Author Topic: Drill press  (Read 5747 times)

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Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Drill press
« on: March 14, 2015, 11:25 AM »
I'm looking to buy a floor drill press.  It'll be used mostly for wood with the occasional piece of metal.  However, I doubt it'll get much use at all even for wood.  I just want to have one for the times when it would be useful.  I'd like to spend as little as possible but still have something that's decent, or at least OK.  I've got a bunch of higher end tools but for this I think I can go less expensive.  Especially since they're all made in China these days. 

I'm thinking that a larger harbor freight drill press with a 20% off coupon would fit.  I know very little about drill presses.  I know that if I want to drill metal then I  need a slow speed and I need enough power to drill larger holes in hardwood.  My thought is that an oversized HF would give more then enough power.

I know harbor freight probably shouldn't even be mentioned on a Festool site but I'd bet at least some of you use something from there  :o  I know my modified HF 2hp DC works just fine.

If I'm off base about the drill press or missing something then please educate me.  If not, then what should I look for in picking a DP from HF.

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Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2026
Re: Drill press
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 11:41 AM »
My 2 cents:

HF drill presses are pretty poor fit finish. I don't shy away form their stuff by habit but the drill presses are an exception.

Grizzly should be close in cost and much better quality and value.

Do you really need a floor model? I drill a lot of metal and some wood and use a bench model with 1/2 hp motor.

Lastly, if you have time shop craigslist. I got a 40-50 year old Rockwell in almost unused condition for $100 and an hour drive. Bearings and motor are better in older presses and castings are generally heavier, especially in bench models.

Hope this helps.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1253
Re: Drill press
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 12:09 PM »
feel like a road trip?

This just popped up in Raleigh. Walker Turner made excellent presses. It will outlive you. Negotiate on price.

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/tls/4931422265.html

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3740
Re: Drill press
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 12:15 PM »
I have a cheap Delta bench model that is about 30 yrs old.  I have not drill any metal with it.  I don't do anything with metal in my shop as I don't enjoy seeing any sparks flying around.  I have drilled into Maple and oak 2x lumber with no problems as long as I am using sharp bits. The only problem I run into with thicker wood is that there is only 2-1/2" of travel up and down.  I sometimes make a starter hole with small bit with the drill press, then using that hole as a guide, will use a long bit in my hand held drill and go thru.  once I have done all the drilling that way, I put the right sized bit into the drill press and go as deep as possible, turn the piece over and do the same thing from the other side.  If the table is square to the bits, it will come out fine.

Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3740
Re: Drill press
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 12:19 PM »
feel like a road trip?

This just popped up in Raleigh. Walker Turner made excellent presses. It will outlive you. Negotiate on price.

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/tls/4931422265.html

That WT drill press has the old style depth lock on it. That is good.
The new style locks are a real PITA.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2026
Re: Drill press
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 12:35 PM »
feel like a road trip?

This just popped up in Raleigh. Walker Turner made excellent presses. It will outlive you. Negotiate on price.

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/tls/4931422265.html

That WT drill press has the old style depth lock on it. That is good.
The new style locks are a real PITA.
Tinker

That's a nice drill, as Ron stated it will outlive all of us.

My opinion is the nominal 1/2 HP motors on the HF presses are nowhere near as powerful as the older ones, and for the occasional larger hole in metal that will be important to prevent stalling.

If you have the time it is worthwhile haunting CL for a few weeks at least, in the Philly/SNJ area the WT and Rockwell presses come along every month or 2.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline jmarkflesher

  • Posts: 248
  • Scoot
Re: Drill press
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 06:02 PM »
I have a Walker Turner wood lathe. They were made in Plainfield, New Jersey. There is a site that sells Walker Turner size bearings if you need and can't find your size. If you buy it E-mail me and I will look it up and you can keep it in the file. MARK
DEC 21st, 2012 TIC TIC TIC   WAS A DUD

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2015, 06:35 PM »
I have a Walker Turner wood lathe. They were made in Plainfield, New Jersey. There is a site that sells Walker Turner size bearings if you need and can't find your size. If you buy it E-mail me and I will look it up and you can keep it in the file. MARK

Thanks for the offer. 

I'm not going to travel 4+ hours for a drill press.

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1253
Re: Drill press
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2015, 07:25 PM »
I have a Walker Turner wood lathe. They were made in Plainfield, New Jersey. There is a site that sells Walker Turner size bearings if you need and can't find your size. If you buy it E-mail me and I will look it up and you can keep it in the file. MARK

Thanks for the offer. 

I'm not going to travel 4+ hours for a drill press.

You know that Harbor Freight drill you're looking has already travel over 7000 miles. [tongue]

The main problem with the HF drill presses is fit and finish and quality control. they are built to a price point and at that price point quality control suffers. You will find folks that have a wonderful press but the next one off the line will be a piece of junk. You may have to make several tries before you get one that is acceptable and even then there is no guarantee that it won't go out of spec or break some part that isn't available.

