10 Different Types of Drilling Machines

drilling machines
Jack Lie CNC machining expert

Specialize in CNC milling , CNC turning, 3D printing, urethane casting, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting,


The drilling machine is indispensable equipment in the machine shop whose importance is equal to the lathes. This type of machine has high versatility, primarily designed for drilling holes and many other operations with the proper tools. Let’s learn about the definition, main components, functions, types, and uses of drilling machines.

What Is A Drilling Machine?

A drilling machine, also known as a drill press, is a machine tool that is used to create holes in or through a variety of materials, including metal, wood, and plastic. It consists of a base, a column, and a drill head that is mounted on a sliding mechanism that allows the drill to move up and down along the column. The drill head has a chuck that holds the drill bit in place and a motor that powers the rotation of the drill bit. Drilling machines are commonly used in a wide range of applications, including manufacturing, construction, and repair work.

How Does A Drilling Machine Work?

To use a drilling machine, the material to be drilled is placed on the table of the machine, and the drill bit is secured in the chuck. The drill head is then lowered onto the material, and the spindle is rotated to turn the drill bit. The operator can adjust the depth of the hole by moving the table up or down, and can control the speed and torque of the drill using controls on the machine. Some drilling machines also have a coolant system to help keep the drill bit cool and lubricated while it is in use.

Drilling machines are widely used in manufacturing, construction, and other industries to create holes for a variety of purposes, such as installing bolts or screws, creating openings for pipes or wires, or forming cavities for mechanical components. They are available in a range of sizes and styles, and can be powered by electricity, gasoline, or other energy sources.

What Are the Functions of Drilling Machines?

Drilling machines are very versatile and can be used to create holes of all types and geometries, as shown below.

  1. Drilling: The main function of a drilling machine is to create holes in a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, and plastic. The drill head of the machine rotates a drill bit at high speeds to cut through the material and create the hole.
  2. Tapping: Some drilling machines can be equipped with a tapping attachment that allows the machine to create threads in a hole.
  3. Counterboring: A counterboring attachment can be used to enlarge the top of a hole to a specific diameter.
  4. Countersinking: A countersinking attachment can be used to create a conical recess at the top of a hole to allow the head of a screw or bolt to be flush with the surface of the material.
  5. Reaming: A reaming attachment can be used to smooth and enlarge the inside of a hole to a precise diameter.
  6. Boring: A boring attachment can be used to enlarge an existing hole to a specific diameter.
  7. Grinding: This process involves the use of a grinding wheel to remove material from a workpiece. The grinding wheel is a rotating abrasive tool, and the workpiece is typically made of metal. The grinding operation may be performed in a drilling machine to remove excess material from the workpiece, to create a smooth, even surface, or to achieve a precise shape or dimension. There are several different types of grinding, including surface grinding, cylindrical grinding, and centerless grinding.
  8. Spot facing: It is a machining operation that is used to create a flat, circular surface on a workpiece. It is typically used to create a smooth, even surface for a bolt or other fastener to be seated in, or to create a smooth, even surface for a bearing or other component to rest on.
  9. Lapping: Lapping is a machining process in which two surfaces are rubbed together with a fine abrasive material in between them. The abrasive material is used to remove small amounts of material from the surfaces, creating a smooth, even finish. Lapping is typically used to achieve a high level of surface finish and close tolerances on flat surfaces, such as the faces of machine parts or the surfaces of optical components.
  10. Trepanning: This operation is performed for cutting a circular groove or hole into a workpiece using a rotating cutting tool. The cutting tool, called a trepan, is typically mounted in a drill press or milling machine, and has a series of teeth around the perimeter that are used to remove material from the workpiece.

