What is the difference between Pillar Drills, Column Drills, Bench Drills and Drill Presses?
There are many types of drill on the market, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Of course, nothing can beat the versatility of a hand drill over a fixed drill. Similarly, nothing can compare to the compact footprint of a bench drill over a floor standing pillar drill. As with all machinery purchases, considerations must be made to make the decision that is right for your personal requirements.
So, what do you need to consider when choosing a type of drill press to buy?
Below are just a few of the considerations that will hopefully make your decision easier!
A hand drill, as its name suggests, is a handheld power tool. Compact and light, versatile and practical. Extremely limited on capacity and accuracy, it shines when small jobs are required in awkward positions.
A bench drill on the other hand is a larger model than a hand tool. The first model that is fixed in its working position. Most often small enough to place on your workbench. These are sometimes called drill presses too, but for the purposes of this exercise we will refer to them as a bench model, at around 30”, or 760mm tall.
Sometimes called a column drill, and often referred to in the US as a Drill Press.
These monsters are true workhorses of any workshop and can stand up to 2500mm tall and weight half a ton.
In our opinion, any fabricator worth their salt will already have, or needs to have, a realiable floor standing pillar drill. Owing to its superior size, these drill presses are beefier in every single way, not least its capacity and accuracy…
Size is the most obvious initial factor between drill options. A drills size will directly correlate to two things – its motor, and its rigidity. In turn, both of these will directly impact its capacity, and also its accuracy, which we will cover several times throughout this piece.
The size of the machines motor allows it to remove more material at once. So, when deciding a machine that is right for you, you need to decide what the biggest hole you need to bore will be in the next 10 years. Since a good quality machine will last you over a decade, you should aim to buy it once, and buy it right.
The build quality, and in turn the rigidity, has a large impact on your drilling quality. A structurally superior machine frame will allow more accurate perpendicular drilling. If perfectly 90 degree vertical holes are what you are after, bigger is better. For example, DIMAKIN’s DP-3810-A has an impressive column diameter of 115mm. This frame support, combined with its 2hp motor, is exactly what allows it to boast a drilling capacity of 45mm.
To a degree, all drills are only as accurate as its operator. Despite this, there are features that can help. By its very design, a hand drill is extremely flexible it its operation, and as such an operator can drill at varying angles with all the inconsistency that comes with working by eye. The advantage that bench drills and pillar drills have, is that they are fixed, and often have workbeds which allow vices to be affixed that can hold your workpiece. This allows the operator to work more precisely, and effectively.
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