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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 621 days ago 1356 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


621 days ago

So I’ve been using a 60 year old Craftsman bench top DP for the past few years. It’s an old school, American beast and I’m sentimentally fond of it. However, it has a few issues.

-The table must be raised/lowered manually. I didn’t realize how important a rack/pinion table lift was when I bought this DP. But shoving a cast iron table (with an auxiliary table, jigs, work piece) up a steel column is a complete pain in the ass.
- Its only capable of three speeds. Slow speed, which is still too fast for large bits. Insane speed which is where I leave it set 99% of the time. And ludicrous speed, which I never use.
- Run-out. I’ve been putting up with the first two issues, since I couldn’t really justify replacing an otherwise operational tool. But the run-out has become a bit excessive to overlook. I’ve gone through the typical motions to correct the run-out, but I’m not prepared to go to any great lengths to fix a tool that I’ve been looking for a reason to replace.

All that said, I’m in the market for new drill press. Regrettably, I can’t go with a floor model due to spatial constraints. C-list in my area commonly offers floor models at reasonable prices. But bench top models, that meet my performance criteria are basically non-existent on CL. The new tool market doesn’t offer much either. Most bench top models are either pathetically small and extra-light duty (skil/ryobi), or out of my price range (pmatic/general).

At this point, the newly listed Craftsman 12” DP looks like the best candidate for me. I played around with a fresh display model at the store, and I liked what I saw. Everything seemed tight and smooth. Like many late model craftsman machines, it looks very similar to machines offered by Rikon. But the closely related Rikon has slightly better specs. Nonetheless, the Craftsman includes.

-12 Speeds. The slowest is 350rpms. A little faster than I’d like, but acceptable.
-1/2hp motor. Good n’uff.
-Rack/Pinion table lift. WooHoo!
-Gooseneck LED. Nice feature for the dungeon I work in.

The downsides to this machine, which might not actually be downsides include:
-Circular table. I’ve never understood how a circular table could possibly be better than a square table? I don’t get why all DPs don’t come standard with a square table. Especially DPs that are marketed as woodworking machines.
-Laser doohickey. I personally find these useless. And this one requires batteries. Wiring the laser thingy to the rest of the machine was apparently a technical challenge that couldn’t be overcome. Being a dumbass, I’ll undoubtedly leave the laser on and it will habitually have a dead battery. That’s what happened with my miter saw anyway.
-Depth-Stop. The depth stop on most DPs is comprised of a threaded/graduated rod, and is adjusted with a nut. Simple, effective. This DP, and several others on the market, uses a “clutch” system where a mechanical dial is set to the intended depth. For all know, this system is better than the system I’m familiar with. The stop on the model I saw seemed to work well and was easy to use.
-Unknown quality. Although Craftsman has introduced its fair share of garbage over the past couple decades, I’m of the opinion that they are steadily improving. Maybe they finally found a Chinese manufacturer that knows what they’re doing? Either way, most of the craftsman machines I have seen/used over the past couple years have been impressive. The latest bandsaw, “professional” router, and the mentioned drill press will compete nicely with any mid-range product on the market (imo, of course). But in the case of the DP, it is a new addition to the catalog and has not been tested and reviewed by the market. At least my local Sears is only 15min away, which will make a return easy, but hopefully unnecessary.

With all that said, I’m going to pull the trigger this weekend- unless someone knows of a better product under $250. The craftsman can actually be had for about $175 with coupons and discounts. All thoughts, opinions, and insults are welcomed and encouraged.
Thanks


12 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1510 days


#1 posted 621 days ago

I have been thinking very much along your thought processes. I have had MY 8” Craftsman for 21-years and fully understand the manual height adjustment, and occasional pinched fingers when doing this.

I am having a hard time justifying a new 12”, because it is just not that much bigger/better than my old 8” DP. I am trying to hold out for a 14”—15” DP that won’t break the bank. I have come across many old Craftsman DPs of this size, but wonder if they would be worth it since parts are no longer being manufactured. I know that my 8” has never had an issue, but those THREE speeds to choose from is a pain and caused many burns and hot bits.

