Major Components of a Drill Press

What are Drill Press Swing and Drill Press Quill?

Drilling holes in different materials at specific angles and depths is not an easy task to do. You will find difficulties drilling a hole in perfect shape and depth. Instead of a handheld drill, anyone will undoubtedly go for a drill press as making an appropriate drilling hole is quite easier with its help.

If you have already set your mind to buy a drill press at first, you need to ask, “what are a drill press swing and drill press quill?” We are here with the answer. Understanding these answers will surely make you confident of your next move regarding buying a drill press.

Let’s look at our guide!

What is Drill Press Swing?

The swing of a drill press is the measurement between the spindle’s center and its column. It is normally measured in inches, with tabletop models having a maximum measurement of a few inches and big floor-standing models having a maximum measurement of over 20 inches. The largest workpiece that can be drilled depends on the swing size of the drill press.

This is a very crucial matter to look for as you might get confused while buying a drill press from the market, and you don’t know what swing in a drill press means.

Drill presses are often marked with or even marketed with inch measurement. Like a 15″ Drill press. This 15″  is the swing of that specific drill press. The manufacturer nowadays lists this ‘swing’ term as a specification and a title for sale.

If you are looking for a definition for drill press swing, it would be like this. The swing of a drill press is a measurement of distance (not a thing/ a particular piece).  It’s simply the distance from the spindle of the swing to the support column. The spindle holds the drill bit, and the support column as a pillar maintains the head of the drill.

Now, let’s imagine a scenario. The drill press is rotating around the support column. Here creates a radius. Right? The radius is the distance between the center of the spindle and the nearest portion of the support column.What is Drill Press Swing and Drill Press Quill

Types of drill press swing

There are two main types of drill press swings:

  1. Benchtop and
  2. Floor-standing.

Benchtop models are perfect for smaller workpieces for hobbyist use because they are more compact and portable. Because they are bigger and more powerful, floor-standing models are better suited for industrial uses and larger workpieces.

The size of the workpiece you will be drilling determines the size of the drill press swing you need. A benchtop type might be adequate for smaller workpieces, but a floor-standing variant with a higher swing size will be needed for bigger workpieces.

What Does Swing Mean on a Drill Press?

The drill press swing measurement is the simplest of things. But still, it might seem confusing if you don’t know how to measure.

Let’s first come to the measurement!

To know the swing of a drill press, multiply the distance from the support column to the center of the spindle by 2. The spindle is the place where the drill bit is inserted. And the support column is the arm to hold the whole head of the machine.

We will illustrate this measurement with an example if the distance from the column to the spindle is 7 inches. The swing for that specific drill press would be 14 inches meaning the drill press can create a hole in the center of a 14″ square or circle material.

You can not drill a hole in the center of a material if it is larger in measure than the swing of your drill press.

What is a Drill Press Quill?

This part of the press is the protector of the spindle. A drill press quill is like a  hollow shaft that protects and surrounds the spindle of the press. While the drill press is running, the spindle rotates into the Quill as a rotating shaft. The chuck is ascended to the board.

The drill press spindle rotates in respect of housing wherever the press quill doesn’t turn or rotate rather it can come lower along with the whole set of the spindle. The motivation is to contract the drill bit to the piece of material at the right point.

The drill press quill, apart from the swing, is a piece of metal that drives from the neck of the press surrounding the spindle. It helps all spindles to mount towards the workpiece and let the bit hit it.

Types of drill press quill

There are two main types of drill press quill:

  1. Manually operated and
  2. Automatically operated.

When using a manual quill, the drill bit depth is changed by rotating the quill feed handle. Yet, automatic quills eliminate the need for constant tweaking of the drilling depth because of their built-in depth stop.

The spindle and chuck are two parts of a drill press quill that work together to keep the drill bit in place. Depending on the type of drill press, a chuck key or keyless chuck may be used to adjust the chuck’s tightness or loosening.

Understanding the Spindle Travel on a Drill Press?

The spindle travel on a drill press refers to the distance a drill travels along the centerline of the table when drilling a hole in wood or metal. This can be measured by measuring the distance between the starting point where the drill is first inserted into the material, and the point where the drill exits the material.

Spindle travel is the distance your drill bit travels along the drill’s axis when it spins in one direction. It is measured in thousandths of an inch and is usually indicated by numbers on your drill press’s dials. For example, a 10-inch drill will have a 10″ spindle travel.

Understanding Quill Travel and Quill Play in a Drill Press

Quill travel is another thing to understand for the sake of ensuring your depth of knowledge regarding drill press quill. It’s the distance the quill will travel downward to hit the piece of metal with the bit.

A lock called a Quill block specifies how much distance the quill will pass during its travel. You can lock the distance by measuring the depth you want to create on the materials for easy saying.

With time, the quill play of the drill may inaugurate problems like “will play” or “radial quill play” which may further hamper the activities of the drill press.

If we talk about the radial quill play, it will show you an unwanted lateral movement. You can fix the problem by adding a quill play adjustment. For this, you need to first modify your press to the requirements.


What size is the quill on a wen drill press?

The quill will play a great role in your WEN drill press to customize the functions. How effective services it will provide largely depends on the size of the diameter. The size of the quill diameter on a WEN drill press is 2.17 inches.

What swing size do you need to drill a hole?

Before buying a drill press, not checking swings is one of the stupidest things. The swing will determine the types of material you can drill with your press. Putting a larger material than the swing in size will not help.

If you plan to use your drill very often and drill larger material, go for a drill press with a larger swing (12″-17″ inches).  “Mini drill press” is also available. You can easily drill a hole into a smaller material with it. So, the swing matters.

Final Words

We can keep telling you about what are drill press swing and drill press quill, and you still be a little confused until you go to market and check this out by yourself. Don’t worry! You have gathered enough information already. The manufacturer will not show you the quill size while marketing, but you can mark the swing for sure. Primarily, marking the swing is crucial for you. Otherwise, you will need to change the whole drill press.