What Is an Oscillating Drill Press?

What Is an Oscillating Drill Press?

Oscillating drill presses can be an incredibly useful tool to have in your arsenal of power tools. If you’re curious about what they are or want to learn more about how they differ from other types of drill presses, then you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer all your questions on oscillating drill presses and provide useful tips that will help you make the best choice when looking for one. So read on for all you need to know about oscillating drill presses!

About Oscillating Drill Press

An oscillating drill press is a handy tool designed to make intricate drilling jobs quick and easy. It uses an oscillating motion instead of the traditional spinning motion, allowing you to drill holes in awkward or tight spaces. Oscillatory drill presses are ideal for all kinds of projects such as creating custom furniture pieces, cabinets, and shelves, installing door locks, and even detailed sewing tasks.

About Oscillating Drill Press

The main difference between traditional and oscillatory drill presses is that the former uses a rotary motion to rapidly move the drill bit in and out of the material, while an oscillatory one uses an up-and-down movement. This makes them ideal for drilling at various angles or depths. Oscillating drills can also be used with a variety of drill bits, including flathead, spade, and brad point.

When working with an oscillating drill press, it’s important to ensure that you use the right speed setting for your project. This can help prevent accidental damage to the material or user injury. Additionally, be sure to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris. [1]

For the novice DIYer, an oscillating drill press is a great choice since it’s easy to use and requires little maintenance. Plus, they generally don’t take up as much room in the workshop compared to larger stationary models. With proper use and care, your drill press can last for years to come!

Safety Tips for Oscillating Drill Presses

It is important to remember the safety tips before using oscillating drill presses. Safety glasses, ear protection, and work gloves should be worn at all times when operating an oscillating drill press. Additionally, make sure to have a firm hold on the drill bit while drilling is taking place. For more in-depth safety measures, refer to the owner’s manual for your specific drill press.

When setting up an oscillating drill press, make sure the table is at its proper height and that it is securely locked in place. Additionally, ensure that all moving parts are clear of obstructions and properly lubricated. Keep tools sharp by cleaning them regularly, as this will insure a longer tool life and a cleaner work output.

Safety Tips for Oscillating Drill Presses

To ensure the best results, always check the drill bit for any signs of damage before use. If there are any irregularities such as chips or cracks, discontinue use immediately and replace the drill bit. If using a larger diameter drill bit, it should be supported with a center drill, as this will provide increased stability to the drill bit and prevent it from wandering.

Finally, be sure to use the correct speed setting when drilling based on the material being drilled. Too high of a speed may cause damage to the drill bit or even damage the material itself. Additionally, always unplug your oscillating drill press before making any adjustments or changing out drill bits. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to get started with your oscillating drill press! [2]


The electrical oscillating drill press is one of the most versatile tools when it comes to DIY projects and carpentry. It is a power tool that uses an oscillating action to perform drilling, sanding, routing, polishing and sawing on various materials such as wood, metal, plastic and other composites. This versatility makes these machines a great choice for completing detailed work and getting precise results.

The oscillating drill press works by using an electric motor to drive an armature, which is mounted on bearings and revolves around a spindle. When the armature spins, it creates an up-and-down movement that results in an oscillating motion of the tool bit attached to the armature. This oscillating motion enables the drill press to cut more accurately in a variety of materials and shapes.


Many models also come with adjustable speed settings, allowing you to customize your project according to the material you’re working with. You can go from slower speeds for softer materials up to higher speeds when working on harder materials, allowing you to complete your project in a timely manner.

Additionally, some oscillating drill presses come with safety features such as a dust collector and an adjustable workbench for improved stability while working. These features help you get the most out of your project, ensuring that it is done properly and safely.


Before beginning to work with an oscillating drill press, it is important that you read the manual and become familiar with all safety precautions. Additionally, ensure that your machine is properly grounded to prevent any electrical accidents or shocks.

When working on a project, always make sure you’re using the right tool bit for the material you’re working with. This is especially important for harder materials as using the wrong bit can lead to poor results or damage your machine.

Most oscillating drill presses come with an adjustable depth-stop feature, which allows you to easily control the maximum depth of a cut or hole so that you don’t go too deep and risk damaging the material.


It is essential to properly ground your oscillating drill press in order to ensure safety during operation. Grounding the machine will help dissipate any electrical charge that could potentially damage your project or injure you while working.

Once the machine is plugged into a grounded outlet, be sure to connect the ground wire from the power cord directly to the grounding post on the machine. The grounding wire should be connected directly, without any splices or connectors, in order to ensure optimal safety and protection from electrical shock.


