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Jan 05, 2017, 08:29 PM
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Ideas for the above DickL? I was just staring at it after setting it up and thinking it looked a touch crocked...

The lasers weren't aligned. I fiddled those for a few minutes to get them crossing the small pilot hole I drilled in a scrap of wood. My "thought" would be if the press is in alignment front to back and side to side, the lasers will cross a pilot hole drilled at middle level, upper level, and lower level. Unless the press is out of alignment, they will cross at same point. I think.

At the moment, they aren't doing this. The way the head unit is secured with two set-screws, I think I have a bit of adjustment side to side, and front to back. It isn't off by a lot, and maybe doesn't matter for simply drilling flat wood sheets. But for anything more precise, I need to try and fiddle this a touch better.
Last edited by BiggsDarkLighter; Jan 05, 2017 at 08:36 PM.
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Jan 05, 2017, 08:35 PM
a.k.a. Bob Parks
Each different length of drill bit will need a different laser alignment!
Jan 06, 2017, 12:05 PM
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No, it is two line lasers, and not a single dot. They project across. The center point of a drill bit doesn't change based on outside diameter. And I can prove this once the lasers are aligned. However high or low the piece is, the bit touches the crossing point when brought down.

The laser setup is a pretty good idea and well thought out! The drill bit only interferes once you start dropping it down close to the hole. Then is blocks the front half of the lines. Unfortunately with this cheaply made press, it has been poorly executed. Now lets also be clear. It is only shifting by 1/64 - 3/64"s. Just enough that it wouldn't line up with a center punched hole... Not a lot, but also too much.

The geometry thats hurting my brain, is trying to figure out if parallax on the lasers comes into play... My brain says they way they are setup, there is no parallax on them. The lasers "should" be straight and parallel to the spindle. They then project a line down and sideways/out and you adjust where that line crosses by simply rotating the laser. Reality might be, the holes for the lasers are actually loose and causing some shift as you tighten them down. This could create a tiny amount of parallax on them and might explain the small shift from upper to lower height settings. If so, I might be able to fix that...

The reason they are off when table is up vs down, is the spindle is not parallel or perpendicular to the column. You can visually see (or at least imagine) this... I haven't tried to prove it with an external measurement laser. But I can see it.

Problem is this drill press might simply be too cheap. I don't think the spindle is perpendicular to anything. And it isn't straight or parallel to the column... I will fiddle it some more and see if I can get it better. But I am not very hopeful. Can I get it good enough to knock out this current project? Maybe. But I shouldn't need to readjust ANYTHING (other than centering the table hole with the bit) each time I change the table height.

I am going to try rotating the column to a different position and see if that changes the angle of the head any. Seller has already offered a partial refund...

I think I can get it setup to drill straight holes at least once for this jig project. So it might still be better than nothing. We shall see. I do wish I had spent the extra (double actually) and gotten the Ryobi press. I also wonder if the Harbor Freight one would even be a little better. That one has almost identical parts...
Jan 06, 2017, 03:38 PM
Registered User
Third try .......

Biggs you are going about this in the wrong direction, you cannot use the lasers, as straight as they, are until everything else is square, for now forget about them.

Let's assume the press is assembled correctly, no parts have "structural" defects and everything is tight. To check the spindle/arbor straightness you need a steel drill rod blank, not a simple metal rod but a drill rod blank (more accurately machined) 1/4 or 1/2 inches thick, install it in the spindle (you may have to cut it to size carefully to to bend it) and measure the rod "movement" while rotating, at different heights with a dial indicator (you don't need a 300$ Starret or Mitutoyo, a cheapHF will do), you can hold the indicator with one of those magnetic bases, the table squareness is not important, the dial indicator is fixed the rod is turning. You may have to reset the spindle couple of times, if you are not able to have it turn reasonable straight, there may be problems with the other components, like the motor/gear assembly or the post straightness, unfortunately you are right in most cases with tools you get what you pay, this may happen with the more expensive ones too, btw, but the main problem is that it may not be possible to get the press drill straight, without major re-machining .

If, and once, you have the rod reasonably straight (as much as you want it to be or is possible ) you can square the table, using the rod and a machinist square (a speed square will do), if you want to go "nuclear" you can do it like this. The table assembly and movement look fairly flimsy, so you may need to check it frequently before use.

Once everything is straight and square you can adjust the lasers, and use them to have a general idea on where the drill bit will start the hole, the motor, gear and spindle vibrations can move and miss align the lasers, also the material (wood) thickness will change the "center" location, so they are more like a guideline than a precise measurement .......
Last edited by gio06226; Jan 06, 2017 at 03:49 PM.
Jan 06, 2017, 07:16 PM
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What I am poorly explaining, is that thickness of material, drill bit length, and table location don't change the center point on these lasers, IF everything is correctly aligned. The fact that they WERE changing slightly, showed me other things were out. So at the moment I am simply using them as a reference to see if the other things were all straight, and they aren't.

Adjusting the lasers is pretty easy. And it is also basically all I have on hand. But obviously too fiddly to use them for more than a simple after the fact verification check. Now my Ryobi alignment laser is a different story, and could possibly be used for this.

I am going to try the next best thing and use a nice thick and unused drill bit. But even before that, I am going to try to correct what I can visually see wrong first. Then go for squaring the table up.

