Proxxon miniature drill press

Marc Horovitz

Miniature drill press
Proxxon Tools
2555 Tate Blvd. SE
PO Box 1909
Hickory NC 28603
Price: $169.80 + s&h
Web site:

Miniature three-speed drill press (#38128); cast-aluminum base with milled top surface; drilling fence and rule built into base; cast aluminum head; plastic cover over pulleys; ground steel column; 30mm travel on quill; stop on quill; head can be moved up and down or rotated on column; supplied with six collets. Dimensions: Base plate, 8.7" x 4.7"; maximum height of collet above base plate, 51/2"; centerline of spindle to column, 51/2"; overall height, 131/2"
Pros: Well built, robust machine; three speeds (1,800, 4,700, and 8,500 rpm); heavy ball bearings on spindle; solid in use; powerful for size; can be bolted to workbench; work vise available; X-Y table available
Cons: As supplied, collets of limited use for US modelers-drill chuck (extra) should be supplied as standard
Next to the table saw, perhaps the most useful tool for a garden railroader is a drill press. A large drill press is fine for large work, but when working on models, the touch and convenience of a small machine is a pleasure. Proxxon's machine fills the bill nicely. The drill press is sturdily made. All structural parts are metal, either steel or aluminum. The spindle rides in two industrial-quality ball bearings. The quill action is smooth and positive. A quill stop is located on the left side of the head and is graduated in millimeters. A motor (size not specified) is contained in the cast-aluminum head and an on-off switch is mounted on the right side of the head. There is a belt drive from the three-step motor pulley to the spindle pulley. Speeds are changed by loosening the nuts retaining the motor (a socket wrench, not supplied, is handy for this), sliding the motor forward, moving the belt, sliding the motor back to tighten the belt, and tightening the screws.

The head is mounted to a column and is retained by a pair of hand screws on the left side. When these are loosened, the head can be lowered toward the base plate for close work, or it can be rotated to either side for drilling taller work (you gain an additional 1˜" by doing this). The fit is pretty tight, and some force is required to move the head. The base plate is cast aluminum with a finely milled surface. A drilling-guide fence is built in and is moveable from front to back on the base. If it's in the way, it can be quickly removed entirely. This fence can be useful when drilling several holes along a line, helping to make sure they are properly aligned.

As supplied, the drill does not have a chuck, which is perhaps its biggest drawback. It comes with six metric collets (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.4, 3.0, and 3.2), which would be of limited use for American modelers. However, a 1/2" drill chuck is available from Proxxon (#28122, $11.50), which improves the drill immensely.

Also supplied as an extra is a drill vise (#28132, $17.80), a useful and recommended accessory. The vise is 33/8" x 2" and has a maximum opening of 1˜". There are opposing V-slots in either jaw so that round stock can be held either horizontally or vertically. There is a large slot in the bottom of the vise so that it can fit over the fence, enabling it to be slid in a perfectly straight line, or it can be used free on the base. One drawback to the vise is that the screw does not withdraw as the moveable jaw opens, so you must be careful not to drill into the screw, which is always below the piece being drilled.

So, how does it work? Very well indeed. With the chuck in place (the collets were immediately set aside), at the slowest speed I had no difficulty (working slowly) in putting a ˜" hole through a piece of 3/8"-thick brass plate. And at the highest speed, I was easily able to put a .040" (#60) hole through that same piece of plate. I test-drilled wood, brass, aluminum, steel, and styrene. The machine performed as expected. It is relatively quiet, runs with almost no vibration, and is a pleasure to use. Because of the stiffness of the head on the column, repositioning it is much easier when the drill press is bolted to the bench. This is a real tool, not a toy, and would be an asset to any modeler's workshop.


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