Metalworking Machines - Drill Presses

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What should you do before using a drill press?

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Drill presses can be dangerous if not used properly.

  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Make sure you understand the instructions and are properly trained before operating a drill press.

Drill press
Drill press with guard

Refer to Metalworking Machines - General for basic safety tips.

What are some safe work practices to know when using a drill press?

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  • Wear appropriate CSA-certified safety glasses.
  • Make sure that the drill press has a start/stop button within easy reach of the operator.
  • Make sure the drill press has a working emergency stop button (e-stop).
  • Make sure a guard, shield or barrier is in place and functioning properly before starting work.
  • Use a vacuum, brush or rake to remove cuttings.
  • Remove burrs and chips from a drilled hole. When making deep holes, clean out the hole frequently.
  • Use a clamp or drill vise to prevent work from spinning.
  • Make sure the drill bit or cutting tool is locked securely in the chuck. Remove the chuck key before starting the drill press.
  • Lubricate drill bit when drilling metal.
Lubricate drill bit

  • Reduce the drilling pressure when the drill begins to break through the workpiece. This action prevents drill from pulling into the work and breaking.
  • Keep drill bits clean and sharp. Dull drills are a common cause of breakage.
  • Keep floor around the drill press free of oil and grease.
  • Keep the working surface clean of scraps, tools and materials.
  • Keep guards in place and in good working order.

Keep guards in place

  • Shut off power before removing the drill bit.

Refer to portable hand drills for additional information.

What are some things you should avoid doing?

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  • Do not wear any loose clothing or ties. Roll sleeves above the elbow to prevent them from being caught in revolving parts. Tie back or confine long hair.
  • Do not wear gloves, rings, watches, or bracelets while working with a drill press.
  • Do not set speeds, adjust, or measure work until machine is completely stopped.
  • Do not force the drill with extra pressure.
  • Do not leave chuck key in drill chuck. Make adjustments and remove key immediately.
  • Do not hold work by hand when drilling holes; secure the work with clamps or vices.
  • Do not place hands under the stock being drilled.
  • Do not stop rotation of chuck and spindle with your hand.
  • Do not remove a broken drill with a centre punch and hammer.
  • Do not leave the drill press running unattended.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2019-01-03