Drill Press Laser Sight
The goal of this project was to add a laser sight to a Dremel drill press. This laser sight makes drilling large numbers of holes (i.e. circuit boards) much easier because you don't have to try to focus on a spinning drill bit to locate the next hole.
There are a few inexpensive parts required for this modification:
- Focusable laser module, dot or cross from DX
- Desk lamp with flexible metal tube
- 1/2" PVC pipe, 1.25" length
- 3/4" conduit clamp
The first step is to disassemble the desk lamp to recover the flexible metal tube and mounting hardware.
The conduit clamp was drilled out and mounted on one end of the flexible tube.
The 1.25" piece of 1/2" PVC pipe was screwed onto the other end of the metal tube. A groove was cut with a hacksaw down the pipe so the laser module would fit inside snugly.
The power wires for the laser module were extended and run down through the hollow flexible tube to conceal and protect them.
The finished arm assembly was attached to the top of the vertical pole on the drill press using the conduit clamp. The laser module wires were then connected to a Laser Module Supply pcb to power the laser. This variable voltage power supply works well for dimming the laser to make the dot easy to look at. The power supply pcb was designed to fit into the slot on the drill press crow's nest. A 9V battery clip was screwed into the crow's nest to power the pcb. Old smoke detector batteries work fine here, no need for a new 9V battery.
The finished drill press is shown below:
A final modification I made to this system after initial use was to add padding to the drill press handle. The high frequency vibrations from the Dremel tool transfered through the handle causing numbness in my fingers for a few days (!) after drilling a couple thousand holes in a weekend. A padded handle grip eliminates the problem.
Here's a video of the laser sight in action drilling holes in a pcb panel: