Milling With a Drill Press

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Although not often used for milling, a drill press can be used for this type of operation with a little practice and overall machining skill. Manual mills are specifically designed for milling, but can cost many times the price of a good quality drill press. If you are on a tight budget, you can use a drill press as a mill with a bit of patience and experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill chuck
  • Drill chuck Key
  • End mill
  • Mill table stop
  • Insert into the drill press a drill chuck that will accommodate the shaft of the milling cutter you plan to use. Drill presses are designed for stationary drilling, but you can insert a milling cutter into the drill chuck and use it for the milling process. You must move the material rather than the table or spindle head, which is how it is done with a manual mill.

  • Tighten the drill chuck by inserting the drill chuck key into its hole in the side of the drill chuck. Turn clockwise while holding the end mill in your other hand. Fully tighten the end mill to prevent loosening while cutting due to the vibrations.

  • Loosen the travel lock on the drill press. This will allow you to move the milling cutter up and down for the depth cuts that many milling operations require. Because the table and the head of the drill press are stationary, you will have to move the material you are cutting to use the drill press for milling.

  • Set a stop for the raw material. You may tighten a block specifically made as a stop on the drill press table. This will give you a point of reference for milling. The stop should be measured from the center point of the milling cutter. This will allow you to move the material and cut accurately.

  • Bring the milling cutter to the correct depth for the milling process. You may then set the quill stop to make sure the mill does not go any lower than that point. You may still raise the milling cutter at any point if you need to move the material. If you are doing uninterrupted milling, you may also set the quill lock, which will keep the mill at that particular depth while you move the raw material around for cutting.

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