Cannot move belt tensioner Lever on 16" Central Machinery Drill Press.

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Forum topic by RonInOhio posted 06-18-2013 02:15 AM 3171 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2859 days

06-18-2013 02:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press question

Bought a Harbor Freight 16 speed 13 inch drill press a few days ago.(Model 38144)

Assembly was a PITA.

The instructions are apparently for several makes and very generic in nature. Kind of like the tool. Ha.

Also upon opening the box when I got it home , the power switch was smashed and the cover plate at the top was dented slightly.

I went ahead anyway and assembled it and checked the runout, (none measured) and seems to
be fine otherwise. Except for one thing will get to in a minute.

I talked to the manager about the broken switch cover and cover plate and will
be getting replacements when the drill is back in stock. I don’t want to pack everything up and
return it unless absolutely necessary.

The one thing I am unsure about is the belt tension lever located on the right side.

Following the instruction manual for installing belts and changing spindle speeds, the manual says to back off the belt tension lock knobs, and turn the belt tension lever clock-wise to move the motor pulley closer to the Spindle
pulley .

The belt tension lever will not move or budge. I don’t want to force it by leveraging it or whatever.

Any owners of this drill press know what I may be doing wrong here ? Am I missing a step ?

I don’t want to return this but if I can’t get this worked out I won’t have a choice.

Thanks in advance.


7 replies so far

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2859 days

#1 posted 06-18-2013 03:00 AM

Feel dumb. It was already in the clockwise most position. You still need a leveraging pipe to move
that sucker though.

View MrUnix's profile


6703 posts in 2194 days

#2 posted 06-18-2013 03:06 AM

I’d pack it up and take it back.. get your money and start scouring Craigslist for a reliable brand name press.. around here, great condition ones are selling in the $100 to $200 range and many come with lots of extras, such as bit sets and vices.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1926 days

#3 posted 06-18-2013 11:43 AM

I would take it back, you do not have to pack it up just take it back like it is!

-- Coach Mancuso

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2291 days

#4 posted 06-18-2013 01:09 PM

I was looking at the HF benchtop drill presses too. Then I figured there is nothing like old American iron. Boy was I right!! Found this Walker Turner benchtop drillpress. 140 lbs runs so smooth and quiet. Drills beautifully!!!

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2966 days

#5 posted 06-18-2013 01:51 PM

If it was damaged I would take it back.

But, I have the bench model of this DP. The 16 speed, 3/4hp machine.
I believe they have the same drive, head and motors; the only difference is the column height.

I lever the motor base with a bar and then rotate the little tension lever till it’s snug. It holds the tension just fine, but it does not have enough leverage to create the tension.

This, like many HF tools in my opinion, is a sturdy machine with some rough points in the details and fit and finish department. As far as doing the job it’s made for, it does OK.

Bottom line, I plan to put a VFD on it and wanted a bigger motor than I need to be able to handle low speed operation. This machine offered a bigger motor than other comparable DPs in the price range.

View Tennessee's profile


2872 posts in 2509 days

#6 posted 06-18-2013 06:13 PM

Quanter50 I just sold one of those for $80. Could not get a buyer for even $100 for over five months. Only when I moved it down to $80…two guys, and one showed up first with cash.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View kenthemadcarpenter's profile


124 posts in 1062 days

#7 posted 12-08-2015 08:04 PM

in order to move the belt tensioner you have to loosen the two bolts for the motor. then pull the lever knob towards you, reverse the process to tighten. It’s not that difficult. It shouldn’t take much effort at all to move it.

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