Main Parts of A Drilling Machine

Here are the main parts of a typical drilling machine:

  1. Base
    This is the bottom portion of the machine, which provides stability and support for the rest of the components.
  2. Column
    This is the vertical part of the machine that connects the base to the table. It typically contains the spindle and other internal components.
  3. Table
    This is a horizontal platform that the material to be drilled is placed on. It is usually adjustable, allowing the operator to move it up or down to control the depth of the hole.
  4. Spindle
    This is the rotating shaft that holds the chuck and drill bit. It is driven by a motor and is responsible for turning the drill bit at the desired speed.
  5. Chuck
    This is a clamping device that holds the drill bit in place. It is typically operated by a key or lever and allows the operator to change out drill bits as needed.
  6. Drill Head
    This is the part of the machine that contains the motor and other components responsible for driving the spindle and turning the drill bit. It is usually mounted on a sliding mechanism that allows it to be raised and lowered.
  7. Controls
    These are the buttons, levers, and dials that allow the operator to start and stop the machine, adjust the speed and torque of the drill, and control other functions.
  8. Other components of a drilling machine may include a coolant system, a work light, and a chuck key.
Drilling machine structure

Ten Types of Drilling Machines

Depending on the functions, structures, uses, and material of the workpiece, drilling machines are mainly divided into the following 10 types.

Portable Drilling Machine

A portable drilling machine is a type of power tool that is designed to be easily carried and used in various locations. It typically consists of a drill bit that is mounted on a chuck and powered by an electric motor or internal combustion engine. The portable drilling machine, also known as a hand-held drill or cordless drill, is a tool that is used for drilling holes in various materials such as wood, metal, masonry, and plastic. It is called a “portable” drilling machine because it is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry and use in a variety of settings.

Portable drills are most helpful in situations where certain workpieces cannot be brought to the workshop due to their heavy size or weight, which helps save a lot of time and transportation costs. The versatility and portability of a portable drilling machine make it an essential tool for a wide range of tasks and industries.

Portable Drilling Machine

Sensitive Drilling Machine

A sensitive drilling machine, also known as a precision drill press or bench drill, is a specialized type of drill that is designed for precise, accurate drilling of small holes. It is called a “sensitive” drilling machine because it has a sensitive spindle that can be adjusted to very fine tolerances, allowing the user to control the depth and position of the hole with great precision.

Sensitive drilling machines are typically used for tasks that require a high degree of accuracy, such as drilling holes for watchmaking, jewelry making, electronic component manufacturing, and other precision work. They are also commonly used in educational and research settings, where precise drilling is necessary for experiments and projects.

Unlike a portable drilling machine, which is designed to be portable and easy to use in a variety of settings, a sensitive drilling machine is typically larger and more complex, and is typically used in a workshop or laboratory setting. It may be mounted to a bench or a stand, and is operated by turning a hand crank or pressing a foot pedal to rotate the spindle. Therefore, it’s available in two types:

  • Bench mounted drilling machine
  • Floor mounted drilling machine
Sensitive Drilling Machine

Gang Drilling Machine

A gang drilling machine is a type of machine tool that is used for drilling multiple holes in a workpiece simultaneously. It consists of a series of drill bits mounted on a rotating spindle, which is arranged in a “gang” formation. As the spindle rotates, all of the drill bits simultaneously rotate and move forward to drill their respective holes.

Gang drilling machines are typically used in mass production settings where a large number of identical parts need to be drilled with high efficiency. They are commonly used in the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries, as well as in other manufacturing sectors where precise, high-volume drilling is required.

Gang drilling machines are known for their high speed and efficiency, and are capable of drilling multiple holes at once with a high degree of accuracy. They are typically larger and more complex than other types of drilling machines, and are typically used in a workshop or factory setting.

Gang Drilling Machine

Multi-spindle Drilling Machine

A multiple spindle drilling machine consists of a series of drilling spindles mounted on a rotating table, which can be positioned to drill holes in different locations on the workpiece.

It’s designed for a similar purpose to the gang drilling machine, to drill multiple holes simultaneously. In both types of machines, the drilling spindles or drill bits are arranged in a way that allows them to drill multiple holes at once. However, the key difference is that in a gang drilling machine, the drill bits are all mounted on the same spindle, while in a multiple spindle drilling machine, each drill bit is mounted on its own separate spindle.

Multi-spindle Drilling Machine

Upright Drilling Machine

An upright drilling machine, also described as a vertical drilling machine or pillar drilling machine, is a type of machine tool that is used for drilling holes in various materials. It is called an “upright” drilling machine because the spindle that holds the drill bit is vertical, as opposed to being horizontal as in other types of drilling machines. It resembles a sensitive drill machine but is larger and stronger with a more powerful engine and drilling capacity. Based on the type of column used, it’s divided into two different categories:

  • Round column upright drilling machine
  • Box column upright drilling machine
Upright Drilling Machine

Upright drilling machines are typically used for drilling large or deep holes, or for drilling holes in materials that are too thick or too hard to be drilled with a portable drilling machine. They are commonly used in the construction, manufacturing, and automotive industries, as well as in other settings where heavy-duty drilling is required.

