Improving the Porter Cable Drill Press
by Patrick Harper - Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust
The 15-inch Porter Cable drill press is an excellent value. It’s cheap, accurate, and powerful. However, it has one huge drawback for the woodworker: the table. It sucks! As a result, I made an auxiliary table to help me get the most out of this tool.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information on making an auxiliary table for this model. So, I inspected the drill press and came up with a game plan.
My design consists of two sandwiched pieces of melamine, and oak edge banding. It also has a slot in the middle for replaceable inserts. Finally, it has t-tracks for a fence and hold-down. I used a plunge router to create the slot and a dado stack to fit the t-tracks. Easy stuff. The hard part is mounting the new table to the existing one.
Ultimately, I decided to mount the auxiliary table using two hex bolts. The bolt heads are countersunk to keep the surface obstruction free. Since the existing table doesn’t have mounting holes, I drilled them myself. This was easier than I anticipated. As a result, the table is easy to remove and adjust.
I built the fence from scrap melamine. The fence attaches to the table with star-knobs and bolts. I also added a hold-down. Now, I no longer have to hold my work-piece with my bare hand. Yay safety!
While still in the workshop, I made about 15 zero clearance inserts. I cut these from the same material as the top. As a result, they sit perfectly flush. Hopefully, I won’t have to make any more for some time.
The new table presents a big improvement to the Porter Cable drill press. So far, my only concern is the height of the fence on the right. With smaller material, the drill-press handles may interfere with the fence. If this becomes and issue, I’ll just cut a notch in the fence.