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New tools: drill press revolution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Shanley   

The Nova Voyager DVR is the world’s first intelligent drill press

The Nova Voyager DVR is the world’s first intelligent drill press.

The drill press is one of those tools that we all take for granted. Its design hasn’t changed in a hundred years: a chuck on a spindle that is spun by a sequence of belts and pulleys. Now a New Zealand company, Teknatool, has thrown that out with the launch of a revolutionary new concept that has implications for machine-tool technology across the board.

The Nova Voyager DVR 18-inch pedestal drill press is a complete rethink of the tool that will set the benchmark for the future. At the heart of the Nova Voyager is the Digital Variable Reluctance (DVR) two-horsepower motor developed by Teknatool to power their very popular Nova DVR wood lathes. The DVR motor is a digitally controlled, brushless, direct-drive, infinitely variable-speed motor that electronically monitors power usage and keeps the torque constant despite the load, smoothly driving speeds from 50 to 5500rpm when the knob on the interface is turned.


Computer programme

Computer programme

The motor is programmed via an on-board computer with a control knob interface and screen. It can be preset to specific speeds according to what material it is drilling, what drill type is being used, and the size of the hole required. Traditionally bit speed was set with a combination of belts and pulley clusters and was an approximation at best.

However, this drill can do more than merely set speeds. It has a built-in menu of 12 different drill-bit types ranging from twist drills to hole saws to fly cutters. The menu allows you to enter the material you are drilling (wood, plastic, or metal), the size of the hole and the depth, and selects an appropriate speed for that application.

The computer constantly monitors the power to the motor to ensure that the torque at the drill bit remains constant. It also determines the drill depth, warns you when you are approaching the set depth, and stops automatically at the right depth. You can programme the drill to automatically reverse to clear debris once it reaches its prescribed depth.


Automatic start

For repetitive operations the drill can be programmed to start as soon as you pull the quill handle so you can drill a series of precise holes in sequence, such as drilling holes for shelf supports in cabinets or for drawer-slide hardware.

The menu also includes an innovative pilot-hole programme that slows the speed of the bit until it can gain some purchase. As soon as it does, the computer engages the full speed selected for the hole. This avoids the problem of a drill bit’s tendency to wander on hard or round materials like steel or metal tube, even when chucked in a drill press. There is also a tapping-assist mode using the drill press to tap threads.


The Nova Voyager has another surprise not normally found on a drill press: a USB port, which will allow the computer programme to be upgraded in the future.



Safety has been considered too. Built into the programme is the ability of the motor to sense when the work has come loose. The torque change or excessive vibration will be sensed and the machine will stop. There is a large emergency stop on the front too. You can also set a password to prevent unauthorized use — ideal in schools or in workshops with untrained personnel.


Clamp slots

There has also been considerable thought put into other aspects of the press. The very solid cast table has machined grooves specifically designed for F-clamps. The central hole in the table is designed for through drilling. Overall the machine is very sturdy and solid, being made of high-grade cast iron, and this density ensures that there is no detectable vibration at the drill tip. In use the Nova Voyager is very smooth and very quiet; apart from the rotation of the drill bit, the motor makes almost no discernible noise.

This is clearly a machine for the digital age — the world’s first intelligent drill press. It is only a matter of time until a drive such as this gets mounted on a mill drill or any number of machine tools.



Power: Two-horsepower direct-drive variable-speed DVR motor

Spindle speed: 50–5500rpm variable

Direction: Forward and reverse

Swing: 18-inch

Spindle travel: Six-inch

Speed range: 50–3000rpm is default (option in settings to increase to 5500rpm)

Spindle taper: MT-2

Spindle distance to table — (Max.) 724mm, (Min.) 155mm

Table size: 419x419mm

Tilt table: –45° to +45°

Table rotation: 360°

Chuck size: 3–16mm

Column diameter: 92mm

Base size (LxW): 565x445mm

Overall Height: 1794mm

Power supply: 220–240V, 10–15A, two-horsepower

Steely Eye PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sue Allison   


Steely Eye

A silver giant sits reading under the trees while a woman stoops to pick a flower and a thin man cycles

past on a penny-farthing. Nearby, an enormous corkscrew dwarfs a shed filled with welding paraphernalia. One glance around Allan O’Loughlin’s garden and it’s clear that this is the home of someone with a vivid imagination and the creative skills to bring it to life. Allan, a fitter-welder and self-taught sculptor, uses the skills learnt in his trade to create works of art in steel. More than 60 of them are scattered around the 9000m2 property he shares with his partner, Andrea, in Mandeville, 25km north of Christchurch.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Life in the fast lane PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jon Addison   


Life in the fast lane

He might describe himself as a “larrikin biker”, but former motorcycle-racing world champion Graeme ‘Croz’ Crosby is really more of a modern Renaissance man. Put simply, a ‘Renaissance man’ is defined as a very clever person who is good at many different things. So check the Croz record thus far: champion motorcycle racer, commercial pilot, successful author, businessman, house builder, skilled motorcycle mechanic, enthusiastic cook, raconteur — the list goes on.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Size matters PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rod Kaine   


Size matters

Back in the carefree/careless days we took a drive up to Hokianga Harbour, mainly for a fish and chip meal at the legendary Omapere pub, and promptly fell in love with the place. It’s like New Zealand 50 years ago: clean, uncluttered with houses and people, and just plain beautiful on any given day. The harbour simply sparkles on a sunny day and the dunes on the north head are nothing short of spectacular. The views coming over the ridge from Waimamaku and Waipoua Forest are breath-taking. We still stop and try to take it all in.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Going glamping PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   


Going glamping

What do you do if you want a caravan but drive a Mini? You make one to fit. That’s just what

Michael Wolfe of New Plymouth did — turning out a real dinky little teardropshaped caravan that matches his 2004 Cooper S and has all the mod cons for a decent holiday. Michael saw pictures of little campers on the net and decided that that was what he wanted — a cross between a caravan and a tent.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Sky high PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sue Allison   


Sky high

Ted Perry heard the planes before he saw them, howling in the skies above his house on the outskirts of Christchurch. A recce to the nearby Halswell Quarry to investigate launched a compulsive new hobby making radio-controlled aircraft. That was about 15 years ago, when

the retired surgeon with a lifelong interest in woodwork and a host of hobbies already under his belt was in his mid 70s.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed