HF drill press opinions?

Does anyone have experience with the Harbor Freight floor-standing drill press (normally $285, on sale for $179):
http://tinyurl.com/o2e1 or http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberC389
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Patrick Fitzgerald - snipped-for-privacy@barelyfitz.com
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I had an inexpensive drill press same nature, just didn't do the job. Put a spade bit in it it would wander all over the place. I even put a high quality Jabocs chuck on it, helped but the source of the problem was sloppy bearings in the quill. Sold it and bought a JET, much happier now. I actually have a few HF items, such as their crown stapler. I wish I had spent $24 and bought their brad nailer instead of the $140 on my porter cable. But where precision comes in, don't count on HF.
Patrick Fitzgerald wrote:

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No, you don't really want that $24 HF nailer.
DAMHIKT. Cheers, Fred McClellan the dash plumber at mindspring dot com
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On Sun, 21 Sep 2003 00:25:06 GMT, Fred McClellan

Whadaya mean? They're said to be good down to 0.250". ;)

No, you want the $14.95 nailer, but make sure you don't try to put 1-1/4" nails in it. DAMHIKT
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On Sun, 21 Sep 2003 03:29:16 +0000, Larry Jaques wrote:

Picked up a couple a boxes of the Griz 1-3/16" brads for my HF while in Bellingham :-)
-Doug
BTW: drove thru Grass Pants at 70 MPH looking for you, but you wasn't home or sumpin... (Had to get to that lovely CA city of Redding - really)
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depends on what you are using it for. I have a cheapo bench dp, and use it mainly for predrilling for scroll sawing. fine for that, because I can keep it right next to the scroll saw. I have a Grizzley floor dp for my good work.

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Patrick Fitzgerald wrote:

I've had an earlier model, the 583 for about 5 years. The 43389 looks like an upgraded version with a bigger base and couple of other small changes. The 583 is a very good drill press for the money. It has given me no trouble in the 5 years I've had it. I did break the crank that raises and lowers the table when I moved, but HF sold me a new one for about $5. One of the reasons I bought it was that the quill wasn't as sloppy as any of the other Asian imports in it's class, including Jet.
I realize that bit of information doesn't help you much, but it's at least as valuable as the "you get what you pay for" advice that I'm sure you will get.
If you have a little time and can lay your hands on one and some other some drill presses, do some comparison on your own. One useful test is to fully extend the quill and feel how sloppy it is. The differences between brands is enough that you don't need a dial indicator to tell which is worse.
You can find some other things to check by Googeling around.
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Patrick Fitzgerald wrote:

Really good old drill presses are available for cheap money right now, most are in excellent mechanical shape.
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ATP wrote:

I wish.
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Chris Merrill wrote:

Drill presses, particularly big ones, are not bringing in that much money at auctions. I picked up a "small" one through a private sale for $100, it has limited travel but weighs around 600 pounds and runs nice and true, it's an old Gosiger. I know a guy who refurbishes Deltas and sells them for about $150 - 200. Stuff like Rockwell Model 20's goes in the $300 range on ebay.
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I actually own a HF floor model drill press...mine's the smaller 13" model, though. I haven't had any problems with it at all. It drills straight and true; no elongated holes, so I assume there's no runout to speak of. It has a little bit of vibration, but probably no more than average. I'm sure link belts would cure that. The cast crank wheel is a little small, and I think you could get more leverage with the standard type, but once you're used to it, it's okay. I think the base could stand to be slightly bigger too, but it's stable enough, and it doesn't take up much space. This is the model that got the "best value" award in one of the magazines. The model you're looking at looks a bit more stable, and is probably an even better deal at only $30 more. I'm sure you'd be happy with it.
If you wanted to go with a name brand, I saw a Delta 16-1/2" drill press at Lowe's for $299 a while back. I believe that one made "editors choice".
Tom

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Tom M. wrote:

Link belts improved mine quite a bit.
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First off, I've never owned a Floor standing drill press. I've always operated with a Central Machinery (HF) bench unit that ran prolly $50. It did what I asked of it and I've still got it. That being said, I decided a floor model would be good. I ended up going the $179 (HF) routeand so far it has met all of my expectations (be they ever so low :) ). I've only had it assembled for a few weeks and honestly I don't use a drill press all that much but for the few things that I have, it's worked pretty darn well. No wobble, wander etc... and it runs without much vibration. I've used it for both wood and 1/4" steel and it's been fine. Now, in 3 months I may be cursing the thing, but to date, I got exactly what I expected I would for the price. HTH.
Cheers, cc
On Sat, 20 Sep 2003 19:42:14 GMT, Patrick Fitzgerald

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Please stay away from HF drill. I bought one, was not satisfied,poorly made. Purchased another drill from Delta.
In a low end, Shop Fox has good drills, also Home Depot is running specials on Rigid original drills, you are better off paying more for quality.

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