Drill Press: variable speed vs. multi-speed

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Hey all,
If one looks at the Delta 16-1/2 floor DPs, there is a LARGE (double!) difference in price between the VS(17-925) and the multi-speed(17-965, with 16 speeds).
Why?
Is there anything more substantial to the differences between these two machines than this?
And 2ndly, from a woodworkers use POV, is there any practical difference btwn. true VS and multi-speed? (Ease-of-use, yes...)
Thanks, Chris
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The 925 costs more, right? It has a Reeves Drive variable speed system which means it can be adjusted with teh turn of a "dial" rather than moving belts and pulley combos under the guard.
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Joe Agro, Jr.
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I have had a Rockwell multi speed drill press for about 27 years. I seldom change speeds. IMHO unless you are using the drill press daily for a variety of reasons go with the multi speed vs. the variable speed. You really do not need all those in between speeds and typically manually changing speeds on the multi speed units is pretty simple and trouble free.
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I'll go even further than that -- go for something with a reasonable number of speeds (like 5), and don't get sucked into thinking more speeds is better. I bought a Jet 17" drill press which has 12 speeds, selected by changing two belts (there's an idler shaft between the motor and the quill). It's a pain in the neck to move the belts, and you have to look up on a little chart which combination of pulleys give you the desired speed.
A normal 5-speed single-belt system spanning the same range of speeds is just as useful and a lot easier to use. There's no speed setting chart; if it's too fast, move the belt up. If it's too slow, move it down. Simple. Even I can figure it out. I can't think of any job where 900 RPM wouldn't be just as good as 840 or 1065 RPM.
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Thank you for pointing out what I left out, the single belt, 4 or 5 speed models.
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Roy Smith wrote:

I agree, but pay attention to the SLOWEST speed.
I find really slow speeds to be more useful in woodworking than more or higher speeds. The slowest speed on my DP is about 500, and I often wish for something much slower, like 100, when using large forstner bits.
Rarely do I use anything over about 1500 in woodworking. Other crafts use high speeds all the time.
Barry
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Can you elaborate on how this helps you? Most of my customers prefer runnign faster than the charts suggest in wood because it gives them a cleaner cut. Then again, most are not concerned with "burning" the ID of the hole.
For instance, I regularly send out drills doing 1" holes in wood at 500+ RPM... The cart says 330 for typical woods (maybe wet or sappy woods?)
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Joe Agro, Jr.
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Joe AutoDrill wrote:

I _am_ concerned about burning the hole. <G>
If the hole won't be visible, then a bit of burn is OK, and as long as the temperature stays below bit damaging range, all is well.
If the hole will be visible, I don't want crappy looking burnt edges in drilled holes.
Big bits get hot fast.
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That probably explains it. Most of our folks are doing either clearance holes in structural parts (where a burn edge is better I hear?!?) or many holes down the length of a part where other parts will be inserted such as railings, fence post tops, dowel holes, etc.
The only time we had a customer who wanted to go slower was when they wanted to build a machine that did the door knob, loclset and hardware holes in three automated steps... And the door had a plastic skin.

Yep.
Happy Thanksgiving BTW.
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Joe Agro, Jr.
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Joe AutoDrill wrote:

Production vs. the one-off furniture that most of us here make.
I'm always impressed at the speed of some of the production drills. Even the relatively slow pocket hole machines almost seem to shoot the hole through! The first time I saw something like that, I blinked and missed it the first time. <G>

Same to you!
Barry
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Context is everything. :)

That's our goal. Good, clean holes FAST. Efficiency is the best selling point for us.
Imagine having to drill a million holes a year... Maximum RPM, thrust, etc. all become really important.
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Joe Agro, Jr.
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Just to reinforce Barry's point - he's absolutely right. I've had a Delta drill press for about 5 years now and I've changed the speed probably less than a half-dozen times. Most woodwork is done using the lowest possible speed, so look for a model that goes below 500rpm if you can. I do not like my Delta but it was not an expensive one so when I replace it with something better, I won't be out anything.
Out of all the tools in the shop, that's one I went cheap on and now wish I hadn't since I didn't think I needed a more powerful drill press - wrong. A bigger motor, slower speed capability and a better table will be the features I'll be looking for.
Bob S.

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Bob, which Delta do you have?
-Chris
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Actually and at least up to a 1-3/8" forstner bit 700 is plenty slow. With a single bit I have drilled in excess of 1000 holes at that speed with no resharpening and no burning of the wood or discoloration of the bit.
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Roy, Barry, thanks for your input.
It's not the 16 speeds that interested me in this press (multi speed 17-965), but the size/throat capacity, and quill stroke (4-7/8"). Plus a good review or two I've read, though Drew's problem w/ the motors below sours that.
This press has 5 speeds below 510 rpm, the lowest being 215.
-Chris
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On Wed, 23 Nov 2005 09:14:48 -0500, Roy Smith wrote:

I've got a 12 speed also, and I almost always leave it on the 2nd slowest speed.
Quill stroke is a lot more important.
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One thing yu want to look at with those five speeds though. I agree that five speeds are plenty but most of them (like mine) have a slow speed of 600 RPM. This is often to fast.

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The motor that came with my 17-965 vibrated enough that without a link-belt wood would walk off the table. The local motor shop (authorized Delta Warranty center) said cheap Chinese motors did that.
The first warranty replacement may be a little better although it makes a strange rattling noise when run in a vertical position.
The second warranty replacement feels the same on when run on the ground, although I haven't tried mounting it yet.
The drill-press seems well built, has no play in the quill, runout was on the order of .001", but the motors suck. Customer service at Delta was excellent apart from the few month back order waiting for a slow boat from China. Maybe the 17-925 is a better quality machine otherwise?
I wouldn't buy another 17-965.
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Thanks for the feedback Drew. That's a bummer to hear. Spec-wise, the 965 seems like a fine tool - quill stroke, low RPMs available, etc., etc.
-Chris
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snipped-for-privacy@revolt.poohsticks.org (Drew Eckhardt) wrote:

I had a similar problem with a Griz 17" DP, although it sounds like you had it worse. After the third motor showed no improvement over the first two, I solved it with some rubber doughnuts to make a vibration absorbing motor mount, combined with linkbelts. Works well and even with the extra expense of the motor mounts and linkbelts it was less expensive than a DP that worked right to begin with. I still get POed when I think about it, though, since I certainly should not have to do that to make it run vibration free.
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