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need a drill press for my turning shop

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Steve Tiedman, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Hi Folks, my budget-oriented, 25 year old benchtop drill press has seen better days and I want to replace it with a new floor model.

    If you've bought a NEW "upscale" (not entry level) floor standing drill press, say in the near-to-higher than $1000 range in the last 10 years or so, would you mind replying here with the make and model, and your ownership experience both good and bad?

    I have a line on a USA-built, factory remanufactured drill press (considered nowadays to be an institutional brand, not a consumer brand), and before I put down over double the price of the price shown above, I want to read real life experiences of the traditional woodworking brands and not just Amazon-esque reviews written one week after delivery.

    Thanks,
    Steve.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2020
  2. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    If " American Made " is your primary requirement I have no recommendation. I bought a Grizzly drill press 20 years ago and it is a fine machine.
     
  3. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    American made is not primary, objective, fact-based quality is primary, regardless of country of origin. I want to aviod opening the box to find seized fittings, sloppy bearings, runout, etc. There is no perfect anymore, I'm looking for the least amount of problems, and the highest quality, the first time. Maybe that doesn't exist anymore...

    Steve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  4. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    I was not aware that there are any USA made brands anymore. Having said that - the stepper motor powered one from Nova-Technatool is the most attention getting. I own it, and like it - but your needs may be different. I wanted one that could have enough torque at all speeds so I could drill wood and most metals with reasonable effectiveness, and without having to monkey with belts and the slippage thereof.
     
  5. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    I bought a Delta drill press about 20 years ago and have really liked. Never had any problems with it and it is still serving my needs today.
     
    odie likes this.
  6. odie

    odie

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    I would have to check to be sure, but I think my Delta floor model drill press was made in Canada. I bought it sometime in the 1980's, and don't remember for sure what I paid for it. I can say that it's been running fine for 30+ years. Never any repairs, just a little routine maintenance now and then. I would buy it again.

    It replaced an older 1950's Craftsman floor standing drill press, which was also a good machine for it's day.....but, none of the great features of the Delta.

    -----odie-----
    shop photos november 7 2020  (28).JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
    Lamar Wright likes this.
  7. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    You will never regret buying the refurbished American made one. The institutional one should have zero runout almost. I bought a 500$ one . I drill on lathe when I can as drill press not accurate at all.
     
  8. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Your quote above is the key point for anyone to keep in mind. And every company's customer service has good stories and bad stories. That said:

    I also have the Nova Voyager DVR drill press and am happy with it. When I was shopping the must have feature was varriable speed with no belt changes. At the time that left me with the Nova and the Powermatic to choose between. I think either of these units would make me happy, but I was swayed to the Nova by the sexy electronic features.

    As for out of the box problems I thought the chuck had runnout (honestly it might have been how I was measuring). But I really wanted a keyless chuck so I bought an upscale chuck from Jacobs. Otherwise no other issues.

    The electronic features are nice, but not essential. I use the speed chart all the time and I like the electronic push button speed control. I. Also use the electronic depth control frequently, but not quite as designed.

    I need to drill several holes to an accurate depth, say 3.5". The electronics will dutifully shut down the drive motor at 3.5 inches, but the chuck is still spinning and the quill can still travel so I would get a hole 3.75" deep. Instead I zero out on the top surface of the work piece, move the work aside and use the electronic depth reading to set the mechanical depth stop. This gives me an accurate hole every time. There is an electronic break feature that will stop the chuck rotation very quickly at the specified depth, but the reverse torque opens the chuck and dumps the bit. I supose that could be useful if you were going to change bits anyway

    Adjusting the table tilt requires a wrench and is somewhat cumbersome, but I have managed to get accurately angled holes and return to 90*.
     
  9. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I have a benchtop Delta DP. Only drawback is the short travel of the chuck. I'll upgrade to a floor model when my ship comes in. With my luck, I'll be at the airport!
     
  10. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I have a Delta similar to what Odie has, though I got mine about 1993 or so. It works. I would like to have a drill press with a motor like my lathes, 3 phase and variable speed with a knob. Much more convenient than switching the belts. I find myself leaving my Delta on one speed. I am thinking the advantage of the Nova DVR is that with the sensors, if you have too big of a bit going at to high rpm, then it will shut down. A drill press like what I want doesn't come with 'smart' features....

    robo hippy
     
  11. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Thanks for the replies so far, I appreciate the feedback.

    Good to hear the Nova press is working out. I'd need to decide if I'd want to live with computer parts, though. And the older Deltas mentioned, those may still be domestic or early import.

    I'm considering, strongly, a factory remanufactured Buffalo #15 press, more of less the same machine, built in New York, since the mid 1950, and earlier. Overkill in price, yes, unless it is demonstrated in quality. This has been a popular home machinist rebuild project when found used for a couple hundred bucks, but I don't have it in me to do that myself (nor with an old Delta, PM, General, etc.). $4000 gets you a new one, mid-$2k gets you a factory rebuild. Man, that's a lot of money for a drill press, but it's a drill press for my lifetime. And whoever I will it to when I'm gone. I can't see that anyone would ever buy it from me for even 50% of what I pay, but that's not a factor for me anyway. https://www.bmt-usa.com/drills/ Yes, this is the current day offshoot of what used to be Buffalo Forge. Today they serve heavy industry and government (i.e. military) the most with other heavy machinery, and occasionally the wayward hobbyist like me or you.

    Thanks,
    Steve.
     
