Drill Press: variable speed vs. multi-speed

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You will want variable speed but don't bust the budget on infinite adjustment capability (Reeves). Most day to day use in a wood shop will require minimal adjustment, depending on bit size. If you move back and forth between wood and metal, as many of us do, you will need a range of speeds. My old 8 speed Craftsman fills the bill just fine. I have to adjust the belts manually but it takes seconds.
RonB
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Chris, I have the 17-968. Variable speed, Large chuck, 0 runnout and it works great. I would buy it again.
Dave
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If you are only doing wood/aluminum/plastic then the multispeeds should be fine. If you want to do ferrous metals, then it's very difficult to beat a variable (electronic) speed. I would buy a standard multispeed and toss the AC motor. Get a surplus DC motor (GOOD one) and a solid state controller. You can use a Variac and a bridge rectifier to save some, if you want. Now you can drill a 1" hole in tool steel or aluminum or and wood product. With the DC motor, you want to tap something, no problem. Reversing is simple. I know, not for everyone but I would hate do do without it. The option, of course, is to buy a 3phase DP that have limited resale value (used/auction) and add a VFD. Will do the same things. Respectfully, Ron Moore

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