Cruise Craigslist for a while and see what turns up. the great thing about these older machines are that they were built to work and continue working. For the most part they used still available parts and were machined to reasonable tolerances. Many can still be set up to within .001 or .002 specs.

Walker-Turner, Older Delta Rockwell machines and old Craftsman presses were well built and many of them still function properly without a lot of tweaking.

If this route does not appeal to you then take a look at the Porter Cable standing press at Lowes. It gets ok reviews and runs about 325 or so.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3144
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Drill press
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2015, 08:43 PM »
To me, the critical aspect of a drill press is its runout. If the drill press has excessive runout, you get bad holes. I'd only buy a drill press from a local shop that will replace a drill press if it isn't acceptable.
Birdhunter

Offline Carpenter Bee

  • Posts: 3
Re: Drill press
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2015, 09:13 PM »
I recently bought a cheap Skil 10" benchtop drill press at Blue Box for about $125.00 to drill a 3/4" maple plug that I couldn't drill out with a hand drill. It looked very similar to the Harbor Freight model that sells for about 1/2 price. The work table was off square from the pilaster by about 3/16" over 7". I ended up returning it as I seldom need a drill press and don't have room for one anyway. On some machines the tolerances don't matter much, but they are pretty important on a drill press.

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2015, 09:44 PM »
I'm not trying to argue for or against a HF drill press. 

However, I've read about a bunch of drill presses under $1k and all of them have a decent amount of bad reviews.  All of them seem to be manufactured in China with spotty quality control.  I don't see any that seem to be better than the HF models.  HF does have an extended warranty that also claims that if you have the same repair 3 times they will replace it.

Fit and finish of the HF, does this mean that they can't be adjusted or that they may need a good amount of adjustment?

The reading that I've done seems to indicate that it's a junk shoot on all the sub $1k models.  At least with HF I can put in the back of the van and return it because HF is fairly close to me. 

I get the impression that it's the chuck that is the most important part of the drill press, is that right?  Would getting a high quality chuck improve an average drill press?

I also want to thank all of you that have taken the time to answer my questions.

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2026
Re: Drill press
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2015, 09:54 PM »
Greg, my reference to fit and finish is relative to the quality of castings and how they are surface ground, and generally precision of how the parts fit together.

I think the chuck in addition to the bearings and the post/table combo are what effects precision. If the Chuck or bearings are bad you get over large holes, if the post and table are misaligned you get holes that aren't perpendicular to the table.

If you're just drilling a hole for a bolt this isn't really critical, but if you get deeper into metalworking (bearing or pin holes) it can become an issue.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2015, 10:09 PM »
Greg, my reference to fit and finish is relative to the quality of castings and how they are surface ground, and generally precision of how the parts fit together.

I think the chuck in addition to the bearings and the post/table combo are what effects precision. If the Chuck or bearings are bad you get over large holes, if the post and table are misaligned you get holes that aren't perpendicular to the table.

If you're just drilling a hole for a bolt this isn't really critical, but if you get deeper into metalworking (bearing or pin holes) it can become an issue.

RMW

Mostly just wood.  Maybe metal but doubt it.  If I get one from HF I'm going to get one of the larger ones so power (even if their specs are over-rated)won't be a problem.  Also have to get the larger one in order to get a longer stroke.

The problems you mentioned sound like they can be fixed by replacing parts or adjustments.  If the table isn't ground perfectly flat that shouldn't be a problem because I would most likely have a piece of wood attached to it for my drilling surface.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3740
Re: Drill press
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2015, 04:48 AM »
I never knew anybody who was more particular abut his work/workmanship than my dad.  He bought a lot of stuff from HF.  I could never understand why.  He was still working when he was legally blind. He has been gone now for over 20 years so maybe they had better quality control back in those days.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2026
Re: Drill press
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2015, 05:16 AM »
Greg,

Just to clarify, I am not against all HF tools, I buy a lot of stuff there and often quality is fine, especially for the price. I admit being a bit of a drill press snob, my $100 Rockwell replaced a $300 new Delta that was junk. I am not enamored with old "project" tools but if I can buy a 40 year old quality tool in good condition I will chose that over new China made.

Regarding adjustments, my 2 cents is that you should be able to adjust the table in the x axis (side to side) easily, I don't think you can adjust the y axis (but I may be wrong) and I believe you are stuck with whatever you get relative to the spindle quill and chuck ( short of replacing the chuck) if there is runout. If you seem to have much runout then buy a cheap dial indicator and mag base from HF and test it. I assume if there is an unacceptable amount you could swap the tool out for another one.

In the end, for woodworking, you may never notice any minor imprecision.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3144
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Drill press
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2015, 05:49 AM »
Again, if the run out is not nearly perfect, you get really messy holes and lots of vibration. Run out is based on the quality and fit of the quill ( the tapered shaft that connects to the chuck on one end and to the drive mechanism on the other end ) to the bearings that the quill turns in. To my knowledge, once assembled, you can't adjust the fit. Bad run out stays bad run out. If doesn't take a lot of misfit to make a drill press totally worthless. The bad reviews on cheap drill presses usually result from shoddy manufacturing with non existent quality control.

