|Review by knotscott||posted 03-14-2009 02:51 PM||11983 views||1 time favorited||8 comments|
This 13” DP is a far cry from my most prestigious tool, and Harbor Freight’s “Central Machinery” brand doesn’t typically conjure up tons of confidence and the obligatory “Tim the tool man Taylor” grunts that the big names will, but this particular purchase has been too good to not give the credit that’s due. The 38142 is a 13”, 16 speed, 3/4 hp benchtop drill press. It weighs in at a respectable 125#, and stands over 40” tall. It has a quill stroke of 3-1/8” and spins from 240 to 2600 RPMs.
The Central Machinery hollow mortiser is the only other motorized Harbor Freight tool I’ve tried so far. Like many of you, I’m justifiably cautious about putting my trust and hard earned money into their products, especially those that plug into the wall! Many items are “hit and miss” at best, but there are some functional tools often at outrageously attractive prices. Since there are two stores near me, and they have a fairly generous return policy, I decided to drop my guard and make this purchase for $144 (on sale, plus a coupon). I had scoped out most of the competitors in this class and price range…Craftsman 12”, Hitachi, Delta, Ryobi, Grizzly, etc. The HF not only looked pretty stout, it offered the most DP for the money IMO. It’s very similar to the Grizzly G7943.
The motor is surprisingly stout…considerably more powerful than my little 8” 1/2 HP Grizzly that this replaced, and actually seems to be rated fairly accurately. Vibration is very low, and runout is nearly non-existent. The swing of 13” is fairly generous for a benchtop, and the stroke is a reasonable 3-1/8”. The 38142 lacks many of the creature comforts of some of the others…no lasers, no variable speed dials, no fancy hold downs, but it is a solidly built basic drill press with good basic function for my needs. Changing belts is a bit of a nuisance, but no worse than most. I’ve pondered upgrading the belts to link belts, but there’s so little vibration I fear I’ll be wasting money.
I honestly don’t know what more I could asak from this tool, and think that I would have needed to spend in the range of 3 times the amount to get significantly more tool. It won’t have much resale value should I decide to move it, and it might not hang around for 35 years (maybe it will), but I’ve been surprisingly impressed with this particular HF purchase in it’s first year of excellent service.
From the supplier:
Machined steel column features rack and pinion table movement. Cast iron table is accurately gauged, tilts to 45° left or right. Precision chuck holds bit from the smallest wire gauge to the largest size with 5/8’’ shank. Morse taper spindle for versatility. Adjustable depth stop and gauge included. Table and base are slotted for easy vise installation.
- Chuck capacity: 7/64’’ to 5/8’‘
- Six-speed spindle, from 240 to 3600 RPM
- Spindle stroke: 3-1/8’‘
- Spindle Taper: MT2
Motor HP: 3/4; Column diameter: 2-57/64’’; Table size: 11-1/2’’ diameter; Swing: 13-7/8’’; Base size: 17-5/8’’ x 10’’; Height: 41-3/4’‘
Tool weight: 125 lbs.
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