Upright drilling machines are known for their strength and durability, and are designed to handle a wide range of drilling tasks. They are typically larger and more complex than other types of drilling machines, and are typically used in a workshop or factory setting.

Radial Drilling Machine

A radial drilling machine is a type of machine tool that is used for drilling holes in various materials. It is called a “radial” drilling machine because the arm that holds the drill bit is mounted on a radial sliding track, which allows the drill to be positioned at various angles relative to the workpiece.

Radial drilling machines are typically used for drilling large or deep holes, or for drilling holes at specific angles or in hard-to-reach locations. It is known for its versatility and precision, and is capable of drilling holes with a high degree of accuracy. Radial drilling machines can be divided into three common categories based on their design and features:

  • Semi-universal drilling machine
  • Universal drilling machine
  • Plain drilling machine
Radial Drilling Machine

CNC Drilling Machine

A CNC (computer numerical control) drilling machine is a type of machine tool that is equipped with a CNC system, which allows it to perform drilling tasks with high precision and repeatability. CNC drilling machines are used to drill holes in various materials, and are typically used in mass production settings where a large number of identical parts need to be drilled with high efficiency.

CNC drilling machines are programmed using a computer and special software, which allows the operator to input the desired drilling patterns and locations into the machine. The machine then uses this information to automatically position the drill bit and perform the drilling operations.

CNC drilling machines are known for their high speed and accuracy, and are capable of drilling multiple holes at once with a high degree of precision. They play an important role in the aerospace, automotive, and defense industries, and in other manufacturing sectors where precision and efficient drilling are of great significance.

CNC Drilling

Deep Hole Drilling Machine

A deep hole drilling machine is a type of machine tool that is used for drilling deep, narrow holes in various materials. Deep hole drilling machines are typically used for drilling holes that are too deep or too narrow to be drilled with a conventional drilling machine, and are commonly used in the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries, as well as in other manufacturing sectors where precise, deep hole drilling is required.

Deep hole drilling machines are typically equipped with a long, slender drill bit called a gun drill, which is designed to drill deep, narrow holes with a high degree of accuracy. They may also be equipped with special features such as a BTA (Boring and Trepanning Association) drill head, which allows the machine to perform boring and trepanning operations in addition to drilling.

This type of drilling machine is mostly used to drill deep holes in various components, such as connecting rods, barrels, spindles, and some oil-well drilling equipment. It comes in two types:

  • Vertical deep hole drilling machine
  • Horizontal deep hole drilling machine
Deep Hole Drilling Machine

Micro Drill Press

A micro drill press is a small, portable drill press that is used for precise drilling of small holes. It is typically used for jewelry making, model building, and other applications where small, accurate holes are required. Micro drill presses typically have a smaller throat depth and swing radius than larger drill presses, and they may also have a smaller range of spindle speeds. They may be powered by electricity or by hand, and they may be mounted on a tabletop or bench or used as a hand-held tool.

Micro Drill Press

Turret Type Drilling Machine

A turret type drilling machine is a type of drilling machine that is equipped with a turret that holds a number of drill bits. The turret can be rotated to bring different drill bits into position, allowing the machine to perform multiple drilling operations without the need to manually change out the drill bits. This can increase the speed and efficiency of the drilling process, especially for applications that require multiple holes to be drilled in a row. Turret type drilling machines are often used in mass production environments, where speed and efficiency are important considerations. They may be used to drill holes in a variety of materials, including metal, wood, and plastic.

Turret Type Drilling Machine

Drilling Machines FAQs

Based on the functions, structures, uses, and material of the workpiece, the types of drilling machines are various. The most common types of drilling machines used in machine shops are:

  1. Portable Drilling Machine
  2. Sensitive Drilling Machine/Bench Drilling Machine
  3. Gang Drilling Machine
  4. Multi-spindle Drilling Machine
  5. Upright Drilling Machine/Pillar Drilling Machine
  6. Radial Drilling Machine
  7. CNC Drilling Machine
  8. Deep Hole Drilling Machine
  9. Micro Drill Press
  10. Turret Type Drilling Machine

Drilling machine tools are tools that are used to create holes in a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, and plastic. These tools are typically mounted in a drill press or milling machine, and are used to remove material from the workpiece using a rotating cutting action. Drilling machine tools come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are designed for different types of drilling applications.

