2016.07.11

Tiny Drill Press

I rambled on a bit about Dremel-compatible drill presses back when I was working on my Learn to Solder Kit and I came close to building my own last month. I had some smooth rods that I considered cutting down and I took a bunch of scrap wood and cut it into pieces to form the body of the press. Fortunately I got too busy and I never cut the smooth rods, and then I found some nice drawer slides on the Hack Rack at Milwaukee Makerspace.

I’ve been sick the past few days but finally started to feel better on Sunday. I had planned to start doing a shop clean up and organization but I figured what better way to procrastinate than by building a tiny drill press!

Tiny Drill Press

This really was slapped together in a matter of hours. I did try to get things straight and aligned, but I didn’t obsess over it. I’m pretty sloppy at traditional woodworking and building in this fashion and that might be part of the reason I tend to like using CNC machines and software, as they change how things are measured and cut (or extruded, etc.)

(And yes, the photos are terrible because I never got around to clearing off the photo table. Because procrastination.)

Tiny Drill Press

The most difficult part was determining how to hold the round Dremel tool in place. I ended up using some 3D printed nut knobs from my CAMS system to hold the Dremel into a channel with precisely placed blocks of wood and some 1/4″ bolts. I’m able to turn on and control the speed as well as change out the bit while the Dremel is mounted. It works. This is fine.

Tiny Drill Press

I tested it with the tiniest bit I had and it worked. No bit snapping occurred, the drawer slides worked well, and I used a rubber band to hold up the Dremel. What? Yes, I don’t yet have a proper spring mechanism or counterweight, and there is currently no handle for moving the Dremel down, but it can make holes in things, so that’s something.

I’ll revisit the drill lifting mechanism another time, and I’ll figure out some sort of handle mechanism as well… at some point. For now, I can make tiny holes, and I call that progress.

Enjoy this wonderful video of Tiny Drill Press in action. I tend to post in-progress things on Instagram, in case you are interested.

One Day Tiny Drill Press is done enough for one day…

A video posted by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

Z Axis…

A video posted by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

2 Responses to “Tiny Drill Press”

  1. NickHNo Gravatar says:

    The most difficult part was determining how to hold the round Dremel tool in place

    OMG mounting a Dremel for a simple project has stopped me a few times. You of all people would seem to enjoy a nice Proxxon rotary tool with its fantastic non-proprietary 20mm mounting collar… I know I have!

    20mm is a common enough linear rail size that you can find 20mm linear shaft supports in all the usual places for pennies – they work great for this.

    I upgraded to a Proxxon specifically for this feature, have never looked back, and find myself making a lot more impromptu jigs because it’s so easy now.

  2. NickH, Proxxon does make some nice tools. I’ve used the Proxxon Hotwire Cutter Thermocut. As I mentioned, I did not want to buy a new tool since the (old) Dremel I have works just fine. And since I was able to build this tiny drill press at almost no cost, I think I made the right choice. Of course if the (old) Dremel ever dies, I’ll consider a Proxxon as a potential replacement!

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