How to Convert a Drill Press into an Overhead Router

How to Convert a Drill Press into an Overhead Router

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When working on your latest DIY venture at home, you may have used large machines called overhead routers. It consists of a router bit that stays still while you move the table up and down on the wood.

Overhead routers and best drill presses are configured in an almost identical way, but routers function at higher speeds. If you increase the speed of drill presses, it is possible to convert them into overhead routers.

Drill press tools can usually be made to run at a higher speed by changing the belt configurations. This way you can use a drill press as your overhead router during some projects.

How to Convert a Drill Press into an Overhead Router

Things Needed for Conversion

  •  Bullnose router bit measuring 3/8-inch
  • 3/4-inch thick hardwood scrap
    Things Needed for Conversion

 Steps Needed to Configure your Drill Press

  • Make sure your drill press is unplugged. On top, there will be a big knob on the housing of your drill press that you need to loosen. Make sure it is facing towards you, a little higher than eye-level. If either side of your drill press housing has two levers, make sure they are flipped up.
  • Firmly hold the housing of your drill press and pull it off upward. If there is a hinge on the back or side of it, simply tilt it as far back as it can go. The purpose is to uncover the pulleys and belt.
  • You will see the belt passing between two groups of pulleys. Each group of pulleys contains four or possibly five of them placed close to each other. Drill press machines are usually configured to run at slower speeds. Change the belt’s place by moving it up on the highest one you see.

This is done by using your hands for pulling the belt up while simultaneously turning the wheel with gentle movements. Pull it up onto one pulley and then the corresponding one on the other side. When you’re done, the belt should be running between the top most pulleys.

  • Pull back the benchtop drill press housing and close it shut, with the knob tightened. Place and tighten a bullnose router bit, sized 3/8-inch and including bearing, in the chuck of the drill bit. Put hardwood that is 3/4-inch thick on your movable table. Raise your drill press table so that the center of the curve in your router is poised on the hard wood’s edge.
  • Lastly, the drill press can be plugged back and turned on. Start sliding the hardwood under the overhead router while it spins so that it runs a bullnose edge onto it.

How to Convert a Drill Press into an Overhead Router

 Things to Keep in Mind

  • Remember to firmly hold your project material with both hands, because kickbacks are possible with drill press and routers. Be careful when working with high-speed router bits as they can be dangerous. Never work on wood without first putting on safety glasses and operate with caution.
  • Bullnose bits are used as an example in this guide. Cordless drill press machines are compatible with almost all smaller sized router bits. However, they cannot work at sufficiently high speeds that are needed for raised panel bits or other bigger cutting bits.
  • If you are still unclear about belt and pulley speeds, a diagram can usually be found on the inside of the drill press housing.

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