Sparky1951

Budget Drill Press

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I would like to add a drill press to the stable of tools. Want a floor model but don't want to break the bank. Any recommendations on a decent drill press in the neighborhood of $400?

Thanks

Sparky

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I own this guy: http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-Speed-Heavy-Duty-14-Floor-Drill-Press/G7944

Like you, I didn't want to break the bank on a drill press (I don't think they should cost anywhere near a table saw), nor did I want anything cheap or breakable, something midrange. That Grizzly fit the bill, although add in the freight costs when comparing it to anything you see locally. I drove to Springfield to pick mine up (and used a $150 Amex gift card I was given), so the cost to me was minimal.

The only thing I'm not hot about is the depth stop, but it's no big deal and I don't use it much anyway, otherwise the unit is solid. On an amusing note, also got some heat from a non-woodworking friend who didn't understand why I drove all the way to Springfield for a drill press and why I didn't buy one at the local Harbor Freight ("HF is great, if it breaks, you can just take it back!").

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I have a 20 year old Grizzly Drill press that was given to me second hand. After some clean-up work on it, it works great.

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I own this guy: http://www.grizzly.c...ill-Press/G7944

Like you, I didn't want to break the bank on a drill press (I don't think they should cost anywhere near a table saw), nor did I want anything cheap or breakable, something midrange. That Grizzly fit the bill, although add in the freight costs when comparing it to anything you see locally. I drove to Springfield to pick mine up (and used a $150 Amex gift card I was given), so the cost to me was minimal.

The only thing I'm not hot about is the depth stop, but it's no big deal and I don't use it much anyway, otherwise the unit is solid. On an amusing note, also got some heat from a non-woodworking friend who didn't understand why I drove all the way to Springfield for a drill press and why I didn't buy one at the local Harbor Freight ("HF is great, if it breaks, you can just take it back!").

I have a harbor frieght drill press with a keyless chuck. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

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Drill presses are one of those tools that even at $1000 you get a marginal piece of equipment. Its truely a shame what they call a drill press nowadays. If you can find an old press form the early 70's or 60's you can get a good press for about $400.

Don

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I have a harbor frieght drill press with a keyless chuck. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Heh. My response to my friend was "Why should you have to take it back? Why not get it right the first time?" Besides, it's a little different hopping in the car and taking back a hand tool to HF versus an entire machine. It was work getting that drill press home and down the stairs by myself, let alone assembling it.

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Drill presses are one of those tools that even at $1000 you get a marginal piece of equipment. Its truely a shame what they call a drill press nowadays. If you can find an old press form the early 70's or 60's you can get a good press for about $400.

Don

I whole-heartedly agree. It's like they're trying to force you into getting a small mill just to be able to drill an acceptable hole these days. When an RF45-type mill is only $1200, it makes anything more than about a $750 drill press look like a bad value.

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I'd go with looking for a used drill press. If you scout out Craigslist and/or eBay, you should be able to find drill presses that are really a good price for what you get, especially if you find an older one. There's not much in the way of cutting edge technology in drill presses, and the ones from the 1930's-1960's were really well built.

I have two drill presses. One's an 11" Delta Homecraft bench top model, and the other is a floor standing 15" Walker Turner. The two together cost me less than $250.

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I don't have a lot of demands on a drill press, except to drill reasonably straight holes and have enough power to bore out plugs and cabinet hinge bosses in hardwoods. I bought a Rigid DP1550 used for like 125.00. It serves my needs well, and I have no real complaints.

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Drill presses are one of those tools that even at $1000 you get a marginal piece of equipment. Its truely a shame what they call a drill press nowadays. If you can find an old press form the early 70's or 60's you can get a good press for about $400.

Don

Hello Don. After reading your reply, I’m very curious as to what you think of Grizzly’s drill press model G7948 at $695. Not as compared to your Powermatic drill press, but just on it’s own merits. I realize that it is very unlikely that you would have the opportunity to work with one briefly to evaluate it, but the curiosity remains. Thanks Don.