HF has this 14” benchtop DP for $239.00 and you could always use a 20% OFF coupon to reduce the price:
http://www.harborfreight.com/garage-shop/stationary-drill-press/heavy-duty-16-speed-bench-drill-press-38142.html

I do not vouch for its quality, but other LJs have been happy with this as far as I can tell.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2699 posts in 1173 days


#2 posted 621 days ago

The HF press Mike linked to is considered one of HF’s gems and has a respectable following.

However, for $300 (less if you can come up with a coupon), the 15” porter cable press sold at Lowe’s is the best bargain in import presses IMHO.

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

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#3 posted 621 days ago

Thanks Mike. I considered the HF. It specs out slightly better than the craftsman, especially with a longer spindle stroke. The only hang ups for me are that my nearest HF is an hour away (making a return harder) and that the machine is on backorder. Backordered HF products seem to remain on backorder for centuries.

NW- That PC you mentioned is, dollar for dollar, the best floor model on the market. If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t have the room for a floor machine, I’d already own it.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2699 posts in 1173 days


#4 posted 621 days ago

Well what’s you flooring situation?
I’m sure we can convince you to go for a floor model and how little space it takes up. ;-)

Seriously though, one more advantage of the pc is the quill stroke. I’m not sure about the craftsman, but IIRC the HF is about 3”. On the PC you’ll have a full 4”.

I just checked out the craftsman and it only has 2.44” of quill stroke, which is abysmal. Also, at 4.8 amps, there’s no way it’s 1/2 HP. More like 1/3, which is ok, but as soon as you need a bit bigger than 1 1/2”...
My ridgid is 1/2 HP and is rated at 8 amps.

The more I look at the craftsman the more I think it’s a waste compared to other offering out there.
I strongly recommend reconsidering your floor space situation. A floor dp literally takes about the same space as a 5 gallon bucket…

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

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#5 posted 620 days ago

I have half of a one car garage. Real estate in my garage is worth more than real estate in Manhatten. One wall houses my workbench, jointer, TS, hand tools, and BS. One wall has a long bench that houses benchtop machines. One wall has my grinder/pedestal, DC, and a large snap-on toolbox. I could probably squeeze a floor DP in the mix, but it honestly wouldn’t be the most practical solution.
One of the reasons I’m obsessing about price of my DP is that I plan to upgrade to a floor DP the day after I move into a bigger house. Maybe even the same day :) I’m hopefully only 2-3 years away from a bigger shop.

The 4” of quill travel is what I covet most about the PC. But I don’t view 3” to be appreciably better than 2.5”. I couldn’t drill through a 4×4 in either case. I don’t forsee too many cases where I’ll be drilling through 2.6-3.0” of material. 1.5” would be adequate 95% of the time. But admittedly, owning a DP with longer quill travel (or more hp) is better 100% of the time.

Which other offering did you have in mind? AFAIK, the HF is the only other benchtop DP in my price range that would work for me. Unfortunately, its on backorder. I suppose I could wait until they restock it, but I need to get crackin’ on xmas gifts.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1510 days


#6 posted 620 days ago

Tedstor,
Yeah, I’m an hour away from ANY town bigger than 8,000 and San Antonio OR Austin is an hour away. So what?... I don’t get that point. Call ahead. I have to do that all of the time. Three HF stores in San Antonio alone. Southside is +60mi thru town for 1/2 way. It is a love/hate relationship with HF at this distance and gas prices DO make a difference, even on the Harley. And Yes, I do haul shit on the Harley.

On a side note, I noticed that the Rikon 70-100 Mini Lathe is the same(as in Identical) as the Sears Craftsman version. More things to think about… 8-(

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#7 posted 620 days ago

I’m not sure a drill press will fit on my Triumph Speedmaster>LOL.

