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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Using a drill press with a wire size drill bit

Not all drill presses can accommodate really tiny bits, like this wire size #62.  When I was looking for one several years ago, I was considering a relatively inexpensive Delta, and had to call the manufacturer to find out the size of the smallest bit the standard chuck could accommodate. I don't remember the specifics, but it was more than adequate for my needs.

I've been quite successful using these little bits, even though their short length doesn't leave much to insert into the chuck.  I start by closing the chuck completely, then opening it just until I can slide the bit in. That assures the bit will be centered.  Then I carefully tighten each hole of the chuck, working around the chuck until everything is tight. Once that's done, I adjust the throw so the bit will drill only as deep as needed.  I try to keep as little of the bit extending from the chuck as possible, to increase stability and accuracy and reduce the chance of breakage.

Next, I make an awl mark to guide the bit in, and position the bit carefully so it enters that opening without any deflection.  I also drill the hole in stages to reduce stress on the bit.

Although a hand-held drill like a Dremel might be easier to use, I prefer the precision of a drill press when the hole needs to be dead-on vertical.