how to drill straight holes without a drill press

How To Drill Straight Holes Without A Drill Press? (Step-by-step Guide)

Drilling a straight hole without the aid of a drill press can be challenging if your workshop is small and you only have a few tools. When working in a confined space or without the ability to place your workpiece underneath the drill press, for instance, it may not always be possible to use a drill press at all. Happily, there are a few options for drilling straight holes without a drill press in each of these circumstances.

To drill straight holes without a drill press, you can :
– Use a square that can guide your drill at the right angle.
– Make a simple drill guide jig in wood that guides the drill under a straight wood.
– Use a portable drill guide.

Each of these techniques for drilling straight holes without a drill press will be covered in more detail in this article. Along with step-by-step instructions, this post will also cover the most effective methods for drilling precise straight holes. If you find yourself in one of the situations mentioned at the beginning of this essay, it is imperative that you carefully read it.

Do You Need a Drill Press?

The drill press is a stationary drill used for numerous tasks, including drilling holes. The switch on this drill serves as the trigger, and it is significantly heavier than a typical handheld drill. A lever controls the position of the drill, which is mounted in a fixed drill chuck.

Most straight holes that require extreme precision are drilled using a drill press. You can be certain of the squareness with which you drill in addition to being able to predict the location of the drilling very accurately. Other benefits of the drill press include variable constant speed, greater power, a safer working environment, and so forth.

You can drill straight holes with a regular drill, but a drill press makes the process much simpler and quicker. Consequently, we advise you to purchase a drill press if you can.

3 Ways to Drill Straight Holes Without a Drill Press

Use a Square

Without a drill press, this method makes it simple to drill straight holes. Sadly, this approach also lacks the most accuracy. However, in some circumstances, this advice may be useful to you; however, you will need to put it into practice on your own.

Placing your drill bit where you want to drill a hole is tricky. The square can be placed in front of the drill once it is set up. Make sure the wood surface is flat. You now have a reference point to use in order to maintain the drill’s straight position thanks to the square.

This is the least accurate of the three suggestions you can find here, as was previously stated. You must practice keeping the drill as straight as you can with respect to the square.

How To Drill Straight Holes Without A Drill Press? (Step-by-step Guide)

Make a Drill Guide Jig

While creating this jig only takes a few minutes, it does require a little bit more preparation for this method of drilling holes. It is a trick that functions a little more precisely than the trick involving the square.

How To Drill Straight Holes Without A Drill Press? (Step-by-step Guide)

You only need a scrap piece of wood with square sides to make this drill guide jig. Cut a tiny piece of this wood, then arrange the pieces side by side as in the picture. In this manner, a tiny but absolutely right angle is produced.

You can now drill perfectly straight holes by positioning your drill in the corner of your homemade drill guide jig. Please take note that your drill guide jig must remain stationary; otherwise, the squareness will no longer be guaranteed. In order to secure the jig to the workpiece, either use a firm grip or woodworking clamps.

How To Drill Straight Holes Without A Drill Press? (Step-by-step Guide)

Use a Portable Drill Guide

The best option is a portable drill guide if you don’t have access to a drill press for drilling straight holes. Okay, so this one does cost a little bit, but in reality, the cost of purchase is quite small. You can be certain that the holes are square if you use this drill guide.

This drill guide must first be purchased before any drill can be mounted in this tool. The assembly process takes only a few minutes. In this portable drill guide, always make sure the drill is fastened tightly.

Everything will then become apparent. Using this portable drill guide, you can now drill exactly at a right angle, just as you would normally. Even some portable drill press guides can be adjusted to drill at angles other than 90 degrees.

Step-by-step Guide

Step 1 – Make An Alignment Mark

Making sure you have a frame of reference will help you line up the drill bit with the edge of the material you are trying to drill. Maintaining the auger bit’s precise alignment with the hole’s side will be simpler as a result.

You can do it with an awl, nail, pencil, or anything else you like. It might only involve a few scratches. I favor making a starting divot with an awl.

Step 2 – Select the Right Torque Setting

The torque setting controls how much force is exerted on the drill bit. The bit will become overworked and break at an excessive torque. An uneven hole will result from using a torque that is too low because the bit won’t penetrate the material.

You must remove the wing nuts holding the chuck in place in order to adjust the torque setting on your drill press. On the image of the wrench that is attached to the chuck, there is a number that indicates the torque setting.

Step 3 – Select the Speed

Turning the drill press’s speed dial is all that is necessary to change the rotational speed. To start the motor, depress the drill press’s trigger. Turn the speed dial slowly until the desired speed is achieved.

You can choose any speed you want, but I find that starting out slowly yields the most reliable results.

Step 4 – Select the Correct Bit

Drill bits come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Which bit you use will depend on the size of the hole you want to make. Some of the most popular bits include helical, Jennings, spiral, twist, and spade. The material you are drilling will determine the type of bit you use.

Any bit will generally work, but I suggest using a twist bit. The spiral flute on this bit aids in stabilizing the auger bit inside the material. As you drill down, the spiral flute also aids in keeping the bit centered.

Step 5 – Start the Hole

The drill bit should be slowly lowered into the initial divot you made. Avoid rushing the process and take your time. As the drill bit is lowered into the material, it should be level. The hole will be slightly out of center if you begin by tilting the bit to one side or the other.

Squeeze the trigger to start the auger bit spinning while maintaining level positioning for the drill. Till the front of the hole is reached, gently press the drill bit into the material.

Make sure the bit is perfectly aligned with the side of the hole before you begin drilling. I use the alignment marks I made in step 1 for this.

Step 6 – Continue Drilling

When the drill bit makes contact with the material, it will begin to spin once more. The drill bit continues to be lowered into the material. The drill bit must remain level at all times. The hole will be slightly asymmetrical if the bit tilts.

You must ensure that the auger bit remains level as the hole is drilled in order to get precise results. By pressing down on the drill press handle, you can assist in maintaining the drill bit’s level.

Step 7 – Stop Drilling

Stop drilling once you’ve reached the necessary depth. Using painter’s tape, the hole’s depth can be determined. Mark the location of the drill bit’s material exit by wrapping it around the component.

Step 8 – Clean Up the Hole

Making an absolutely straight hole without a drill press requires this last step. If necessary, smooth the hole with a file or belt sander.

The Bottom Line

You can still create a straight hole with a hand drill even if you lack a drill press. Making holes in metal, wood, and plastic that are actually straight and perpendicular to the surface is possible if you follow the technique described in this article.

Please spread the word about this article if you found it useful, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment.


What is the Difference Between Drilling and Boring?

The act of drilling involves using a drill bit to create a hole. Making a hole with a boring tool is known as boring.

Can I Turn My Drill into a Drill Press?

You can use your drill as a drill press, though doing so might require a few additional accessories.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have a Drill Press?

A drill guide is the best substitute for a drill press. It is an alignment tool that mounts to your drill press or auger. You can create a hole that is perfectly straight because it keeps the drill perpendicular to the hole.