Selecting a drill press. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-08-2017, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Selecting a drill press.

Been thinking about getting a small drill press that is portable and can be taken along to craft shows. Looked at Harbor Freight this am. The chucks all wobbled even with the quills retracted all the way. When extended, some were down right too sloppy. My 35 yr old big floor model Taiwanese Enco does not wobble at all. I have a very old Sears drill press from the 1940's and that does not wobble, but it is a little too large and needs a new motor. I have an even older Whitney-Pratt hand crank drill press. Even that has only a very slight wobble. A buddy checked the smaller two at Sears and says they are no better than HF's drill press. Am I missing something. Is it perhaps like an older wheel bearing and they can be tightened to remove play?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-08-2017, 05:41 PM
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I believe a lot of the newer ones have gib screws on the quill you can tighten down to remove some of the play. It wouldn't surprise me if the same screws existed in the HF and Sears ones you looked at and just hadn't been set up properly. Im admittedly not 100% sure on this, I'm satisfied with my 1940's vintage Delta and haven't looked at the new ones

I need cheaper hobby

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-08-2017, 06:57 PM
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Does the bit wobble?

The outside of the chuck may wobble, but what is more important is the bit does not. I would want to check one out in person at a store that has a fair selection. If you get it home and it's not to your liking, then it's a hassle to return it. You may luck out and find a used one with a good arbor, I donno? I have the small Craftsman with the laser light. I use it for most small drilling operations. I also have a Rockwell variable speed drill press, more of a medium duty machine. I would recommend either for a small shop. The variable speed is especially nice for Forstner bits and hole saws.

This may be useful:

The Craftsman:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-08-2017 at 07:03 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-09-2017, 11:52 AM
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I would bet it is the chuck that is giving the run out, I bought a HF drill press may moons ago that the chuck wobbled like crazy, I changed out the chuck and it is very smooth now

That is another reason I am a Grizzly fan, they will make it right if there is something wrong, but I have only had one problem with any of their machines and it wasn't really their fault, it was rough shipping but they did what was needed to correct the problem no questions asked
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-09-2017, 12:35 PM
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Cheap drill press with cheap chuck. I doubt that either has a means of adjustment. I've never seen gibs on a drill press. Some have split heads, some have an adjustable screw to hold slack to one side, really cheap ones, nothing. Go to the store and check them out. You won't be able to run it but you can chuck something and see how close & far it moves from a block put on the table. Only buy the floor model you check.
I've had 4 drill presses, all bought new. #1. bottom of the line Craftsman in the '70s, No adjustment very quickly developed too much slack. #2. "Commercial" model Craftsman, '70s Split head with adjustment, decent chuck, still have it. #3 Jet bench model, 70's adjusting screw on the side of the head, crappy chuck, replaced, OK machine, still have it. 2010, #4, 20" Grizzly floor standing model, really poor quality, the return spring broke twice and took months to get new ones from Grizzly, the stop was a flimsy piece of soft metal, the runout was excessive, sold it after 2 years.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-09-2017, 12:38 PM
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Maybe Grizzly isn't so good, I had good luck with them, but it looks like not everybody
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-15-2017, 07:18 AM
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There are a some cheap drill presses around that's actually not too bad. Craftsman, Skil and Wen are brands that make good value for money drill presses. On the Bestreviews page linked to earlier in this threat and on the Wen was named best value for money drill press. The 10" is selling for around $120 at the moment. The Craftsman 12" is another good drill press selling for around $240. The Rockwell 10" is selling for under $200 - another option to look at.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-15-2017, 09:36 AM
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Good advice from all previous posts. Also consider going on line to find reviews from woodworking magazines to get more info on drill presses - or any other major wood working item. Some reviews may be "one sided", but most are honest and fair, with each item being tested/compared in the same manner. Be safe.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-15-2017, 11:26 AM
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I'm not anti-Harbor Freight (I have their four speed bandsaw, and it's fantastic for what I paid), but their drill presses have never gotten good reviews. One big issue with buying tools there is that they tend to be set up by people who don't know what they're doing. The sample band saw in the store where I bought mine had the blade guard installed backwards, somehow.

As I said, though, I wouldn't recommend their drill press unless the reviews have improved a lot.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-15-2017, 01:05 PM
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I bought a 8" Delta bench top model at Home Depot, years ago. $150.00CDN Thousands of holes, cutting, carving, polishing and shaping. Very pleased.
Price. Not enough floor space for a bigger one (regrettable.) Lazy sod that I am, I bought another one for the GF's house rather than hump one back and forth.
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-17-2017, 12:38 AM
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I looked over the "review" sites. The reviewers pretty obviously didn't know anything about the products they were "reviewing!" Almost all of the DPs were Chinese made. One that was belt driven was described as having a "gear box." Not one review said they put a test indicator to it to check run-out. One of the handiest features you can have on a simple drill press is a quill lock so you can position the work with the bit held just above the work piece, none listed. Motor hp ratings are always suspect on consumer products. A much better measure is the electrical tag. The best ratings use KW, some use amps. Both should represent the out put of the motor not the input. 0ut-put will typically be around 85-90% of input amps. Likely the only time you will need full power is when drilling at high speeds. You don't have the advantage of mechanical leverage there that you do in the slow speeds.

Fences and table boards are easily made from a pc. of mdf or particle board with a strip of wood screwed on. If you make an under-cut in the fence, it will keep small drilling dust from holding the work away from the fence. It can also help prevent thin material from climbing the bit as it pops through by letting the material go into the under-cut. Best to clamp thin material, especially sheet metal, think chopped fingers. An under-cut stick held away from the fence and clamped using a Jorgenson 6" clamp is really quick and easy to setup. The work table will become mutilated as you drill through into it, keep moving it until it is hopeless. You want the drill to go into a place that is fully supporting the work. Cheap and easy to replace the boards and can be made longer for some jobs, you don't want the overhang to tip the work up into the bit.

If you drill plastic, acrylic etc. Make the bit work much better and not chip out or climb the work by grinding a very small vertical relief on the cutting edges. You can buy lots of different carbide tipped or solid carbide bits that have cutting spurs and a center point that will cut really clean holes in wood or panel materials. Most have 10mm shanks with a flat, careful putting them into the chuck so you don't fasten on the flat.
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