Drill Press reccomendations


Valleyslim
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I've never used one before but will need one for upcoming projects where i will be batching out tons of boxes, i'll be making custom trays where i'll need to hog out most of the material before i use a bowl bit in the router. I'll also need it for drilling holes. My budget is 700$ and probably looking at least 12-14 inch capacity. don't have a preference between floor stand/bench. thanks

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From personal experience doing a similar task, I would say that horsepower is critical. 10 to 12 inches capacity, and even more, is achievable with a benchtop machine, but horsepower will likely be larger in a floor standing unit.

Having said that, I hog out the waste with a forstner bit, because it is quieter and less of a mess. I don't think it actually saves time over doing the entire job with a router. A 1/2" carbide end mill can remove a lot of material.

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On 1/15/2023 at 5:53 PM, wtnhighlander said:

From personal experience doing a similar task, I would say that horsepower is critical. 10 to 12 inches capacity, and even more, is achievable with a benchtop machine, but horsepower will likely be larger in a floor standing unit.

Having said that, I hog out the waste with a forstner bit, because it is quieter and less of a mess. I don't think it actually saves time over doing the entire job with a router. A 1/2" carbide end mill can remove a lot of material.

whats the minimum hp i should shoot for? also whats a good brand for carbide forstener bits? thanks

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My advice is to look for a used Porter Cable 15" floor model on Facebook/Craigslist.  They unfortunately have been unavailable new at Lowes since Covid supply issues and I doubt they are ever coming back. 

I am in the middle of a year long production job that has resulted in me currently having six drill presses in my shop.  Two of them are those PC units.  Two of them are old US made units from the '50s-'60s.  Two of them are el cheapo Wen/Ryobi.  Buying an old drill press is a can of worms.  Both of those took a lot of work to make them serviceable and would take even more work to make them viable replacements for the PC.  I would not go down that route unless you want a restoration project.

You won't find anything better new for your budget and it should run you about $250-300 if you can find one.  I have a sample size of two to review and I can say that the table on one of them is really awful as far as the machining and flatness.  The other one is much better.  You are going to put a table on it anyway so it doesn't matter.  They claim the motor is 1 HP.  It's probably really more like 3/4 HP.  Either way it's enough to munch through wood with a good size forstner bit because that's what I do with them.

I seriously would have just gone around to every nearby Lowes and bought 4 more of them for this job if I could have.  They were way underpriced for how good they are.  

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On 1/15/2023 at 10:19 PM, krtwood said:

seriously would have just gone around to every nearby Lowes and bought 4 more of them for this job if I could have.  They were way underpriced for how good they are.  

Looks like they were made by Rexon and imported by PC, just incase you ever find one with the original branding, but Rexon doesn't have direct US-sales.

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I have no specific model recommendations for you.  I can share some general thoughts.

A floor model takes up no more room than does a bench top model, but has much greater capacity for future tasks.

The limiting factor on driving large (>2") Forstner bits is the chuck's grip on the bit's shank.  A half inch chuck will barely grab a half inch shank, while that hold may be adequate for a 1/2" twist bit, you're probably limited to a 1" or 1 1/2" Forstner with a 3/8" shank.  For HP, I think a typical  1 HP press will be adequately endowed.  Regardless, you'll have to clear the chips and cool the bit every 1/4" to 1/2" oh hole depth.

On a big boy press a table that cranks up and down is way better than one that slides.  A table that tilts is also valuable for future tasks.

Quill travel is key, at least for me.  It's not just a matter of drilling a deep hole.  I frequently start a process with one bit, then switch to larger/longer bit, so I need the clearance.  

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I personally feel that lower speeds are more important than overall power. I have a 1/2 hp bench top and have used it to run 6" hole saws with no power issues but my lowest speed is ~250 rpm. The clearance from quill to post are the biggest limits for bench top units. There are tricks to get around the height to the base. The heads are mounted on a post and rotate so if you need to drill into the end of long material just swing the head. I could probably make an argument that a bench unit would have an easier time drilling into very long material over a floor unit as i can easily pick mine up to get it further from the floor :D.

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I like the bench top models as it's a bit easier to make a storage cabinet they sit on opposed to one that has to fit around the drill press. Mien is on wheels and is really easy to move around the shop. Which is nice cause I can stick it in an inconvenient place for storage and move it out easily. I rarely use a drill press though so most of the benefits of the floor units don't appeal to me, there are usually other ways.

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Your budget may be you limiting factor.  $700 should be more than enough for a quality DP but, the market is just plain odd for this tool group.  That being said, I found my 14" to be too shallow of a swing for a lot of things but this will vary with what you do.  If 14" (7" post to bit) is enough the Grizzly G7943 benchtop wins a lot of the bake-offs.  It is a basic machine with a good low speed and well within your budget.  The speed change method is the same as on my $1000 machine.  Basic but, very easy.

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I have a Shop Fox W1848 - 13-1/4" Oscillating Floor Drill Press, 3/4 hp. It’s a pretty good drill for the cost. I can’t heavily recommend it because it sounds like you’re wanting something much heavier for fast production work. A new one is now $1200 with shipping. Wow, I paid $395 plus $100 shipping 4 years ago. My only two gripes are that the quill travel is only 3” but I think that you will jump up to a 2 hp, $2000 drill to increase that. I also would like to have a few more inches (and who wouldn’t) in distance from the post to the chuck, there again, $2000 press. You can probably do better with some really cheap brand but the shop Fox/ Grizzly is about as cheap as I would go.  I didn’t want a bench top but don’t normally need the full length of the floor model so I built a rolling cabinet around the lower portion that I can remove the top and drawers from in about 5 minutes to make use the full height and it is mobile. I would say, lower your expectations or raise your budget or, maybe you can find something salvageable used, although used quality tools are getting hard to find. Good luck!

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