How to drill straight without a drill press

Updated February 21, 2017

Drilling straight, 90-degree angle to a wall, without a drill press may come up more often than you think. Whether you have a drill press or not there may be an occasion where the hole needs to be drilled in a location that doesn't allow the use of a large drill press. By following a basic procedure you can drill a straight hole with the use of a small right-angled square.

Mark the hole you want to drill with the pencil. The best way to mark a hole for drilling is by placing a small X with the intersecting lines at the centre of the hole.

Place the drill tip to the centre point of the two lines. X marks the spot.

Place the horizontal side of the fixed right angled square on the surface that the hole is to be drilled into and move the vertical side of the square as close as possible to the hand drill motor.

Use the fixed vertical side of the square to align the top back side of the drill. You can either physically place the vertical straight edge of the square to the drill motor surface or visually eyeball the two straight-line surfaces.

Start the drill and proceed to drill the hole slowly. Keep the vertical and horizontal portion of the square in contact with both the drill motor and the surface of the drilled hole.

Plunge the drill bit to the full depth of the hole as needed and carefully remove the drill. Keep the drill in the same line as the vertical upright of the right-angled square when removing the drill.


Some drills now come with a built-in level to hold the drill motor level with a vertical surface.


Always wear proper eye protection and follow the manufacturer's operation manual when using any power tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Hand drill motor with drill bit
  • Fixed right angled square
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