Hand Drill Press Speed Control

Contest Win: Runner Up in Unusual Uses Challenge

Search for "DIY Drill Press" and you'll find hundreds of tutorials for making a stand to convert a hand drill into a drill press. What they all lack is a way to control the speed of the drill.

Searching for drill speed control, we get complex suggestions of opening up the drill, modifying induction or brushed motors, working with high voltage and current electronics with transistors, PWM, triacs, etc. So in this project shows how to control drill press by modifying a cheap hand drill stand with simple bicycle caliper brakes mechanism.

For this hand drill press mod, we requires a variable speed hand drill(one in which you control drill speed by the amount of trigger button squeezed). Using a standard caliper brake and lever mechanism from a bicycle, such a drill's speed can be controlled by pressing or releasing the brakes with fine control.

The brake lever is mounted on the drill press handle and the caliper brake jaws are placed around the drill body with one brake pad against the drill button. The rubber brake pads double up as protection against any scratching from repeated use. The whole mechanism is attached to the drill press using a piece of wood stuck to the drill press' body.

This is a simple and cheap non-invasive mechanical mod for the drill press. The total cost for the mod is around $4 and does not require any permanent changes to the drill, so the drill can be removed and used for other purpose as well.