Line Boring Equipment on a Budget

Is there anything short of a line-boring machine that will serve the purpose as an intermediate upgrade?May 15, 2012

I'm looking for a line boring attachment for a drill press. I am not at the point where I would use it every day so I donít want to spend a lot of money on a dedicated machine or use precious shop floor space for one yet either. I know I donít want the Festool jig or something that involves repetitive tasks. I want a one-step head for a drill press. I have looked online and besides the Blum machine conquest and the CMT jig I havenít found much. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
I have a Jetline boring head (5 bit) for a mortising machine. It works great and is very accurate. I put it on an inexpensive Shopfox mortising machine. It was about $500 for whole setup.

From contributor U:
I tried a couple of less expensive alternatives for line boring on a drill press a while back. I bought one little two hole head for under $75.00 (called a Euro drill or something similar). I threw it in the garbage. I found my main problem with the drill press approach is, first it ties up my drill press unless I buy one just for that function and second, the table and support adds to my problem of keeping the drilled holes in accurate sequence. Since my shop is small, and even though I have three drill presses, I have to constantly switch my drill press that was for line drilling to other functions.

My point being the change up creates fence alignment and hole depth problems. I found my best solution by purchasing a good solid well thought out metal jig/guide from Hafele. I can lay out the parts, lay on the guide, and drill any number of holes I choose very quickly. The guide is only about 42" long and can hang on the wall out of the way. The best feature of this method is the holes can be drilled in tandem and you get really great accuracy. I often do 96" verticals in closets with this method and hardly ever do I have any of the opposing holes not where they should be. This has been a good alternative since I do not have the volume or the room for a line boring machine. Cost for the jig, bits and drill bit guide, and two index pins could push $400.00.

From the original questioner:
The more I look at the problem the fewer alternatives I see existing on the same plane of reality as me. I see jigs or machines with few in-betweens. I really thought this would be a no brainer. How many of you started with line boring machines right off the bat and how many of you guys progressed but not to dedicated equipment? What did you do in the mean time? I know Iím too busy to spend all day tackling some bookcase sides with a jig and a router or hand held drill. I do have a template and a self-centering (vix) bit but this is sometimes inaccurate and at best tedious. Isnít there a better way?

From contributor B:
I had a line borer off the bat. If nothing else, grab one of the 13-spindle single head non-pneumatic starter machines (Delta used to offer one; the little Ritter is a fine machine) or get a Blum minipress with the 7-spindle head - easy to switch between line boring and hinge boring. You'll use the heck out of it and get your money back when you're ready to upgrade to a manly double-row machine or CNC.

From contributor J:
I picked up an older Grass Eco Press with a 5 spindle head on it for about $400. It paid for itself after the first kitchen job. It doesn't take up much room when not in use, and the fences are pretty accurate. I still break out the Veritas jig once in a while when I forget to drill something before assembly.

From the original questioner:
I think that is the route I will go - a smaller dedicated machine.

From contributor Z:
We started with a Blum machine with an attachment but it took too much time to set up. We then bought the Delta 13 spindle manual machine. It paid for itself really fast and was very accurate. We used two portable rollers on each side for long bookshelf sides. We now have a Detel 44 spindle pneumatic that does front and back holes at the same time, but production demanded it and space is not an issue. Go with the 13 spindle, the drill press units are not worth the time and expense.

From the original questioner:
I thought the answers would be along the lines they have taken. It looks like I will spend the bucks and go for it, perhaps in a couple of months after I complete this next round of projects.