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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Tools | Making Holes
Drill Press


I bought the Jet JDP-17MF drill press back in November of 2003. A drill press is a requirement if you want to drill holes at a precise angle. While a bench-top drill press would have been cheaper, I didn't have a dedicated space to put it, so I got the floor-standing one. The model comes with a 3/4hp motor. As the Jet web site is a mess, I have linked the Woodcraft web page for this model, which is where I bought my model. It is still in production. This is the box as I picked it up at the store (not shown is the vertical stand). It is a heavy unit, so I used my metal dolly to get it out of the truck and move it into the garage.
(external link: Jet JDP-17MF)

Unpacking the box revealed the items shown on the workbench. The vertical column is shown on the right of the table.

Further unwrapping the parts and organizing them on the workbench, so that I can prepare to follow the assembly instructions.

A close-up of the smaller parts on the workbench.

I did not keep track of how long it took to put it together, but here's a photo of the completed unit. While extremely heavy, it is easy enough to move by rocking it back and forth on the four corners of the base. However, once in position, this thing isn't moving. I am extremely happy with it. Early on the only problem I had was that the chuck would fall out of the unit from time to time. My Dad, an avid woodworker, gave me, the novice, the advice needed to resolve this issue, and it hasn't been a problem since then. I have linked to a video that basically describes the same process.
(external link: How To Seat a Chuck)

The main accessory I added to the drill press was the Woodcraft "Drill Sargent" hands-free drill press hold down (part #77B78). The parts that came in the box are shown in this photo. Apparently the unit is no longer actively manufactured or sold. I added this to my drill press in January 2004. The purpose of this add-on is to firmly hold the work down to the drill press' table, while freeing your hands to do other things, such as operate the drill press safely.

You have to lower the drill press a bit...

...to install the quill clamp assembly.

Then you can install the pressure cylinder (white) and the foot casting. All of these parts are fully adjustable to fit the need. The unit has a 30psi pressure load, but that can be increased to a maximum total of 60 psi by adjusting the nut at the top of the cylinder. The foot has two different size openings and two positions on the top of its base into which the pressure cylinder can be mounted, so that you can tailer the foot to match the size hole you are going to drill. I have mine set to the largest hole in this photo.

Here is a photo of the entire assembly. The way the unit is supposed to be used is for most drilling actions, the foot should be set such that it makes contact just before the drill bit is about to make contact with the wood. There are some specialty applications, covered in the instruction pamphlet, where the foot should make contact much earlier than when the drilling device hits the wood.