What is a drill press quill?
The drill press quill is probably one very important part of the drill press that doesn’t get mentioned enough. The drill press quill is a hollow shaft that contains the spindle. The quill is responsible for housing and protecting the spindle. While the spindle rotates, the drill press quill moves vertically, going back and forth to extend the spindle.
Why do we need it?
When you hear of spindle travel, they are most likely referring to quill travel. The quill is responsible for moving the spindle up and down through the aid of a rack and pinion mechanism, so it’s fair enough that the movement is given its rightful name.
The quill travel determines the maximum depth of a hole that can be drilled in a material. Most drill presses have a depth stop mechanism that limits the movement of the quill while working, thereby ensuring accurate depth measurement when drilling through materials.
How to fix the drill press quill?
Before you rush into fixing your drill press quill, the first thing to do is check if your quill has a defect commonly referred to as quill play.
Quill play is the amount of radial movement present in your drill press quill. It usually manifests itself by allowing your drill bit to dance around when drilling holes, resulting in an inaccurate hole being drilled in the material.
Quill play normally occurs as a result of the wearing of the cast-iron bore which houses the quill. This situation usually occurs in vintage drill press machines because the quill of newer models has a hard chrome finish and travels in bronze bushes mounted in a cast-iron bore.
Another common cause of quill play is manufacturers’ defects, which is usually the cause of quill play in cheap drill presses.
To check for quill play, mount a dial indicator to the quill’s tip and measure the radial movement produced by tugging the quill gently from side to side. Lower your quill halfway and repeat the same measurement. If the value obtained is anything greater than 5/1000, then you probably have too much quill play in your tool.
Consider repeating the measurement steps mentioned above along the length of your quill to get an overall idea of the amount of quill play present in your device.
The easiest method to fix the quill play of your machine is to order a replacement quill and change the quill entirely. You should also probably check the bearings for pitting and wearing, as this can also cause quill play in your tool.
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