wood turning small items, using chiesels for turning tools. I also have an 8" HF drill press I have a cheap off shore milling table set up on that I use for milling wood and non ferrous metals occasionally. The old Atlas drill press is my go to for wood working.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 10:52 AM
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Watch out side loading drill press you should not use a drill press for milling the Mores taper can drop out of the drill press causing allot of damage. They are just not built for that. IMHO
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:57 PM
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[QUOTE=RickKr;2012143]Paul,

Be careful with that drill press, particularly the chuck used as you describe. Many drill chucks (not just on drill presses) mount by tapers only. Some are threaded. Some of both/either types have a screw that locks the chuck in place on the threads or the taper. The ones with the screws are probably okay for light use as you describe. None are meant for nor can they take much side pressure, which even light turning imparts. Those without the screws can break free from their mount and send the chuck and part careening off, potentially causing significant damage and/or harm.

Rick, I have a lathe, do not intend to try turning on the dp, but just curious. Why would the taper on the dp be more prone to fly off than the taper on the lathe, given equal side-loadings? My venerable Rockwell had in its day an optional turning kit - mostly a plate with a vertical toolrest bar, a drive spur, and I think a passive centre on the plate to keep the end of a spindle steady. Then again, it also had an optional routing kit - couple of bits. Was Rockwell being perpetually optimistic?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:29 PM
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What year is the Pony Car? I remember when they were first introduced.
FWIW, my parents were in their 70s, got a wild hair and traded their Town Car in for a 2000 Mustang GT. I flew to FL to bring them back to TN when Dad's health started downhill. Got on I-75 and Dad said, Kick it down! No cops in sight. Went from 70 to 100 faster than I could say it! It was leased and Mom had to turn it in when Dad passed away in 2002.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:58 PM
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It's simple. Drill presses are not made for side pressure exerted on them, metal lathes are. You can get away with occasional light 'lathe type' work with a drill press, but not a good idea at all. If nothing else, it will tear up the bearings. I would say you would likely be a lot better off using a wood lathe, but best of all would be a metal lathe. But that's just me. Use your drill press all you want.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biagio View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickKr View Post
Paul,

Be careful with that drill press, particularly the chuck used as you describe. Many drill chucks (not just on drill presses) mount by tapers only. Some are threaded. Some of both/either types have a screw that locks the chuck in place on the threads or the taper. The ones with the screws are probably okay for light use as you describe. None are meant for nor can they take much side pressure, which even light turning imparts. Those without the screws can break free from their mount and send the chuck and part careening off, potentially causing significant damage and/or harm.
Rick, I have a lathe, do not intend to try turning on the dp, but just curious. Why would the taper on the dp be more prone to fly off than the taper on the lathe, given equal side-loadings? My venerable Rockwell had in its day an optional turning kit - mostly a plate with a vertical toolrest bar, a drive spur, and I think a passive centre on the plate to keep the end of a spindle steady. Then again, it also had an optional routing kit - couple of bits. Was Rockwell being perpetually optimistic?
I do not know the engineering behind it all, but I think it has mostly to do with the length of the tapers and leverage of applied pressures. Drill chuck (DC) tapers are typically shorter, Jacobs, Brown & Sharp and Jarno being the common ones. Whereas lathe tapers are typically longer, Morse being the most common (Standard Tapers).

Pressures during most drilling operations are longitudinal whereas pressures applied during turning operations are both longitudinal and lateral. Short tapers on drill presses/lathe drill chucks take pressure along the spindle/tailstock ram. Short DC tapers work there as there is very little sideways pressure. Very much sideways pressure (as when "turning on a DP) can cause those short tapers to release and without the longitudinal pressure to keep the chuck firmly seated, it can wobble loose. The unsupported length of the DC exacerbates the lateral pressure.

The longer and much larger diameter surface area of lathe tapers provides a lot more dispersion of lateral pressures during turning operations. I think most turning operations involving tapers have a combination of a spindle taper and a tailstock taper, such as when using a spindle taper, faceplate and drive dog. The tailstock taper applies longitudinal pressure holding the part to be turned into the spindle taper, keeping everything from coming loose. I would be very leery of any turning operation where a spindle taper was not locked in place by some mechanical means beyond just the taper, which is where the screw in my comments above comes into play.