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Ive used the jet version of that press or it looks identical anyways. The t slot table usually means it should be more hd. T slot tables are usually found on bigger metal boring machines. 1.5 hp is great for a wood shop not so much for metal working. It looks like they mixed and match hd and cost savings. All in all for a newer press im sure it will be fine. Id download the manual and make sure there is adjuments to remove slop.

Don

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I have an old radial arm Craftsman benchtop DP. It's actually a pretty awesome machine for a drill press. Because of the radial arm aspect, I can drill using long bit you can usually only do ona floor model. I do need to make a better table for it, though.

(null)

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Drill presses are one of those tools that even at $1000 you get a marginal piece of equipment. Its truely a shame what they call a drill press nowadays ...

It's still possible to get top quality drill presses, made right here in America. But of course you don't find them at a "budget" price. Keeping jobs in America does get expensive, but I still buy American whenever I can. :)

Here's a great machine made in Wisconsin, it has a 4 inch column and weighs in at 675 pounds. :

45.jpg

Ellis Mfg. Company, Inc. is a family owned small business located in the city of Verona in south central Wisconsin, just five miles from Madison, the state capital.

The year 2012 marks 62 years of manufacturing in Verona for Ellis.

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Joraft - that looks like a solid drill press!

Yes it does!

I realize that the OP was asking about something more economical, I was just responding to the comment about the poor quality of drill presses available today.

For many years now the majority of equipment manufacturers have been responding to the apparent number one demand of current consumers, low prices. To do that they have searched out every possible way to lower the cost of manufacturing, which naturally has led to a considerable drop in quality, and so much stuff being made in other countries. This seems to be working out well for most since I commonly hear folks say: "It's good enough for me, and the price is right".

I just wanted to point that for those who are still looking for high quality more than a low price, there are still companies out there building those kind of machines.

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Drill presses seem to be one of the more common tools on my local Craigslist. Many old models are very inexpensive.

Drill presses are so simple, if it runs and functions when you pick it up, any problems likely to appear later should be easy to repair. Bearings, chucks, etc... are often off the shelf, easily available parts.

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Drill presses seem to be one of the more common tools on my local Craigslist. Many old models are very inexpensive.

Drill presses are so simple, if it runs and functions when you pick it up, any problems likely to appear later should be easy to repair. Bearings, chucks, etc... are often off the shelf, easily available parts.

That can definitely be a good way to go. One of the big attractions of (some) older model machines is that they were built without skimping on materials, which is why so many woodworkers are buying and restoring them. A heavy, hefty machine is far less like to vibrate, bend and twist then some of the "light weights" they're building these days.

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When I purchased my bench top model, the place I went to was trying to convince me to purchase one of their older rebuilt models. I did take a look at them, and they were all floor models, but all way to large for the area I had in mind. (I moved since then, and the new space would really be too tight for them.) The price was comparable, maybe $100 more than what I paid, and you get the benefit of 1) a quality machine from days when quality was the first thing that a tool was judged by, and 2) the benefit of not reducing some piece of history (or someone's history, at any rate) into scrap. (being green and all, you see.)

i can get you their number and company name, but I don't know if they have an internet presence. If you are looking for something in your area, start by checking your local tool production stores. Places that sell machine tools would be the second place i'd check. Network with them for the old-timers who buy, collect, and restore these older tools. You usually save a couple of dollars by purchasing one, but be prepared to chat them up for a while to really start making that price break work for you.

Incidentally, I'd still go there, even though I found a couple of other stores. Their prices are not the lowest, but their stuff is almost always exactly what I'm looking for and the quality of the used parts outweighs the price easily five-fold, in my humble opinion. (I'm slightly biased, though, having purchased from them.)

