How to Attach a Drill Press Lathe

What You'll Need
Chuck key
Hex keys if your model requires them
Drill press lathe or conversion kit

A drill press lathe is a great way to have access to a lathe at an inexpensive price. A traditional lathe places a length of wood horizontal for carving. It allows a continuous turn at a continuous speed. This is one way that you can get a traditional look as well as a unique design on your woodwork. It is traditionally used for items such as chair and table legs, stair rails and other decorative spindle-like items.

A drill press lathe is different because, in order to form the spindles, you are working on a vertical surface. You will have a limit to the length of wood that you can turn on a drill press lathe; the most popular models have a limit of 24 inches. Follow these steps to attach a drill press lathe appropriately.

Step 1 - Clear It Off

Take your drill press down to the bare essentials. If you have any extras or other retrofits on the drill press, taken them off before you start to assemble the lathe attachment. A vise is a common item on many drill press tables. This part needs to come off as well, in order to accommodate the lathe.

Step 2 - Attach the Bottom Plate

Attach the bottom plate to the drill press. You will need to attach it in either one or four places, depending on the model. You will align the guide holes with the open areas already on your drill press base. Ensure that they are tightened.

Step 3 - Attach the Guide

For many drill press lathes, a bar acts as a guide for your woodworking tools. This bar will either be attached with the base unit or it will be attached separately to the base of your drill press. You must check that all of the pieces you attach go on securely and tightly.

Step 4 - Attach the Top to the Spindle

You will need to loosen the chuck and install the top portion of the lathe assembly to the spindle. The spindle speed is adjustable. This is ideal in lathe applications, as you will need to adjust the speed at which the wood turns according to your skill level and the tools you are using.

Step 5 - Test the Drill Press Lathe

Use a scrap piece of wood that is about 12 inches long. Set the drill press to the right height and insert the piece of wood between the two lathe points. Do a test run to ensure that the drill press lathe allows for a level wood surface. If it is not even, you will need to adjust the bottom plate until it is.

A drill press lathe is a good way for you to own a lathe without the large cost involved in a traditional lathe. However, it is not recommended for continuous use, as a lathe and will eventually damage the drill press if you use it all of the time.