Drill Press Table
This drill press table is different from many others because the bottom can be titled. When combined with an angle set on the cast iron table that comes with the drill press, I can now drill along a compound angle.
The T-track configuration enables me to set the fence at any angle, giving a lot of positioning flexibility.
The table has a round sacrificial insert that can be used to prevent tear-out. It can be replaced with a new one whenever needed. A round insert is more difficult to make, but it has many benefits over a square or rectangular insert. I will get a lot more uses out of the round insert because it can be rotated just a few degrees to find the next unused spot. (A square/rectangular insert can be rotated only 90 degrees or flipped over, so it basically can be used only eight times.)
The drill press table is comprised of three pieces made from a 1/2 sheet of 3/4" MDF.
The bottom of the three pieces screws into the existing cast iron table. The top two pieces are laminated together with contact cement to form a 1.5" thick piece.
The 1.5" thick top piece is attached to the bottom piece with a piano hinge and held secure with two side arms.
I apply contact cement generously to both pieces with a putty knife and then let it sit for 15 - 20 minutes.
When the two pieces come in contact with each other, there's no ability to reposition them. For this reason, it is important to use several thin slats to ensure the two pieces remain separated until everything is well positioned.
When everything is aligned, carefully pull out the slats one at a time to allow the two pieces to come into contact.
I used a similar method to apply the plastic laminate.
I cut the laminate from a 4' x 8' sheet using a straight edge and a sharp knife. After scoring it a couple of times, it's easy to snap it off with a clean edge. This is much easier than cutting it with a saw.
I like to mark everything out with pencil to make sure everything is where it needs to be.
Along the lines of "measure twice, cut once" I like to measure and then visualize the layout before doing any cutting. It enables me to make any tweaks that might be necessary.
I then cut out the slots for the T-tracks using the router table and a 3/4" bit.
To cut the circle where the sacrificial insert will sit, I was planning to use the router with my edge guide, but then realized that it is not designed to cut a circle that small.
I whipped up my own circle cutting jig on the band saw using a scrap piece of 1/2" plywood.
This worked well, but I knew I was only going to cut a portion of the circle out using this jig. After that, I would need to find another method to cut out the center portion of the circle.
After about four passes, I was far enough from the outside edge of the circle that I could change my method.
I wanted to be safely away from the edge so that any error in my movement of the router wouldn't result in me gouging the edge of the circle.
For the remainder of the circle, I used two pieces of plywood to support the router. The router bit could run between the two pieces of plywood while I cut out the remaining MDF in the center in a freehand fashion.
After cutting out the circle, I adjusted the circle jig radius to cut out the insert that would fit just inside the circle.
I had enough MDF left over to cut out four sacrificial inserts. These should last me quite a while.
I attached the bottom portion of the table to the existing cast iron table using 5/8" bolts and T-nuts.
The sacrificial inserts fit really tightly. If you watch the video, you can see my trick for how to get them out.
I used a Forstner bit to drill two finger holes into each sacrificial insert. This will make it easier to rotate the insert.
I cut the side arms out of some scrap pieces of maple.
I cut a slot in the wood on the router table, and now I'm going to drill a hole in the end.
A bolt goes through the hole to attach the bottom portion of the table. Another bolt goes through the slot and attaches to the top portion of the table to allow it to be angled. The bolts attach to the table using T-nuts.
I used the miter saw to cut the T-tracks. The aluminum is soft enough that it won't harm the blade.
I used a sacrificial board to align cuts with the blade. These cut lines made it very easy to line up the blade with the exact position on the T-track where I needed to cut.
The T-tracks needed to be cut very precisely because there's not a lot of tolerance with the slots that are cut into the table.
Since I'm screwing the T-tracks into MDF which is not great for holding screws, I apply CA glue to the back of the T-track before screwing it in. This will help it to hold.
With everything in place, the table is finished. Now it's ready for a fence.