The hund for a replacement drilll press, sorta long

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I have a 30 year old Rockwell 36" bench top radial drill press. I have had it for 30 years. I do not use it as much as I did in the past although I did recently design, build, and post pictures of a new DP table that I attached to the DP recently and found that I am actually using the drill press more. I found that using adjustable clamps and a straight piece of wood as a fence was way more trouble than my current set up. I am thinking with more convenient and time saving features I may use my/a DP for more than just drilling 35 mm holes in cabinet doors.
For reference, my Rockwell DP has 4 speeds, fast, more faster, still faster than more faster, and the more fasterest speed. Translation, 700, 1250, 2400, and 4700 rpm. First off 700 rpm is too fast for 75% of my Forstner bits. 4700 rpm makes the DP vibrate so badly that drilling at that speed is not an option, I think that is a speed best used with a cotton buffing wheel. Actually most Forstner bits over 1" in diameter should be spinning at around 250 rpm for best results and longevity. My Rockwell has a manual table height adjustment. I really like the clamping levers on the DP, they are heavy and comfortable however once you loosen them you need to be ready for the table to drop. This can be a real problem if you need to raise the table a very short distance, it always ends up dropping the table a bit, then you wiggle it back and forth while lifting up, and finally clamping it in place and checking for proper height again. If the table fence was in a particular location it now needs to be repositioned because of the wiggling back and forth. My Rockwell uses 2 nuts separated by a flat washer to limit down travel of the quill. For the height nuts to stay in place I have to tighten them against each other with a pair of pliers, they tend to work loose and do that "Craftsman router thing" if I simply hand tighten them. That ain't right! My Rockwell has 3.125" of quill travel. This simply is not enough. I find that because of that limited travel I have to readjust table height more often than not. Because of the limited quill travel the table has to be closer to the chuck and again more often than not the end of the lever used to feed the quill ends up hitting the table and then I have to readjust the table. My Rockwell being a bench top variety limits the size of stock to be drilled, drilling into the end of a table leg would be out of the question, if I ever had a need to do this. My Rockwell has only "2" table adjustments, height and side to side, No Tilt. With a radial DP you drill at an angle by tilting the top end, the motor and head stock. Doing this however usually requires the readjustment of the table and you lose drilling depth more and more the farther away you get from the 90 degree setting. Because my Rockwell is a radial design it can drill to the center of a 36" wide panel. This is one very nice feature but I never use it. I basically always keep the location of the chuck about 8" out. My Rockwell had 4 speeds and changing speeds requires careful consideration in the art of "pulley jumping". There is no "easy" way to loosen the belt. Pinched fingers are common if you do not plan and carefully orchestrate the maneuver.
Sooooo I think I would enjoy a DP with new/better features. I believe that I would like to go with a more traditional DP, a floor model. These actually have a smaller foot print then my radial style DP. Front to back my DP is around 40" and it stands about 67" tall on its dedicated steel and mobile stand. So here are the features I am interested in.
1. Larger variety of speeds and in particular a low speed at or below 250 rpm. Variable speed "seems" like a nice feature however I have used the Powermatic DP with variable speed on two occasions and it was very noisy. I have also noticed that every variable speed DP that I have looked into has a low speed of 400 rpm, faster than I want. 2. An easier and quicker to adjust quill dept adjustment, perhaps the push button and spin variety vs. the two nut design. I hate spinning 2 nuts up to 3" and that would be even worse with my next #3 item below. 3. Longer quill travel, I am thinking "at least" close to 5" or more. 4. Easier to adjust table height, I think this is going to be a sure thing with most any model these days. 5. Tilt table, most tilt left and right a few do that and tilt forward. I am leaning towards the ones that tilt forward also. 6. Keyless Chuck? the Powermatic I used has one however I did not install or remove the bit so I don't really know if this would be better. I wonder if it would be more difficult to use as all that I have seen require 2 hands to tighten and keeping the bit in place "might be a problem". Very minimum I would want a chuck with a user friendly key. 7. Laser? I really have no problem with locating "exactly where I want to drill a hole however locating a larger Forstner bit can be a bit more difficult. Do the lasers afford accuracy within 1/64"? 8. Regular V-belt or the newer flat ribbed serpentine style belt? Is vibration an issue with the 2 belt 3 pulley configuration and do either of the style belts have less tendency of causing vibration? 9. Brand? Powermatic is out, only one style is available and it is variable speed and about $950. Craftsman? I know, but it may be manufactured in the same factory as all the others, perhaps. The Craftsman does offer a keyless chuck on all but the most expensive floor models. That may be telling me something right there. Jet? Not enough quill travel. Steel City? This is the brand that got my attention and interest in looking into an upgrade. Delta? The latest 17" version seems to have it all except for the keyless chuck. IIRC it has regular V belts and the table that tilts left, right, and forward. Laguna? Oddly, very competitively priced but appears to be made in the same factories as the other brands, but only had a 3.5" quill travel. Grizzly? IIRC limited quill travel. Rikon? I don't remember but I still have that taste in my mouth from the 18" BS that I briefly owned. Factory help was not beneficial in solving "my" problems.
Any suggestions? What to look for, look out for?
Thanks.
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Leon,
This will probably only get you started but...
Here are the estimated prices and basic HP ratings of a few:
Delta DP400 or 17-900 (3/4 HP $400) Jet JDP-17MF (3/4 HP $550) Grizzly #G7944 (3/4 HP $325) Grainger #3Z917 (1/2 HP $650) Jet JDP-20MF (1-1/2 HP $1100) Grizzly #G7948 (1-1/2 HP, $625) Grainger #3Z919 (1 HP, $1100) Ellis #9400 (2 HP, $2000-3000 - Ask for dealer pricing) Grizzly #G0521 [Drill/Tap Machine] (2 HP, 3 Phase, $1250)
One benefit of the G0521 is the fact that you can tap holes without having to purchase a tapping head. It has a built in, self reversing spindle option.
One of the most important things to know is the horsepower requirement and RPM needs for your applications. You can see the following web pages for charts to calculate your actual needs in very basic form:
http://tinyurl.com/ToolSpeeds or http://www.multi-drill.com/drill-speed-chart.htm
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com
V8013-R

