The shipped depth measurement on the current Craftsman Drill Presses are, well, coarse. For doing some precise depth work, I retrofitted my drill press by adding an inexpensive digital caliper from Harbor Freight. This gives two significant advantages over the built in dial in that it is A) zeroable, and B) accurate.
Adding an accurate depth meter for a Craftsman Drill Press.
-Harbor Freight 6" Plastic Caliper $6.99 (or $15+ for a metal version. )
-Aluminum L bracket, 3/4" x 1/2" x 1.5" long
-Jam nut matching the threads of the existing depth stop (Remove and use the bottom jam nut for reference. Mine was 5/8". )
-Two small screws, about 3/16"x 1/2" and matching tap. (It may be necessary to cut them down to the thickness of the caliper jaw + the collar wall.)
Step 1: Measure, Drill and Tap
The caliper will supplement the built-in depth measure.
To attach it, I mounted a small piece of angle bracket to the bottom of the depth measure, and fixed the jaws of the caliper to the two points.
The simple sequence is as follows:
- Cut Angle bracket to 1.5" length.
- Mark and Drill 5/8" hole centered in the larger flange of the angle bracket.
- Attach angle bracket to the bottom of the depth measure with the additional jam nut. (You may need to feed the depth measure down to make room.)
- Mark points to drill holes in:
A) The black collar on the motor casing, such that the screw/tap will pass between the depth measure and the left wall of the collar.
B) The Angle bracket, precisely below the hole in the collar. (If it is off to the left/right, there is little harm, but the caliper will shift every time you drop the spindle.)
C/D) Mark the caliper jaws for holes to match, such that it will be in the thick part of the jaw, but not so close that the tail of the caliper hits the belt casing on the top of the press (or the measure stops hit the case of the caliper
-Drill the holes in the caliper jaws so that the machine screws fit snugly.
-Drill the holes in the collar and angle bracket small enough for tapping, then tap to fit the machine screws.
-Assemble carefully. The brackets are aluminum, so avoid over tightening and stripping the threads.
- Total cost: Roughly $10 or less if you can wait for a coupon for the caliper.
- Don't forget to turn it off. If you do, HF also sells the batteries for dirt cheap.
- Don't forget to move the drill's measure stops to the top.
- 10x the granularity.
- Positive and negative travel measurements.
- Kind on the eyes and readable through trashed eye protection.