If I wanted a decent drill press at a low price, I'd look for a used Powermatic or other good brand. I'd take a run out guage, some good drill bits, and some scrap wood with me to test the machine.
Birdhunter

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1253
Re: Drill press
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2015, 09:23 AM »
Let me clarify as well, I love Harbor Freight. The closest one is about an hour from home so I don't usually make a special trip. But if I am close by I pop in. I wander around for way too much time and always come out with something. Their tool boxes are really pretty nice. They have a great selection of casters and I am a caster snob ;D

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2015, 07:47 PM »
First thank you for all the info.  Between here and gathering other info on the web I've learned a decent amount about drill presses.  I'm no expert but I know much more then I knew last week.  I have come to realize that none of the sub $1k options are precision instruments.  For that matter my impression is that you have to crack the $2k level for that.

Since all of the china built sub $1k drill presses are hit or miss I've decided to get one from HF, assemble it, and see if I can tune it to an acceptable level.  If I can I'll keep it, if not, then I'll return it.  If it works out I'll get a beast at a real good price.  If it doesn't work out then all I've lost is some time.

They have a 25% coupon for April 5th.  If you were going to buy one of these which one would you get, the 20" or the 17"?

Offline GregBradley

  • Posts: 192
Re: Drill press
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2015, 08:51 PM »
NONE of them. They are all junk, or at least the ones that have been in my local HF are. The problem with assuming that HF are THIS or are THAT is that they keep changing. It IS possible that some drill press that HF had at some point was decent but who knows. They are basically in the business of selling junk with a high profit margin and giving a good warranty on it.

Some things they have are amazingly good for the price but you need to know how to tell or be willing to waste a bunch of time to find out.

I agree SOME of their current tool boxes are very, very good for the price. Some of them are not. Look at them very carefully before you buy. They keep changing and the ones that seem good now will go away or turn to junk later. So when somebody says THIS box is great, make sure that still applies to the current inventory.

Casters at HF? We buy hundreds of casters per year for shop use. I would consider around half of the HF casters to be a poor choice and about a quarter to be a very bad choice. As much as I hate to say it, many of the Lowe's casters have been surprisingly good for the price. Mainly we now use CasterCity.com and follow their recommendations from a range of manufacturers. To pick a brand, I'm happy with RWM.

Lumping all of the Chinese Drill Presses together and assuming they are all the same is not going to work very well.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 08:53 PM by GregBradley »

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2015, 09:05 PM »
Lumping all of the Chinese Drill Presses together and assuming they are all the same is not going to work very well.

Every single China made drill press that I've read reviews on has both very good reviews and very bad reviews, including those at HF.  Are there any sub $1k drill presses that aren't made in China?

There are those that think almost anything from HF is junk.  That's not been my experience.  I've bought some things from there that I've been very pleased with and some that had to be returned.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3144
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Drill press
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2015, 09:23 PM »
I just checked Amazon for used drill presses. The feature a Powermatic for less than $1200usd. They had a Delta for less than $800usd. There were Jet machines for $900usd. Why buy junk when you could get good used stuff.
Birdhunter

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2381
Re: Drill press
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2015, 09:41 PM »
I bought a HF drill press and the chuck falls out from time to time because the taper was cut wrong.  I only payed $99 dollars for it but, it is mostly useless.

Jack

Offline Greg M

  • Posts: 285
Re: Drill press
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2015, 10:52 AM »
Went ahead and bought the 17", regular price is $430 and I got it for $292.  Between here and other sites I have an idea of what to look for.  The quill is only 1 thousands out.  With a bit set back in the chuck it's about 3.5 thousands out.  Drilled a 3/4" hole through a 2x4 and drove a dowel through it.  It came out almost perfectly perpendicular.

I figured if the drill didn't check out then I could return it.  However, it looks to be pretty good and at less than $300 for a full sized 17" drill press that's pretty good.  I've been looking at used ones and the larger ones that aren't overpriced are rust buckets.  Sure this one isn't as pretty as the Powermatic that I looked at but it's also $1k less and drills just fine.

Re: Drill press
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2015, 09:03 PM »
Actually, I find a drill press to be one of the most used tools in the shop.

A drill press makes all of your other work better.  You will use it to make jigs and fixtures as much as working on the work itself.

If you want to keep cost down, then go for a belt change model as it will do good work but is usually cheaper and pretty fool proof.  It is only a minor inconvenience to change speeds.

The most important part of the press is the table and a long spindle stroke.  Delta models typically have nice big wood working tables with a decent stroke.  The table on mine is great for wood working, however, I wish it were a little thicker for occasional metal work.  It can get some vibration doing metals.

A lousy drill press is useless.  O good one is a very practical machine.

Offline Hergy

  • Posts: 54
Re: Drill press
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2015, 01:44 PM »
I couldn't agree more. My DP is probably my favorite tool and I have made very few projects that I have not involved my drill press. I have a Delta floor model. Make or buy a table and I would highly reccomend a laser (about $20-$30). A laser makes setup a breeze. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Dick