Drill press

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Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 06-29-2010 06:18 PM 1366 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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195 posts in 2941 days

06-29-2010 06:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill press

Ok I know you guys love talking about your tools. So here’s your chance. I am in the market for a drill press. As you maybe know, I’m just starting out and as we are moving to our new house I’m thinking about must have tools in my new workshop. I have decided I need a drill press but the question is which one, and what features are more important than others? I will do mostly hobby woodworking, building some cabinets, tables, chairs maybe sometime, this kind of run of the mill work. Nothing heavy duty and nothing fancy. I have looked at many reviews and am no closer to making up my mind what I should get.

1. bench top or floor standing. I will have a decent amount of space but since there is also a price difference I’m wondering if it is worth to go for the floor model or if I could do with a benchtop

2. quill length—how important is this

3. variable speed—what’s the min and max to look for

4. what about the platform/table. What should I check when checking out models

5. accuracy—this would be very important to me, why else would I want a press. What questions to ask?

Anything else I should beware of? Particular brands to avoid, or look for?

I do not have a fixed budget in mind, but obviously I don’t want to pay for more than I need. I am looking for quality and something that fits my needs. If it costs $700 so be it, if I can make it happen with $200 – even better. I am not prepared to fork over $1000 + since I think that would be overkill for my kind of application.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

6 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 06-29-2010 06:38 PM

The most recent edition of Popular Woodworking has an article that compares drill presses.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View fiddlebanshee's profile


195 posts in 2941 days

#2 posted 06-29-2010 06:40 PM

Ok thanks, I will check that out.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 06-29-2010 06:41 PM

1. Either will work, but floor will have a more hefty punch to it. Useful if you’ll need to drill aluminum or steel stock. You also want weight, less weight means less stable.

2. It depends on what you’ll drill. Floor standing typically allow you to go through a 4×4 in one pass, benchtop is more like a 2×4.

3. Slow, slow slow. Very few applications where you’ll need a DP for in woodworking will want to be much above 600, something that starts around 250-300 is better.

4. You want it to move up and down, side by side and be able to tilt the table. However, you also want a very stable table, easy to lock down.

5. Quill runnout is the biggest issue, otherwise you can test one by running a hole through a piece of wood.

Other things to look for are a standard size/mount table. For example my DP is not standard and required modification to my table.

Delta DP300, 17-9XX series are generally the standard. I’d always advise avoiding craftman made in the 90’s and today. I have a Ridgid DP1500, if you can get one on sale theyr’e a great deal, but not equal to Delta, Rikon, and Jet. Normally I advocate used, but for a DP you have to be very careful. First DP I bought was a 12” benchtop Delta for $100, the biggest issue was uncorrectable quill runnout, total waste of the money.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


486 posts in 3435 days

#4 posted 06-29-2010 07:03 PM

one thing you may want to consider is a quill lock. which is a lever that locks the spindle in the depressed position. good quality drill presses have this , and it is a valuable function. allowing you to set stops and the workpiece much more precisely. Using the bit itself to reference, instead of a laser or measurements.
Once you have used a drill press with this function, it is hard to go back. the biggest problem is that most new drill presses have dropped this function(except expensive ones) so you may have to try the papers or yard sales to find an old atlas or buffalo. it is well worth looking for.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#5 posted 06-29-2010 10:14 PM

I was wrong. It was Wood magazine that had the article comparing drill presses.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#6 posted 06-30-2010 04:14 PM

My thoughts – -

A key specification is the largest diameter circle you can drill a hole into the center of (i.e. the clearance between the post and the bit). Bench top units are usually 8 – 10”. Floor units are usually 16+”. For me, that’s a big deal.

I agree that you need to be able to get down to some slow speeds – 250 rpm.

Table design can be a real differentiator between units but that is less important if you plan to build your own DP table.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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