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Bench Pillar Drill Hazards to Avoid

A bench pillar drill also known simply as a bench drill is the bench-mounted version of a pillar drill. This article outlines some of the hazards that you need to avoid when using your bench pillar drill.

Insecure base — like all pillar drill tools, the bench drill is heavy; heavier than you may think at first glance. The last thing you want is for it to come loose and topple over when the drill bit is spinning and you have your hands full. To avoid this hazard, even with a smaller bench pillar drill you need to make sure it is firmly bolted to the workbench.

Insecure workpiece — this is one of the most common causes of accidents because it is all too easy to cut corners and not bother to secure the wood or metal that you are about to drill. If the workpiece moves in the middle of drilling, the drill bit will catch the side of the hole and cause the workpiece to jolt violently, with potentially dangerous consequences. That is why pillar drill safety principles require your work to be secured in position. For regularly-shaped pieces, clamps can be used to hold everything in place, but for irregular pieces, or work that needs to be drilled at an angle off the vertical, you may need extra pillar drill accessories such as jigs or cradles to secure your work at the desired angle.

Loose drill bits — like so many power drills, loose bits are always a potential hazard with bench drills. Some would say that the consequences may be less serious with a fixed drill and a fixed workpiece, but it’s still a hazard to be avoided. Even if the workpiece is secure, a loose bit can scrape around in the hole and make a real mess.

Broken drill bits — A drill bit that breaks suddenly can be something of a shock and there is always the chance that the broken end of the bit could fly up and at you. To minimise the chance of this happening, always secure the workpiece so it cannot move, and never force the drill bit down into the work; simply lower it and let the bit gently do its job.

Overheating — When drilling long and hard, especially through metal, there is a real danger that the drill bit will overheat and smoke. This is unlikely to burn you but it will damage the workpiece and the drill bit in seconds. To avoid this hazard, when you detect the first little plume of smoke or smell burning, raise the drill bit immediately and apply plenty of coolant such as WD40. Better still, be more patient and use a lower drill speed to avoid things getting so hot.

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