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Thread: Which drill press?

  1. #1

    Which drill press?

    $600 is my very upper limit!

    Which will give me the most for my money..

    I know this is a low limit.. But that is all I have after selling scrap gold!
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  2. #2

    I won't make a recommendation other than to suggest get one with at least a 4" quill travel.

  3. #3
    Thanks Ken
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I think you'll find a lot of similarities between the brands. (I suspect the main iron castings are coming from only a handful of Chinese factories.) I'd suggest shopping based on features more than brands. And if it's a option in your area, buying a used drill press is often a way to get a lot of bang for the buck. New or used, I suspect you can find several good choices well within your price range.

    I have a 17" Craftsman with a 1 HP motor. Although I generally shy away from Craftsman power tools since there's usually something better for the same price elsewhere, I got this one at a price I couldn't refuse.

    Anyway, the things that I've appreciated having, and would look for in any brand:
    • Wide range of speeds, particularly the lower ranges for Forstner bits
    • Long quill travel with a good depth stop system
    • A large table (mine has one, but I added an even larger laminate table to it)
    • A strong motor
    Things I have, but don't really care about:
    • Laser aiming - was kind nifty at first, but it's too easy to bump it out of position. I prefer just checking the position the old-fashioned way...with the bit itself (drill not spinning)
    • Tilting table - Others use theirs a lot, but I've never had the need to tilt the table. I've tilted the piece I'm drilling instead.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    The good news is that there are a number of DP's under $600 that are all about the same quality. The bad news is that there are a number of DP's under $600 that are all about the same quality. I'll assume that finding a good-condition older machine and restoring it is not your druthers. I haven't looked for a while since shopping for drill presses depresses me but, the Delta 17-959 is right around $600 and is superior to machines I have looked at in the $1000 - $1200 range. There are probably others in that range that owners can suggest. I know two 17-959 owners, one of which took his $1000 mustard machine back because it was so poor. Both would buy again in that price range and when it comes to DP's, that's saying something.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Do I even need to say it? Grizzly has served me very well. Price is right, machine is excellent. I got the bench top version of the one below and regret that decision. Whatever you get, make sure it is a floor model. They are much more versitile than the bench tops and both take the same amount of floor space.
    And, you will have money left over.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    I'd give the Steel City one a good look. $649. I have one of their table saws and am real happy with it. The only thing to be aware of is you won't be able to walk into a wood working store and buy Steel City accessories for it. Case in point, I recently decided I wanted a new zero clearance insert for TS. I thought a Delta one would fit it because the guys that started S.C. were x-delta people. I e-mailed S.C. and asked. No the delta one would not work because of the type of guard mount used on the S.C. verses Delta. I had to order one from S.C. I received great service and I happy with it, but they do have a captive audience on accessories. It wouldn't keep me from buying other of their products though. BUT, if they were to go out of business.......
    "We the People ......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    I have the Steel City DP and really like it. It has a 5" quil travel and plenty of power I would buy it again in a heart beat.
    Take Cash and go see Ballew Saw talk to Bill or Kenny and you will be happy.
    Give me a holler if ya want to come by and look at mine Paul. Would love to see ya anyway and its on yer way
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Grizzley has some rel good deals going on now.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    I did a survey a couple of years ago when I was looking at a new DP. Here is a copy of the spreadsheet, its accurate to the best of my knowledge (no guarantees) but is certainly incomplete (for example I only have the larger grizzly dp because both the 20" and 17" were in my budget so to consolidate the comparison I only added the one I was interested in) - note that there are a few "what if" machines on there that I had no intention of buying, my budget was good.. not that good

    Feel free to make a copy and edit to your hearts content.

    I ended up with the Delta 18-900L which is a bit over your price range but a very nice machine as far as these things go.

    I would second Vaughns list of requirements. I ruled out machines with the lowest speed over about 300rpm, just to fast for large bits.

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