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Add an inexpensive digital readout to your drill press

Arduino TeamNovember 28th, 2023

A drill press is a very useful tool that lets you slowly drill holes that are perfectly perpendicular to the work piece. And good drill presses give you a readout that lets you drill to a precise depth. But the cheap drill press stands for hand drills make that difficult. To solve this problem on a budget, Minikk designed an affordable digital readout add-on.

This digital readout is very useful. It shows exactly how far you move the drill, with a precision of 0.01 millimeters. And it lets you set the zero point (typically the top surface of the material) so you don’t have to do any math in your head.

Minikk achieved this with an inexpensive digital caliper. That has an LCD screen without a backlight and it is hard to read, so Minikk hacked it with an Arduino Nano board to add a much more readable OLED screen. That was possible because this digital caliper, like most of the budget models on the market, has a control board that is accessible via I2C. That lets the Arduino pull the measurements to display on the OLED.

With a 3D-printed mount and enclosure to hold everything in place, Minikk now has a reasonably accurate and precise digital readout that didn’t break the bank. This lets them drill holes to exactly the required depth without any hassle. Best of all, Minikk uploaded the sketch and 3D files so you can add a digital readout to your drill press.


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