Drill Press Help

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Forum topic by zindel posted 03-11-2011 09:16 PM 1784 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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257 posts in 2650 days

03-11-2011 09:16 PM

Okay so I am slowly getting my tool collection together. I have been trying to decide if i want to get a plainer, drill press, or shaper next. My question that i can’t seem to find anywhere is…what is so great about the $400 dollar drill press vs a $150? I am sure each one has its bells and whistles but as far as true functionality and accuracy how much different are they? And i understand motor reliability is a big thing for price but heck i have a friend who has a craftsman drill press and has had it for years and had no problem…even though i strongly dislike craftsman

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

9 replies so far

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2680 days

#1 posted 03-11-2011 09:28 PM

I have this one…its okay,it gets the job done. I’m sure a cheaper benchtop would suffice.

-- New Auburn,WI

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 03-11-2011 10:00 PM

DEpends on what kind of work yoiu are going to do. I have a lot of Craftsman tools that work very well for me. I have had them since America shopped and MonkeyWard, Pennys and Sears ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4932 posts in 3961 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 12:41 AM

I bought a 1950’s era Craftsman cast iron monster DP for $125.00. Solid, bearings in great shape, hardly any rust at all.
I suggest that ya look for older used tools whenever possible.


View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2633 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 09:22 AM

I went the same route as Bill. I have a 15” Craftsman (circa 1960ish). Its never failed to do what I needed it to do. I’ve seen some really good deals on CL for “new and improved” modern DPs, but I’m not convinced I’d realize any benefit. I actually bought a Craftsman 12” Bandsaw (1970) and 4” Jointer (1960) as a package deal with the Drill press. All for $220. I probably could have done better than that pricewise, but I’m a satisfied owner none-the-less. Oh, and I also bought a vintage craftsman shaper for $80 w/ 10 cutters. Choosing between a DP, planer, and shaper gets easy when you can buy all three :)

As far as new DPs are concerned, Sears, Harbor Freight, Tractor Supply, and Northern Tool all sell seemingly decent drill presses for $100-$200. I believe all mentioned have liberal return policies. You could buy one of these less expensive DPs and give it a try.

The biggest factors to consider when buying a DP are (1) Spindle travel – Some DPs can only drill 2” deep. 90% of the time, that would probably be enough. But my DP can drill 3 1/4” and I still occasionally find that inadequete. Most $400+ DPs have greater spindle travel.
(2) Horsepower. The stated hp of any given drill press should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in-general 1/2hp should be enough. My old dinosaur has the original 1/3hp motor and I’ve never bogged it down. Most $400+ DPs have decent HP.
(3) Adjustments. How easy is it to change speeds or raise/lower the table? Most modern DPs address this well. More expensive DPs typically have well designed rack and pinion table adjustment mechanisms.
(4) Mass. Bigger DPs tend to be more stable and have larger tables. You won’t be drilling out a table leg mortise on a tiny benchtop DP. Not easily anyway. Of course an auxillary DP table can be built for peanuts and clamping/weighing-down the base plate pretty much ensures it won’t tip over. But a more expensive DP might not require any improvements.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3547 days

#5 posted 03-12-2011 09:34 AM

We build custom cabinets and i run two bench top dp. Bought both on CL for next to nothing. One of my dp came with bore attachment for blum inserta for free. Think i gave 100.00 for that one and gave 50.00 for my other dp. Both my small dp gets lots of use and are small but very adequate.

If fine furniture is the goal, then a floor model might be more beneficial. Foe example you may need to drill holes in the top of 30” legs. Otherwise simple custom cabinetry, anything larger then what we have is more then we have needes.

-- .

View wb8nbs's profile


164 posts in 2693 days

#6 posted 03-12-2011 04:55 PM

More money buys better accuracy, less slop in the quill, maybe a 5/8 chuck instead of a half inch, longer quill travel, more speeds. I have a Delta DP300 and many times wish for slower speed capability and the ability to drill a deeper hole.

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View NewfieDan's profile


50 posts in 2649 days

#7 posted 03-12-2011 08:19 PM

I just got the General 75-260 M1. It is an extended stroke press. It was an Xmas gift. So far it has lots of power for what I havwe needed it for. It runs quiet and smooth. If desired it can also be wired for 240V but comes set up for 120V. I got the extended dtroke because there are a couple of things I want to make that need fairly deep holes. It is Canadian made rather than Chinese so quality is maintained. I aslo have a General Table saw and 14” bandsaw and have been very happy with both of them. Copy the link below to look at the spec page of the drill press.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3676 days

#8 posted 03-12-2011 08:40 PM

GEneral must be the only North American tools left, eh? Are they all made in CAnada?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2650 days

#9 posted 03-12-2011 08:40 PM

Thanks everyone for the posts! This really helps a lot!

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

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