Steel City Drill Press

Well, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade the ol' Craftsman bench drill press with a real one. I've seen, and liked, the Steel City unit and am planning on buying it as soon as the local store gets more stock after Christmas. The alternative is to wait until Spring for Delta to get around to releasing the new "woodworking" units they announced nine months ago. They plan to have a few nice features but I am concerned about where Delta is quality wise these days. Does anyone out there own a Steel City drill press? Can you confirm (or otherwise) that they are as nice as they look? If you had it to do over would you buy it again?
Thanks Daryl
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I'm also very interested in this question. I'm going to be getting a drill press RSN, and I'm trying to figure out which one. The Steel City looks _very_ nice.
Here's the ones that I'm comparing: any advice would be welcomed.
Grizzly G7947 17", $425 at Amazon Delta DP400 16.5", $440 at Amazon Jet JDP-17MF, 16.5", $425 at the local Woodcraft Rikon 30-230 , 17", $330 at the local Woodcraft
How important is quill travel? The Rikon is sitting at 3", and the Steel City has 6". There's also a hundred dollar plus difference, though. Are there any decent DPs in the 200-300 range?
Thanks! Drew Bernat
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It is only important when you are drilling holes. If you have any doubts as to whether 6" is better than 3", just ask your wife/girlfriend, or even the lady next door.
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Drew Bernat wrote:

My drill press has 3" of travel. While I haven't run into anything that I could not accomplish with it, I do find that I have to adjust the table height for just about every operation. I'm thinking that with double the quill travel you would not have to adjust the table height each time you change bits.
I do recall one occasion where I had to drill a pretty deep hole - I had to drill to my machines max., stop, raise the table and start again with the bit already in the hole to get to the needed depth. In my experience this situation is pretty rare, but if I were buying a drill press again, I'd try to get one with more travel.
Mike
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Would greater Quill Travel result in greater "runout?"

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That depends on the design and quality of construction, not on the quill travel.
Drill presses aren't precision devices anyway.
resrfglc wrote:

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Not the ones your looking at.

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No.

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Drew Bernat wrote: SNIP

About a year ago I bought my son the Grizzly model G7943. I went to Grizzly to look at it first and it looked pretty good to me. It has a 14" swing and 3.25" quill travel. Also 12 speeds and 3/4 hp motor. This is a table model and the same head on a floor model is the G7944. I especially liked the DP table and the recessed light. Thinking about one for myself when my old Rockwell dies.
Prices: G7943 $225.00 + 69.25 shipping G7944 $250.00 + 69.25
Bill Leonhardt
Bill Leonhardt
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Drew Bernat wrote:

It's nice to have a bigger quill travel, but how often are you going to drill a hole that's deeper than 3"? Not very often probably, considering most woodworking involves wood 2" or less thick..
If you need to drill a deeper hole, it's not that hard to drill a hole, raise up the table (allowing the bit to start off in the first hole), and then go deeper.
I think my quill travel is 3".. maybe it's 4".. Anyhow, it's never held me back. The fact that I don't remember tells you that it's not that big of a deal.
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Drew Bernat wrote:

of mnay features that draw me to the two presses I was asking about. One occasion in particular comes to mind with a recent lumber rack project. The design I had used 2x4 construction where all the peices were through bolted to each adjacent peice. Makes it strong as a brick ****house but it was a royal PITA drilling all of the holes going through the 3.50" direction of the 2 x 4. Moving the table for a hole or two, maybe. For two or three dozen...
As long as I am going to invest in a real drill press I am going to make sure I never have that problem again. From what I have seen of the Steel City unit (which is not a great deal hence my post) the extra $100 is far more than just extra quill travel. I was hoping someone out there could confirm that. FWIW, the Steel City unit is $469 and they have a $75 rebate
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"Moving the table for a hole or two, maybe"
You only need move the table once, no? Dill all the holes to 3" dept. Move table, drill the last 1/2"
But, if the bit is long enough, drill the first three inches, then raise the wood 5/8" to finish the boring job. (this can be done with a bit of leverage)

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With your method of moving the table just once, you have to handle every piece of lumber twice.
resrfglc wrote:

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Nah. Slip the spacer under after boring the first part.
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Yep, good idea.

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Ok, took the plunge and got it.
If you are happy moving your table to drill long holes, using spacers, or a bench top fits your projects by al means read no further.
For anyone interested in an opinion, I am very impressed with this drill press. It was a bigger package than expected but did fit in the van. Getting it out of the van, onto the porch and into the basement was a bit of challenge (very well built, read damn heavy). Got it down there piece by piece, cleaned, waxed and assembled all in one evening.
I do not have a dial caliper so I can't measure the run out but it purrs like a kitten with no vibration at all. The table adjustment has no noticeable backlash, which I also had to be careful of on the Craftsman. Their website only listed a bracket for a light but it came with it. The belts are typical V type but adjustment is very easy. A levered cam moves the motor in and out to remove/adjust tension. I am considering bolting it to the floor but it has a good footprint and is not tippy at all.
Total damages: $396 (after a $75 rebate)
Would I do it again: In a heartbeat.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

LOL, man, I don't blame you for getting the best drill press you can. My point was that it's not critical to have the extra quill travel. One can work around it.
Glad you bought the drill press that you liked the best. Thanks for the review. If mine dies, I'll take a look at Steel City.
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"you have to handle every piece of lumber twice."
Yes. So? Your point? Your approach (given 3" of quill travel)?
If you adjust the table height for every hole drilled, don't you have to "handle" every piece of wood twice as well a) first three inches; b) put down wood; d) adjust table; e) pick up wood; f) finish hole; g) reset table; h) repeat.

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<snip>

FYI: Picked up the Jet 16.5 for $330-ish w/tax at local Menard's. Nice tool, nice price, no shipping. Good choice if they are in your area.
D'ohBoy
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