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Thread: Fixing quill slop (delta 17-959l)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Central PA

    Fixing quill slop (delta 17-959l)

    About 2 years ago I bought a delta 17-959l drill press for my new shop, this was after I had a steel city 17" at my old shop and a delta 17-950 previous to that. The cheap delta got returned a couple months after I got it because of quill slop, then I got the steel city because of the split head casting. I was going to get another steel city for the new shop but at the time there were rumors about them going under and I didn't want an issue and have no warranty support. So after looking at reviews and getting recommendations I got the 17-959l from a local dealer. It is a nice machine and had a tight quill when I bought it, but recently it seemed that the quill started getting loose. I took it apart and saw how rough the machining was in the quill support holes and I believe that is what caused the slop. The high spots wore down and that gave me the slop. So today I implemented plan b.
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    Now the quill is nice and snug, no slop at all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    I guess I need to see a good optometrist. I do not see the wear areas you wrote about.

    I have the same drill press. It was purchased from Rockler, San Diego. I don't remember when I purchased the machine. I do have a piece of paper that says I was making a dust collection holder for it with a plan dated December 1999. I drilled some #55 holes in steel for a friend a week or two ago. I drilled several 1/16" holes this week. I detected no slop.

    I do not use the machine a lot. On the other hand, I use it some almost every day. I really do like the machine.


    My oldest son, Greg, really likes the machine also. He purchased one of the colored DPs for over $1,000. He returned it to Rockler (not absolutely positive it was rockler) and got, and loves the 17-959 L. He has a lot of very precision machinery for working on Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc. I hope the spelling is correct on those cars. It has been a long time since I have had occasion to write their names.

    Off topic---sort of. A contractor was working in Greg's shop. He was up on a ladder installing a piece of pipe. He said, "I looked down and realized that I would hit over 1 1'2 million dollars worth of cars if I dropped the pipe. I got down VERY carefully and had the cars moved."

    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 07-29-2013 at 02:30 AM.
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Did you add both bolts? The upper bolt is obviously threaded into the head. Does the lower bolt occupy a through-hole with the lever allowing adjustment over time?
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Central PA
    Jim, the rough areas I saw are inside the head where the quill rides in, the rough area is the actual machine marks. I believe that the quill(which was machined pretty smooth) was riding on the high areas of the rough machining inside the head casting, so the quill fit nice when new, then the high spots wore down and the quill became loose. It wasn't ridiculous but the slop was noticeable when the quill was extended some. So if you never had the quill out then you would have never seen it, unless you meant your x-ray vision. My press is much newer, a 2011, so maybe delta started getting sloppy, and your's is fine. My usage is probably like your's, not used much, but used every time I'm in the shop. I was recently using one of those adjustable circle hole cutters, maybe those are a no no for drill presses even though it says drill press use only on it.

    I added both bolts, the upper bolt is threaded into the head. It's the one I use to take up the play and will only need adjusted to compensate for wear. The lower bolt is in a through hole and the lever is for a quill lock. This is optional as there is a small lever that acts as a quill lock from the factory, I decided to go this route since I cut the head and the factory quill lock would have acted to spread the head open when in the locked position. My new lock squeezes the head around the quill locking it, so less likely to damage something, plus I like the larger lever much better than the tiny factory one. I basically copied how steel city does theirs.
    You can see the similarity there. Anyway, it works and I can't get my head around why all drill presses don't come this way, if you look at most vintage drill presses they have split head castings, I can't see any real difference in manufacturing costs except for the 2 bolts and lever. I suppose they don't don't build them like they used to, actually, I know they don't build them like they used to. I have several old machines ranging from the 1960s to pre WWII tools, they are definitely more solid than most modern machines. However I do have a sawstop pro 3hp cabinet saw and I am very happy with it, its very solid and really well built.

    PS, Glenn I joined this forum specifically to ask you about your drill problems in 2009 when I went though the same problem with the delta 17-950 and am very glad I joined. There is a lot of good info on here and people are willing to help you out. I though I would post this fix to give back some of what I learned. After googling "drill press quill slop" I realize I am not the only one with this problem. I have only found one other person that has split their drill press head to fix the problem, most other fixes are with tapping holes in the head and screwing brass screws in to push on the quill to remove the play. I like my method better.
    Last edited by Dave Black; 07-29-2013 at 03:48 AM.

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