Threaded DC mounts are a different case, but I would still not put much lateral pressure on them either.

JOAT makes a good point that DP bearings are not designed for much lateral pressure. Lathe bearings are designed for both lateral and longitudinal pressures. But damage to DP bearings is not the issue here, releasing of the DC and resultant flying off causing damage and harm is the issue.

Rick
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Why would the taper on the dp be more prone to fly off than the taper on the lathe, given equal side-loadings?
Morse Taper drive spurs require a tailstock to hold the part in place, which keeps the taper in .

Chucks and faceplates that don't need a tailstock screw on to the spindle, so they can't fall off.
If you had a lathe chuck with a morse taper, it would most certainly come off.

I've had drill press chucks come off before, using a circle cutter. It's not nearly as catastrophic as the previous posts might lead you to believe. It will usually just stop spinning, provided it doesn't fall all the way out.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Gentlemen, appreciate all your commentary and experiences. I studied mechanical engineering and have been working on and modifying my cars and tools since I was 14 years old.

I did not mean to suggest a large drill press is completely suitable nor a decent alternative for a real lathe or mill.....of course not. Yes the design of the machine is not for side loading, so it will wear out the bearings - depending on the load being applied.

The first attempt using the sandpaper, steel wool and polishing compound worked exactly as intended. If you push hard enough to slow the chuck down, there will be consequences; in this instance it produced exactly the intended result - a congruent and consistent surface finish on a round aluminum part. As we all know, we can use our router tables to cut aluminum (gently and small passes) so this is really not that much different - with care taken.

As for the chuck falling out - my 8" table top press does this fairly regular basis and while not ideal, it is no big deal and has never damaged anything or caused concern for injury. Both drill presses run at about 300 rpm. I'm sure I would be less cavalier at 3000 rpm.

Thank You for your concerns, and the safety angle is appreciated - while I inherently am a risk taker by nature, I am not a fool nor careless. A metal lathe is on the wish list, one of my neighbors thinks they have a wood lather they want to give me. I have zero room as it is - hence the multitasking of the big drill press.

As for the car - it's a 1987 Mustang GT convertible that I bought restored in 2010 after totalling my SVO clone that I had since 1987. 9 engines, 3 transmissions and 3 rear ends ought to indicate the level of commitment to running hard, lol.

I re-restored it in 2011-2013, swapped in a hot rodded drivetrain (converted from auto to manual 5 speed) with 380 hp at the tires.....took it to the track and road course a bunch, as well as street driving/crusing/car shows. New trick alum heads and some other stuff in 2015 - now makes 444 hp/380 tq at the rear tires on pump gas...no power adder - only a tricked out double pumper carburetor. Runs 12.7's at 114 mph all day long plus will do 100 laps at the road course consistently, with road race tires and short shifting - wrong rear gear too - only pulls 5600 rpm thru the traps - the motor pulls to over 7200. Once I get it sorted, it will run high 11's all day long in total street trim with the current motor. If I put a 4.10 gear back in, it would be mid 11's but that makes it undriveable at the road course and a little too rowdy on the street.

Had a self induced issue with the fiberglass hood flying up on the highway (got distracted at a car show and forgot to put in the hood pins) Labor Day weekend 2015. Hood destroyed itself, the cowl and the windshield at 80 mph. Lucky enough, no injury and managed to put the car on the shoulder instead of the ditch. Equally scary to spinning out at 100 mph and going backwards thru the grass at the track I must confess......done that 3 x lol.

This damage is what got me to strip and paint it (black House of Kolor), and here we are 3-1/2 years later......
Car was about 3300 lbs before I knocked about 200 lbs out of it with the current madness - altered wheelbase, widened track and body, adjustable ride height 4 wheel Koni adjustable coil-overs with 12.5" wide tires all around, carbon fiber hood, adjustable GT4 race wing (from a Pirelli World Challenge race winning Mustang) and an adjustable front carbon splitter.

The upcoming big stereo install and interior modding (new instrument panel and partial dash) is what got me to buy a router table and join this woodworm community......amazing I found another hobby that is capable of filling my calendar and emptying my bank account effortlessly.

Pics of the car below:
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