|Review by RandyMorter||posted 02-19-2011 06:59 AM||6287 views||0 times favorited||23 comments|
I ordered a Ridgid DB1550 Drill press from Amazon on 2/10/2011 and received it today, 2/18/2011. I paid the $332.22 amount which includes shipping. It was shipped by ABF freight.
Home Depot had them on back order. They charge less but I would have had to pay $324 when taxes were added in at HD so it was only $8 more from Amazon.
I got this DP because of 1) all of the good reviews it gets; 2) good luck with other Ridgid gear (especially my jointer and planer); 3) I’d seen them before at HD and liked them better than other brands at the same price.
Assembly went together fairly well, and it took me about 2-1/2 hours. Probably half of that time was spent cleaning the table and column and waxing them.
I had to raise the collar on the column a bit in order for the table to rotate. When I tighten the set screw the collar twists on the column so you have to do it a few times, positioning the collar to allow for the twist when you tighten the set screw. Once that was done (and once the column was cleaned and waxed) it works fine.
I really have to tighten the table mount pretty tight to lock it to the column. It seems like you get it tightened pretty good but the table still moves so you really have to put some muscle into the lock. The table crank works fine, especially after waxing the column and even putting some wax on the teeth.
My wife helped me lift the head onto the column. I might have been able to do it myself but I’m glad I didn’t have to. It went on fine and seems solid with the 2 set screws. I hung a steel rule from the front of the head to align it to the body but when I stepped back I noticed the floor isn’t quite level so ended up eyeballing the head over the floor mount. Too bad there isn’t some other keying device.
You’re supposed to verify that the tops of the spindle and motor pulley assemblies line up. My motor was about 3/4 of an inch high. I was able to lower the motor using the 4 mounting bolts but the motor is all the way at the bottom and the motor pulleys are still about 1/8 too high. I figure the belt will handle that (am I wrong?).
The idler pully shaft that drops into the hole inside the upper assembly looked like it had been dropped in dirt after the coating was applied. Strangely enough, the hole for the idler also had dirt or something in it. At least they were consistent. I cleaned both out and put a little molybdenum on the pivot shaft for the idler. I got the belts on and set for 1600 RPM.
The belt tensioning handle was frozen. I used the hole in the handle of a large crescent wrench to fit around the tension handle and work it loose (after removing the belts again so I could get the full travel). I moved the motor out with the tension handle and put a bunch of moly on the two shafts. I removed the tension locks and could see the shafts through the lock holes and put moly on the shafts through the lock holes. I worked the tension handle a number of times until it was moving fairly easily and re-assembled everything.
I installed the chuck without an issue but I am concerned about any particles that may have got up there. If it’s so sensitive why isn’t it packaged better?
I had a hard time getting the light bulb to screw in but finally got it. I think this step could be a bit easier if it was done before putting the chuck in (at least for the first time you put a bulb in it). I got a regular 60W bulb in without issue.
I squared the head to the table, sort of. It only has an adjustment for one direction. It wasn’t out, but if it was for some reason (e.g. if the front of the table needed to move up or down) there is no adjustment for it. I think I’ll be building myself a larger table and I may want to somehow include levelling adjustments in my table.
That’s about it – then I gave it a smoke test and drilled four 1/4” holes through a 2×6. It drilled fine.
Overall, though, I am not that impressed with the machine. I have used drill presses before and this one just seems rough. I don’t remember the other brands I’ve used, but this one doesn’t even seem as polished as the ones I saw in HD years ago.
The chuck seems and feels cheap. The storage for the chuck key is a rubber holder that doesn’t really fit the key well. It works but I wonder how long it will work before it either dries out or gets to where it doesn’t have any “spring” left to hold the key. The lid hits the pulley assemble on the left side near the back and even though I adjusted it, the front of the lid buzzed (I put those little adhesive felt pads at verious locations to get rid of the buzzing – they work good. I used some on the upper wheel cover of my band saw too).
The table is NOT ground smooth. There are pretty significant machining marks on it. It may be okay if you don’t put any finish work on it but I will want to put another sacrificial piece below work pieces. Also, the grinding made cleaning it difficult. I kept eating away at my rag and leaving rag particles all over the table. There are burrs in the table slots.
The pulleys just seem cheap. At first I thought I could just lower the pulley on the motor to adjust the pulley height since I could see maybe 5/8 worth of motor shaft between the pulley and the motor, including the flat. I pulled the set screw all the way out of the pulley assembly but they wouldn’t budge. They must be set with some pressure fit or something.
I was excited to get this, I’ve been wanting a DP for years. But once I got it I was a bit let down. I think it will work but I just don’t have that pride in it like I do in even my Ridgid 5” Orbital Sander I got a few days ago. If it didn’t cost so much I wouldn’t mind, but it did cost a bit, I’m not sure any other brand is any better in this price range (the grizzly doesn’t have the same speed range which made me choose the Ridgid). I think the older versions were better built.
I used the press for about 40 holes today, building a little stand for my Ridgid Oscillating Belt Sander out of 2x lumber. It drilled just fine and it was a pleasure to be able to use a press instead of a hand held to get the holes more perpendicular to the surface.
The only issues I had with the actual drilling were NOT due to the press. I need to make some sort of clamping jig so that I can drill into the end grain of a 2 foot long or so piece. When the motor starts the light really dims – I wish I had another circuit in the garage. I was kind of surprised at this, though, it’s only supposed to be an 8 amp motor. My band saw is 10A and it doesn’t dim the lights nearly as much. Could the press have some binding or something, like the belt being too tight (I can actually deflect it easily about 3/4” instead of the recommended 1/2”. They say if it’s too tight it can ruin the bearings or motor, if it’s too loose the spindle can slip. I’d rather error on the slipping spindle side.)
One of my motor adjustment knobs broke, part number 817320. The plastic “T” broke. Underneath is a tapered square head that the plastic is pressed on which can be adjusted with a crescent wrench. I tried super glue but as soon as I tried turning the knob again the super glue failed.
I contacted a local (Phoenix) Ridgid repair shop and they said I’d have to pay for a replacement. I’ve had the press for almost exactly one month. The replacement cost would be about $3.
I contacted Ridgid online on 3/16/2011. I got a reply on 3/17/2011 that they’d ship me a replacement part, no cost involved. I think that’s great customer service in this case!
I’m going to replace the knob/stud with an after market unit anyway. I’ll probably get one from J. W. Winco – they have a cast iron knob with the threaded stud screwed in, drilled, and pinned for about $9.50 (M10 1.5×35). I just think those would last forever.
I received the replacement knob from Ridgid today. It appears to be of higher quality. The plastic seems heavier and is attached better. This replacement came from Gardner, part #817320. If the other original part breaks I’ll order the cast iron or stainless replacements at that time but for now I’m back in business!
This is the second item I’ve contacted Ridgid about (the other was my OSS) and have been pleased with their response timeliness and results.
-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