Everyone’s done it at one time or another: just “drilling a quick hole” by sticking something on the drill press and holding it there by hand. And just as it has weith many others (including us), eventually it’ll bite you in the, um, hand.
All sorts of clamps are available to fit the standard slots in your drill press, but we’re partial to the drill press vise; They’re easier to use, and some of them — like this one from Northern — offer the additional advantage of two-dimensional adjustable travel.
Once you’ve clamped your workpiece down in the vise, you can run it fore-aft and side to side with two swivel cranks. It can travel up to 6-1/4″ sideways and 8″ front to back.
Most of the time we’ve used them just to quickly and accurately register the next hole without having to completely un-clamp, re-position, and re-clamp our work. The worst part about re-clamping is that half the time the workpiece moves a little when you clamp it down.
We’ve even heard of some people using these as a “poor man’s” milling machine, chucking up an end mill and using the drill press vise like the mill’s adjustable table. Sure, it’s not going to be hyper-accurate, but it might be a quick way to cut a slot if you don’t have a mill.
This one’s available from Northern for $63, and they offer other sizes as well.
Industrial Cross Slide 6″ Drill Press Vise [Northern Tool & Equipment]