Sunday, February 2, 2014

DIY Drill Press

Since I've been fabricating a lot of printed circuit boards for some new electronics/robotics projects, I needed a drill press for finishing PCBs and for smaller, more delicate drilling operations.

Introducing the Flex-Press Print!  After looking at some drill press designs, including my crappy Press and a couple from Stritch's metals shop, I decided I could design my own press to be 3D printed.

**Update: Per suggestion by Google User Mike M, I am including a link to the drill press stand that inspired this design  - in case you are interested in buying one, rather than building your own - but also to give credit to the original design.  Check it out, here.

I had an extra flex shaft tool, so I designed it around that.  A similar one could be purchased here.

The design also features LM10UU 10mm linear bearings to ride up and down a 10mm diameter shaft.

My studio mate, DeLandTree, inspired me to include a time lapse of my initial drawing for this design.  Check out his latest time lapse cad session here.

I decided to design this to print on my Mendel Max printer because: a.) it would be fast, b.) it would be a design worth sharing, c.) it could easily be designed to be printed with zero support material.


I published this design on Thingiverse, here.  Above is all of the parts fit onto one 190x170mm build plate, tho I actually printed each of the parts individually.

The first print: the z-axis clamp.  This includes a small 1/8"x10 ruler for depth specific drilling, as well as a nut-trap for a bolt to act as a clamp on the 10mm shaft.

For the base of the press, I decided to try a little experiment.  Though the base of the press needed to be sturdy and heavy, I designed it to be hollow.

And laser cut a "lid" to screw on top of it.

Then, I used hot glue seal the seams.

Next, I began to fill with concrete.

I sprinkled in some extra bolts to add some weight.

The base, filled with concrete.  I attempted to add some flange nuts so I could anchor this to a table in the future; all but one sank below the concrete (sigh.)

The completed base.

Tho I didn't include images here, the other two parts came out near perfect on the first try.  Also - I tweaked all of the designs to compensate for little bugs before uploading to Thingiverse.

For levers, I cut, bent, and filed some .125x.5x" aluminum strapping.

Drilled and tapped.

Plasti-dipped the handle lever to maximize drilling comfort.

The completed press!


  1. This press drill is strongly "inspired" by Foredom PD-30 Press Drill Stand. The stand that is actually designed to use with that H.30 flex tool handpiece Bryan Cera is using. For about 100$, heavy and sturdy iron cast, I don't think it is worth the trouble to 3D print it and end up with a light plastic stand. Just my 2 cents.

    1. It's cool Bryan that you modeled a 3D version, but at least give the credit to Foredom for the original design.

    2. Mike,

      I modeled this based on an unidentified (unlabeled) and broken press I found in metals storage at my university. Thank you for identifying the model for me! I have updated this post per your suggestion.

      Three things I must note:

      1.) While the model I drew is inspired (no quotes necessary) by the Foredom press, I made many changes to the design in order for it to work with 3D-printed parts and off-the-shelf hardware. Have a closer look at the models and you'll see that they are modified, more than 70%, from the source.

      2.) The point of this project (and many others I make) is to encourage my readers to try their hand at creating their own tools, rather than simply purchasing them. Making my own tools has been a great way to learn about materials, fabrication and design - whilst growing my personal workshop.

      3.) This press cost roughly $14 to build - quite lower than the $140-150 (not sure where you got $100 from) price point of the foredom model.


    3. Oh, and also, it may be plastic but it is not light - if you actually read the post you would may have noticed that I filled it with concrete! :)