How to Attach a Vise to a Drill Press


You’ve most likely heard us and other experts recommend having a vise to use with your drill press. Some people will tell you clamps will work and others will swear by a vise. In the end, it’s totally up to you but you should know that a drill press vise was made specifically for use with a drill press.

If you have a vise and you just need some tips on how to use it, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at just how you attach a vise to a drill press and the proper ways to use a said vise.

Let’s begin.

Steps to Attach Vise to Drill Press

Attaching the vise is really pretty simple but you will need to have some idea of how to do it. Remember that the job of the vise is to clamp down the materials to your worktable and hold them steady while you drill.

The point of the exercise is to make sure your drilling is accurate and efficient. If you don’t use a vise, you can end up with sliding and turning and a major mess.

You might even want to consider an extended table for this process to give you plenty of working space.

1.   Place the Vise

Start by placing the vise. It won’t be a permanent fixture but you can try to place it wherever you think will be most helpful and won’t be in your way while you work. Your drill press table has holes and slots specifically to mount clamps and vises so this is where you’re going to put those to work.

You should align one hole from the press table to a hole that corresponds with the vise. Once you’ve got it set and aligned to your liking, you can mount it using the appropriate bolt. Your vise may have a bolt with it but this is usually a 3/8-inch bolt.

2.   Mounting the Vise

Once you put the bolt in the first end, don’t tighten it completely. This is just to set it. You will use a washer on the other end of your bolt to secure it. Again, don’t tighten it fully yet. You need to be able to move the vise.

Move the unconnected piece of the vise to another hole on the table. This is a flexible setup so you can set it anywhere as long as it aligns with the holes really.

Aligning is far easier if you find your alignment and then mount or if you have slots in your table rather than just holes.

Now connect another 3/8-inch bolt and washer into the second vise hold. Use the appropriate tool to tighten your nuts and bolts and secure the vise to the drill press table. Now, you can tighten the nut or bolt in every hole that applies.

This secures your vise to the table.

With some tables, it might be required to drill holes in the table to make holes for your vise to align to. This is slightly more advanced.

Steps to Use the Drill Press Vise

Steps to Use the Drill Press Vise
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Now that your vise is attached, you start using and enjoying the vise. This is also simple but it helps to know how to do it properly, right?

Here are some quick steps for you.

1.   Mark the Material

Start by marking your material to the place or places that you want to drill. This is easier to do before you place the materials as the material will be more mobile for you to easily measure and mark however you need to.

2.   Position the Material

Now, you need to position your material on the vise. To do this, make sure the jaws of your vise are opened sufficiently to receive the material.

Most vises open or close with a rotating handle so just work the piece open. You can open it all of the way or just large enough for your material.

Now, place your material into the jaws that you opened and be sure it is positioned appropriately so that you can drill as needed.

Once you’ve got the piece situated, you need to tighten and close the jaws with your handle. Tighten until it is secure and you know it will not move while you drill.

3.   Set the Bit and Drill

Now, you just need to get your bit properly aligned, and then you can start drilling. You should make sure that the point of the drill will reach exactly the center of the mark you made before placing your materials in the vise.

Once you’re aligned, you can plug in your machine and turn it on. Read, set, drill!

If you find that you aren’t aligned properly or your vise isn’t holding tight enough, you may need to try a vise with different jaws or readjust your materials to be sure they are properly placed.

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We hope this simple guide is helpful to you to be able to put your drill press vise to use. It’s really pretty simple to attach your drill press vise and use it if you just know the tips for getting it set up to work with.

Remember that you can use a clamp in a pinch but a vise is going to have a much stronger hold since it was made for just this type of purpose.

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