|Review by TheDane||posted 12-09-2011 07:16 PM||14800 views||2 times favorited||18 comments|
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
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 -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"