Jan 23, 2019, 06:19 AM
Improving the Harbor Freight Drill Press Locking Clamp
Drilling large holes in small pieces of metal can be dangerous on a drill press. The drill can "snatch" and spin the part around. If you are holding the part in your fingers, blood can be spilled.
The easier it is to clamp the part, the more likely I am to be safe. As bought, the Harbor Freight drill press locking clamp is not easy to use. Yet, it can be improved with help from my junk drawer.
If you are interested, please see
Your comments are welcome. All of us are smarter than any one of us.
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Jan 23, 2019, 05:27 PM
"I rarely throw any metal away. Far too often, these bits are exactly what is needed in a future project. Every time this strategy succeeds, I call it “feeding the disease”."
So THAT's what I have! (looks at the coffee can of random washers, bolts and such I've picked up off the street over the years of commuting by bicycle )
I just wish they made one of those clamps in a 5" or 6" size, so they would fit on my little benchtop drill press.
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Jan 23, 2019, 05:41 PM
i have clamp like this mine says vise -grip on it, i have seen MAC and Proto versions too, but its gone out of style and they are hard to find, after using mine a few times i know why... they ARE too difficult to use and u can tear up the part also,, as i have several drill presses and plenty of room,i got a 4 inch horror frieght drill press vise and bolted it down to the drill press table,,,i put part in vise ,snug it down,and then loosen the 2 clamps that hold the table support and the table rotation , and move vise directly under drill bit where i want it, tighten vise and then tighten both clamps,and drill away,,,works good f me...u really need 2 of these clamps to properly hold something in place ,.i also dont like the whack on my hand from un clamping,,
Last edited by madokie; Jan 23, 2019 at 05:46 PM.
Jan 23, 2019, 05:51 PM
10 out of 10 .... That bottom drawer is an essential item of workshop furniture... the bigger the better.You can even have one outside the size of a shipping container (
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Jan 23, 2019, 05:59 PM
Rick, very nice mods. The hand crank is a much needed improvement.
A safety story. Back when I was a kid (probably have said this story before here), my first job was a lab technician working for The Trane company in LaCrosse, WI. I was using the workshop drill press and holding the part by hand. An old timer stopped and showed me what happened to him a few years earlier. The part grabbed, took his fingers around the drill, grabbed the tendon that pulls the 4 fingers closed, as it yanked it from the muscled part way up the forearm. He had multiple surgeries to give him back some use. He was left with all 4 fingers pulling together with no individual finger control. And he did not have much pulling force.
Anyway, it changed the way I used drill presses from there on out.
Thanks for the tool improvement ideas.
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Jan 24, 2019, 11:16 AM
What a good idea as I have a Harbor freight drill press. Will by their clamp as all my vice grips were made here in Nebraska and I wish to preserve them.
Jan 24, 2019, 11:28 AM
Thank you, Rick, I'll have to borrow your ideas to upgrade my drill press clamp.
Whew, metric_taper, as I read your story I could ~feel~ it deep in my gut. The older I get, the less prone I am to taking unnecessary risks, and it's related experiences just like this that are pure gold in their prevention value.
A number of years ago a fellow I knew was running a board through a table saw, and near the end of the cut he used a tapered scrap of lumber as a push stick to finish the cut. He was holding the pointed end of the stick, and when it hit the blade, the saw kicked it with such force that it threaded the stick under the the skin of his forearm for several inches. The doc irrigated it well, disinfected and stuffed the newly made subcutaneous channel with gauze so it wouldn't heal closed over any infection. I don't remember all of the details of of how he cared for the wound in the healing process, but it sure made me more cognizant of potential unintended consequences of my actions.
Jan 24, 2019, 01:41 PM
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Jan 24, 2019, 07:53 PM
I always put a bolt or clamp on the side of my work so if there is a jam, the work cannot spin. I have two of those hf clamps and they work fine. I also have other clamps. Got a dp and all that because I almost rebroke my wrist free drilling some metal. Now I don't have to worry.
Jan 24, 2019, 07:54 PM
Sleykin, great idea, thanks.
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