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:

  1. Focusable laser module, dot or cross from DX
  2. Desk lamp with flexible metal tube
  3. 1/2" PVC pipe, 1.25" length
  4. 3/4" conduit clamp

The first step is to disassemble the desk lamp to recover the flexible metal tube and mounting hardware.

Desk lamp as purchased from the store

Flexible metal tube and mounting hardware from disassembled desk lamp

The conduit clamp was drilled out and mounted on one end of the flexible tube.

3/4" conduit clamp mounted on the end of flexible metal 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.

1/2" PVC pipe used as a coupler to attach laser module to the end of flexible tube

The power wires for the laser module were extended and run down through the hollow flexible tube to conceal and protect them.

Finished flexible laser arm assembly

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.

Laser Module Supply pcb installed in the drill press crow's nest and powered by a 9V battery

The finished drill press is shown below:

Dremel drill press with dimmable/focusable laser sight on a flexible positioning arm

Close up view of laser sight directly beneath drill bit

Laser sight on a pcb (image darkened to clearly show dot)

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.

Padded foam handle grip reduces vibrations and eliminates finger numbness

Here's a video of the laser sight in action drilling holes in a pcb panel:


References

  1. Dremel 220-01 drill press
  2. Dot laser module
  3. Cross laser module
  4. Desk lamp with flexible metal tube
  5. Laser Module Supply pcb