Product Review: The Silverline 350W Drill Press
A drill press is a great workbench tool for drilling holes with greater accuracy than can be accomplished by hand. We sent Sam into the workshop to review the Silverline 350W Drill Press, which retails at a great price, and comes with a three year guarantee. Read on to find out how it measured up in our Ruff Review.
From the Silverline DIY Range
Power Tools / Bench Top
3 year guarantee if you register your product online
Chuck Type: Keyed
No Load Speed: 580 - 2650rpm
Product Weight: 5kg
Table Size: 160 x 160mm
Variable Speed: Yes
Chuck Size: 13mm
What Would I Use a Drill Press For?
A drill press is the perfect power tool for making accurate drill holes in wood, metal, and plastic. The main advantage is the ability to create uniform holes by standardising the width and depth of each hole. It’s a great tool when you’re building furniture and need to drill dowel holes for shelving, or fixing points for a folding table that needs a hinge for folding scissor legs, for example.
Using a drill press delivers quicker and more accurate results than manual drilling. Imagine you are making a bookcase and want to add a row of 5mm deep dowel holes: creating consistently deep holes at a straight angle would be almost impossible to achieve with a handheld drill.
A drill press generally has higher torque than your average hand drill. This type of drill features variable speed; the lower speeds are good for metalwork, and the higher speeds ideal for drilling into softer materials, such as pine wood. The belt drive on the drill is used to adjust the speed (see photo 14 below). The release bolt (see photo 13 below) allows the motor to move towards or away from the press, loosening or tightening the belt to change the speed.
How Does the Silverline 350W Drill Press Measure Up?
Weighing in at 14.5kg, the Silverline 350W Drill Press is lightweight and easy to move on and off your workbench. With a slim table size of 160mm x 160mm, it won’t consume much space on smaller benches. The 350-watt motor provides adequate power for any enthusiastic DIYer.
The platform can be moved vertically to adjust for the depth or size of the drilling material. There is a bolt under the table to allow change in tilt angle to drill for diagonal angles etc., but don’t rely on the angle sticker for accuracy. A drill press vice can be attached for increased drill precision and safety should you choose.
Products that can enhance your experience with the drill press, include a drill press vice (from the Silverline range, try the 65mm Drill Press Vice, or the 100mm Drill Press Vice), and a drill press fence kit. A drill press vice functions in the same way as a standard workbench vice, holding the material in place while you guide the drill press to create the holes. The drill press vice attaches to the platform to secure your drilling material. From a safety point of view, using a vice is recommended; for softer materials, try Silverline’s Soft Vice Jaws, with their rubber surface preventing the damage you would have with a hard clamp.
A fence kit enables you to drill holes equal distance apart, ideal for repetitive holes, such as in the example of the bookcase dowel positionings. Although Silverline don’t currently have one in their range, you could try Rockler’s tool.
Another optional extra is a keyless chuck. We recommend that you purchase this at the same time as the drill press, as removing the standard chuck will prove to be difficult. Furthermore, you could purchase a ratchet chuck key, and a flexi drill extension for those difficult drill angles or DIY projects that are just too large to fit under the drill press.
When using power tools, don’t forget to wear gloves and safety goggles. At the time of writing this review, we’ve not tested any of these additional products, but please check out the reviews on the product detail pages.
Small, doesn’t take up much workbench space, and is easy to move
Takes all standard drill bits up to 13mm
Quiet and smooth
A good selection of optional extras
Build quality reflects purchase price
Depth gauge accuracy and general measurement stickers could be better
Assembly instructions unclear
Ruff Tools Rating: 4 out of 5
All in all, excellent value for money, but the build quality reflects the price and you need good DIY skills to assemble it as the instructions have room for improvement. Some areas of casting are sharp, so we recommend you wear abrasive resistant gloves. That said, it comes with Silverline’s three-year guarantee if you register your product online, so you should have an excellent return on investment for the low retail price. We recommend it for DIY use only, as directed by Silverline.
Assembling the Silverline 350W Drill Press
1 - The Silverline 350W Drill Press in its box:
2 - Check that you have all the parts before you begin the assembly process: instruction manual, lever handles, chuck and key, fixing bolt and washer, drill guard, and base:
3 - The motor assembly and support shaft. Ensure all parts are intact and undamaged:
4 - The belt position and speed (RPM) settings:
5 - The fixing bolts are positioned too close to the shaft to use a ratchet, so you will need an open-ended 14mm spanner instead:
6 - Using the bolts, spring-washers, and washers, attach the shaft to the base:
7 - Ensuring the clamp is loose on the platform, slide it down the pole (platform moves up and down, left and right for different sized materials). It also has an underside bolt to adjust the tilt (do not rely on the sticker for accuracy):
8 - Place the motor assembly onto the shaft. When you tighten the two black grub screws with the supplied Allen key, ensure the press is lined correctly with the base, and tighten sufficiently for a good fixing:
9 - Screw the three lever handles into the black spindle:
10 - Attach the chuck to the motor drive shaft by sliding it on and pushing firmly into place by hand:
11 - Making sure the jaws are not protruding from the chuck, place a piece of softwood on the platform (you may need to adjust the platform height depending on your piece of wood). Force the chuck down onto the wood, using the lever handles to push the drill chuck downwards to secure it in place:
12 - Unwind the fixing screws ready to fit the safety guard with removing them completely. Insert the guard into the gap and re-tighten the screws:
13 - With the side-screw above the yellow sticker removed, open the casing to gain access to the speed control. You will need a cross-head screwdriver, which is not supplied with the drill press. Once loosened, the wing nut below the yellow sticker allows you to pull the drive motor towards the chuck to adjust the motor speed. Notice the white switch on the hinge side – this safety cut-off prevents the motor from running while the casing is open. Beware of the gear spindle edges, as they may be sharp:
14 - The sticker on the inside of the casing lid shows the belt speed positions. Adjust these according to your drilling material: