Drill Press Parts and Their Functions

Drill Press Parts and Their Functions

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Drill presses are very convenient and useful tools, ones that can be used to drill into all sorts of materials including wood, metal, and more. When it comes to big power tools such as these, it is helpful to know exactly what all of the parts are and what each part does.

You need to know what each part does in order to properly operate a drill press, not to mention that it helps to know what you are doing in the event that something breaks or malfunctions, and needs repairs or replacement parts.

With that, let’s go through the most important parts of a drill press.

#1: The Head

The first part of a drill press that you need to be familiar with is the head. This is the part of the drill press that is at the top, that big and bulky piece topmost piece. Depending on the brand and the amount of money you spend, the head of a drill press may be made out of plastic or metal, and it somewhat resembles a fairly large box, usually with rounded corners.

The main function of the head is to hold and to control many of the other components. The head of the drill press holds other components such as the spindle, the chuck, the drill bits, and the control lever. The drill press’s motor is also housed directly below the head. It’s like the brain that holds everything in place.

The head may also allow for lateral movement in order to change the position of the spindle.

Drill Press Head

#2: The Spindle

The next component of a drill press that you need to be familiar with is the spindle. Some would say that the spindle is the most important part of a drill press. The spindle is that circular piece that somewhat resembles a very short soda can, and it is connected to the bottom of the head and is sometimes held in place with the assistance of the column.

The spindle, as the name implies, spins in a circle. It is the component that is attached to the motor, with the prime function being to spin in a circle in order to drill.

The spindle rests above the chuck. Spindles usually incorporate springs to hold the spindle in place and to allow for better functionality, and the weight of the spindle is quite important in terms of overall performance. In essence, the spindle is the connection point between the motor and the chuck, the part that causes the chuck to turn.

#3: The Chuck

The next important component of a drill press is the chuck. The chuck is the component that is attached to the bottom of the spindle. The chuck is another circular piece that looks similar to the spindle, kind of like a very small soda can, but with a set of pointed teeth or clamps at the bottom, which can be opened and closed in order to remove or insert the necessary drill bits.

The function of the chuck is to hold specific drill bits in place. The chuck is attached to the spindle, which is attached to the motor, and when it all comes together, this is what results in rapid rotation.

Drill Press Chuck

#4: The Drill Bit

Of course, one of the most important components of a drill press is the drill bit.

The drill bit can come in many types, shapes, and sizes. These drill press bits can be used for drilling small or large holes into various materials including wood, metal, tile, ceramic, and more. The type of material that can be drilled into depends on the type of drill bit, so always be sure to select the right drill bit for the task.

Drill Bits for Drill Press

#5: The Lever

Next, we have what is commonly known as the lever or crank. Sometimes it has only one arm, like an old school slot machine, and sometimes it has three arms to allow for easy rotation. It usually looks like a wheel with three evenly spaced spokes, just without the exterior of the wheel.

This lever is designed to be held in your hand, and it can spin or move up and down. The purpose of the lever is to move the spindle and chuck downwards for drilling, and then back up when the drilling is complete.

Drill Press Lever

#6: The Column

Next, we have the column, which is that metal pole that is vertically positioned, the only such component on a drill press. The function of the column is more or less to hold everything together. The column of a drill press connects the base, the table, and the head.

The head of the drill press is connected to the column, and you can usually move the head laterally on the column to allow for positional changes. The length of the column can also be adjusted in order to accommodate different sizes of workpieces.

#7: The Base

Another important component of the drill press is the base. This is the part at the bottom, that large block that allows everything to stand up. The bases of drill presses are usually made of steel or iron, something heavy to allow for better balance and stability, and these are usually square in shape.

The base of a drill press usually always comes with various mechanisms to allow users to clamp or screw the drill press to a large surface.

#8: The Table

The table of the drill press the flat plate that sits right in the middle.

These are generally made of cast iron or other very solid components. The table is where you lay the material that is being drilled into, the area where the drill bit meets the material. The table can be adjusted for height along the column, and can usually be moved sideways as well.

Drill Press Table

#9: The Motor

The final important component of a drill press is of course the motor. Nothing happens without the motor. The motor is generally housed inside or right under the head, and it is responsible for powering the spindle, chuck, and drill bit. These motors generally range from 1/6 horsepower to two horsepower in power.

There is then a special belt connected to the motor, and connected to the spindle, to allow the power and motion to transmit from the motor to the spindle.


As you can see, although drill presses may look large and intimidating, they are actually fairly simplistic tools, ones that serve many different purposes. If you have any components on your drill press that break down, now you know what they are, what they do, and more.

Remember, knowing the components of your tools and what they do is essential to being a professional.