Variable Speed Drill Press

I'm looking to buy a floor standing drill press, probably a Delta model. They have two variable speed models, 17-925 and the 17-990X, where the speed change is done by tuning a dial. These models are considerably more expensive than the other models that require a belt change.
I've never used a drill press that requires belt changes (I've been using a cheesy tabletop press which is more like a dressed up variable speed hand drill), so I don't know if this is a real nuisance or not. Does anybody have an opinion about the need for the convenience of a variable speed drill press in the workshop of a woodworking hobbyist?
Also, besides the warranty, does anybody understand what the real differences are between Delta's X5 series of tools and the seemingly identical standard models? The online prices for the standard 925 model is just below $1000 while the 990X model is about $750. The only difference I can identify is the cosmetics of the press handle, and the cheaper one has a longer warranty.
Thanks, Ernie
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If I had a variable speed I'd use the right speed more often - as it is I have a pretty generic (slowish) speed set up and use it for almost everything. Probably change speeds every two or three months.
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I wouldn't do it. Speed in wood is far less critical than in metal. The VS will be very expensive to repair if it goes out. Stick with the old stuff this time. Wilson

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I have a Delta that requires belt changes.
I use forstner bits a lot which require slower speeds.
While not hard to change speed, it is a pain.
I wish I had a variable speed model.
Only you can decide if it is worth the extra money for you.
Rob

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Then why change it? Leave it on low speed. Mine stays at its lowest speed unless I'm stirring paint.

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Erk wrote:

How much of a price difference are we talking about? If it's "considerable" then I'd say spend it if you got it, but if you don't got it, then stop being such a weenie and just buy the dang belt-driven model like everyone else on Earth. :)
I'm about like everyone else who has posted. I usually leave the thing set for about 650 RPM. Going too slow is seldom a problem, but going too fast can be, so I default to a speed that's slower than it could be for most of the stuff I do, but not too fast for most of the stuff I do. Usually for any given bit size and material there's a very broad range of speeds.
Once in awhile I need to turn it up or turn it down. I did do one job recently where I had to change speeds nearly as often as I changed bits. Big bits need to go slow, and extremely small bits do better at high speeds. All of this seems to make much more of a difference when drilling metal than wood, and generally the harder and/or thicker a material is, the less forgiving it will be of laziness in choosing the correct speed.
Anyway, changing speeds takes something like 30 seconds, so how much is "considerable" and how much is your time worth? If you do a lot of things where you're going back and forth from a 3/4" bit to a 1/32" bit, then the "considerable" may be worth it. Otherwise, probably not.
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I might change speeds on my DP about every 6 bit changes, so it isn't a big deal. for the price difference, I can make a lot of belt changes. and good grief, it only takes a couple of moments. certainly less than a minute.
dave
Erk wrote:

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Bay Area Dave wrote:

I timed myself, FWIW. 12-speed DP with three pulleys and two belts. From the time I opened the cover, loosened it up, looked at the chart and thought for a moment about what speed to go for, set it up and closed the cover, it was 25 seconds.
Takes longer to change jigs/vices/fences. I spend a lot of time changing setups. I'm thinking about experimenting with jigs that are permanently affixed to their own little flange doodads so I can just swap out pre-mounted jigs and save effort.
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yeah, I definitely spend more time getting the piece aligned to the bit with various fences, clamps, etc. Moving the belts once in a while is just not an issue.
dave
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Why do most people seem either to not know of or not posess a cross-vise or indexing vise? I love mine. It takes away all the little tapping and cussing normally associated with aligning something. Grizzlty has one for around $60 and while it is not a work of art, it surely takes a lot of hassle out of drilling.
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Ramsey wrote:

It's one of the many things I have to swap out. If I need to do a big piece, it has to come off.
Actually, that gizmo is the main reason why I traded up for a big DP. On a benchtop, it just ate so much room that I couldn't do much with it.
As it turned out, I bought a DP without really doing the mental spatial relationship thing. It has a T-slot table, and there was no way I could bolt that thing to it without the bolts completely getting in the way. So I cobbled together this horror out of a couple piece of angle iron and a couple pieces of steel plate all bolted and pop riveted together (I can't weld) as an adapter.
It works, but the assembly is extremely heavy. Once the fancy vise comes off, it takes me awhile to get around to putting it back on.
Otherwise, yes, I absolutely love the thing. It makes it easy for my son to do stuff with the DP too. I'll mark spots and let him crank around until he has drilled all the holes. Fun for him, and less work for Daddy.
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Spend some time in a machine shop. Fixtures of all types abound.

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Silvan wrote:

Interesting idea. You would need to turn the diameter of the pipe to fit. I did a rough measurement on my HF 16 inch DP. Schedule 80 1 1/2 inch pipe is 1.900 OD and has enough wall thickness to be turned down to a nice fit. There are screw on structural flanges for pipe. The flange could be pinned in place after it is screwed on then the face trued up to be perpendicular with the pipe.
You could attach consumable work tables made of MDF, plywood or whatever.
Dick
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Why are you knocking yourself out with something difficult to make and you won't be happy with anyway? Get yourself a sheet of MDF and make your fixtures out of that. A couple of holes and you can bolt it right to the drill press. If you really wanted to go to the trouble, you could make a sub base that stayed on the drill press and you could make fixtures that would index to the sub base. After initial setup, no alignment needed except when you raised or lowered the table. T tracks and threaded inserts for hold downs. Dowels and blocks for stops.

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CW wrote:

I might be happy with it. How will I find out if I don't make it? :)
Anyway, the only effort at this point is one of thinking.

Not available locally as far as I know, for one thing.
You're missing the point anyway. The main gadget I'd like to have its own, dedicated base that I could swap for the table is my cross sliding vise. I had to rig a kludgy adapter to get it bolted to the table (T-slots instead of through holes... I didn't think of that when shopping for DPs, and it's impossible to attach the thing directly to the table...), and it's tedious to handle. I'd rather have it mounted on a plate that I can just drop right down into the table mounting hole.

A sub base is definitely the bill that needs filling. I just don't have the technology available to make a decent one.
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Dear Dave,

the
My point was simply that the VS function of the DP isn't that big a deal, changing belts isn't that much of a hassle, but, if you need a long stroke, that is one of the few DP's that can do it.
I currently have a 12" DP, and the stroke is just over 3". I had to borrow a DP from work for one of my last projects that required eighty 11/64" holes drilled 4-1/8" deep into the sides of boxes. Very few people need that kind of stroke, but if you need it, you need it.
Thanks,
David.
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ah, I see where you are coming from now. the stroke, if necessary, is really the only reason to spend so much money. I see your point! I think the Delta I've got goes at least 4" deep IIRC. It's the 965 model. for what I do, I haven't run up against depth limitations YET.
dave
David F. Eisan wrote:

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