A drill stand is something I’ve managed to do without for fifty years. Ok I’m stretching it a bit here but I have just turned fifty and I’ve been building electronic stuff since I was twelve or thirteen so it is quite a while. Read my best drill press review to find out more.
Why didn’t I get one? Well I thought I didn’t need it. I can always hold a drill in my hand and I don’t do that much drilling.
Why did I get one? well mainly because I wanted to drill a PCB. I was also aware that at some time I was going to be drilling some aluminium front panels for a future project and I thought it would make that job a whole lot easier.
It’s now become one of those things that now I’ve had one I wouldn’t want to be without it.
So after reading and looking at what was available I finally got one so I can now pass one some advice.
First I didn’t want to spend a fortune I’ve used PCB drills in the past and pillar drills so I have had some experience of quite high end, expensive and accurate drilling machines.
I did toy with the idea of making something myself for a while but I quickly gave that up. What I eventually bought was the Silverline drill stand from Amazon so here is a review for anyone who is thinking of buying one or a drill stand in general.
What you find upon opening the box.
Firstly the price, I paid just under twenty pounds so I wasn’t expecting it to be industrial strength or quality. Upon opening the box I found the instructions to be quite poor. Not a lot of writing, mainly pictures, not really showing the sort of detail required to assemble the stand and not in any particular order. It’s pretty much a case of look at the bits and work out for yourself where they go using the best picture available, which is the photograph on the front of the box.
To be fair it’s not that difficult and remember I was considering making something myself! What you end up with is pretty fair in all honesty. The base is aluminium and is hollow. Who’s expecting solid cast iron? It’s sturdy enough for the shaft bit to fit into. This is also a hollow steel tube and the bit that holds the drill slots over it all. Once everything is set and tightened up its pretty sturdy. The drilling depth gauge has to be tightened up or there’s too much play in the assembly. I fitted my drill in which is a fairly light and small (and old) Black and Decker in a plastic case.
To ty it out I drilled a fibreglass PCB that needed component holes drilling and used a .8mm steel high speed drill bit from an electronic component supplier.
The completed stand, by looking at the picture on the front of the box, not by following the instructions.
I have to say I was impressed as the drill moved up and down smoothly. I had set it to only move up and down about a centimetre. As you’ll appreciate with a .8mm drill bit you’re able to test for precision and I’m happy to report that the accuracy was very good and with no wobble. I didn’t break any drill bits which is a first for me and being able to hold the board in one hand on the platform and control the press with the other meant that it was easy to accurately drill the holes as you can see from the picture of the finished board.
The PCB after drilling.
My conclusions from this experiment are very favourable for this drill stand. It is certainly good enough to make my old portable drill into a very reasonable PCB drill press. This is something that I thought would be a tough test as it has to be smooth and accurate.
The drill and stand set up after drilling.
I would urge you not to believe all the bad reviews on Amazon. For one I think there are some people who get pleasure from criticising everything. We’ve all met them in life now they have an internet connection and an account and seem to out for revenge on the web.
Maybe there are some people who also don’t take into account what the product is meant for and the cost.
As good as it is, I wouldn’t recommend using it for twelve hours a day in a factory with ham fisted operative, but for hobbyist and home use I think it’s pretty near to perfect. I’m glad I didn’t attempt to build a drilling press myself. It would have been nowhere near as good as this.
I think as people say, hindsight is a wonderful thing so after using it, all say is I wish I had bought this years ago. It would have saved me money in broken PCB drill bits alone! I’m in no doubt that it will significantly help me when it comes to drilling the front panels in my future project that I have in mind.
Would I want to give it back and have my money instead? Absolutely not, this is something that has improved the love of my electronics hobby by making a task easier and more accurate.It's definitely the best drill stand I've owned!
I just need to find somewhere to leave it set up now!
The only minor criticisms I can think of are the instructions and getting my drill to fit in the holder. The drill stand comes with a collar to fit smaller 38mm drills but I used it without this to accommodate my 43mm drill neck. Even with the fixing allen bolt totally removed I couldn’t get the drill in. I had to push a flat headed screwdriver in the gap and twist it to open it up slightly so the drill would drop in. That’s all the bad stuff I can say about it. I’m now looking for a convenient corner where I can have it permanently set up with a drill speed controlled that I’m going to make. Hopefully this drill press review has helped you make up your mind.
If you want to buy one from Amazon I have included a buy it button.