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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All you machine shop gurus weigh in please. What should I be looking for in a drill press? What's the difference between radial and oscillating? I just want a bench mount press for light duty work but don't want a cheap (as in won't last) tool.
 

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What kind of operations were you going to use the drill press for? The majority I can think of don't require a high precision tool. What ever you decide on look for a heavy machine (for size), adjustable speed, a true running chuck, and the quill being perpendicular to the table. Quill stops and lock I'd consider a bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are there any specific brands that have a truer running chuck than others? That's the thing that concerns me most is the "wobble".
 

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Flashhole, you live in an area fo the country that is rife with old woodworking and metalshop tools. As a woodworker, I have for years admired those that live along the eastern seaboard where antique sales, estate sales, and other sale events displayed such a large quantity of tools from yesterday. And yes, for the most part, the mechanics of them are much better than those of today.

Now, I happen to have an old Delta floor-standing press that my wife found at a glass shop that was going out of business. It was rusty and used, and only cost us $75. It was made in about 1938. At that time, Delta was building their tools and working out of a two-car garage in Milwaukee. They didn;t cast everything there, rather some things were cast for them, but they had an assembly and machine shop there. I learned this from Delta almost 20 years ago after purchasing this old press and calling them for parts, a manual, and paint. The lady I spoke to gave me a history "lesson" on Delta-Milwaukee and I think she even sent along copies of some aged (histoical) writings about them when she sent my manual and parts.

As MontyF said, the quill lock is a desireable feature and one that mine has. The newer models, or few of them, have a "functional" quill lock, IF they have one at all. I find it indespensable and will NOT, for any reason, buy another drill press that doesn;t have one. My old Delta has everything I desire in a press: accuracy, weight and stability, speed adjustment (double graduated pulleys), a 1/2" chuck, and...... a quill lock with depth stops.

As far as wobble is concerned (accuracy), I'm not aware of any one brand that has less runout or wobble than another. Being an American, and knowing what I know about woodworking tools, I do stay away from the made in China tools, opting instead, whenever I can, to buy older American (or Canadian) tools. Now, some these China knock-offs are quite good, according to tests done by respected woodworking magazines. And....sadly, American made tools are almost all made foreign anyway these days (except for the old stuff :D )

If you would like to see a picture of mine (in case you're interested in looking around for older equipment and would like to "see" what to look for), give me your email and I'll send some. The good old stuff is out there, and in my opinion, it's well worth a few weeks or months investigation to find them and see if one or more is what you're after.

Good luck!
 

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Flashhole, I sent some pics
 

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Agree whole heartedly with StretchNM. Having grown up around tools and using them most of my days on earth have found buying quality tools doesn't cost--it pays. Bought a bench model drill press to trim brass and other related tasks. It is a baby brother to the same make in a floor model which my father bought after WWII when he got into wood working for a hobby. Have couple of the newer Tawian made units but thankfully none of the Chinease. Thought at the time they were cheaply made but after seeing the Chinease ones had to revise my beliefs. Small one had to have new bearings installed before quill play was reasonable to use but it use is relagated to none critical jobs i.e. wire brushing, mixing paint etc.
 

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" And....sadly, American made tools are almost all made foreign anyway these days (except for the old stuff :D )"

And therein lies the rub!

Since our government has the largest method of transferring the wealth of our nation to others, aka the "national debt's interest payments" any purchases we make from China or anywhere else is trivial in impact. And that debt is rapidly getting much worse, no sign of any hope of paying it off, all they want to do is spend!
 

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I try to buy American as much as possible and own an older Delta and would never get rid of it. Good luck on Craig's list for drill presses and table saws, unless you happen to get lucky you won't find them. They go fast. Jet is an import but their quality isn't too bad.
 

