I bought a cheap 10 Inch Benchtop DrillPress for about $80 on sale and have modified it for my wood shop. It has a 1/2 hp motor which provides plenty of power to handle large forstner bits and hole saws.
Make sure to bolt the base of the DrillPress to the benchtop. There is a greater likelihood of tipping it over when using it to bore holes in long pieces of wood.
The smallest bit that the stock chuck could hold was 7/64 inches. This was not small enough for me so I replaced it. I used a Shopsmith chuck I already had purchased for use in the tailstock of my lathe. This is an important consideration when buying a drill press, as replacement chucks can be quite spendy.
To remove the spindle, extend the quill until you expose the slot where a tapered piece of steel can be inserted and tapped to unseat the spindle shaft.
The next big task is to add an extension table. To provide a place to attach it, I drilled a couple holes through the stock cast iron table. Look closely at the picture, they were drilled at the outside (right and left) side of the two slots. Cast iron drills easily, so don’t be apprehensive.
After the holes are drilled. I shaped a couple of oak blocks to fit under the table over the holes and epoxied them in. The photo shows the table turned upside down. I just used wood screws to secure the extension table to the cast iron table, but you could also install threaded screw inserts into the blocks to make the attachment more secure.
Next I started working on the extension table. I made mine 12 x 24 inches out of 3/4 inch plywood. I glued oak strips to the front and sides to help it withstand wear. Slots to accommodate 1/4 inch bolts were added to each side to secure a fence.
Start by cutting a half circle in the center of the back edge to allow it to sit into the Drillpress pedestal pipe. This give you more room behind the chuck to position a fence.
Cut the 1/4 inch slots with a plunge router by running along an edge guide clamped to the extension table. I centered my slots 2-1/2 inches in from the sides. The length of the slots should allow the fence to be pushed back against the pedestal pole ( I cut a half circle in the back of the fence as well) and far enough forward to allow the front edge of the fence to reach the chuck. My fence was made by laminating two pieces of 3/4 inch plywood 2-1/2 inches wide. I made mine wider than the extension table, such that I could glue to a couple of 1-1/2 blocks at the ends to run along side the edge of the extension table as it is moved back and forth.
Next I routed a recess centered beneath the chuck to allow 1/4 inch thick removable inserts to be installed. These can be replaced/repaired when damaged by drilling operations. I made a routing template out of a scrap of 5mm plywood. The finished size for mine is 3 x 3 inches. Leave the corners rounded, the insert corners can be sanded to fit.
Make sure to square the cast iron table before attaching the extension table. I also removed the rack supplied to crank the cast iron table up and down. The crank can’t be turned with the extension table attached.
I cut out circles in special inserts to allow my drum sanders to sit just below the surface of the table extension. To use, lower the quill and then tighten the locking nuts on the left side of the housing (see picture). Loosen the nuts again to retract the quill when done sanding.
I epoxied 2 rare earth magnet cups to the side of the drill press head and inserted magnets. I stick my check keys there to keep track of them.
I made a drill index and hidden tray that attaches with a single screw ( so it can pivot) to a wooden clamp that wraps around the pedestal tube. The index holds bits from 1/2 inch to 1/16 inch in /64 increments. Extra 1/4 holes at each end hold counter sink and other specialty bits.
Another clamp mounted below the drill index, holds a dowel, over which a piece of plywood through which a shop vacuum hose fits, is adjustable for removing chips in forstner drilling operations. It will fold up and pivot out of the way when not in use. The clamp around the pedestal is easier to see in the previous photo.
Set the speed at which the chuck spins by moving the belts to match the requisite speed. Mine is set to 600 rpm which provides a happy medium for drilling holes up to 1-1/4 inch.
The drive belts are loosened and tightened by backing out thumb screws on both sides (yellow in this photo) at the rear of the head adjacent to the motor. I use a small pry bar to lever the motor bracket rearward to tighten the belts after changing speeds.