I just used the press for a small house repair project (actually to make brackets to install a weather station), and it went really well. Runs reasonably smoothly. Has good power. Was simple enough to use. I didn't need any real precision for this, but it made it easier and safer at least. Well heading back out to fiddle with it some more. I also have boats I really need to build too...

I am thinking about the next build. Ironically the double wide bars I got, are likely not long enough for the boat I think I am going to be building. The beauty of this jig though is, purchasing a longer bar alone quickly changes that. Or, I can simply join two of these together with a bit more hardware from 8020 Industrial.
Jan 06, 2017, 07:56 PM
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OKAY! We got it! I can't find the smaller square I need to level the table side to side, but I now have the table square to the column and the column parallel to the bit/spindle. It took very slow and careful tightening of the drill head set screws. As soon as I started to tighten the bottom one, everything shifted. So I backed off and did it VERY slowly in stages.

I also rotated the column on the base. Not sure if it actually helped, but it seemed to.

It is 97%. I could get it most of that last 3% if I took another hour or so of fiddling. But I am much happier now with where it is. For now at least, it is more than good enough to drill the blocks and other parts for the jig!

I haven't fiddled the lasers again, yet. I can see they are mostly fluff. I will get to that eventually. They might still prove useful for drilling multiple holes, once everything is setup for a specific project.

EDIT: I leveled the table best I could without that smaller square. And it works awesome now! I am much happier with it. Once the lasers are aligned, if they can be for multiple heights, I will be fully stoked.
Last edited by BiggsDarkLighter; Jan 06, 2017 at 10:08 PM.
Jan 11, 2017, 01:18 AM
Registered User
Another boat done in record time using the jig! 15 minutes to adjust hull, set fin, drill rudder hole, align rudder and set then reinforce post. Another 15 minutes tonight, and I have the mast step bottom plate in and mast exit aligned for 5 degrees. Plus rudder hole drilled in deck. Although I messed up and got the hole off a touch.

It is working really well. Only minor issue is the lasers. The front lenses need a better solution. Even with some hot glue tack spot, still can move it with a bump.

I think I am ready to start building the t-slot system version. I am still waiting on the scroll saw, it was supposed to arrive today. So hoping it is here tomorrow.
Mar 16, 2017, 02:26 AM
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Well the scroll saw didn't like scrolling 3/4" oak... Big surprise there I guess. So I tried to kill myself by sanding the parts to shape with the belt sander. That was a BAD idea. Apparently that is enough dust to trigger KILLER allergy attacks.

So that prompted a lot of research into dust collection systems, and other diversions. And in the meantime, I went and bought a WHOLE bunch more tools. For the next round, I will simply use a bandsaw.

It is pretty amazing the difference between the old reclaimed oak board I used, and sanding it down and getting it shaped. I like the reclaimed look, but not appropriate for this part.

I think it is turning out pretty good. I am not really happy with the sanded radius edge... but using the shaper next time will fix that. The 3/4" oak is thick and strong enough to drill holes underneath to install some sort of leveling feet. Not that the building board portion really needs this, but it will help with getting the jig level for the laser setup.
Mar 16, 2017, 06:40 PM
Registered User
If you have a dust problem, google on "Dust Deputy" and Oneida. Works beautifully, keeps the inside of the shop vac (and its filter) dust free. Highly recommended. It'll save your lungs and keep your shop clean for a hundred bucks.


Mar 16, 2017, 10:22 PM
Registered User
Earl, I did just that! I spent about 3 days looking at that and similar options lol! I went with a cheaper Chinese knockoff, that actually looks to be a little better designed. The top corkscrews down like a snail shell automatically directing the start of the cyclone. Can't quite tell from the picture (being lazy and using cell phone camera synched to my computer).

All in for bucket head vacuum, buckets, and cyclone was under $50. The automated switch was $54. I don't think that vacuums is going to really be powerful enough, but the price was right. If not, I am planning to grab one of the "Untra Quiet" Craftsman vacs or something similar.

My "normal" wet dry vac is a Milwaukee M18 cordless one. I usually use it at least once or twice whenever I am out in the shop. So pretty much every day. I love it! But it can't be plugged in so not workable for the dust system.

At the moment, I don't have a good way to cut out the circle support piece. I was staring at this router and see instructions for the jig to cut circles, but the jig appears to be missing from the box full of stuff.

I would use my bandsaw, but discovered it is missing a critical part, tires. The blade was installed directly onto the wheels! Tires are ordered, but it is momentarily offline and put away back in the shed!

The idea of cutting it by spinning it on the table saw, kinda scares me! Not sure I am comfortable enough yet doing dumb things with the table saw to safely get away with that...

I can cut it out by hand with a coping saw. And maybe clean it up with the belt sander. But that sounds like a lot of work, and then really dusty too...

The scroll saw is a possibility. But it struggled with the 3/4" oak. Still maybe the birch ply will be easier on it. It looks like ideally the center hole should be beveled to fit this, so I think I will go dig the scroll out and try that.
Mar 17, 2017, 12:48 AM
Registered User
I will save the rest of the build shots for my workshop thread, but that was the motivation I needed to go get this done! Thank Earl!

You can see the spiral much better in this picture too.

I kinda trashed the workshop. That won't be too bad to clean up. But the sad part was a loud pop and a fireball shooting out of my nice vintage Model 2 Dremel.

"The mountain called Monkey had spoken. There was only fire. And then, nothing."

I think its time to get a modern one, LOL!
Last edited by BiggsDarkLighter; Mar 17, 2017 at 12:54 AM.

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