I bought a new 17MF drill press in late November. Its worked just fine
except for one annoying adjustment. When I lowered the drill press table, it
would jump and jerk periodically, as if it was skipping a tooth or two on
the gear rack. He asked me to check if the gear rack was installed right
side up. It was. Without further questions, he ordered a complete new height
adjustment assembly (big casting with gear) and gear rack for me. They are
in stock and he said I should receive in a few days.
Interesting. Mine does the same thing (it's a couple of years old). I
just figured that's the way it's supposed to work.
Seriously, I never considered table height to be a precision adjustment
on a drill press (it would be on a milling machine), so it never really
bothered me much. But, if they think they can fix it with a replacement
part and are willing to send it to you, go for it. Let us know how it
turns out. If the new one is smoother, maybe I'll do the same.
Jet's an interesting company. They're selling into a very
price-competitive market, so there's a lot of pressure to skimp on
quality if it can cut costs. Their stuff is not the best, but it's
pretty good, certainly a good value for the price. I've found their
customer service to be good too. I've got their drill press, jointer,
and dust collector.
This is quite common. As you lower the table, the casting sticks on the
column. As you continue to lower the table, you eventually take up the
backlash in the rack and the table unsticks, falling the distance of the
backlash. The whole process then repeats. It is nothing to worry about.
If it really bothers you, hold up a bit on the near edge of the table when
you lower it. It is the weight of the table hanging out so far that causes
Milling machines do the same thing though it is not quite as noticeable due
to closer fitting parts. Any machinist that knows anything at all will tell
you, always adjust up, never down.
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