View Full Version : Bench-Top Drill Press Recommendations
I'm looking at getting a drill press in the $100-200 dollar range. Nothing fancy, nothing too large, but one that will get the job done. This will be used for small projects in wood and metal. Anyone have recommendations? I have seen the Ryobi for $99 that looks pretty cheap, and some others that are a bit more, but still look cheap.
I know that you get what you pay for, especially with tools, but that is all the money I got right now.
12-31-2001, 01:58 PM
I have a Delta that isn't the greatest. My advice would be to line up your available choices, grab the chuck, and look/feel for play. Check it both at neutral and fully extended depth. Grab the driven pully and check for play. If there's any play at all, then it has crappy bearings and you should eliminate it from your choices. If the bit walks because of bearing play, your work will be junk.
12-31-2001, 07:29 PM
I have a similarly low cost unit I got from Sears years ago and have had useful service from it since. Most benchtop versions you're likely to find will be in your price range. I don't suspect most manufacturers expect that small models like those will be used for anything other than home/hobby applications and as such aren't likely assembled to NASA specs. Aside from Rich's tests, you might take a long bit or straight piece of rod with you when you shop and clamp it in the chuck. Give the chuck a spin and watch the tip of the bit. Any wandering and you want to keep shopping. Wade through a few and you'll find a good one.
12-31-2001, 09:19 PM
I also have a benchtop Delta, and it gets the job done for the money.
I don't have any problems with the bearing end of things, but it does have an annoying bad habit or two--the gear rack that raises and lowers the table doesn't work smoothly, I have to wiggle the table from left to right to get it to go down or (mostly) up smoothly.
Second, the lock that keeps the table level doesn't work. If you are drilling with the table swung to one side, the downward force will tilt the table, no matter how tightly the pivot nut is. There is a pin that's supposed to locate and lock the table in a horizontal plain, but it isn't true, so I had to scrap it (I mean the table isn't a true 90 degrees to the chuck when the pin is engaged, so I don't use the pin.)
All in all, it's a notch or two above the other Chinese units out there, like those Harbor Freight sells...noticably better quality, but still Taiwan-Chinese crap. Nothing like the old USA models I grew up with. But then what is these days?
01-02-2002, 06:59 PM
I actually have the Ryobi which I bought a few years back over my own mediocre experiences with the brand. Overall, although it's not any sort of precision machine, it's provided fine service for drilling plumb holes in all sorts of metals. I guess that I've found drill presses to be less critical than many other tools in the sort of things I ask it to do.
01-03-2002, 02:01 PM
Yes,Take it out of the box and check it out.
For tinkering and do it yourself work it should be fine unless it has obvious flaws.
01-03-2002, 03:04 PM
In my home shop I have a little $99 Woodtek. (I think they are more than that now) Almost no play in the spindle and the chuck is better than most, more expensive models I've seen. One frustration is the vibration caused by cheap pulleys. I think spindle play and a quality chuck are the most important things to look for.
I ended up getting a Reliant 5 speed 8" press. I got it at woodworkers warehouse for $136. The chuck isn't the greatest, but the spindle bearings seemed much tighter than the Delta 12" that was $60 more. I have only used it a couple of times, but it works great. It has a 1/3 hp motor, and it is very heavy, (around 80-120 lbs) which is a good thing in my book. I'm happy with it, and I'm amazed that you can buy any tool that heavy for $136...
Thanks for all the suggestions.
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