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How to Convert a Drill Press to a Milling Machine

Hands down, drill presses and milling machines are the two famous names among hobbyists and professional machinists. They’re built with different designs, styles, and different functionalities.

However, they can be interchangeably used for some particular tasks, got surprised, eh?

Now you may ask – “can a drill press be used as a mill? Is it easier?” It’s a little challenging and might be a little time-consuming too.

But I’m pretty sure that you’re ready to break your back and spend some extra time, especially if you don’t want to pay your dollars out on purchasing a milling machine individually!

So, sight tight and let me show you what you want to see.

Definition Of Drill Press

A fixed upright mechanical tool that usually travels on the z-axis to ensure quick drill holes is commonly known as a drill press machine. They’re comparatively small in size, come in dirt-cheap rates, and are only suitable for translating up and down.

What Do You Use A Drill Press For?

As the name suggests, a drill press is designed to drill different holes with ease and quick, including round, square, and a few more. Changing the diameter is what you need to do when it comes to making different holes at once.

Moreover, drill press can be used for various purposes. A drilling press machine might be your go-to choice if you need to perform quick holes that need comparatively less accuracy. 

Definition of Milling Machine

Milling machines are pretty standard that can be found in a workshop or such places. However, unlike the drill press, milling machines can perform many tasks simultaneously, including drilling, facing-off, putting pilot holes, and cutting.

What does it mean? It means a milling machine is more versatile and capable of dealing with heavy objects, making it ideal for multiple applications.

Difference Between Drill Press and Milling Machine – Quick Summary:

You can find some noticeable differences between the drill press and milling machine. Take a look at them:

  • A drill press is smaller in size compared to the milling machine
  • Milling machines can be seen on a workshop floor while drill press machines are standing on desktops.
  • Drill press machines are usually suitable for a single application, while a milling machine is multi-functional
  • It would help if you spent a fortune to get a milling machine; on the other hand, drill press machines are as cheap as chips.
  • A drill press machine is quicker yet less accurate compared to the milling machines.

Converting A Drill Press Into A Milling Machine

The head of the milling machine is highly able to translate both up and down. Besides that, drilling presses can drill, countersinking holes into several materials underneath at multiple depths.

Can you guess the meaning of it? Well, it means that you can convert the drill press to the mill by disregarding translation in both the y and x directions.

So, Can A Drill Press Be Used As A Mill?

You may have to break a sweat to convert the drill press to a milling machine. But it’s possible!

A milling machine usually moves the table under the head, cutting in the direction of “x and y.” Although drilling presses can also perform that particular task, the level of accuracy won’t be similar to the milling machines.

So, how to convert a drill press into a milling machine? To do that, make sure you’re controlling the guides manually or in other possible ways.

Keep in mind, the drill press’s table should be fashioned with the direction of x slots. By doing so, users will be capable of enabling the same motion used in mill machines. 

There is another bummer – a traditional drill press isn’t made to let a cutting tool around the head, as it is constructed for drilling holes only. In that case, an extra design hack should allow the piece of drill press machine to receive tools, which is used to cut up multiple flat pieces that milling machines use.

In the fewest possible words, converting a drill press machine to a milling machine needs way more effort! So I’d suggest spending some extra bucks on a piece of milling machine, if possible. Trust me; you’ll get the maximum benefit from it.

Last Words!

I think you’ve got your answer of can a drill press be used as a mill or not. Although it’s okay and possible to use them interchangeably, I’d still recommend using them separately since converting drill press to a milling machine is tiring, and at the same time, time-consuming!

But if you don’t want to spend your cash on a milling machine, try out the techniques I’ve mentioned above!

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