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Great Drill Press for the Hobbiest

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Review by lab7654 posted 08-01-2013 05:56 PM 4260 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Drill Press for the Hobbiest No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

After doing plenty of research, as usual, I decided that the Masterforce drill press sold by Menard’s would be the best for me. They went for $200 when I pulled the trigger just over a year ago, but the price has gone up to $230 in most stores. I got an 11% rebate on mine, and shortly after they went on sale for $180 (my luck). If you’re ready to buy a mid-sized drill press, don’t let the store-brand scare you away—Masterforce is on par with Home Depot’s Ridgid brand. Just stay away from “Tool Shop”.

Initial Stance
The first thing I noticed about this drill press is the surprising heft it has. It’s almost too big to be called a bench top, but still too small to be a floor model. In my setup picture, you can see that I built the stand a few inches lower than my bench. I’m 6’ 1”, and having it on my bench is still just too uncomfortable to use. The machine definitely has enough mass to stay in place, despite any vibrations from using things like spade bits. I have yet to notice any walking, since I left it unbolted to the stand.

Features
This thing is loaded. The laser and LED lamp work beautifully, even though I rarely use them. The laser crosshair was dead on right out of the box. Changing speeds couldn’t get any easier unless Menard’s included voice control. The digital RPM readout is great too, eliminating any guesswork. Power is no issue; I have yet to come even close to bogging this thing down. The table is a little iffy. It’s more suited for metalwork, even more so than most drill press tables. I built my own, complete with fence and inserts. There is an extendable roller guide that works with the original table and could be modified to work with my auxiliary table, but I doubt I would use it enough.

Overall, I give this machine four shiny stars. I reserved the fifth due to a few minor problems. When it’s cold out, the machine has a hard time starting; it makes chugging sounds while trying to get the belt to engage. It helps if I bring it down to the lowest speed once I’m done using it for the day, so it’s there when I want to start it again. Fit and finish could be a little better, but it’s really nothing to complain about. This drill press is identical to the JET JDP-12, but is $150-$250 less.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.




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lab7654

252 posts in 900 days



9 comments so far

View TheDane's profile (online now)

TheDane

3779 posts in 2316 days


#1 posted 08-01-2013 09:50 PM

I agree 100% ... I have had mine for going on 2 years now ( http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/2509 ), and could not be any happier.

-- 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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JustJoe

1554 posts in 692 days


#2 posted 08-01-2013 11:20 PM

Sounds like a great drill press, but it’s really not fair to review tools only available at Menards since they’re only in the Midwest – which is a shame because they are the coolest mega-store on the planet. :) The big ones are like a Tractor Supply, Walmart, and grocer all in one. Where else can you buy Marshmellow Fluff, a 12-pack of tube socks, and 2 sheets of drywall in one place? That’s right, you can’t.

But back to that DP…
How can it be hard to start up when cold? It’s an electric motor right? You’re not telling me there is a carburator under the hood, or a diesel engine and glow plugs right? So how can it be hard to start? How cold is “cold”? Are you drilling holes for toys at Santa’s Workshop? Is it so cold the belt is getting stiff? How odd that is indeed. Of course we wouldn’t have that problem here in southern AZ, but it doesn’t matter does it? BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A MENARDS!

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

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TheDane

3779 posts in 2316 days


#3 posted 08-02-2013 02:53 AM

JustJoe—- You ain’t kidding about Menards. They opened two new stores in the Green Bay area last year and remodeled an older store. The two new stores are the world’s two largest home improvement centers … I forget the square footage, but they are enormous.

I have never noticed any problem with my DP starting, even in the dead of winter, but my shop is heated.

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

View lab7654's profile

lab7654

252 posts in 900 days


#4 posted 08-05-2013 09:53 PM

Well it’s hard to explain, but the spindle doesn’t turn consistently at first and the motor’s tone goes up and down. After the first initial run, it stops doing this, but resumes for the first start up on the next day. I’d attach a video of the sound if it was cold enough out, but we’ll have to wait for winter to hear it act up.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View FrankEdgar's profile

FrankEdgar

2 posts in 407 days


#5 posted 08-07-2013 01:51 AM

A question for TheDane,
You posted about owning a MasterForce 12” drill press. I just acquired one that had been used. The belt on it is shot. I have tried to find information on line but so far have not been successful. With the variable speed pulleys does it require some special belt or is just a regular v-belt?

FrankEdgar

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FrankEdgar

2 posts in 407 days


#6 posted 08-07-2013 02:05 AM

To find a name I wouldn’t forget, and to find one that was not already taken, I am using my first and middle names.
I am an old man who lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. My woodworking is pretty much limited to woodturning. I am just completing the building of a new small shop in which I will be turning soon. In the next several days I will try to get a picture of the shop posted. I have only been turning for a couple of years and in a fairly limited amount.
I have a pretty good supply of wood which includes a lot of Osage Orange, Cherry, Magnolia, Hackberry, Pecan, Bradford Pear, Maple, Sycamore, Crepe Myrtle and Popcorn Tree. These may not sound great to experienced turners but they are going to keep me busy for quite a while.

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TheDane

3779 posts in 2316 days


#7 posted 08-07-2013 02:09 AM

FrankEdgar—Don’t really know the answer to that … have never had a problem with the belt.

You can download the manual from:
http://www.menards.com/main/store/20090519001/items/media/Hardware/GREAT030/Prod_Tech_Spec/240-0064.pdf

This appears on page 27: ”Now that you have purchased your bench top power tool, should a need ever exist for service, simply contact your nearest Menards store or call Great Lakes Technologies, LLC Service Department at (888) 315-3080 M-F 8-5 CST or by email:partsandservice@greatlakestechnologies.net. Be sure to provide all pertinent facts when you call or visit.

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

View RosieX's profile

RosieX

3 posts in 406 days


#8 posted 08-08-2013 01:00 PM

Nice picture! There’s nothing wrong with heft when it comes to power tools. Still reading drill press reviews before I make my decision. This is now on my list, so that for sharing.

View RaggedKerf's profile

RaggedKerf

407 posts in 774 days


#9 posted 08-22-2013 12:24 PM

I have a benchtop model from Harbor Freight that has served me well now for 6 months. But I noticed the same thing—-in the winter, when it was say less than 40 degrees in the garage (I think it got down to 10 at one point in February) the drill press would turn on and go reaaaaal slow for a minute or so, gradually “warming up” and getting to full speed within about three minutes. Really weird. The only thing I could figure is that grease/lubrication/goop whatever on the belt pulleys or internal workings got thicker in the cold and when it warmed up it returned to “normal” operating conditions.

Meh, it worked, it still works, it cost me $39 and I couldn’t be happier! But man, that had me scratching my head. Never had a tool that did that before. My car, sure…

Good review, BTW, gives me more confidence in the Menard’s house brand. As a Texas transplant to Badgerland, I’m quickly falling in love with Menards, if nothing else than as an alternative to Lowes and the Borg.

-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com

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