It seems to me that all drill presses should have the same kind of work holding and positioning features as a milling machine. Recently the availability of inexpensive Asian devices has made this capability much closer to affordable.
Photo 1: Popular X-Y Drill Press Vise
Photo 2: Popular Cross-Slide Drill Press Table
For several years I used a simple X-Y vise as shown in Photo1 because it was cheap and reasonably functional. The cross-slide table as in Photo 2 was available but was a couple of hundred dollars and didn't seem worth it at the time. Then a small sale and a big moment of weakness coincided and I made the switch. I bought mine at Busy Bee in Canada but everybody else's product looks pretty much the same.This table was usable as delivered but could never have been mistaken for a professional tool. I started nibbling away at its shortcomings and ended up with little of the original but the castings. Since it was done piecemeal, I wouldn't do everything exactly the same if I were doing it again as a unified project. But here's what I did and why for what it's worth.
As far as I can recall, the following changes are listed in pretty much the sequence in which they were made.
Photo 3: Y-axis Dial Gauge Arm
Photo 4: X-axis Dial Gauge Arm
Photo 5: Y-axis Table Lock
Photo 6: X-axis Table Lock
Photo 7: Original and New Thrust Bearings
Photo 8: Mounted New Thrust Bearing
The original was just a steel disc with lots of non-adjustable backlash determined by how (not very) close to it the outer sleeve was pinned to the shaft during manufacture. The new one carries a ball bearing and spacer so the backlash is determined by the precision of the ball/race fit. If I were doing it again, I'd make this block thicker and mount two ball bearings with a spacer between and some bearing preload. It's amazing how much play there is in a single ball bearing. I never thought of this until later but couldn't have done it originally anyway because I was fitting it to the original leadscrew and was limited to the thickness of the original thrust plate.The new plate had to be larger in diameter to make room for new mounting holes outside the bearing recess.
Photo 9: Original Leadscrew Assembly
Photo 10: New Leadscrew and Nut Assembly
Photo 11: Original and New Dials
Photo 12: New Dial Mounted
Photo 13: X-Axis Table Stops
Photo 14: Y-Axis Table Stops
Photo 15: Mount for Dial Depth Gauge
Photo 16: Mounted Dial Depth Gauge
Photo 17: Making a Bearing for the Threaded Rod
The leadscrew is far too long to be held between centers on a
Taig. To give the steady rest something to ride on, lock two 1/2-20
nuts together on a short length of rod and turn half of one of them to
a nice round.
Photo 18: Rod Bearing as Tailstock Subtitute
Now cut a length of threaded rod about 1" longer than the lead
screw to be made. Grip it in the three-jaw and support the outboard end
with the just-made round riding in the steady rest, a kind of
substitute for a
tailstock dead center.
Photo 19: Turning a Starting Diameter
Use the parting tool to produce a sufficient length of the
required diameter so a regular left-hand tool can be used to continue.
Photo 20: Completing the Major Diameter
A normal left-hand tool is used to complete the major diameter
for the thrust bearing, dial and handle.
Photo 21: Turning the Thread Diameter
Turn the reduced major diameter for the thread being used. Cut
off the leadscrew to the required length.
Photo 22: Threading the Leadscrew
Mount the die holder in the headstock and lock a couple of 1/2-20 nuts on the other end for a hex socket ratchet. Run the thread. This completes the leadscrew.