Finally, it is important to regularly inspect the grounding post on your oscillating drill press to make sure that it is securely attached and not corroded or damaged in any way. This will help ensure optimal performance and safety of your machine.

Extension Cords

When using an oscillating drill press, it is important to be aware of the type of electrical extension cord you are using. Heavy-duty extension cords should always be used in order to ensure that your machine performs properly and safely. Choose an extension cord which is capable of handling the amperage requirements of your tool and keep it away from wet areas or any other sources of water.

It is also important to keep your electrical extension cord away from other tools, as the motion of these tools may cause the cord to fray or become damaged over time. Additionally, if you need to use an extension cord outdoors, make sure that it is correctly rated for outdoor use and not just indoor use.


Before using an oscillating drill press, make sure all of the necessary components are properly assembled. Assembling an oscillating drill press is relatively straightforward and typically requires just a few simple steps. The first step is to attach the main support beam to the base. Then, attach the headstock to the top of the support beam, followed by the tailstock and the spindle. Finally, mount the drive motor to the top of the headstock and connect it to the spindle.

Once all of the components are in place, you will need to adjust some settings on your oscillating drill press for optimal performance. First, make sure that the height of each component is properly adjusted for its intended purpose. If the headstock is too high, it may cause undue strain on the motor and cause it to wear out prematurely. Similarly, if the tailstock is too low, you will not be able to drill at full depth with your drill bit.


Next, adjust the speed of your tool to meet the requirements of the job at hand. Many oscillating drill presses come with adjustable speed settings, allowing you to choose between a range of speeds for different tasks. Depending on the type of work, you may want to use a slower speed when drilling thin materials and a higher speed when working with thicker or harder materials.

Finally, adjust the feed rate so that your drill presses at an even and consistent pace throughout the job. This will help to ensure that your drilling is as accurate and precise as possible.

Base and Column

The base and column of an oscillating drill press are the two major parts of the machine and they play a crucial role in its overall performance. The base of an oscillating drill press is usually made from either metal or wood, while the column is typically a steel tube that extends up from the top of the base.

The purpose of the base is to provide a sturdy and reliable foundation for the entire machine, while the column serves as support for all of the other components of an oscillating drill press. Both elements must be properly secured in order to ensure that the machine operates safely and effectively.

When selecting an oscillating drill press, it is important to consider both the base and column materials. Metal bases are generally more durable and provide better stability, while wooden bases may be lighter in weight. The type of material used for the column will also affect how well the machine performs, so it is important to choose a column that is strong and durable enough to handle the job at hand.

When assembling an oscillating drill press, make sure that both the base and column are securely fastened to the support beam. This will prevent any vibrations from slowly loosening the screws or bolts over time, which could eventually cause the entire machine to become unstable and dangerous.

Dust Port

One of the most important features of an oscillating drill press is its dust port, which allows you to collect sawdust and other debris generated during use. A good quality dust port should be able to collect a substantial amount of sawdust and other particles, preventing them from spreading throughout your workshop or garage.

When selecting an oscillating drill press, it is important to make sure that the dust port meets your needs. Some dust ports are designed for use with small or portable drill presses, while others may be too big and bulky for a smaller machine. Before purchasing an oscillating drill press, measure the space in which you plan to install it and make sure that the port will fit comfortably.

In addition to selecting a dust port that fits your needs, it is also important to make sure it is properly secured and mounted. The dust port should be securely fastened to the base or column of your drill press to prevent any accidental loosening or detachment during use.



The table of an oscillating drill press is important for providing a stable and reliable platform for your workpieces. When selecting a table, make sure that it is large enough to accommodate the materials you plan to use and that it has features like adjustable clamps or screw-on stops for more precise drilling.

The type of material used for the table will also have an impact on how well your oscillating drill press performs. Steel tables are usually the best choice as they are strong and durable, while wooden or plastic tables may be lighter in weight but may not provide the same stability.

When assembling an oscillating drill press, make sure that the table is securely fastened to the base or column of the machine.


The headstock of an oscillating drill press is the part that houses the spindle and drive motor, which are responsible for turning the drill bit. When a headstock, it is crucial to ensure that it is constructed using robust and long-lasting materials like steel or cast iron. This ensures durability and strength in the headstock, providing reliability and peace of mind.

