Quick & Dirty Center Finder for the drill press

Repurpose the paper tray of an old printer to make a cheap center finder for your drill press. It does not take much – apart from the paper tray, of course – to turn this into a simple center finding jig for your drill press. Combined with a piece of scrap wood or a sufficiently large drill press table, this center finder works a treat.

Jack Houweling has made a center finder based on a parallelogram – you should really check it out. His design is made out of wood and arguably more stable and accurate. But I have the tendency to keep certain pieces of equipment, including old printers, for the value they might offer even when they do not print anymore.

I have always been fascinated with the simple mechanism that drives the “paper venterer” function on these paper trays – you move one side and the other mirrors the movement. It is not hard to understand how that is achieved, but personally, I always found it hard to replicate it, i.e. to make one myself. Somehow the accuracy required is not for me, at least it is not for me to build something like that without severe headache.

Then again, there is no point to rebuild something you already have, and even better to repurpose something that might otherwise be thrown away – or at least take up space for someone like me.

The only thing I would do differently with this one is to leave more of the back end of the tray intact to use as a depth stop, as indicated in the video. I think it would suffice to simply move the cut further back, unless you anticipate that there will not be sufficient space on your drill press to accommodate it. Of course you should check that before cutting the tray.

Let me know what you think and your experiences of you decide to try it – or with whatever method you use for repeated centered holes.

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