There are times I have really needed a drill press but have compromised
and used my hand held. I would really like to know two things:
1. The desktop models are only about 1/2HP compared to 2HP (floor).
Will this limit me in any way (used for drilling, and possible mortise
attachment)? When would I use the larger HP?
2. When do you use the larger distance between the chuck and horizontal plate?
Am I going to regret the limitations of the desk model?
I have owned both. My two cents worth would be go for a floor model. Once
you have a drill press in your shop you are goning to find a lot of uses for
it and wonder how you lived without one.
1) You have already mentioned the mortiser. You can also do drum sanding,
precision boring and a host of other things with the machine.
2) I don't know what all you have in mind for the machine but 1HP will
probably take care of most shop needs. Also if you are primarily into
woodworking a tilt table is nice but the rotary table is iffy. After you
own it for awhile you might end up building your own auxilary table.
3) A floor model (without auxilary) table takes up relatively little
floorspace. If you get a bench model get a fairly beefy machine that has
similar head, tube and table as a floor model. Take a look at Grizzly,
Delta or even Craftsman for either kind.
Some drill presses use a round table that rotates on a central hub. Some
even include pins that allow you to index holes at a specific locations.
From my perspective the rotating tables are probably more useful for metal
work (in fact, it seems like most drill presses are designed for metal
shops). If you decide to build an auxiliary woodworking table later, the
round table might even complicate things - again this depends on how you
plan to use the machine.
Another thing I forgot to mention in my previous post. Try to buy a machine
with a MECHANICAL TABLE LIFT, usually a crank/rack gear arrangement. It
might seem like a minor item now but the tables can get heavy and we do get
older. I eventually added a cable, counterbalance to my older machine.
Moving the table up and down was a little difficult before I added the
auxiliary table and very hard with it.
Dad had a bench top, so I HAD to get a floor model :-)
I really liked the older Clausings and Powermatics I searched for on
Ebay. They had 6" quill stroke, production tables, and accuracy for
metalworking. But I eventually wimped out and ended up buying a new
Delta. If you're near a Lowe's, LEAVE RIGHT NOW and buy the Delta
DP400 floor model for the price of a bench model ($229). I paid $299
2 months ago and they wouldn't give me store credit or anything. I
think this is one of the better deals out there. Although, I still
need to locate another M12V for $125...
There are various benchtop models. I have a 12" and it is the minimum I'd
The floor models generally are more powerful and larger. They don't take up
all that much room in the scheme of things.
I do not regret buying the benchtop. It actually resided on my bench for a
year or so, then I build a cabinet for it. The cabinet has my small
compressor in the bottom, a drawer for the DP accessories, and the DP sits
on top It is on 4" casters so it can be moved around easily.
In the time I've had it, only maybe three times I wish I had a larger floor
model. If you want to put a hold in a large piece, it is nice to be able to
lower he plate that far. If you have the space and $$, get th e floor
model, if not, get at least a 12" benchtop, about $200
I have a bench top model but it did not take long to realize its
limitation. The biggest problem with the bench top model is the height
of throat. (The maximum distance from the chuck to the table. )
With my bench top it is difficult to drill into the 2 inch side of a
2X4, and then it can only be done with some bits and with the table
pushed aside and using the base as a table.
Wow, I can see why some people don't like benchtop models.
I have a benchtop model which has served me well for a decade. The check to
table distance with the table in it's lowest position is well over a foot
I guess that means just don't buy a tiny benchtop model.
I have only said "gee, I wish I had a floor model" a few times. I consider
that pretty good. I wish I had better than 3" cutting depth on my cabinet
saw a few times too. Does that mean I should get a 12 or 14" table saw?
I think not.
Twelve or 14" table saws are not the "standard," so you'll have to
deal with special issues. Plus there is a fairly large cost increase
for a 14" table saw, not that I'd complain about having one.
