I've looked at a few in the 100-300ukp range. Ignoring the obviously
atrocious models, there doesn't seem to be a lot to choose between them
- they all seem cheaply made with the more expensive ones just bigger,
heavier versions of the cheaper ones, with the same problems and
vibration exacerbated by their bigger motors.
Is this par for the course, or have the models I've looked at been
Strangely there doesn't seem to be any models in between this price
point and the cheap end of proper engineering drills.
Presumably all these manufacturers are unimaginatively competing by
providing almost exactly the same thing in different paint colours!
For completeness the machines I've looked most closely at are:
Axminster ND16F ~£110, ~250W
- the table was dished (maybe 0.5mm low in the centre) - poor, but
probably not an issue (0.5 degrees on a 10cm workpiece)
- measure runout by how much the workpiece wobbles side-to-side
- nasty depth stop which doesn't grip enough to actually 'stop'
- some vibration for the motor, but as it's only 250W it's not heavy
enough to matter much
Jet JDP-17F ~£300, ~700W
- loose idler pulley (*1) - the hole in the casing was too big for the shaft
- entire machine gently oscillated forwards-backwards on the pillar by ~1cm
- chuck spindle-to-quill excessive play - it seemed quite good
on initial inspection, but noticeable play when putting some force into
testing for sideways movement, and when under power but not load
substantial amount of noise from spindle/quill area as chuck lowered.
Suspect it's just packed out with grease to make it look good. Which
also explains why an ex-demo one I looked at had an obvious and truly
shameful amount of slop in the spindle.
- so much for "swiss precision", "guaranteed concentricity", etc.
- can measure runout by amount workpiece moves side-to-side :-(
- btw, I think this machine bears no relationship to the US 17MF, that
Jet is just a franchise and that in the UK this is actually Axminster
- good positive depth stop - best feature of the machine.
Record DP58 ~£300, ~700W
- keyed chuck, but chuck key wouldn't fit in one of the three holes
- so much vibration from the motor that it rattled the workpiece and
walked it off the table
- motor couldn't be adjusted high enough to align pulleys
- table not square to pillar
*1 - is that the right term for the middle pulley of the three?