  12. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    one of the things I use frequently is a drill press. I can't afford a fancy new or used name brand. I was checking out drill presses for almost two years. One of the things that troubled me with almost every brand I checked was the side to side spindle wobble. Even before sears closed down their tool depts, the Craftsman drill presses were fairly loose. As well as a big dollar name brand at my local wood craft. Nor do I want electronics. I don't mind hopping belts around infrequently. So, a local well known hobby wood worker died and his kids put everything up for auction. I went mostly out of curiosity Well the drill press was an old Enco import about 40 years old. It had a few minor things wrong, but seemed to be in good working condition. Best point, no side to side wobble in the spindle. I mounted a really fine drill bit and turned it manually and could not detect any bend in the drill bit as it revolved. Even better, I got the drill press for $57.50 and the heavy Craftsman 2 horse power table saw for $12.50 because no body wanted 220 volts. It isn't a fancy brand, but it does what I need when I need it.
     
  13. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Exactly my experience when I'd check new drill presses in recent years while I wasn't actually shopping for one. I'd see a new, $700-1200 drill press on the floor, I'd wheel down the spindle a little bit, grab it, and watch and feel as it knocks side to side with little to no adjustment to be had. No good. I wouldn't accept a lathe with spindle slop like that, nor a table saw, I don't want it on a drill press. These tools are meant to be precision machines, otherwise I'd just grab a hand drill and hope for the best.

    My cheapie benchtop press has a locking set screw on the side of the head that can be tweaked to bear against the spindle- no good. I've "adjusted", or rather cheated out as much of the slop as I can, but precision machining of those parts is the proper way to achieve a quality machine, not shoving a screw against a moving shaft in an effort to control its side play.

    Steve.
     
  14. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    I bought a 1963 Delta Variable Speed (Reeves drive) drill press. No spindle play on this one, still works like it is brand new!! I'm not really comfortable with most imported tools. I broke down and bought a new Laguna bandsaw because I was seeing mostly junk for the old American bandsaws.

    I always see plenty of drill presses on Craigslist if you have the time to wait for the right one!
     
  15. odie

    odie

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    Reading this thread caused me to do a little investigating this morning, and my findings are as follows:

    shop photos november 7 2020  (30)_LI.jpg

    When checking for play, hold the chuck at "A", and not "B". There will be some play at "B". but this is not indicative of any existing play at the chuck jaws. By holding at "A", you get the correct indication of any existing play. (Bearing location is "C".) With the chuck in the full up position, there is no felt play detected. When the chuck is fully extended, a small amount of play is evident at "A"......a couple thousandths, at most.

    In conclusion, always set your table height to adjust the drill bit leading edge to just slightly above the object you wish to drill. This, so the hole is established where no play exists. Once the hole is established, it really doesn't matter if there is any play when the chuck is at full extension. This is because the object itself will have stabilized the drill bit within the hole being drilled.

    -----odie-----
     
  16. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    FWIW, I have had my DP for several years and have never changed belts from the lowest speed. I rarely drill any metal which usually calls for the higher speeds.
     
  17. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Very good advice, Odie! I always move mine up, but only because I’m lazy and drilling a deep hole and don’t want to move it after drilling half a hole. Did not realize I was actually doing it right!
     
    odie likes this.
  18. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    I just jumped feet first into the deep end of the pool. I've placed the order for the factory re-manufactured Buffalo Machines #15 floor model drill press. (They don't list them at their website, but they'll tell you about them if you call.) The headstock is overhauled with new bearings and a reconditioned spindle (.001-.005 run-out) and pulleys, new belt guards, resurfaced table and base, 1/2"Jacobs chuck, 1-year warranty, and a fresh paint job. As they told me, it's essentially a new machine, $1960 plus crating and shipping. 8-10 weeks to ship out. I'll be supplying my own 1/2hp, 1140rpm motor setup (Dayton motor from Grainger). The press normally ships with a 1725rpm Baldor motor and switch for an extra $700, but to save money and drop the normal rpm range (500/950/1725/3820/6000), I'm going with the Dayton 1140rpm motor to result in an approximately 347/660/1200/2281/4173rpm range, more realistic speed range used for general woodworking.

    I've come across a couple old Deltas that caught my eye, but then I research for replacement wear parts only to find all old parts are obsolete/out of production, so a sweetheart deal on an old machine like that (likely the case for Powermatic and General considering they aren't the same companies they used to be), for me, would end up being a real hassle, or worse. The price really stings for this Buffalo, but as they say, it only hurts once. I never thought I'd be excited over a mundane machine like a drill press, but I'm really excited to have it in my shop. I'll update the thread when it's set up and making holes.

    Steve.
     
    Mark Jundanian and odie like this.
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It sounds like the motor that you bought might be a split-phase fan motor that may not work well with heavy loads such as deep drilling with large bits. The Buffalo tools that I'm familiar with in the mid-1970s were made in Taiwan.
     
  20. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    @Bill Boehme
    Bill, this is the Dayton motor I'm planning to use (not yet purchased): https://www.grainger.com/product/DAYTON-1-2-HP-5K672
    The spec's don't state split phase, but if there is something that catches your eye, I'm all ears.

    There is an east Asian "Buffalo Tools" https://buffalo-tools.com/
    The drill press I'm buying is not from that company, it is made in New York by Buffalo Machines, formerly Buffalo Forge https://www.bmt-usa.com/, building industrial machinery for over 100 years in New York. The drill I'm buying is of the same design they've built since about 1957, which improved upon a design they made since the 1930 by adding belt guards.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Forge_Company

    Thanks,
    Steve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  21. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I had limited room in my wood shop and recently purchased a used knee mill to use as a larger drill press along with the ability to mill metal materials for various projects.
    This machine takes up about the same amount of floor space as a full sized floor drill press but also provides for more uses then just drilling holes.
     

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