Drill presses are fairly inexpensive so a floor model is well worth
the extra cost. I'd recommend a well-known brand. The Delta 17-965
is recommended. It has 8.25" chuck to post clearance, 14" table,
4.8" quill stroke, 0.75 HP motor, 16 speeds, and a good 0.002" runout.
This sells for $400 retail. A step down from this is a Ridgid DP1550
for $300, and this model has an excellent low runout. A short quill
stroke can make drilling deep holes very frustrating, and that's
typically what you get with a benchtop model and lower cost floor
drill press models.
I use my drill press for sanding, buffing, making wheels, grinding,
mortising, etc and have been impressed with my Delta drill press
performance. One time I even tried using it as a lathe; it worked;
although that was a bit awkward.
Heh. The first wood turning I ever did was with a Craftsman 1/2" drill
clamped into a "drill press" stand. I made a replacement rung for a
chair with it. I inherited both the drill and the stand when my dad
died - but also the lathe that he bought shortly after our
*interesting* drill-press/lathe effort.
2" diameter saw to cut a hole in hardwood such as oak or chery, on
mortize or metal work I never got short in HP. Put I guess I would on
I needed to make a hole at end of a 4 feet stud, so I was too short,
but if you are going to make a hole or mortize at end of a door or a
chair leg or a assembled box, surely you will need sometime an extra
inches distance there.
Go with a floor model and if possible with on the fly speed
adjustable, I don't know what they call it, but old models like mine
have belt adjustable and is quite hard to swap them.
Go for the floor model. I have a bench top unit I've had for about 10
years, when I was doing my own gunsmith work it worked fine but when I
started woodworking it became a PITA. Anything over about a 1.25 inch
forstner bit constantly stalls the motor.
My next purchase will be a good floor model. Maybe I'll give this one to my
son in law. I never really liked him that much anyway and he will keep it
because it's a tool even though he doesn't have room for it.
I've taken a few woodworking classes in the last couple of years from
a local gentleman. My instructor has been teaching for at least twenty
years. He was talking about purchasing a floor model drill press, the
ones that run around $400.00, compared to a table top model. His word
about the 400 dollar floor model was that they were "Cacka" (SP) You'd
be better off with the table top one. Now... I have a floor model and
I haven't had any problems at all with it. He said the greatest
problems with the 400 dollars with them is that the quill(shaft?) will
have play in it. This man has a lot of drill presses, around ten in
his shop and has worked with and purchased countless others. Just my 5
cents. I will say that whatever you buy replace the original belts
with a Link Belt. Makes a world of difference. And if you do decide to
buy a floor model make sure that there is not any play in the drive
Depends on what you compare it to. Many of the modest priced drill presses
don't have the tolerances required for a machinist. It could be just fine
for poking a hole for a shelf pin or cabinet knob though. You can't
compare a $300 Ridgid with an old Walker Turner.
I've got a Ryobi bench top model. I built a table with casters, lower
shelf & drawer for storage. I like it a lot, but I sometimes wish the
distance between quill and post were bigger. If I want to drill
something big, I can turn the thing around with the piece on the floor.
I've drilled holes up to 1 7/8" and didn't have any problem with the
Hope this helps.
(NOT Crapsman) floor model I purchased in the early 60's ..a smaller
bench model Delta and a very inexpensive light wieght Delta that I
have mounted horizontally as a horizontal boring machine...
I use the floor model 95 percent of the time... The bench top was
purchased long ago instead of a dedicated morticer because I flet it
was a better use of my money to set it up as a morticer when needed
then to have a morticer sitting in the corner to be used only
ocassionally... In my case that was the correct decision...
The little delta that I have set up as a horizontal boring machine is
underpowered BUT works great ... I make a lot of doll furniture for my
wife to sell at craft fairs along with her dolls...and drilling holes
in the ends of 23 inch legs: for a 4 poster doll bed is a snap using
My Vote....FLOOR MODEL and do not look back....
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