A drill press is a valuable and flexible machine, but many people do not know how to select the proper speed for a drill press.
As a result, many people simply end up using the wrong speed, resulting in burned drill bits, damaged materials, and using twice as much effort.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what drill press speed to use.
To determine what drill press speed you should use, you have to realize that a drill press may be used to drill a variety of different materials, using a variety of different drill bit types, with varying diameters.
Only by linking these three variables can you establish the proper drill press speed.
With the several drill press speed charts in this article, you will be able to identify the ideal drill press speed for the job you are working on.
To make things even easier for you, I’ve separated them apart based on the sort of material you’re drilling, so you can discover the correct drill press speed in no time.
TIP: Save this blog post in your favorites, in case you require these charts the next time you ask yourself, “What drill press speed should I use?”
That way, you can set the proper drill press speed in seconds.
- Why is drill press speed so important?
- How do you define drill press speed?
- Factors that influence the drill press speed that you should use.
- How to determine the right speed of a drill press.
- How to set up your drill press at the right speed?
Why is drill press speed so important?
The drill press’s speed is crucial for various reasons.
Overheating can occur if you drill too quickly, resulting in burn marks on the wood or metal discoloration.
If you drill too slowly, the drill will not cut cleanly into the material but will instead break off flakes which will give you a sloppy end result.
As a result of overheating, the drill bit might be damaged, requiring you to sharpen it more quickly or, worse, throw it away.
Another important reason why drill speed is important is your safety. Using the wrong speed can cause drill press accidents. Not only creased or broken fingers, but also amputated fingers, have often been the result of not using the correct speed in the past. Avoid accidents and be sure to check out my article, “Drill Press Accidents Happen Every Day: 9 Tips To Stay Safe”.
Later in this article, you will see that for each drill diameter, you will find a different drilling speed. A thicker drill will have to rotate at a lower revolution than, for example, a thinner drill.
How do you define drill press speed?
A drill press’s speed is measured in revolutions per minute.
This is denoted by the acronym RPM.
So, if we talk about a drill press that runs at 1000RPM, it indicates that the drill head has been threaded 1000 times around its own axis in one minute.
RPM is used to indicate the speed of numerous devices and equipment, not just drill presses.
Factors that influence the drill press speed that you should use.
Drill bit size
When you check the drill press speed chart below, you will notice that each drill diameter has a distinct drilling speed. A thicker drill, for example, will have to rotate at a lower revolution than a thinner drill.
That is simple to explain, and once you see it, it makes sense.
When working on a material with a bigger diameter drill bit, there will be much more friction between the workpiece and the drill than when working on the same material with a smaller diameter drill bit.
That instance, while your drill press is running at a greater speed, a bigger diameter drill bit will heat up faster than a smaller diameter bit at the same speed.
Drill bit type
Each drill not only has its unique form and diameter, but it also has its own method of cutting into the material.
A Forstner drill, for example, cuts through the wide, slanted blade differently than, say, the tiny teeth of a hole saw.
That is why it is critical to match the drill speed to the type of drill you are using. If you do not do this, you run a considerably higher risk of the drill bit getting burned or worn down.
Don’t miss this!
If you want to know what sort of drill bits you should have in your workshop, read my previous post “7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking.”
The material that you’re using.
The material’s hardness also plays a huge role in deciding what drill press speed you should use.
Drilling through hardwood will produce greater friction than drilling through softwood. When drilling in hardwood, you must choose a lower speed to avoid the drill from overheating or burning the wood.
As a result, if you drill into a harder material or with a drill with a larger diameter, the speed must drop proportionally.
Hard materials or bigger drills require a slower speed, whereas soft materials or thinner drills require a faster speed.
How to determine the right speed of a drill press.
Now that you know what factors to consider when determining drill press speed, you can get started.
To make things easier, I’ve created two tables below that show the speed for drilling with various types of drills, different sizes, and different materials.
To make it easier to understand, I separated the data into two tables: a drill press speed chart for wood and a drill press drill chart for metals.
What drill press speed should I use for wood?
To find the perfect drill speed for drilling in wood (softwood or softwood) select the type of drill bit you are using.
