I have worked in several Blacksmith shops that for historic or hobby reasons had limited power. Modern drill presses are great, and can cut through steel like it is cheese! But without electricity how do you make precise holes?
Hot and cold punching is one answer. I do that, but sometimes you need to drill a hole. What then?
I have been fortunate to find a number of classic old tools to solve that problem. An "eggbeater" style drill works for small holes on thin steel. But for bigger work they can't supply enough down pressure to cut steel cleanly. The answer is a hand cranked Heavy Duty Drill.
Historically these were called "Breast Drills" due to the fact that you hold them with both hands and press your weight down on them with your chest. Above is a heavy duty single speed drill. It takes up to a 1/2" bit for wood or 3/8 in steel.
Below is a Medium Duty hand cranked drill with two speeds. You remove the crank axle and replace it in a different bearing to use low speed. It is in high speed right now.
They can be use for horizontal and vertical drilling. I often clamp the work to a bench or heavy low stump and lean down on the drill to get enough pressure for the bit to cut cleanly. Steel required a lot of pressure to cut a low speeds.
For precise or heavy work I use the Hand Cranked Post Drills. These are both Champion No. 96 from Lancaster, PA.
Both have restoration needs, but they both work. It only took 20 years of looking to find two matching drill presses that work!