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.

Porter Cable Drill Press Table

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.