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Keep an eye out for a Craigs List posting because a DP isn't something that will see a tremendous amount of use unless it was in a shop - metal or wood shop. Stay away from those. I had a table top DP from the pawn shop for $30 that was ok but with its own challenges. At the time I was looking, I scoured CL and EBay but pickins were slim. I researched all "the names" and settled on the Home Depot 15" floor model. I got it on sale for $399. Register it on the internet and it has a lifetime warranty....on everything....motor, bearings, everything. I didn't know it then but go by the post office and you'll get a "moving packet (kit?)". It has a lot of discount coupons in it. One of them is from Lowes for 10%. Home Depot will honor that coupon in a New York minute. I've had my DP for 2 years and it's been absolutely flawless.

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Looks like a beefy machine...

I'd try to negotiate, always... Bring some scrap wood and some larger bits, like forstners, when you go to see it.

Here in CT, I'd probably go $300 for that machine in mint condition. Depending on what else was around, I might go more or less. Lately, I've seen a decent number of drill presses, so that would factor in.

Machine prices can vary from locale to locale, sometimes greatly, as they're so hard to ship. Using table saws as an example... I continually see folks in the interwebs finding good used Unisaws, PM66's, etc... for $600-800, in various parts of the USA. In my area, that's likely to be closer to $1200-1500. I sold my 12 year old General 650 cabinet saw in three days on Craigslist, for more than I paid for it new in 1999.

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I found a 1966 model NO. 113.24511 Craftsman Drill Press. Mint condition. 1/2 HP.

$365. Opinions please..................

That's one of the Atlas machines made for Craftsman IIRC, stout piece of equipment. My 1970's-vintage Delta 15" has that table on it, bought it from a retired engineer who makes a living buying, reconditioning and selling old tools.

Price is a bit high but not if it's truly mint or reconditioned. Check the spindle for play by locking the quill fully up, grab the chuck and see if you can move it, that checks the spindle for play. Run the chuck out to full extension, grab the quill(big tube that holds the spindle) and see if there's any play. Play in the spindle is probably bearings, they're cheap and fairly easy to replace. Worst case is having to take the spindle to a machine shop and have the old bearing pressed off, replacement pressed on, maybe a $25 job depending on shop rates where you live.

Play in the quill could be an issue, from the photos Barry linked it doesn't look like that press has an adjustment for that. That might mean more bearings or casting wear, not a good thing at a premium price.

If you have a dial indicator with a magnetic base, take it with you, set it up and check the top of the chuck for runout, should be <.0005" if the spindle is straight with no play. Runout at this point is magnified by the length of the chuck and drill, .002 at the chuck can turn into 1/32 or more at the outside of a big Forstner bit, that'll ruin your day. If you don't have one check out Horror Freight, they'll sell you a indicator/base set for $29.95 or so, not a precision calibration tool but it'll work for this. It's really a must-have tool for buying a drill press, old or new.

If it passes these tests, fire it up and listen for strange noises, rumblings, grinding, whines. There shouldn't be any, just a smooth purr. Turn it off and listen for whine at the motor, a sure sign the bearings are fried. Find a local motor shop and ask for a quote to replace them, most machine shops(at least in my area) won't touch a motor. Now put that big Forstner in, change the belt to the lowest speed and drill a hole or two in some hard maple. If it drills smoothly with no bogging down the motor is probably good, no rebuild needed.

If any of these negatives show up, you need to negotiate a discount or walk away, depending on how good you are with tools and machinery and how much time you want to spend. If the spindle has no play but a lot of runout it's bent, walk away regardless of how good it looks. If it passes with flying colors, throw money at the seller(including a tip) and leave with it as fast as you can before he gets seller's remorse. There are real gems out there, maybe this is one. If it isn't don't be afraid to walk away.

I recently spent a lot of time and gas finding my Delta, there's a lot of worn-out drill presses out there. I had to do a good bit of wire brushing and work with a Scotch-Brite pad, unbend some brackets and replace spindle bearings but it cleaned up pretty well and runs really sweet, a real workhorse.

Good luck!

Bill

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Sparky....I don't get it....$365...let's say he goes down to $335 and then you have to either go get it or have it shipped ...verses a new one with a lifetime warranty for $450??? and that's not catching it on sale. ($500 less the 10% post office discount is $450.) I

I encourage you, check this out.

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