When setting up an oscillating drill press, ensure that the headstock, tailstock, and spindle are aligned correctly to guarantee smooth operation. This helps to ensure that your drilling is as accurate and precise as possible. In addition, make sure that all of the necessary components are securely fastened in place before operating your machine.

Finally, it is important to note that some models of oscillating drill presses may require additional accessories or parts to be installed in the headstock.

Drill Chuck Handles

The drill chuck handles of an oscillating drill press are responsible for securely holding the drill bit in place during operation. It is important to make sure that these handles are made from a strong and durable material, such as steel or cast iron.

When assembling an oscillating drill press, make sure that the handles are properly secured in place before operating your machine. Additionally, be sure to check that the handles are in good working condition and that they are securely fastened to the headstock.

Finally, it is important to note that some drill chuck handles may require additional accessories or attachments in order to operate properly. If this is the case, make sure these pieces are securely fastened in place before operating your machine.


An oscillating drill press is a type of equipment that allows you to make precise adjustments and cuts in different materials. This type of machine features an adjustable arm on which the drill bit is mounted, allowing for greater accuracy when drilling into wood, metal and other materials. As well as offering more versatility than a standard drill press, oscillating drill presses also provide a more precise drilling experience.


Adjustments on an oscillating drill press can be made in several ways. The most common way to adjust the arm is by using the control knob located at the back of the machine. This knob adjusts the distance between the spindle and the base of the unit, allowing greater accuracy when drilling. You can also adjust the depth to which the drill bit is inserted, as well as the speed of the machine’s oscillation.

In addition to these basic adjustments, you can also make more precise adjustments on an oscillating drill press by setting up a jig or other device on the arm. This will allow greater accuracy when drilling into precise materials, such as thin boards or intricate shapes.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the performance of an oscillating drill press is largely dependent on its maintenance. Regularly cleaning and lubricating the machine will help ensure optimal operation for many years to come. Additionally, you should also make sure to replace any worn-out parts regularly in order to ensure accuracy and safety. By taking the time to care for your oscillating drill press, you can ensure that it always performs at its best!

Belt Tension

Make sure that the belt tension is correctly adjusted. If the tension is too loose, the machine will be prone to slipping and not drilling accurately. On the other hand, if the tension is too tight, the movement of the arm can become restricted and cause premature wear on components.

In order to adjust the belt tension, you will need to use a screwdriver or other tool to move the tensioner wheel. Typically, this wheel should be set so that it’s slightly loose when the arm is in its fully extended position. However, if you find that the arm is slipping too much when drilling, you may need to tighten the belt slightly. Make sure to always test the tension after making adjustments, as this will help you ensure that the arm is properly secured while in use.

Feed Shaft Spring Tension

Another important adjustment you can make on an oscillating drill press is the feed shaft spring tension. This component helps keep the arm in place while drilling, and if it isn’t correctly adjusted, accuracy may suffer. To fine-tune the tension of the feed shaft spring, carefully loosen the nut positioned at the end of the shaft using an appropriate tool, such as a wrench. This adjustment will allow for precise control and optimal performance.

Quill-Shaft Screw

The quill-shaft screw plays a crucial role in maintaining arm stability during drilling. However, if it is not properly adjusted, accuracy can be compromised. To adjust the quill-shaft screw, simply loosen the nut located at the end of the shaft using a wrench or other tool. After loosening the nut, you can fine-tune the tension by simply turning the screw on the quill-shaft.

It’s important to note that adjusting the quill-shaft screw is a delicate process and should be done with great care. If you’re unsure of how to make this adjustment correctly, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual.

Table Height / Tilt

The table height and tilt of your oscillating drill press can also be adjusted. To adjust the table height, simply loosen the nut located at the rear of the machine using a wrench or other tool. Once you’ve loosened the nut, you can then raise or lower the table as needed. Additionally, you can also adjust the tilt of the table to better suit the materials you’re drilling into.


Drilling Speed

To adjust the speed, simply turn the appropriate knob or switch located on the side of the machine. As with all adjustments to your oscillating drill press, it’s important to consult the owner’s manual before making any changes. Doing so will help ensure that your machine is operating safely and efficiently at all times.

Drill Press RPM Chart

When drilling with an oscillating drill press, keep in mind the recommended RPM (revolutions per minute) for each material you are working with. Different metals and woods will require different RPMs in order to ensure optimal performance and accuracy. To help you determine the correct RPM for your projects, a handy drill press RPM chart can be found online. This chart will help you determine the best speed for each type of material and can be an invaluable resource when using your oscillating drill press.

