Drill Press question?

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Forum topic by Wingstress posted 12-04-2011 01:46 AM 2070 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3511 days

12-04-2011 01:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill press

I’m in the market for a drill press, but I came across this mill. I thought the versatility of the mill/drill would be nice. I know that its primarily made for metal, but it fits my shop footprint. Does anyone know reasons why one wouldn’t use this mill for woodworking? I was thinking the spindle speeds would be a little slow, but it goes up to 2250 rpm which for hardwood isn’t that slow. Right? Thanks in advance for the help.



This great little machine sports some of the same features found on much larger mill/drills: dovetail column, variable speed 1 HP motor, R-8 spindle with digital read out, tapered gibs with double locks, large 7” x 26-1/2” table with 19-7/16” of stroke and it comes with its own stand! This is an excellent value and great for just starting out or even as a dedicated, single purpose machine in the shop!
Dovetail column
Safety shut off switch
DRO on spindle
Fine feed head control
2 Speed gear box
Clear guard on spindle
Rubber chip guards on ways
Zero setting dials
Dials read inches
Tapered gibs throughout
Forward/Reverse switch
Stand with chip tray and cabinet
Motor: 1 HP, 110V, 3.2A, single-phase
Spindle taper: R-8
Spindle travel: 2”
T-slots: 3 @ 2-1/2” centers, 3/8” studs
Head travel: 11”
Head tilt: 90°; L/R
Max. distance spindle to table: 13”
Swing: 14-3/4”
Table travel (longitudinal): 18-7/8”
Table travel (cross): 6-7/8”
Table size: 7-1/8” x 26-5/8”
Range of speeds: Variable, 50-2250 RPM
Approximate shipping weight: 290 lbs.

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

9 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#1 posted 12-04-2011 02:27 AM

I have a benchtop drill press I put into storage because it only has 2” of spindle stroke.
Never had enough room between the chuck and the table at 10”.
I hated this machine because of these two limitations.
It’s been re-assigned to the garage for metal work where the stroke is not so much of an issue.

This mill/drill has 2” of spindle stroke and 13” between chuck and table.
This will be very limiting in my opinion.

On the other hand, the head is on a dovetailed column which would let you partially make up for the short spindle stroke by drilling in steps and the accuracy should be great due to the construction.
And, the x-y positioning of the table would be real nice for things like drilling out mortises.

I bought a big table top drill, 41” tall, 18” between chuck and table, 3 1/2” stroke.
I just ordered a Palmgren x-y cross slide vise to address the positioning issue.
Total cost for drill and cross slide vise is under $300.
I have been very happy with this machine.

View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3511 days

#2 posted 12-04-2011 02:40 AM

Thanks Crank. I noticed the 2” of spindle stroke, but thought the entire head would move down towards the table (opposite of how a drill press table would move up to the spindle) so it would be an issue. I can’t recall ever drilling through something thicker than 2” so I wasn’t concerned. What drill did you buy? I’ll check out the cross slide vise you talked about.

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3071 days

#3 posted 12-04-2011 03:39 AM

Of course, it all depends on what you want to do but, for me, 2” of spindle travel would be unacceptable.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#4 posted 12-04-2011 03:55 AM

Tom, like you said – this is designed for milling operations and while it does do drilling operations as well, it does not excel at that like a dedicated drill press does.

compared to this (and considering this is for woodworking projects) a dedicated drill press will have the following benefits:
1. quill length – 6” compared to 2” quill travel allowing you to drill deeper holes faster and easier. (sure you can move the head on the z axis on the mill, but that is not as quick of an operation like driving the quill down and back up)
2. maintenance – a drill press is by far simpler machine (woodworking dp that is) – less parts, less overhead, less to worry about and less to maintain. with a mill you have precision x-y tables and ways that require lubing and constant maintenance to keep it all clear of debris and smooth acting (for example)
3. price – for the mill you are paying mostly for the milling capabilities (tables, spindle, speed control, precision movements and adjustements, taping capabilities, etc). if you only use this as a drill press – to me it seems like a waste of money as for the same price you could get top of the line DP, or get a really really good DP for much much less (craigslist or even new)
4. drill ends of long parts – with a DP you can move the table out of the way, with the mill – you’ll have to figure out a workaround… not so simple
5. material handling and speed of work – with a DP you can setup a DP table with stops and all and speed your process, whereas the mill is really meant to clamp your work to the x-y table and use that table to reposition your work which for drilling wood really slows you down. sure you can put a DP table on top of the mill table but then see my point 3 – you are paying for the x-y table a considerable amount and if you don’t use it – it’s a waste.

while a mill/drill can act as a woodworking DP (I’m doing so myself) if you need this for production and for woodworking projects only, then a DP will be a better choice. if you are looking into machining, or metal work, and need a jack of all trades, than the mill would work well for you, but you’ll be limited to what you can do with it woodworking related.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3511 days

#5 posted 12-04-2011 05:08 AM

Thanks guys, you have confirmed my suspicions. I just couldn’t get over the possibility of having the best of both worlds. Now the hard part, deciding on a drill press. They range between $100 and $1100. I currently have a bench top Ryobi and its a piece of Junk, but hey its done me well over the years. I’m looking for a floor mount with a big table. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2573 days

#6 posted 12-04-2011 06:03 AM

I would get the delta 18-900L. Pricey (~$900) but worth it. I have the ridgid 15” press and love it, but one day I’ll be jumping on the 18-900.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 12-04-2011 05:25 PM

My $69 HF benchtop drill press does a better job as a drill press than my mill. Having the mill has not made me give up the drill press.

That said, the mill will cut wood just fine. It spins router bits and mills just like a router would but just a bit slower.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#8 posted 12-05-2011 05:43 AM

This is the HF # 38142 16 speed drill press I have.
Really a nice machine. Super for the price.
Presently going for $239. I got mine for $160 with member discount and 20% off coupon.
The Palmgren cross slide vise I got from Amazon for around $85.
Note: there are much cheaper cross slide vises out there, but I wanted adjustble gibs and precision.

I would love to have the big Delta with the 6” quill, but simply did not have the money.
That machine is ~$900.
I’ll be watching Craigs List for one though. I’d still like to have the big guy.
Delta also has a 16” or 17” DP with a tilting table and 4-1/2” quill for around $500.
That would be a good machine as well, I think.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4121 days

#9 posted 12-06-2011 04:57 AM

I use my floor stand drill press a lot. It’s nothing special, a friend gave it to me. However, having said that…

If I had to get along with just my Central Machinery mini-mill for drill press operations, I could, and there are a lot of router-ish things that I can do quickly and easily on the mill. With the mill, one young visitor to my shop easily milled out a nice little box for his mom. Sliding dovetails and many small grooves are faster and easier to set up on the mill than the router table. The mill is nice and quiet, and controlled enough that small guests that I’d never let near a router can do lots of operations.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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