Simple Solutions

Safer holding Problem: Holding a drill press vise by hand is not always safe or convenient. What's a simple, safe way to keep the part being drilled in place? Solution: Make a fixture like the one in the illustration. It can be bolted or welded together using light angle or bar stock. The vise is positioned by sliding it left-and-right and by sliding both the vise and fixture front-and-back.
By Staff July 1, 2001

Safer holding

Problem: Holding a drill press vise by hand is not always safe or convenient. What’s a simple, safe way to keep the part being drilled in place?

Solution: Make a fixture like the one in the illustration. It can be bolted or welded together using light angle or bar stock. The vise is positioned by sliding it left-and-right and by sliding both the vise and fixture front-and-back. Safety is increased because torque from the drill bit is transmitted by the fixture to the drill press table.

Contributor: Randall Geib, Fenner Drives, Manheim, PA

Straight starts

Problem: Getting a good, straight start with a manual tap can be a difficult task. Is there a way to make sure the tap is straight up and down to get it started properly?

Solution: After drilling the hole to be tapped in a drill press, remove the bit. Leave the drilled part in place. Put the tap, with handle, in the hole, and place a bearing ball on the tap handle. Gently lower the drill so the chuck holds the bearing and tap steady, then begin turning the tap.

Contributor: Jim Fraley, Maintenance Director, Barkel, Inc.

One-hand starter

Problem: Starting a Philips-head screw in a hard-to-get-at tight spot or with only one hand free can be aggravating. How can you ease the frustration?

Solution: Wrap the end of the screwdriver with a piece of electrical tape, leaving a little sticking over the end. Place the screw on the end of the screwdriver, and close the tape over the head of the screw. After the screw is started, a gentle pull on the screwdriver will pull the tape free. Remove the tape, and continue to drive the screw.

Contributor: Dave White, Titan Wheel Corp. of IL, Quincy, IL

Is it sharp?

Problem: Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if the reversible blade in a utility knife has already been used and reversed. Is there an easy way to determine if your fresh blade is really fresh?

Solution: Before you put a new blade into a utility knife, color the cutting edge with a permanent marker. The color will wear off during normal use, giving you a fast, visual indication that the edge may be dulled.

Contributor: Ben Skaggs, Thermo Black Clawson, Middletown, OH