Some common types of drilling machine tools include twist drills, center drills, countersink drills, and spotting drills. Twist drills are the most common type of drilling tool, and are used for creating a wide range of hole sizes and shapes. Center drills are used to create a starter hole for a larger drill bit, and are typically used in conjunction with other drilling operations. Countersink drills are used to create a conical recess at the top of a hole to allow the head of a screw or bolt to be flush with the surface of the material. Spotting drills are used to create a small, shallow hole as a guide for a larger drill bit.

When using a drilling machine, it is important to follow proper safety procedures to avoid injury and damage to the machine. Some considerations to keep in mind when using a drilling machine include:

  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety glasses, earplugs, and gloves.
  • Make sure the workpiece is securely clamped to the table to prevent it from moving during the drilling process.
  • Use the correct drill bit for the material you are drilling and make sure it is properly installed in the chuck.
  • Set the correct speed and feed rate for the drill bit and the material you are drilling.
  • Keep your hands and other body parts clear of the drill bit and the moving parts of the machine.
  • Do not overtighten the chuck or clamp the workpiece too tightly, as this can cause the drill bit to break or the workpiece to crack.
  • Regularly check the condition of the drill bit and replace it when it becomes worn or damaged.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for the proper operation and maintenance of the drilling machine.

Drilling machines, also known as drill presses, offer a number of advantages over other methods of creating holes in materials. Some of the main advantages of drilling machines include:

  • Precision: Drilling machines are capable of creating precise, accurate holes to close tolerances.
  • Speed: Drilling machines can create holes quickly and efficiently, making them well suited for mass production applications.
  • Versatility: Drilling machines can be used to create holes of different sizes and depths, and they can be used to drill straight or angled holes.
  • Ease of use: Drilling machines are relatively easy to operate, even for inexperienced users.
  • Safety: Drilling machines are generally safer to use than other methods of creating holes, such as hand drilling or punch press operations.
  • Durability: Drilling machines are built to withstand the stresses of the drilling process, and they are typically very durable and long-lasting.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Drilling machines are a cost-effective way to create a large number of holes in a short amount of time.

While drilling machines offer many advantages, they also have some limitations and disadvantages. Some of the main disadvantages of drilling machines include:

  • Limited materials: Drilling machines are not suitable for drilling all types of materials, and they may not be able to create holes in extremely hard or brittle materials.
  • Size limitations: Drilling machines have a maximum throat depth and swing radius, which may limit their ability to create holes in larger or oddly shaped workpieces.
  • Setup time: Setting up a drilling machine for a new job can be time-consuming, especially if multiple drill bits or other accessories are required.
  • Noise and vibration: Drilling machines can produce a significant amount of noise and vibration, which may be a concern in some work environments.
  • Maintenance requirements: Drilling machines require regular maintenance to keep them in good working order, including cleaning, lubrication, and the replacement of worn or damaged parts.
  • Limited hole shapes: Drilling machines are primarily designed to create cylindrical holes, and may not be able to create other shapes or features.
  • Cost: Drilling machines can be expensive, especially when compared to hand-held power tools such as electric drills.

Drilling machines, also known as drill presses, are used to create holes in a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, and plastic. They are commonly used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Manufacturing: Drilling machines are used to create holes in parts and components during the manufacturing process.
  • Construction: Drilling machines are used to create holes for anchors, bolts, and other fasteners in construction projects.
  • Woodworking: Drilling machines are used to create holes for dowels, screws, and other fasteners in woodworking projects.
  • Maintenance and repair: Drilling machines are used to create holes for bolts and other fasteners in maintenance and repair work.
  • Jewelry making: Drilling machines are used to create precise, small holes in jewelry making.
  • Model building: Drilling machines are used to create small, accurate holes in model building projects.
  • Research and development: Drilling machines are used in research and development to create holes in materials for testing and experimentation.

Conclusion

Here, we have explained in detail the definition, working principle, functions, main parts, and ten main types of drilling machines. You may have a basic knowledge of this type of machine and know which type suits your project best.

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