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MasterForce 12" Drill Press

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Review by TheDane posted 12-09-2011 07:16 PM 12311 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
MasterForce 12" Drill Press MasterForce 12" Drill Press No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Full disclosure first: I have always been a little leery of private label brands (like the ‘MasterForce’ label at Menards). I know these are Asian knock-offs, and the quality may not measure up to the major tool brands.

That being said, the need for a drill press with a longer quill travel and the sale price at Menards ($179.00) combined to tip the scale and I made the purchase last week.

I had a bunch of pen blanks to drill for a Freedom Pens project, and doing them with my old drill press (2 1/8” quill travel) was a PITA. So I popped for the MasterForce 12” and so far, so good.

Vital statistics: —12” VS Drill Press With Laser —4.8 Amp motor —Laser guide and LED work light —Digital display of speed —Cast iron table with roller extension —Mechanical Variable Speed 530-3100 RPM —CSA certified —3 1/8” quill stroke —5/8” chuck

Observations:
This drill press appears to be a clone of Jet’s JDP-12 Drill Press with Digital Readout. The specs and features match up, and the parts diagrams are virtually identical.

Out of the box, I was impressed with the fit and finish … no rough castings, it was well packed, and the parts inventory was complete. I also found the instructions easy to follow, so setup took less than 20 minutes (including cleaning off the rust inhibiting grease). I was also pleased to find the table was square to the column, and the lasers (which I probably won’t use much) required no adjustment. It actually took me longer to install my shop-made table and fence (shown in the photo) than it did to set the machine up.

The variable speed (controlled with a lever on the left side of the drill press) and the electronic read-out are nice features. I was accustomed to having to move the belt on the multi-step pulleys in my old drill press, so the VS is a welcome change.

The variable speed system is called a “Reeves system”. Fellow LJ Rich Greer says it has been his experience that these systems are hard on belts. Thanks for the heads up on that Rich. I’ll be monitoring that as I get more hours on the machine.

Why only four stars? Well, that rating isn’t so much a commentary on the machine itself, but is more a reflection of my concern about parts availability and service. To be fair, Menards sells this machine with a 3-year warranty, and my experience with Menards on warranty matters has always been good. Nonetheless, I’m not sure that Menards is going to offer the parts and service I would expect from a company that specializes in tool manufacturing like Bosch, Jet, Delta, etc., especially after the 3-year warranty has expired. But then again, I did not pay a premium price for this tool.

All in all, I am happy with it so far.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"




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TheDane

3990 posts in 2414 days



18 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7945 posts in 2803 days


#1 posted 12-09-2011 07:39 PM

Belts:

Here is a Super good Link Belt at a very competitive price.

I have used this in several places and they are GREAT!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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Paul

217 posts in 2202 days


#2 posted 12-10-2011 03:20 AM

Beyond the warranty, if the parts are an issue you may consider using the jets parts if the machines are in fact identical.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7945 posts in 2803 days


#3 posted 12-10-2011 04:16 AM

What do you think of The Shop Fox DP… not quite as fancy as this one?
( has a 3/4 HP motor… no fancy stuff)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3990 posts in 2414 days


#4 posted 12-10-2011 06:11 AM

Joe—I considered it, but the end cost would have been almost double what I paid for the MasterForce (shipping on the ShopFox W1668 is about $75 … Menards is less than a mile down the road).

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View woodjunkie's profile

woodjunkie

34 posts in 1419 days


#5 posted 12-10-2011 06:39 AM

I bought this same DP 18 months ago. Have had absolutely no issues with it. I use it almost daily and use forstner bits alot hence I am changing speeds alot. After reading this l took the cover off and look at the belt and it looks brand new.

-- He: Can I get the plans for that? Me: Plans???

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Jim

142 posts in 2073 days


#6 posted 12-11-2011 07:25 AM

I also have the same press. Going on 3 years or more now, and still knock on wood going strong without any issues. My only wish was it had more depth travel for those longer pen blanks I occasionally drill, but I knew about that when I bought the press. Great deal for the price, even the wife enjoys it and all it’s features for her pen making.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3990 posts in 2414 days


#7 posted 12-11-2011 04:53 PM

Jim—Try drilling pen blanks on a DP with 2 1/8” travel … makes this one a dream to work with!