Once you have selected the type of drill bit, find the diameter size you need. Next to that drill size, you will find the drill press speed to use for softwood (first column) or hardwood (second column).
|Drill type & diameter Inch||Drill type & diameter mm||Softwood||Hardwood|
|Twist Drill Bits|
|1/16″ to 3/16″||1.5mm – 5mm||3000 RPM||3000 RPM|
|1/4″ to 3/8″||6mm – 10mm||3000 RPM||1500 RPM|
|7/16″ to 5/8″||11mm – 16mm||1500 RPM||750 RPM|
|11/16″ to 1″||17mm – 24mm||750 RPM||500 RPM|
|1/8″||3mm||1800 RPM||1200 RPM|
|1/4″||6mm||1800 RPM||1000 RPM|
|3/8″||10mm||1800 RPM||750 RPM|
|1/2″||12mm||1800 RPM||750 RPM|
|5/8″||16mm||1800 RPM||500 RPM|
|3/4″||18mm||1400 RPM||250 RPM|
|13/16″||22mm||1200 RPM||250 RPM|
|1″||24mm||1000 RPM||250 RPM|
|1/4″ to 3/8″||6mm – 10mm||2400 RPM||700 RPM|
|1/2″ to 5/8″||12mm – 16mm||2400 RPM||500 RPM|
|3/4″ to 1″||18mm – 24mm||1500 RPM||500 RPM|
|1- 1/8″ to 1- 1/4″||28mm – 30mm||1000 RPM||250 RPM|
|1- 3/8″ to 2″||34mm – 48mm||500 RPM||250 RPM|
|1″ to 1- 1/2″||24mm – 32mm||500 RPM||350 RPM|
|1- 5/8″ to 2″||40mm – 48mm||500 RPM||250 RPM|
|2- 1/8″ to 2- 1/2″||54mm – 60mm||500 RPM||250 RPM|
|2- 1/2″ to 4″||60mm – 92mm||250 RPM||250 RPM|
|1/4″ to 1/2″||6mm – 12mm||2000 RPM||1500 RPM|
|5/8″ to 1″||16mm – 24mm||1750 RPM||1500 RPM|
|1- 1/8″ to 1- 1/2″||28mm – 36mm||1500 RPM||1000 RPM|
|2- flute||1400 RPM||1400 RPM|
|5- flute||1000 RPM||750 RPM|
screw pilot bit
|all sizes||1500 RPM||1000 RPM|
|Plug cutters||all sizes||1000 RPM||500 RPM|
What drill press speed should I use for Metal?
To find the perfect drill speed for drilling in metal (brass, aluminum, and steel) select the type of drill bit you are using.
Once you have selected the type of drill bit, find the diameter size you need. Next to that drill size, you will find the drill press speed to use for brass (first column), aluminum (second column), or steel (column on the right).
|Drill type & diameter Inch||Drill type & diameter mm||Brass||Aluminum||Steel|
|Twist Drill Bits|
|1/16″ to 3/16″||1.5mm – 5mm||3000 RPM||3000 |
|1/4″ to 3/8″||6mm – 10mm||1200 RPM||2500 |
|7/16″ to 5/8″||11mm – 16mm||750 |
|11/16″ to 1″||17mm – 24mm||400 |
|1″ to 1- 1/2″||24mm – 32mm||250 RPM||NR||NR|
|1- 5/8″ to 2″||40mm – 48mm||250 RPM||NR||NR|
|2- 1/8″ to 2- 1/2″||54mm – 60mm||250 RPM||NR||NR|
|2- 1/2″ to 4″||60mm – 92mm||250 RPM||NR||NR|
|5- flute||250 RPM||250 RPM||250 RPM|
How to set up your drill press at the right speed?
To convert from one speed to another, many smaller DIY drill presses require manual adjustments.
With larger appliances, the speed can also be set electronically. Nowadays, even smaller devices, made for DIYers, already have electronic settings such as this Bosch PBD40.
To accomplish this, just follow the steps below to change the speed of your drill press.
Before you begin, disconnect your drill press from the wall for safety reasons.
Every drill press comes with a guide to assist you select the best RPM for the job you’re working on.
Step one is to open your drill press and loosen the knob using the knob and lock found on the drill press’s side. The belt will be free enough to move after the motor has been pushed backward.
Step two: To change the speed, simply insert your finger behind the loosened belt and pull gently to the desired level. To make this process easier, it is a good idea to do this while turning the pulleys.
Step 3: After you’ve installed the belt, push the motor backward and use the side knob and latch to secure the motor and tighten the belt. Before connecting the machine back in, make sure to close the cover.
You may now drill at the proper speed without fear of burning your workpiece, ruining your drill bit, or exerting too much effort.
If you want your drill press and drill bit to last longer, and if you want to drill without damaging your workpiece, you will have to adjust the speed of your drill press.
Use the charts in this article to find the right speed in seconds.
I recommend you to save this article in your favorites, so you can check these drill press speed charts quickly in case you need them.
Next to the correct speed, there is a lot to learn about the drill press, so you can get the most out of this power tool. Be sure to read the article, “What is a drill press used for? (7 steps to better results)”
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