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In general, I've not seen Chinese chucks that had low runout, though it's a case of getting what you pay for, even in China. Most that I've known to be Chinese chucks were on inexpensive equipment. Someone contracting to get high precision stuff made there usually can do so. A decade ago Taiwan did better than the mainland in that regard, though I don't know if that's still true or not?

Whatever you get, be sure the quill is made to accept a standard Jacobs taper chuck. A spindle seldom wobbles like the chuck jaw's grip, even on cheap gear. With that Jacobs taper (e.g., JT-2, JT-3, etc.) you can get a replacement of whatever quality you choose? At the high-end are the German-made Albrecht keyless chucks that guarantee under half a thousandth runout or better. Many drill bits aren't that straight. I've found the Jacobs brand to be reasonably good at much lower cost, wherever they are now made?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, I've been doing a lot of window shopping (you might call it research). Problem is I don't know how to rank the brands for quality. I read a review of several of the lower priced products (under $400 new) and the best figure of runout they posted was <.002". The standout was the General model 75-100, it was also the most expensive. I found a listing on Craigslist for a used 16 speed Duracraft floor mount within driving distance for pick up but know nothing about them. Asking price is $200. It sounds like a good deal but again, I know nothing about the brand. The second place runner for a new bench top press was a Shop Fox model M1102, also rated at <.002" runout. Some of the drill presses that were evaluated had as much as .008" runout. One of the other members posted a link to a Delta model 350 but research showed the consumer ratings on that were just awful so it's off the list. Thanks for the tip about the chuck.
 

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Ahhhh General. An older company but, again...sadly, now made foreign. Canadian I think they are (were). The thing is though, that if the manufacturer is a quality company, their quality control and adherence to design demands on the overseas makers will ensure a fairly good product. I think this is part of what Nick was saying.

I think you're going to be ok with just about whatever you get, Flashhole. There really isn;t that big a difference when it comes to runnout. And, like Nick alluded to, you get a nice Jacobs taper chuck and get some nice expensive drill bits (made in China) that wobble like railroad spikes. Kindly like buying a high dollar competition bench rifle and putting some cheap, crusty old ammo through it.

The key is getting something that has the features you want. The quill lock is something I steadfastly recommend as a deal killer if it doesn't have one. To never have one is to never miss one. To have one though, and then to do without?......now there's a problem....
 

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You might think this is over the top but I found out the hard way that it is necessary. When buying a drill press, bring along a new, extra long drill bit (Home Depot has them) and a high quality square. Secure the bit into the chuck, then use the square to insure that the bit is exactly at right angles to the work table.

I bought a Sprunger drill press years ago and in doing some precision work, learned that the work table was out of perpendicular to the drill bits by about 1.5 degrees. Nope, there's no adjustment than can be made to correct it.

Also, depending on the work you need it for, another thing to look for is how far the machine can reach into something to drill it.
 

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You might think this is over the top but I found out the hard way that it is necessary. When buying a drill press, bring along a new, extra long drill bit (Home Depot has them) and a high quality square. Secure the bit into the chuck, then use the square to insure that the bit is exactly at right angles to the work table.

I bought a Sprunger drill press years ago and in doing some precision work, learned that the work table was out of perpendicular to the drill bits by about 1.5 degrees. Nope, there's no adjustment than can be made to correct it.

Also, depending on the work you need it for, another thing to look for is how far the machine can reach into something to drill it.
Hmmm... Luckily I haven't had the opportunity of meeting a drill press that didn't have table adjustment. Long drills have a tendency to "walk" and drilling deep holes through thick material with any tolerance is somewhat tricky to say the least.
 

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A long piece of straight drill rod would be even better, as it would also show wobble.
 

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if you can find one......get a chuck (preferably a jacobs chuck)....thats range is 0-5/8" diameter. you will have the ability to chuck up small drills. nothing more frustrating than having a nice drill press...then cant chuck up drills under 1/8" diameter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The two used drill presses I was interested in were both sold so I went this route. It should be plenty good for what I want to do with it.

 
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