I have done a bunch of stick pens that require drilling about 4” into the blank … for those I use the lathe and a Jacobs chuck.

The LED light on this DP leaves a little to be desired so I just clamp a little goose-neck lamp to the table.

On the subject of the table, I like using a shopmade auxiliary table and fence, which presented a problem due to the way the DP’s cast iron table is designed. To solve that, I turned a dowel down to fit into the hole in the center of the DP’s table, drilled a hole through the center of the dowel, then ran a 3/8” carriage bolt through my plywood shopmade table. On the bottom, I used a fender washer and a 3/8” knob. Mounting and removing the table is now a toll-less operation.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View dakremer's profile

dakremer

2492 posts in 1842 days


#8 posted 12-14-2011 07:12 AM

I used to work at Menards, out in the lumber yard. Yes, I was that guy loading up your lumber for you :) I really like Masterforce. From what I’ve been told (By Menards) is that MasterForce is supposed to be a tool for the do-it-your-selfer AND the contractor. Its been described to me as “not as good as contractor grade, but better than do-it-your-selfer grade.” So somewhere right in the middle. Its marketed as a cheaper choice for a contractor or a little more expensive choice for the Home buyer….

By the way….a lot of the MasterForce line is actually made by Bosch, just with a different name on it. Not sure about this drill press, but I know the cordless drills are for sure.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3990 posts in 2414 days


#9 posted 12-14-2011 11:26 PM

dakremer—Good thing you didn’t hurt your back loading up that lumber! At least, now you know how to get it fixed if you do (chiropractor reference).

I have a buddy that works at the local Menards, and he has said pretty much the same thing. So far, I really like this thing … just wish the built-in LED was a little brighter.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View indi's profile

indi

2 posts in 1070 days


#10 posted 01-19-2012 03:05 PM

I just set up my Masterforce 12” Drill press. I did check for square anf level. I did check the laser. Everything seemed to be pretty much right on. The only thing that I noticed is that one of the lasers is blurry, not a sharp line. The other is fine. And when I turned on the press, as it rotates there is a clicking sound. Almost like a tab on the pulley is slapping something. This tick is on all speeds. Not too load, just a tick. Did a couple of test drills and it seemed to work fine. I replaced a Craftsman 10” press with this one. This thing is much taller than the old Craftsman 10”. I will have to build a lower height bench for this one. Gotta love these honey do’s. New tools.

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indi

2 posts in 1070 days


#11 posted 02-10-2012 09:06 PM

The clicking sound I have found out was on the front pulley. The little piece of metal that sticks down on the bottom side of the pulley, passes though the rpm indicator (two screws hold it to the frame). The little piece of metal was hitting the rpm indicator. I loosened the screws and adjusted the indicator so the the pulley didn’t hit either side of the indicator.

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jimmyhopps

149 posts in 1130 days


#12 posted 06-28-2012 07:52 PM

mine now on order. $219

View Mark Shultz's profile

Mark Shultz

62 posts in 1141 days


#13 posted 08-29-2012 01:37 AM

i purchased this drill press. i find that the handle to lower the bit is way to low (about at the level of the chuck opening). this gets in the way of the fence unless there is a long bit installed. i have to take off the knob for it to pass over the fence.

View 303Woodwork's profile

303Woodwork

25 posts in 1264 days


#14 posted 07-20-2013 09:49 AM

Gerry, thanks for such an in-depth review.

“I have always been a little leery of private label brands (like the ‘MasterForce’ label at Menards). I know these are Asian knock-offs, and the quality may not measure up to the major tool brands.”

I second that and usually try to go for the better respected (and more expensive!!) brands like Delta, ShopFox and Jet over something like MasterForce or Proxxon. Having said that, drill press reviews like yours above give great independent advice to the potential buyer, so thanks for taking the time to share.

-- Gotta love woodworking!

View ChipByrd's profile

ChipByrd

84 posts in 678 days


#15 posted 12-28-2013 09:14 PM

I recognize that this is an old post, but I was wondering if you still endorse the MasterForce? Has it held up well?

Thanks,
Chip

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