Drilling Depth

To adjust the depth of your drilling, simply loosen the nut located on the side of your machine using a wrench or other tool. Once this nut is loosened, you can then adjust the depth of your drilling by turning the appropriate knob or switch. Before making any adjustments to your oscillating drill press, it is imperative to refer to the owner’s manual. This will ensure that you have the necessary guidance and information to proceed with any changes.


The use of oscillating drill presses for operations is a popular choice among mechanics and DIYers. They provide more consistent drilling results, simplify the process, and allow you to work faster. Oscillating drill presses can be used in various operations such as boring, countersinking, counterboring, reaming, tapping threads into metals and plastics, and more.

These machines can be used for drilling in various materials including wood, steel, aluminum, plastic, copper, brass and other metals. With the right attachments, you can even drill into concrete or masonry. The oscillating action helps to reduce vibration and produces smoother holes compared to either a regular drill press or hand held power drills.

Most drill presses have a number of adjustable features, such as speed control, belt tension (if applicable), depth stops and table tilt. These settings can be adjusted to suit the material you are drilling into and the specific operation you are performing.

The size and power of your oscillating drill press will depend on what type of work you plan to do. If you plan to do heavy duty applications such as drilling into concrete or masonry, a powerful motor is essential. For lighter work, a lower powered machine will be sufficient.

When using an oscillating drill press, it is important to use proper safety precautions and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Always wear eye protection and make sure all parts of the machine are securely fastened before use.

Starting the Drill Press

To start the drill press, you will need to set up the machine according to your specific application. Then switch on the power and adjust the speed control knob to the desired speed.

Next, select the appropriate bit for your operation and secure it in the chuck. Make sure it is secured tightly before starting to drill. You can also apply a little lubrication to the bit if required.

When you are ready to start drilling, hold the workpiece firmly against the table and make sure it does not move while drilling. Then apply pressure on the bit and turn on the power switch. Once it reaches full speed, begin your operation. Be sure to keep a steady hand so that accurate results can be achieved.

When you have finished your task, switch off the power and unplug the machine. Finally, clean up all debris from the surface of the drill press before storing.


Oscillating drill presses are a great tool for performing various operations quickly and easily. With good setup and proper safety precautions, you can get accurate results in a fraction of the time it would take with a hand drill.

Whether you’re a professional mechanic or just starting out in DIY, an oscillating drill press can be a valuable addition to your workshop. With the right accessories and bit selection, you can perform any of your drilling applications with ease and accuracy.

Drill/Drum Changes

Another great feature of oscillating drill presses is that you can quickly and easily change the type of tool used for drilling. This flexibility makes them ideal for use in a variety of applications.

You can switch between different types of drill bits such as a standard twist drill bit, a spade bit, or an auger bit in just a few seconds. You can also use different types of drums such as a drum cutter, which is ideal for routing out mortises or cutting curves in wood surfaces.

When changing between drill bits and drums, always ensure that the bit or drum is securely mounted in the chuck and properly adjusted to the correct depth before starting the operation. This will ensure your results are accurate and consistent.

Oscillating drill presses offer a great range of versatility and convenience, making them the perfect choice for use in DIY projects or as part of a professional workshop. With just a few simple steps, you can switch between different tools and perform various operations quickly and accurately.

Using the Oscillator

The oscillator is a feature that allows the drill bit to move back and forth rapidly while drilling. This produces a smoother hole with less vibration, which improves accuracy and reduces fatigue for the user.

The oscillator setting can be adjusted depending on the material being drilled and the type of operation being performed. Generally, a lower oscillation rate is best for drilling softer materials, while a higher rate is better suited for harder materials.

When using the oscillator feature, always start at a slower speed and gradually increase as needed. This will also help to avoid overheating of the motor or bit due to friction.

Using an oscillating drill press with its unique features and adjustable settings can greatly increase productivity and help you achieve better results. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, an oscillating drill press can be an invaluable tool for any workshop.

Understanding the features of your machine and how to properly adjust them is key to achieving consistent results with minimal effort. So get familiar with your oscillating drill press today and start creating great projects!


Maintaining an oscillating drill press is essential to getting the best performance from it. To keep your drill press in top form, you should periodically lubricate the moving parts of the machine and make sure all nuts and bolts are securely tightened. Regularly inspect the tool for any signs of wear or damage, and replace broken parts as necessary. It’s also important to keep the drill press clean and free of dust and other debris that may interfere with its operation. Lastly, check with the manufacturer for any regular maintenance requirements that they recommend for your particular model. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your oscillating drill press will last for many years to come!


