Advice on drill press

Since becoming more involved with woodworking, I find the need to upgrade from my table top drill press to a floor model. Upon doing some minor research, I lack a bit of knowledge as to what main ingredients do I need to for a decent drill press. Therefore, I am asking for input on what I should look for...but two specific questions...what is a minimum HP rating I should get and what is a "swing"?
Also any input on Harbor Freight presses (yes, I know some HF products are risky while others have made it for years), Delta presses and a Sunex brand I am curently viewing.
Thank you for your help
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Hi SBH,
Drill press criteria:
- Spindle runout - Table flatness - Ability of the table to be squared up to the spindle - type of drill chuck/spindle interface (morse taper or screw-on, taper is best if it's done right) - quality of the chuck (does it operate smoothly, is it a name brand (Jacobs, Albrecht, etc.))
I have a video demonstrating how to measure/check these things:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/videos.htm
If you can do all the tests and are satisfied with the results, then the brand (HF or otherwise) isn't going to matter much. That said, I've never seen a HF drill press that would satisfy me with the results of these tests. But, I have seen a number of "made in China" machines with unexpectedly amazing accuracy.
Minimum HP is going to depend on the sort of work you want to do. I would get one with no less than 1 HP. "Swing" is twice the distance between the center of the spindle and the front of the column. It's the largest width that you can drill a hole in the center of.
Hope it helps! Let me know if you have any other questions or need some help.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
SBH wrote:

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SBH wrote:

Besides Ed's list...
Quality motor/pulleys Number speeds, ease of changing, quality of belt tensioner Depth stop (many cheapies have gauge but not actual stop) Quill travel Size/shape of table (for w/w'ing in particular, square and larger are significant advantages)
Sizes and hp are dependent on what you intend to do of which you give not even a hint. In general, bigger is better and for w'w'ing I frankly would really far prefer a variable speed.
Never heard of Sunes so absolutely no clue. Delta and HF don't belong in same room together as comparison, so don't have a clue what you're _really_ after. If you're thinking of buying historical Delta quality at HF price, doesn't work that way. As Ed says, some imports are pretty decent, but best look at somebody like Grizzly if that's the game...
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>In general, bigger is better and for w'w'ing I

Wood is so soft that speed makes little difference as long as it's not to high. Mine stays at 500 RPM 95% of the time.
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I find 110-150 RPM to be a very valuable woodworking speed.
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I'm probably going to get this one for myself: http://www.grizzly.com/products/G7944
It's heavy-duty, has a larger motor than other floor models (unless you spend much more money), has a nice speed range, and a good price.
Mike
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I've had (the equivalent of) a "Harbor Freight Chinese" 5/8" Chuck Table Mount Drill Press for nigh on thirty years. I replaced a quill bearing the first year and haven't done a thing to it since. One of the collars holding the "rack?" has been cracked for years without so seriously affecting my use as to warrant even the investigation of a "fix."
When I found a deal on a DELATA Mortising attachment at Lowes a few years back - it fit and worked fine.
No idea of the "quill travel." And, though it does appear to have a "stop," I have yet to figure it out/use it.
The tables on most of the drill presses under two-fifty are the small round variety from my shopping experience.
I would suspect a replacement could be constructed to allow swapping out the round steel table for the home made replacement. Mine employs a round tube protruding at the bottom into a collar that allows it to swivel 360. I've though I could use some standard pipe fittings to mount a "wood working table" while retaining the functionality of the original (swiveling).
Never having owned a "precision drill press," I may not know what I've been missing - but so might hose folks who assume price equates to quality / serviceability and regularly pass up the opportunity to own a fine specimen of Chinese Prisoner Labor.
Full disclosure demands I add that I have HF's close by and fear not the added shipping costs a Grizzly decision would incur.

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For the price I don't see any risk in Harbor Freight equipment if you purchase selectively. They do have a two year extended warranty. From HE, I have the rotary hammer, jack hammer, concrete vibrator, 6-1/2hp plate compactor, close quarters drill, 1/2" right angle drill, portable band saw, electric chain saw sharpener, mortiser, hydraulic pipe bender, hydraulic equipment kit and some hand tools. I have not broken a HF tool yet but I have broken a B&D cordless drill (shitty drill, only lasted a few hours) and commercial grade B&D worm drive circular saw (great saw taken much abuse, almost indestructible much like the Skill 77), broken a Craftsman corded drill within 5 minutes of use (what a Crapsman POS) and even broken top-of-the-line Panasonic cordless (great drill but pricey).
I don't have a HF DP but I do have two 3/4hp, 5/8" chuck floor standing DP from China properly much like the ones in HF. Don't need another DP but just couldn't refuse - new in the box two floor standing "heavy duty commercial duty" 3/4hp DPs for under $150! Ok for my needs as I'm just a repair kind of guy and not a real woodworker so + or - 1/32" tolerance on my woodworking projects would be just fine.
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SBH wrote: n

Whatever you do ... don't try to undercut HF's price! I bought an even cheaper model from ACE hardware and it's worth every penny I paid for it ... and I paid about 1/2 of what I should have.
One thing I don't think was mentioned is quill travel ... this controls the deepest hole you can drill. The more the merrier. IIRC, the Steel Cities DP seems to have good numbers in several regards.
As concerns the table size ... you're doing woodworking, right? Build a larger table yourself! Shop Notes has a pretty nice one that I built (altering dimensions to suit my purposes and available stock) that consists of a table atop a box. The box bolts to the existing table and has a channel for a shop vac port. This leads to a removable plate that allows you to get really great control of dust and chips. Their design also allows for a sliding fence / stop for easier repeat drilling.
This is one of the few 'shop-builts' I've made that gets frequent use and every time I uuse it, I'm glad I built it.
Bill
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Mentioned again and again.
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I buy my acid brushes (you know, those little brushes with metal handles) from Harbor Freight. I would never consider buying anything with moving parts from them.
gw
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That's a shame. Some of their electric tools and air tools are worth buying. Not all of them, but that's pretty well known. Not buying anything past the likes of acid brushes leaves you out of quite a few other good deals at HF. Of course... it also save you from quite a few frustrating junk purchases.
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I bought a Delta 16 1/2" model 17-950L and am very happy with it. 12 speed settings (goes as low as 250 RPM, great to keep forstner's from burning up), it's already set with t-slots on the table so you don't have to make a replacement one, and it has adjustable laser crosshairs to help line up your bit. I think it could probably stand to have more power but it has worked well for all the tasks I've put it through. I bought mine through Lowes using a 10% discount coupon, which knocked it down to about $350 US.
Some specs:
Speed Range 250-3000 Quill Travel 3-7/8" Step Pulley or Variable Speed Step Pulley Motor 1/2 HP, 120V, single phase, 60 Hz., 1720 RPM Spindle Speeds 12 (250, 360, 410, 540, 590, 650, 1090, 1280, 1450, 1820, 2180 and 3000 RPM) Table Tilting table with C-clamp edge and diagonal slots Size: 14" x 18" Quill Diameter 2" Capacity Key Chuck: 5/8" Max dia. hole in steel: 5/8" Max dia. hole in cast-iron: 5/8" Overall Dimensions Height: 66" Width: 12-3/4" Depth: 25-1/4" Weight: 194 lbs.
SBH wrote:

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