How do I make a drill hole the same depth every time?



My drill press doesn't have a "stop".

How do I make a drill hole the same depth every time?


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 897

I would be interested in a picture or model number for your drill press. – Adam Davis – 2016-02-25T20:33:27.900

I believe its this one RYOBI Model # DP102L. – NipFu – 2016-02-25T22:17:04.087


Page 21 of the manual shows that this model includes a depth stop and how to adjust it:

– Adam Davis – 2016-02-25T23:34:09.187

Good grief man - that is exciting. I just checked my documentation and that is indeed the model. 100's of people have been using this drill press for several years and never noticed this. I am used to seeing a different style. Next time I'm in the shop, I will see if the knob is broken off or something. – NipFu – 2016-02-25T23:45:47.057



The simplest means is to place a tab of masking tape on the drill bit at the desired depth. When the spinning tab lowers to the surface of the wood and sweeps away the wood chips, stop.


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 5 730

When using this technique, make sure that the tape is securely wrapped around the bit. The tape can slide up the bit and make you drill deeper than you intended. As a precaution, check the position of the tape after every few holes to make sure that it remains consistent. – Jason Hutchinson – 2016-02-24T17:23:35.710

3when my brother showed me this trick, he put the tape on the drill bit, then slid the bit into the chuck until the tape stopped it. presto: no tape slipping. – james turner – 2016-02-25T00:27:29.660

1Also make sure that the tape is applied in the "spin" direction, so that it doesn't come undone just from the drill's spin – user2813274 – 2016-02-26T03:43:10.567


Ashler's answer is the simplest and cheapest way to get holes the same depth. But as an extra there are bit collars that can be put on the bits which will enforce exact depth stops.

enter image description here


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 12 431

Ah ... great minds think alike – Matt – 2016-02-24T03:38:28.067

@Matt Yes! And you beat me to the punch because my image links weren't working! :) – bowlturner – 2016-02-24T03:39:20.787

You seemed to have come out on top of this as well. – Matt – 2016-02-24T13:34:36.513

I'm surprised! I think it was mostly luck... – bowlturner – 2016-02-24T13:53:04.983

2These are the good sort. Some cheap stops have a grubscrew trying and sometimes failing to grip the drill bit. Get the good sort if you can. – Chris H – 2016-02-24T15:16:58.123

@NipFu On the drill tang coming out of housing when drilling make a two red marks when first drilling to maximum depth. Go fast up to first mark, then slowly up to second. – Narasimham – 2016-02-24T16:55:33.813

7These stops work, however, care needs to be taken that the stop does not touch the surface of the wood since it can leave marks. To reduce the risk of leaving marks, cover the area you are drilling with a piece of masking tape first. – Jason Hutchinson – 2016-02-24T17:21:19.880

@JasonHutchinson Another way I like to do that is hold a piece of scrap wood (of consistent thickness) on top and drill through it. – Jason C – 2016-02-26T07:08:33.523


A lot of people drill a hole through a suitable length of wood dowel (or small square cross section) and use that as a stop-collar on the drill.

enter image description here


You can also just use an external chunk of wood

enter image description here


One benefit of both these is you don't need an Allen key and can very quickly swap back and forth between two or more different depths (useful for e.g. dowelling)

Unlike some pieces of tape or rubber/plastic grommets, they can't be pushed out of position by overenthusiastic pressure.


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 1 427


You can also adjust your drill press table to be at the desired depth when the drill reaches the end of it's stroke.


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 846

This is also an elegant solution which I never considered. I suppose the repeat-ability also depends on the quality of the drill press table (which don't always lock down well on cheaper ones) whereas the tape or depth-stop collars are accurate regardless. But still, this is an interesting technique as it is less dependent on eye-balling than the tape and less expensive than the collars. – NipFu – 2016-02-24T06:56:12.320

1It also won't mar the surface like the collars will. – Mazura – 2016-02-24T12:22:33.583


Tape is what I would have suggested and continue to use but if you wanted something a little more robust my suggestion would be depth stop collars /nuts

enter image description here

Image from AliExpress

Easily removed off the bits and adjustable as well which tape would not be as much.


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 13 424

1I think I lucked out in getting a picture of higher quality depth stops... – bowlturner – 2016-02-24T17:22:49.320

For sure. I didnt find the one I really wanted and settled :( – Matt – 2016-02-24T17:23:23.787

Still made it to 10! – bowlturner – 2016-02-24T17:24:12.640

Well I already upvoted this one last night. – bowlturner – 2016-02-24T17:25:41.100

@Matt you will make 10K – Daniel – 2016-02-24T19:26:13.163

@Matt be happy. and celebrate. – Daniel – 2016-02-24T19:26:44.350


if this is not a big project and you're just trying to get very close sized holes.. (maybe you don't want to punch through the other side), i've used electrical tape on the drill bit. just tape above the depth you want to stop. when you hit the tape... stop...


Posted 2016-02-24T02:49:40.253

Reputation: 9

I was about to post this exact solution. – Daniel B. – 2016-02-28T01:01:35.203

1I don't think electrical tape, over the accepted answer's masking tape, warrants its own answer. – Mazura – 2016-02-28T01:19:28.700

Agree with @Mazura – JDługosz – 2016-02-28T08:30:37.973