Safety Tips for Working with a Drill Press


A few safety precautions must be remembered while operating a drill press. They are:

  • Know your drill press. Read the owner's manual very carefully. Learn its applications and limitations, as well as the specific potential hazards peculiar to it.
  • Always wear safety goggles or a face shield.
  • Be sure that the chuck key is removed from the chuck before turning on the power. Using a self-ejecting chuck key is a good way of insuring that the key is not left in the chuck accidentally. Also to avoid accidental starting, make sure the switch is in the OFF position before plugging in the cord. Always disconnect the drill from the power source when making repairs.
  • Never attempt to use a hand auger bit in a drill press. Use only drills and bits designed for machine use. Consult the owner's manual for recommended accessories. The use of improper accessories may present hazards.
  • Hold the workpiece firmly so that it will not fly or spin off the table. It is generally best to fasten the workpiece securely with clamps or hold it in a vise. This is especially true when drilling or boring small workpieces.
  • Keep the guard on the spindle pulley to prevent your hair and clothing from getting caught. In fact, no loose clothing, gloves or jewelry should be worn when working on the drill press. A hair net is recommended for long hair.
  • Use the recommended spindle or chuck. Most operations can be done successfully with the 0 to 1/2 in. capacity geared drill chuck.
  • Be sure the drill bit or cutting tool is locked securely in the chuck. Remember that all adjustments should be made with the power off.
  • Adjust the table so that the hole in the table center is beneath the drill, or set the depth stop to avoid drilling into the table. It is a good idea to place a piece of wood beneath the workpiece to prevent this.
  • -Do not use too high a spindle speed. Stay as close to the recommended speeds as possible. If there is any doubt, use the lower speed. The wrong application of high speed can burn up the cutting tool and/or workpieces, and can hurl the work off the table with considerable force. Too slow a speed with a heavy feed can cause the tool to dig into the workpiece, which can stall the motor or break the cutting edges. Always disconnect the machine from the power source when changing speeds or making adjustments.
  • On deep cuts, raise the bit frequently to clean the chips out of the hole. If the drill becomes stuck in the hole, turn off the machine before attempting to raise the bit.
  • Use a brush to keep the table and workpiece free of sawdust or chips. Always disconnect the machine from the power source before cleaning.
  • When using sanding drums and other abrasive accessories, make sure the work area is well ventilated.
  • Never try to stop the machine by grabbing the chuck after the power is turned off. Do not run the tool unattended. Turn off the power, and do not leave the drill press until the chuck comes to a complete stop.
  • To make your drill press kid-proof, it is a good idea to position the key to the OFF position and remove the switch toggle.

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