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Porter Cable Drill press vs used/vintage?

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Forum topic by jp90 posted 09-09-2013 01:44 PM 1062 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jp90

18 posts in 483 days


09-09-2013 01:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press

Hi there, I’ve been reading this forum for a while, but this is my first post.

I’m looking to get my first drill press. I need a floor standing model, 1/2” or 5/8” chuck and 3 1/2” quill travel minimum, 3/4HP or more. I’d like slow speeds (200-300 rpm) for larger forstner bits and occasional metal work.

The Porter Cable fits the bill quite nicely and has many favorable reviews here on LJ. I’m close to buying it, but I’ve hesitated because I can’t help wondering if spending the same $300 on an older machine would be smarter. In my area (Ithaca NY) I occasionally see older name-brand DP’s which seem well made, but certainly don’t have as many features as the Porter Cable.

Like this:
http://rochester.craigslist.org/tls/4036547300.html

Would anyone recommend a drill like this Rockwell over the Porter Cable? I assume any advantage would simply be build quality as it lacks the speeds, table lift etc of the PC. Another advantage of the PC is that I can just go buy it from Lowe’s instead of driving across the county to haggle with someone.

THANKS for your input.


12 replies so far

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JayT

2602 posts in 955 days


#1 posted 09-09-2013 01:53 PM

Depends on the used tool market where you live and how patient you are. I can occasionally find used drill presses similar to the Porter Cable in capabilities for $100-$150.

I wouldn’t recommend the Rockwell, based on what you are wanting. A four or five speed drill press will likely not go slow enough for large Forstner bits. Most drill presses with enough speed range for woodworking will have something like 12-16 speeds (that third pulley makes a lot of difference).

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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bigblockyeti

1777 posts in 464 days


#2 posted 09-09-2013 02:02 PM

I ended up buying an old Delta for ~$200 needing a few odds and ends here and there to get it up to perfect running order. I have been very please with this machine as it’s very heavy (compared to the China/Taiwan made one available today) and very accurate. It did only have five speeds when I bought it, but added a variable speed motor so I now have infinite speed control in each of the five different belt positions which can give me a lot of torque at a very low speed (less than 100 rpm) or very high speed (over 6000 rpm) depending on what I’m doing.

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

468 posts in 1122 days


#3 posted 09-09-2013 02:06 PM

I have the PC press from lowes and its a great machine. Does everything I need including, like you mentioned, slow speed for large Forstner bits which I use quite often. Don’t forget you can get a 10% lowes movers coupon from the post office and save another $30.

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

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jp90

18 posts in 483 days


#4 posted 09-09-2013 02:07 PM

Thanks for the replies. Yeti, roughly how much does a variable speed motor add to the price tag? Is that conversion at all tricky?

View RPhillips's profile

RPhillips

759 posts in 580 days


#5 posted 09-09-2013 02:10 PM

I’m kinda in the same boat as you. I’m checking CL and hoping to find something used for a reasonable price, but in the end I may just end up going to HF or the Borg and picking one up. Model 38142 from HF is the front runner for me at the moment, as I’ve read some good reviews on it. It is also available in the floor model for only $10 more. With a HF coupon, this baby can be had for about $220.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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jp90

18 posts in 483 days


#6 posted 09-09-2013 02:12 PM

Matt, it’s good to hear the PC runs slowly enough. I’ve had one or two people tell me I needed speeds as slow as 200 rpm, and I know the PC only runs down to about 300 rpm.

Thanks for reminding me about the moving coupon—I’ve seen mention of it on the forums before. Do I just go to the post office and ask for change of address forms?

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1777 posts in 464 days


#7 posted 09-09-2013 02:15 PM

I bought an unused three phase 1hp six pole motor for $50 and I already had a variable speed phase converter that used would probably run around $100 (new ~$400) and I had to get a new motor pulley as the shaft size was different- $25. All in all probably not worth if unless you either 1) Really need it or 2) Already have most of the stuff to do it yourself. I didn’t think the conversion was all that tricky, but I guess it depends on how comfortable you are with working on tools. I’ve been told by some that the repulsion induction motor that I removed could be worth something to the right person (hoping to offset some of the conversion cost) but I haven’t done anything with it yet.

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jp90

18 posts in 483 days


#8 posted 09-09-2013 02:26 PM

Got it, Yeti. THANKS.

I was surprised to see a number of positive reviews for the Harbor Freight DP. I’m certainly no tool elitist, but I am someone who has regrettably bought a handful of their tools. Every one failed me quite quickly. I gave HF a few chances, but I won’t do it anymore.

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bigblockyeti

1777 posts in 464 days


#9 posted 09-09-2013 02:34 PM

I too have had several HF tool failures, now I won’t buy anything unless I only need it once or can have it fail on me at any time without warning and it won’t matter.

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

468 posts in 1122 days


#10 posted 09-09-2013 10:11 PM

jp90: yeah it only goes to I think 320 or 300 but I’ve not had any issues with that and I’ve spun large bits as well as drilled some metal. As for the movers coupon, I just go in and say I moved and would like the movers packet with coupons, sometimes as soon as I mention moving they just reach down and give me a packet. You wanna do this ASAP as the coupon has been switched from instant 10% to having to register online and wait for it to be emailed to you which can take around a week or two (why I don’t know, it’s email and should be instantaneous…). I was impatient, took the “coupon” from the envelope to lowes and spoke with the manager, told him I have been waiting over a week (which I had) and haven’t gotten it yet and he honored it anyway. Oddly enough the next day I got the coupon in email :)

As for the HF DP referenced, I bought the floor model first and had issues with the belt slipping off the pulley and it was rather hard to fix and keep stable plus the travel isn’t as large as the PC. I took it back and bought the PC and have been delighted with my choice. Even before that I had the $59 Benchtop from HF and hated that too. Way underpowered. And I actually like HF so that’s saying something :)

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

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jp90

18 posts in 483 days


#11 posted 10-09-2013 06:25 PM

Well, I used the coupon and bought the Porter Cable DP for about $270 plus tax. I’ve used it for a few weeks, mostly on light stuff, and it seems like a great buy. So far, highly recommended—a lot for the money considering it’s new. THANKS for the advice, everyone.

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1503 posts in 1377 days


#12 posted 10-09-2013 07:44 PM

Congrats. I was all set to buy that same DP. A terrific value given its quality and features. I personally feel its the best DP on the market under $500 (maybe even under $1000).
The only thing that stopped me from buying it was an irresitably good deal on a used machine. And I still seriously considered passing over my $100 gem for the PC.

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