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What an improvement over my Porter Cable drill press . . .

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Review by copythat posted 02-05-2018 06:44 AM 4690 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
What an improvement over my Porter Cable drill press . . . No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have owned a Porter Cable upright drill press for the past two years. The model I have is the PCB660DP, a 15” floor, 12-speed drill press. It was great with an included light and laser cross hairs. However, the table was small and the depth stop and speed changes were less than wonderful. In 2017, I saw a Black Friday special on a Nova Voyager and decided to buy it for my wife. Ok, so it wasn’t for my wife.

I assembled the Voyager and realized the thing is a monster compared to my old drill press. The table is huge and the entire machine weighs a lot—I think it’s 300 pounds. I took the time and set up the depth of cut with dial calipers, just like Teknatool recommended. It didn’t take long and it was the only thing I had to do once the machine was fully assemble.

The best thing about the Voyager is the computer screen. It is intuitive and if you are somewhat familiar with the machine’s features, it is easy to work through without opening a book. The thing I like most of all is how you enter the type of bit you are using, the type of wood, and the machine automatically adjusts the speed.

I had heard the chuck was too small to hold a 1/16” bit so I ordered a replacement chuck at the time I ordered the drill press. I guess Nova heard the customers’ complaints because the chuck that came with my voyager can hold a bit from 1/16” to 1/2”. Anybody need a new chuck?

Another thing I really, really like about the drill press is the depth of cut gauge. You zero the bit to the work piece surface, enter how deep you want to penetrate the material and go for it. It automatically stops when you hit the target depth. The screen also displays the depth of cut as you go; it is awesome.

I read complaints that the drill press’ audible alerts were too quiet to be heard. I wear two hearing aids and generally don’t have them on in the shop. I have no trouble hearing the beeps from the machine.

The Nova Voyager isn’t cheap but it is a pleasure to use.

-- Rob




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copythat

80 posts in 515 days



19 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3078 posts in 1898 days


#1 posted 02-05-2018 12:22 PM

Yes, it is a great drill press and I have had mine for more than 6 months. I love the range of speeds from 50 to over 5500 rpm. It is so easy to change speeds with a turn of a knob.

It has very little run out and smooth operation with a 6” stroke.

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OSU55

1524 posts in 1899 days


#2 posted 02-05-2018 07:26 PM

Comparing $270 vs $1400 products? Yeah I hope it does everything very well…

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Andybb

758 posts in 512 days


#3 posted 02-05-2018 07:49 PM



Comparing $270 vs $1400 products? Yeah I hope it does everything very well…

- OSU55


+1 Yeah. For that kind of money it just oughta be heads and tails above anything else used in a home shop. Kinda like comparing Festool to Harbor Freight. :-)

That looks like an awesome machine from everything I’ve read about it in the past. ENJOY!!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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copythat

80 posts in 515 days


#4 posted 02-05-2018 08:01 PM

I did compare the two because that is what I have owned. Like I said, it isn’t cheap but it’s a pleasure to use.

-- Rob

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Redoak49

3078 posts in 1898 days


#5 posted 02-05-2018 09:20 PM

I compared it to my $650 Jet Drill Press and it is worth every penny.

By the way, there is no comparison between them. The Nova Voyager DVR is a great drill press.

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RPhillips

1155 posts in 1745 days


#6 posted 02-05-2018 10:48 PM

When I upgrade from my HF P.o.S I plan to invest in one of these bad boys… have fun with it.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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playingwithmywood

379 posts in 1506 days


#7 posted 02-06-2018 05:15 AM

for $1400 it better be a milling machine

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copythat

80 posts in 515 days


#8 posted 02-06-2018 05:27 AM

It’s no milling machine but I thought $1200 was a good buy when compared to the PM at $1,449.99 (Rockler) or the Delta at $1,317.99 (CPO Outlets). I guess tools are in the eye of the beholder.

-- Rob

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playingwithmywood

379 posts in 1506 days


#9 posted 02-07-2018 05:48 AM



It s no milling machine but I thought $1200 was a good buy when compared to the PM at $1,449.99 (Rockler) or the Delta at $1,317.99 (CPO Outlets). I guess tools are in the eye of the beholder.

- copythat

First glad you like it and hope it works out well for you

I guess everyone has different needs also currently I have the Rigid 15 in it is like $450 new I got it for half of that like new but used it was has done everything I have asked it but when I saw that price tag my thoughts went this direction but then again I probably watch too much AVE on YouTube but then again you cannot get enough AVE

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill-with-Stand/G0704

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MagicalMichael

96 posts in 425 days


#10 posted 02-10-2018 04:05 PM

I recently sold my 25+ year old Toolcraft DP. I hated it. I have been thinking about what to replace it with and have drooled over the Nova but a recent experience gave me some pause and lead me to reconsider the $800, 17” Jet.

In Dec. of 2016 I had my 25 year old Williams & Hussey molder/planer rebuilt and their new electronic, variable speed control installed. In the first 25 years the only problem I had was one lost screw from the roller frame. Well this month, one month out of warranty, the electronic control unit failed. It has taken three weeks and $160 to get a new control unit. So I wonder if I want to spend an additional $600 to bring another circuit board into my shop? I think I could change a lot of belts in three weeks!

You mention sound. How much noise does the voyager create compared to other DP’s you have used?

Thanks for the review.
Michael

-- michael

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copythat

80 posts in 515 days


#11 posted 02-10-2018 06:12 PM

Here is a video of the Nova Voyager going from 50 RPM to 3,000.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pM9UtUMRqEMjV9hKR8vrtmtxYNN3z9KF

-- Rob

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copythat

80 posts in 515 days


#12 posted 02-10-2018 06:14 PM

The next two videos may be a better comparison.

Here is a video of the Nova Voyager at 1000 RPM:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Hi2ypL0tRDJO54CvzhNFPV5yRyOXmiXT

Here is the Porter Cable PCB660DP at 990 RPM:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=11Ahzp1AjH9N3-7gHN55oxskriY_rultg

-- Rob

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3078 posts in 1898 days


#13 posted 02-10-2018 10:56 PM

I had concerns about the electronics but Teknatool has been making the speed controls for awhile and many on lathes. They have a good reputation.

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

96 posts in 425 days


#14 posted 02-11-2018 12:11 AM

Many years ago I was a young cost engineer working for IBM’s semiconductor division at the time the world was beginning to transition from mainframe to distributed processing systems. We had a simple clock chip, under my management, which was on a ceramic substrate and had a proven record of working for 100,000 power on hours. The PC division chose to buy a plastic module from Hitachi with a life expectancy of 10,000 hours. They saved $.07 on every PC. Since then I have come to appreciate that everything in America has 2 bits worth of plastic in it, which, when it fails will render the whole, right up to a Tesla, inoperable.

I may still buy the Nova, but I will do so with my eyes wide open.

Michael

-- michael

View playingwithmywood's profile

playingwithmywood

379 posts in 1506 days


#15 posted 02-11-2018 05:09 AM



Many years ago I was a young cost engineer working for IBM s semiconductor division at the time the world was beginning to transition from mainframe to distributed processing systems. We had a simple clock chip, under my management, which was on a ceramic substrate and had a proven record of working for 100,000 power on hours. The PC division chose to buy a plastic module from Hitachi with a life expectancy of 10,000 hours. They saved $.07 on every PC. Since then I have come to appreciate that everything in America has 2 bits worth of plastic in it, which, when it fails will render the whole, right up to a Tesla, inoperable.

I may still buy the Nova, but I will do so with my eyes wide open.

Michael

- MagicalMichael

yep this is what is wrong with the modern world even more need for #RightToRepair legislation

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