Last Update: 10 Jan 2021

History of the Drill Press: How It Was Invented?

James Kelly
James Kelly

Hi! This is James. I'm a professional writer and working on this field for a long time. Basically I love to write about everything related to tools, diy and home improvement. All my writings speak for itself as I'm passionate about this. I love to explore new things as well as new places whenever I get free time. You'll never find me free for this reason!

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The 19th century is known as a “drilling machine” century. But back then, drill machines were invented only for cutting metal.

Today, we are using drill machines as a powerful tool for drilling and boring through various types of materials.

In modern days, one person can make multiple accurate holes and do the same load of drilling work that required many people to do in the past.

But what is the history behind the invention of the drill press? And how did it evolve into a modern tool?

In this writing, we will narrate the history of the drill press and find out the improvement in this modern machine we are using today.

What is the Drill Press?

Drill presses are often known as drill machines. These machines are used to make holes in hard objects.

The drill has a spinning spindle and is bolstered into the hard substances. The workpiece is generally clamped on a resting table.

You can find a drill press that has gripped in a chuck with multiple jaws or has a reduced shank suit with a tapered hole in the spindle.

However, this gripped in a chuck, or reduced shank is provided depending on the spindle speed.

The machine shops typically have drills with only one spindle for general use. But, presses with multiple spindles are also available in the market.

You might be thinking that drill machines are only used for making holes in hard substances. You’re mistaken.

You can use them to enlarge holes or reamer holes. Drill presses also deliver threads in a hole.

history of the drill press

The Long History of the Drill Press

A single person does not invent the drill machines we are using today. Moreover, it is the innovative progress of the standard drill-based tools.

Nevertheless, the invention of electricity gave a strong motivation to the drill press’s improvement.

Characteristics of Early Drill Presses & How They Changed

In 1889, Arthur James Arnot and William Blanch Brain invented the first electric drill in Melbourne, Australia.

People were using only hand-crank drills to make small bore, and for more torque, they used brace-style tools.

The first drill machine was given a clockwise motion system, and many years later, manufacturers added anti-clockwise motion to hand drills. Most of the companies still employ the clockwise motion mechanism.

Over 200 years ago, the first drill machine was built by a hand crank to cut metal.

Then came wall-mounted drill presses. These were way faster and more precise rather than hand regulated electric drill presses.

The earlier drill machines required a feed arm with a wheel to force the spinning drill through the wood. And to remove the bit wood from the hole, the wheels are needed to pull out.

After some years, the mechanism of removing bit wood became faster. The drill machines were given a lever-operated, two-way feed mechanism that made the start-to-finish faster than before.

In 1920, the first electric drill press was built. It was prepared with a large chuck to hold the bit, an alterable height work table, and a revealing bit mechanism. The combination of these features took the development of drill machines to a higher level.

Modern Improvements of Drill Presses

Most of the companies are trying to make drill machines cost-effective and improving accuracy.

Besides these two, there are two significant developments in drill presses. One is changeable speed without belt changes and the laser alignment.

In modern ages, you can comfortably control the drill machines adopting a handle electronically. In the past, people were using some belts and regulating the gear ratio of the drill presses.

But, the electronically handled mechanism gives a more smooth speed altering option. Moreover, you can maintain torque and the drill machine’s power beyond altering the gear ratio.

Now let’s talk about the laser alignment mechanism. In the past, to precisely align the drill to a hole location, they required a special center finder. This process was complicated, slow, and many of them faced problems.

But, modern drill presses include a laser system that allows the presses to point a laser down to the desired hole location. So, you can correct the position of your workpiece without difficulties before drilling it.

Final Verdict

So, that’s the end of the history of the drill press. All the details on how drill machines change through ages and what type of advancement modern drill presses have are given in this article.

Besides those revolutionary advances, we can not mention this as a smart drilling system.

However, expeditious research in microelectronics, computer science fields, and miniaturization applications may significantly impact the smart drilling technique.

History of the Drill Press: How It Was Invented? 1