How to Use a Chuck Tool Drift Key

Written by c.l. rease
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How to Use a Chuck Tool Drift Key
(drill press image by Nancy Ottenweller from

The chuck of a drill press wears over time due to drill bits slipping and the pressure required to drill through tough metals, such as stainless steel. When a chuck is worn, a secured drill bit will wobble and wander across the surface of the material you are drilling. You need a special tool–a drift key–to remove the chuck from a drill press.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Drill press
  • Drift key
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Put on your safety glasses and work gloves.

  2. 2

    Turn the chuck of the drill press with your hands until you see the slot of the spindle arm align with the quill slot located on the drill press housing.

  3. 3

    Insert the drift key into the quill slot with the tapered side of the drift key facing toward the chuck of the drill press.

  4. 4

    Tap on the back of the drift key with the hammer to drive the drift key into the spindle slot.

  5. 5

    Hold the chuck with one hand and hit the back of the drift key hard to free the spindle from the drill press. This may require a few hits.

  6. 6

    Lower the hand holding the chuck to allow the spindle to fall free from the drill press.

  7. 7

    Pull the drift key from the quill slot and make sure you don't lose it. The drift key is shaped to fit your specific drill press model.

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