What Does a Pillar Drill Do: Drilling Holes Made Easy

what does a pillar drill do

Last Updated on July 8, 2021

So, what does a pillar drill do, and how do you even use pillar drills in the first place? These are important questions to answer, and you are going to find out exactly what is involved in the next few minutes.

The Basics of a Pillar Drill

What you have with a pillar drill is a machine that is free-standing, and where you have a drill stand that is capable of being used on many different materials. You may also see them being referred to as drill press machines, and you will typically see the drill bit and a handle that rotates to operate the drill itself.

The aim here is simple. It gives you a neat way to drill holes that are highly controlled and where the drilling accuracy is off the scale.

Do be aware that a pillar drill is not a small machine. It’s not cordless, and it cannot be carried around. It must sit on an even surface, and it will be weighed down just thanks to the construction of the drill.

In saying that, it’s known for doing a wonderful job of drilling holes, where you can easily judge the depth and change the bits using the chuck, just as you would do with other drills. With some models, you can alter the angle it drills at, while you have different sizes of drill options available as well.

All of this means that the range of ways you can use this sort of tool is astonishing. It will be suitable for people invested in their DIY projects, while people who work with wood or metal regularly may also benefit from having one in their workshop.

Overall, a pillar drill will quickly prove itself as being one of the best investments you have made if you need to drill holes on a regular basis.

The Setup

The setup of pillar drills becomes pretty obvious as soon as you set eyes on the machine. What you have here is a drill that is attached to a base or bench. That is why it can also be referred to as a bench drill.

With an adjustable table, the drill bit sits above the table. The material you are going to drill will be clamped down onto the table. With that, it means nothing will move as you bring the bench drill down to do its job.

Materials and a Pillar Drill

One of the best things about a pillar drill must be the array of materials that can be drilled through with ease. The actual materials you can drill through will depend on having the correct drill bits in place, so that is why you need to make sure you have a selection of drill bits for your pillar drill before you get started.

Using a Pillar Drill

No matter the type of pillar drill you are using, the way it operates will remain the same.

The actual steps that follow will be discussed shortly, but how do you even get the drill bits to come down and drill holes?

The way it works with a pillar drill is very easy. You use a handle on the pillar drill to raise and lower the drill itself. It comes down in a straight line, and the speed at which you turn the handle correlates to the speed at which the holes are drilled.

However, keep in mind that you do need a power supply to work this drill stand. That means safety precautions need to be followed, but how do you use them?

Step By Step Guide to Using a Pillar Drill

Step 1: Add Power

You need to power up this drilling machine. They simply plug into the mains, and they are good to go.

Step 2: Safety Precautions

You need to remember safety precautions. The one good thing about pillar drills is that they also come with a safety guard, which comes down with the drill bit. Ensure that this is engaged, as it stops dust and debris from flying all over the place.

Step 3: Marking Your Drill Spot

You need to mark your drill spot in whatever it is that you will be working on. Remember that these are versatile machines that can be used for a variety of materials. You can mark the spot very precisely as these drilling machines have amazing accuracy even when it comes down to the drilling depth.

Step 4: Line up the Drill Spot

The main difference with a pillar drill compared to other machines is that you will find it easier to line up the drill spot. The middle of the table has marks that allow you to work out where the drill bit will be coming down, so use them to your advantage.

Lay down the material to be drilled, and clamp it into place. The hole you will be drilling has to be directly in line with the drill bit.

Bring the drill bit down by using the handle, but don’t switch the drill on. You can check that the line is perfect between the machine and the material. Once happy, you are ready to go.

Step 5: Power up and Drill

With the drill bit spinning, you pull the drill down using the handle and allow the tools to go through the material. The hole will be drilled quickly and will be precise. Also, the edges will be clean as the materials are unable to move.

Step 6: Remove the Drill Bit

Once you know that the drill bit has gone right through, you need to remove it by reversing the handle. Then, switch off the machine if you need to drill another hole, and do this before moving the material, just in case something slips.

Knowing how to use a pillar drill is quite easy, but you should also know about several tips before you go ahead and get started with your DIY projects.

Easy Tips for Using Pillar Drill

Tip 1: Ways It Can Be Used

If you check out the buying guides for pillar drills, then you will learn more about what your machine can be used for. The versatility of these drills is why they are so popular with DIY enthusiasts. The list of pillar drill uses is extensive.

Tip 2: Build Your Drill Bits Collection

It’s essential to build your drill bits collection for your pillar drill. In doing so, you will be able to drill larger holes thanks to having the right tools on hand. Keep in mind that drill bits for wood and metal will be different from one another, as will the sizes of the bits. Masonry drill bits can also be used if you’re dealing with the likes of ceramic tiles.

Tip 3: Perfect the Right Speed

One of the most important techniques when trying to use a pillar drill is to make sure you understand the drilling speed. You don’t want to go too fast, but drilling too slow can result in burning the material, and that’s not good.

It’s best to test out these drills and the various drill bits with different wood or metal pieces to help you perfect your speed control.

However, these pillar drills do come with various advantages, so knowing what to expect from that side is also essential.

Most Materials Can Be Drilled

First, you can use a pillar drill to drill through most of the different materials in existence. The only key here is to make sure you have the correct tools to do this.

The buying guides that you see regarding different pillar drills will also help you better understand what the particular model in question will do for you. Check out the power and what you get with a model and see how that relates to the materials you can then drill.

Heavy Duty Drilling Is Also Possible

As this drill uses the mains, you can drill many holes in a short period. It is another reason why it is such a popular tool for people that are heavily invested in their DIY projects at home.

Repeated use is easy with this machine. The motor is not going to burn out that easily as it is designed for heavy usage. You need to remember that it will be in commercial settings where a huge amount of work is being carried out, so having one in your garage will be a breeze for this machine.

Ease of Use

As long as you know how to change a drill bit and line up the material to be drilled, this machine will be very easy to operate. You don’t even have to worry about using pressure, as the drill does it all for you. Even when it’s going through metal, it does the hard work on your behalf, and that’s a great thing.

Knowing the Drilling Depth

Still sticking with the ease of use part, a pillar drill makes it easy for you to judge the drilling depth. That’s because you have so much control over the drill via the handle, so even if you don’t want something to go straight through the wood or metal, then you have the option to stop.

Those are just a few of the advantages, but it’s not all plain sailing when using a pillar drill.

Problems You May Face

The biggest problem you will face with a pillar drill is that it takes up more space than any other drill out there. Also, it needs to be on the floor with space to move around, so it is one of the larger pieces for power tools.

Also, they can be expensive to purchase. The cheapest part has to be the different types of bits for the drill as they do use the same bits as you would have on other drills that you may own.

Aside from those two things, there are no real issues or problems that you may face when thinking about potentially owning a pillar drill.

Who Is It For?

Finally, who would be best suited to owning a pillar drill? Well, if you only drill a few holes on a small project once in a while, then this is not for you. It takes up too much floor space if you use it sparingly.

Also, you need to have a workshop or garage where this can be situated. It has a motor inside, it’s made of metal, and this tool is heavy. Once it is situated somewhere, you don’t really want to be moving it as it must also be level before you fire it up.

Basically, if you carry out many DIY projects and wish to invest in a tool that will make a huge difference, this will be the perfect one for you.

Start Using a Pillar Drill on Your DIY Projects

So, that’s everything you need to know for the question “what does a pillar drill do?”. It is easy to use, and it does mean drilling holes will become faster and more accurate compared to other options. However, do follow the steps correctly, as that will make a huge difference to your experience with your pillar drill.

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