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Thank you Joe! I my primary use would be for wood working, the auto tapping feature is something that I have not really considered or for that matter even knew existed. I'll try to go with at least 3/4" hp as you suggest. That is really what I have been looking at, oddly my Rockwell have never "seemed" to be low on power even with it's 1/3 hp motor. I'm sure twice as much power would come in handy with the larger bits. So far and similar to your first suggestion I am looking closely at the Delta 17-959L, $579 locally.
Thanks again for you expert input and links, I'll check'em out.
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On Thu, 16 Apr 2009 10:27:01 -0500, Leon wrote:

Leon, I was impressed with that one when I worked at Woodcraft. I built a forward-tilting table for my benchtop DP so it would tilt in both axes. Delta is the 1st commercial product I've seen with that capability.
But if you have a soft spot for radial, Delta makes one. Rikon makes two :-).
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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I think you are right about the table tilt.

Yeah, it is a nice feature if you need it but I really have not had the need in 30 years. I got mide as a reward through the GM Maritz program, meeting sales quotas. I think I would like to use the table tilt feature over the head tilt feature.
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On Thu, 16 Apr 2009 15:02:19 -0500, Leon wrote:

The table tilt seems easier to set up, although that's just a guess as I've never owned a radial. But the tilting head is nice when you're trying to drill into a big heavy timber. And the sliding arm gives you more capacity than most ordinary presses. But of course the downside is flex in that arm.
I've got just an ordinary benchtop, but it was built before benchtops started getting flimsy. The column is the same as the floor model was, the manufacturer (Taiwan?) just cut one in half :-).
--
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Leon wrote:

Mine is a Delta 17-965 and it has a quill stroke of 4-7/8 inches, FWIW. You're welcome to take a closer look at it for comparison to the "L".
BTW, I'm back in town if you want to go to Circle Saw, as I need some wood screws. Call me.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
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LOTS of 17-965's out there too. Not a "rare" model whatever that's worth.
--


Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
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And while I have you attention, can you recommend an affordable and good brand or type of HS drill bit for drilling in mild steel, etc. I had a week moment at the wood show 2 weeks ago and the Snake Oil peddler reeled me in. I am sure you have heard od BAD DOG drill bits, I bought'em and took'em back the next day.
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See if this works - it may not work due to the wrap:
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?tb5551&highlight=drill+bits
or
http://tinyurl.com/ceffq3
Pretty good discussion there about drill bits and their use by the knife making community. Some of those guys drill a billion holes with their bits. Quite an assortment of folks with an opinion on bits, all the way from the casual builder to the registered bladesmith.
Robert
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wrote:

A billion? *wringing my hands in wrath-like fashion...*
Let's see now. 1 per second? That would be 31 years of continuous drilling.
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wrote:
A billion? *wringing my hands in wrath-like fashion...*
Let's see now. 1 per second? That would be 31 years of continuous drilling.
LOL, I think you have a Touch on Robert.
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I am dying laughing over here. Grinning from ear to ear.
Been sitting on that one a bit, have ya old pal?
Could I say in my defense that they work really fast?
=^0
HIYO!!
Robert - *still chuckling*
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wrote:

We seemed to have reached an understanding..LOL
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Thank you Robert, just took a quick look and I immediately saw a comment about "Chicago Latrobe" bits and apparently he is getting pretty good mileage out of them. Seems every time I pull a bit out of my box it is the only dull one in the box. I grab the next over sized or under sized bit and it is fine. Perhaps I should go for the next up or down wrong size more often.
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Oh C R A P, I just looked up one of the brands mentioned. A single 7.5 mm bit just over 4.5" long sells for ........ One hundred fifty four DOLLARS.
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Leon,
Believe it or not, I generally stay out of the discussions on tooling because it is such a varied and diverse subject... I can sell the machines but don't know squat about tooling per say... McMaster Carr is my friend.
I'd ask in rec.crafts.metalworking for the best answers...
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com
V8013-R
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Honest answer Joe, Thank you.
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Leon asked:

There was a time, back when they were my customer, I would have said Cleveland Twist Drill without a moments hestitation.
Today, Cleveland Twist Drill is part of the Kennametal IPG (Industrial Products Group) family of quality cutting tools and I don't have a clue.
Lew
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I'll check'um out Lew, thanks.
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