One of the most important aspects of maintaining an oscillating drill press is lubrication. Regularly lubricating all moving parts will help keep your machine running smoothly and prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Applying a few drops of oil to the moving parts will help reduce friction and increase the life of your drill press. Depending on the type of drill press you have, you may need to use a special lubricant, so make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to lubricate any parts of your machine.


Sanding Sleeves

The sanding sleeves used with an oscillating drill press can become worn over time, so it’s important to replace them when necessary. If you notice that the sanding sleeve is wearing down too quickly, you may need to adjust the speed of your press or use a higher grade of sandpaper. With proper care and maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your drill press in optimal condition for years to come.


If you’re having any issues with your oscillating drill press, there are a few steps to take before calling for help. First, check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you’re using it correctly. If everything appears to be in order and the problem persists, consider unplugging the tool and checking all nuts and screws for tightness. Lastly, you may need to take the tool apart and troubleshoot any of the individual parts. If you’re unable to identify the source of your issue, contact a professional or the manufacturer for assistance. [3]


What are the 3 types of drill presses?

The three main types of drill presses include radial arm drill press, floor-mounted drill press and oscillating drill press.

A radial arm drill press is a large machine with a round table and an arm that can be extended out over the top. The radial arm press allows for precise drilling from various angles.

Floor-mounted drill presses are the largest of all types, and they feature long arms that come down to the floor when in use. They also have large round tables with adjustable spindles.

Oscillating drill presses are smaller than the other two types and come in both benchtop and floor-mounted models. They have an oscillating arm that moves up and down, allowing for more accurate drilling from various angles. Oscillating drill presses are perfect for small DIY projects or detailed work. [4]

What are the two basic types of drill presses?

When considering drill presses, there are primarily two types available: bench top models and stationary models.

Bench top presses are ideal for small home projects and can be easily moved from space to space. Typically, these tools are equipped with adjustable speeds, depth stops, and a wide range of drill bits, all of which contribute to a smoother and more efficient drilling process.

Stationary presses are more powerful than bench top models and should always be used in an area that is well-ventilated. These types are perfect for professional use and can handle a variety of tough materials. They have adjustable speeds, depth stops, and a variety of bits that make the drilling process simpler. [5]

When using a stationary drill press, it’s important to remember to clamp down the material being drilled for preventing any accidents from happening due to the spinning bit. Additionally, if you’re drilling into harder materials, it’s important to keep the bit cool to ensure that no damage is done and the hole comes out perfectly. It’s also helpful to use a jig or template when drilling multiple holes in one piece of material because it will help you line up each hole precisely.

What is a drill press swing?

A drill press swing is the amount of sideways motion a drill press can make. This is a measure of its overall range of movement and size, which will affect both the size and type of objects you can work with in your workshop. A larger swing typically allows for more versatility when drilling, allowing you to tackle bigger projects or fit into areas that would be too small for a smaller unit.

What is the difference between a drill press and a radial drill press?

A drill press is a stationary tool that securely holds a bit in place and accurately drills holes into materials. It consists of a base, column, table, and spindle. The radial drill press is an upgraded version of the traditional drill press. It has greater accuracy due to its swing arm which can move the head up to 90 degrees for off-center drilling. It also has a greater range of motion and improved cutting speed. The added mobility makes the radial press more versatile than a traditional drill press, but it also means that the drill bit is exposed and can be damaged if not properly handled. For this reason, proper safety precautions should be taken. [6]

Useful Video: How To Use the Shop Fox Oscillating Drill Press – WOOD magazine


For those looking to take their drilling projects to the next level, an oscillating drill press is the perfect choice. It offers improved accuracy, range of motion and cutting speed over traditional models but requires extra caution when handling. With proper safety precautions, anyone can confidently take on larger drilling tasks with ease using an oscillating drill press. Whether for professional or hobbyist applications, an oscillating drill press is sure to make a great addition to any woodworker’s shop.


  1. https://athomeinthefuture.com/2021/02/difference-radial-oscillating-drill-press/
  2. https://www.purdue.edu/woodresearch/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/safedrill.pdf
  3. https://gooddrillpress.com/what-is-an-oscillating-drill-press/
  4. https://www.moglix.com/articles/types-of-drill-press-for-your-workshop
  5. https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/what-drill-press-when-to-use/
  6. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-comparison-and-contrast-between-a-press-drill-and-radial-drill