I actually called my “local” HF a couple years ago to see if they had a oscillating multi-tool in stock. The clerk did not hesitate to tell me he had “several” on the shelf. I drove an hour to pick one up only to find they were out of stock.They apparently sold several of said tool in under two hours. More likely though, the clerk just fed me a line of BS because he was too lazy/busy to actually check. The manager was kind enough to call HF HQ and have them fed ex the tool to my door- 2 day express. Good customer service, necessitated by bad customer service.

Anyway, I immediately put the tool to work, only to have it begin to fall apart. Specifically, the motor casing would split slightly, and the motor brushes would unseat. HF was more than happy to accept a return, but I either had to mail the defective unit to them or drive back to the store.

I’m pretty sure I’d kill someone and/or develop a drug habit if I got jerked around like that again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a HF hater. But I stick with small, obscure items that are easily mailed when I deal with them. I prefer to buy larger items from people and merchants in my immediate vicinity (when possible). Sure, Sears has been known to jerk people around too; as most merchants are capable of doing. But at least Sears is close to my house and is next door to a FANTASTIC deli that I love to frequent.

Long story short Mike, I’ve tried that in the past but it didn’t pan out.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1510 days


#8 posted 620 days ago

tedstor,
What you say is becoming more and more true… If I can avoid HF, I do. Sears is just one step LESS bad, if you will. Their lifetime guarantee is shit at this point, except for cast tools (as far as I can tell). THAT said, my local Sears Tool section looks like an empty Goodwill shop at the end of the day. How the Hell could they replace my broken tool, with Lifetime warranty? To say the least… This is scary as Hell! And I DO NOT want to venture into politics here.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View 47phord's profile

47phord

174 posts in 833 days


#9 posted 620 days ago

I have the HF 38144 which is the floor-standing version of the DP Mike showed you, and I have no complaints. If you can actually get the 38142 with a good coupon, I’d say try for that. Another option, if you could get it shipped to you, is a Masterforce from menards:

Supposedly, it’s a rebranded Jet (it looks like it any ways) but either way it is fairly well reviewed considering it’s price point. It lists for $229, but it does go on sale occasionally.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2699 posts in 1173 days


#10 posted 620 days ago

Call your lowe’s; ask them if they’ll honor a HF 20% off coupon and the pc will be $240+tax if they do.

As for another suggestion, the rikon 30-120 looks pretty impressive for a benchtop.

If your lowe’s will accept the hf coupon, I’d move whatever necessary to fit that puppy in there. ;-)

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

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

433 posts in 974 days


#11 posted 620 days ago

I went through this about two months ago (there is a thread on here regarding the choices but I’m on an iPad and can’t search for it properly at the moment). I originally bought the HF floor model (the bench model but floor size, exactly the same) and had nothing but trouble with it. Got fed up, took it back and bought the PC from lowes. The PC is a GREAT machine. I got a 10% movers coupon from the post office and bought some gift cards on craigslist for lowes. All in all I probably paid about $200 by doing that. The quality difference between the two presses is very noticeable and I would highly recommend the PC if you can make the space for it.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#12 posted 616 days ago

Well, since all you ‘morons’ (especially Nitewalker) :)obviously have no idea what you’re talking about; I ordered the craftsman against recommendations to the contrary. The main reason I was told to buy a different press was the whimpy amperage rating of 4.8a. Well the press arrived today, and what was the first thing on the box to stand out? “3.5 amps”.
My makita hand drill is 4.6. LOL.
You were right, I was wrong. There- I said it. LOL.
I was actually going to return this press regardless due to some questionable “liberties” Sears has taken with some small-time toolmakers. See the thread(s) in the non-shop section. In short, Sears was selling a new type of wrench that was invented, patented, and manufactured in the US. Sears then decided they could make an extra buck if they shit on the guys patent, and had their knock-off made in China. I don’t do business with people that operate that way. Add the 3.5 amps that was advetrtised as 4.8, and the machine never even made it out the box.

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