Mini drill presses are functionally similar to their full-sized counterparts, but they vary in much more than just their size. Mini drill presses sacrifice power for precision, and as such are much more likely to focus on being able to do very small holes in soft materials like light woods or plastic. They also tend to have fewer features, although this is not universally the case. While not appropriate for the most difficult or high volume jobs, mini drill presses are quite capable for many applications such as precision woodworking, jewelry or even electronics.
Top 3 Mini Drill Presses
1. Proxxon 38128 TBM
This machine provides excellence in the mini drill press category. With the addition of a machine vise or a micro compound table, both produced by Proxxon specifically for this drill, it can be upgraded to meet the needs of even the most precise miniatures and electronics. Capable of drilling holes as minuscule as 0.5mm, the Proxxon 38128 TBM is ideal for many very small jobs.
The drill itself uses a three-step aluminum pulley system to optimize consistent drilling speed and eliminate shake or wobble. This is intended to make sure that the holes are as narrow and precise as possible. The drill has three selectable speeds, 1,800, 4,700 and 8,500 rpm. The motor has 1/10th horsepower. The lever uses a ball bearing assembly and variable depth gauge, enabling the operator to set the drill depth to any length between 1/64″ and 1.90″. A stop prevents the drill from descending further than desired. The entire unit weighs only 8 lbs, and it is highly recommended that it be secured to any work table before use.
2. SE 97511MDP
The SE 97511MDP is intended to be a general purpose mini drill press for the hobbyist or occasional woodworker who needs a solid, reliable unit without a lot of complex additions or accessories. It is thus very basic, and consequently inexpensive, and makes a great entry-level model. The drill can be adjusted up to 7-1/2” in height and can handle drill bits of up to 6 mm in diameter. The drill uses a standard 6mm chuck key. The drill uses a two-pulley system and a rubber belt. The drill has three potential speed settings, 5000, 6500, and 8000 RPM, which can be selected by manually adjusting the position of the belt on the provided pulleys, in effect changing gears. The actual speed is achieved by adjusting the knob on the right of the unit, which enables variable speeds of less than the maximum to be chosen for delicate work.
The SE 97511MDP is designed to be mounted securely to a work table, as it is only 2.3 lbs in weight. It has a 1″ spindle travel and a 6-9/16” by 6-9/16” work area. Grooves are provided for mounting clamps or stays, but none are provided. The drill has a snap-on lid to make maintenance and the movement of the drive belt easier.
3. Micro-Mark MicroLux Variable Speed HD
The Micro-Mark MicroLux is a high-end unit developed for the needs of industrial prototyping. While certainly usable by the average woodworker, the Micro-Mark MicroLux is most at home in an environment that demands ultra-high precision, such as the prototyping of small electronics or the construction of high-detailed miniatures and jewelry. Intended to offer the precision demanded by jewelers at a lower cost, the Micro-Mark MicroLux uses a digital depth gauge to set the depth of the drill and can handle bits as narrow as 1/64″ or as wide as 1/4″ in diameter. The Micro-Mark MicroLux is capable of cutting through plastic, wood and most metals, as well as softer forms of stone.
The Micro-Mark MicroLux weighs 27 lbs and can be permanently mounted to a work surface, although this is not required for operation. A sliding gauge is provided for precise in-line drilling, and the gauge rails can also be used to securely hold any one of some small vices specifically designed for use with the drill, as well as magnifying equipment for the smallest jobs. The drill uses a two-pulley drive system and can run at one of two variable speed ranges, from 0 to 3600 rpm or 0 to 5000 rpm.