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Harbor Freight Drill press for a newbie?

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Forum topic by huyz posted 03-08-2016 10:00 PM 1067 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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huyz

49 posts in 324 days


03-08-2016 10:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press harbor freight entry level holes

Hey all, I’m looking for a drill press, but don’t want to sink a ton of money into it. Woodworking is getting expensive!

Looking at this cheap drill press from HF: http://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-5-speed-bench-drill-press-60238.html

I don’t see many other options under the $100 range. Most are $200-300ish for entry level.

Right now I just need to drill a hole for zero clearance inserts, a router table plate, and to make some more jigs. Mostly I’ll be making furniture for the house.

Have you guys discovered you need a higher max height? What does a higher priced press get you in terms of quality?

Thanks!


25 replies so far

View TheWoodRaccoon's profile

TheWoodRaccoon

364 posts in 392 days


#1 posted 03-08-2016 10:07 PM

I started out with one of those HF 8 inch drillpresses, i got it for $50 with coupons, couldn’t say no…
I ended up returning it. Way too much runout in the spindle, and the quill didn’t move freely or smoothly.

For the money your’e willing to spend, I think you’ll have better luck with a 10 inch Craftsman. Not the best, but for a little over $100 it’s a pretty good little drill press. It’s what i have now, and so far it’s done everything i’ve asked of it. But if i had the money or need for something better, i would definitely replace it. I’m not sure, but with a few subtle differences I think Harbor Freight’s 10 inch Drill press might be the same machine as the Craftsman….

You should also look at your local Craigslist, you never know what you might find. If you can get your hands on a vintage american made Craftsman, Buffallo, Delta, or Atlas machine, it would be way better than any cheap drill press you’ll find commercially.

http://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-12-speed-bench-drill-press-60237.html

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-10inch-bench-drill-press-with-laser/p-00934983000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&gclid=CjwKEAiAjfq2BRDpmdHmssaW5xsSJABToP4lofqhGHKg6n3lxokbvf3UvX1EHTsDceTJLY8tGuIEXxoC09Lw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

You should also look at your local Craigslist, you never know what you might find. If you can get your hands on a vintage american made Craftsman, Buffallo, Delta, or Atlas machine, it would be way better than any cheap drill press you’ll find commercially.

-- still trying to think of a clever signature......

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Joel_B

294 posts in 844 days


#2 posted 03-08-2016 10:14 PM

Craigslist

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View TheWoodRaccoon's profile

TheWoodRaccoon

364 posts in 392 days


#3 posted 03-08-2016 10:19 PM

View huyz's profile

huyz

49 posts in 324 days


#4 posted 03-08-2016 10:25 PM

Those two options look decent. I could try Craigslist and have them cut a sample piece. What would you look out for/inspect on old presses? Belts? Wobble?

View Clarkie's profile

Clarkie

380 posts in 1304 days


#5 posted 03-08-2016 10:27 PM

Take your time and do as suggested, watch CL and sooner or later there will be an older American model for sale under a hundred. I just got one for my shop and it was under the 100 price mark, so they are out there. Have fun, make some dust.

View TheWoodRaccoon's profile

TheWoodRaccoon

364 posts in 392 days


#6 posted 03-08-2016 10:33 PM



Those two options look decent. I could try Craigslist and have them cut a sample piece. What would you look out for/inspect on old presses? Belts? Wobble?

- huyz

Belts are easily replaceable, so are bearings. If it vibrates a little or squeals, it’s probably the old belt that has a set in it or bearings that need replacing, i would’nt consider those reasons for not buying one.

Make sure it hasn’t any serious runout or “wobble”, and that the quill has no play in it. Extend the quill all the way down, and try and budge it back and forth, looking for any movement. Depending on the machine, it may be an easy fix, a matter of tightening some nuts and bolts. Take some pictures of any machine your’e considering, and post them here. Usually someone will be able to tell you everything you ned to know.

-- still trying to think of a clever signature......

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6568 posts in 1613 days


#7 posted 03-08-2016 10:34 PM

I have the 12 speed HF press. Honestly, save your money. Buy something old for $100-200 that’s floor standing if you can.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2434 days


#8 posted 03-08-2016 10:49 PM

I got the HF 13” x 16 speed and really like it.
Has a 3/4HP motor. Can get down to 200 RPM.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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MadMark

977 posts in 916 days


#9 posted 03-08-2016 10:57 PM

I have the benchtop Skil for two years of steady use and it has been a great little tool. I’ve maxed it out with a 3” forstner! There is little wobble and it runs quiet and smooth. I think I paid $115 or so.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14571 posts in 2146 days


#10 posted 03-08-2016 11:03 PM

Been using the H-F one for a few years now. “wobble” went away, after I put the chuck on the correct way.

$70 out the door at the time. The vise? was a $5 Yard Sale find.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

320 posts in 2498 days


#11 posted 03-08-2016 11:13 PM

I have the craftsman variant, and every time I use it, I’m reminded of the limited stroke length (2” in this case). The one I have is slightly better than not having one, but just barely. A replacement is definitely on my list.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

470 posts in 1002 days


#12 posted 03-08-2016 11:34 PM

Definitely CL. I got my Ridgid 15” Drill Press for $125. No wobble, perfect quill travel. I’ve since built a DP Table and a cabinet for it.

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

454 posts in 365 days


#13 posted 03-08-2016 11:43 PM

I would advise against the 8 and 10 inch harbor freight drill presses. the amount of run out on both units was unacceptable , even after some polishing. good luck

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

756 posts in 1458 days


#14 posted 03-09-2016 01:50 AM

I guess I must have gotten lucky, because my 8” HF benchtop was one of the best tools I have ever had. I used it until it just finally wore out. The job that killed it was drilling holes in stainless steel. I didn’t have a low enough speed for proper cutting, and it bound a few times. The chuck popped off the taper like its supposed to, but eventually it wouldn’t stay on there any more. I cried the day I buried it. ;)

I don’t know what they cost these days, but at $50 -70 they are a great value I think. Except with my planer, which I had gotten a GREAT deal on, I’ve always started with value tools to save money.

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View huyz's profile

huyz

49 posts in 324 days


#15 posted 03-09-2016 07:48 PM

What do you do with the Horsepower you have? And what would you do if you had more?
And the height too.. wondering 8” will be fine, or bench top vs a standing one.

Thanks guys. I have a Craigslist alert setup.

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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