I am considering buying a portable drill press/guide (rather than a
benchtiop or standalone drill press) for the following
- Don't really have the room for another big tool
- I often need to drill things outside of my shop or that are already
attached tto the house
- A portable drill press can do most of the basics that I need to do
(e.g., accurate, straight drilling)
- Cheaper (and would rather get good quality portable than low end
fixed drill press)
- Does my thinking seem right?
- What are some good brands and models to consider?
(I don't want to "waste" money on a tool that is either hard-to-use,
hard-to-setup, flimsy, or innacurate)
Any other insights welecome!
Well, a real drill press is VERY useful - I use mine several times on
every project for sure. But if you don't have the cash or the space
right now, is any amount of convincing going to get you to buy one
anyway? I agree that a little $99 bench-top drill press probably isn't
as useful or accurate as something heavier, but if you can find a
bigger used one, I'd highly recommend it. (Hint - if you can lift it
with one hand, it's too small...)
Other things to consider for the meantime might include a drill guide
of some sort - check out
Or a doweling jig, depending on your intended use:
A while ago I actually bought one of the portable drill press/guides
you mentioned, but returned it as the plunging action seemed sticky due
to the posts not being parallel, and an overall cheap feel. The
biggest problem I've seen with those is the lack of a good-quality
model - it seems like there are only a few models made, and none feels
too sturdy or accurate. On the other hand, they can be better than
drilling freehand, and as you mentioned, some projects are inconvenient
or impossible to bring to a stationary DP.
Sorry this wasn't very conclusive, but I hope it helps,
I owned a Craftsman device like that once upon a time. It was designed to
fit a Craftsman drill, but I only had a Rockwell Delta. So, the combination
never worked well.
I finally threw the device away. The Rockwell Delta drill wore out years
ago. I have bought some new drills, but never again will I waste money on
such a contraption.
You will save money if you just buy the drill press to begin with.
If you don't have room, make room. The drill press gets used more often in
my shop than many other tools. Its a versatile and essential machine.
Do yourself a big favor and buy a good (used) drill press.
The only portable drill press I have is the Milwaukee 4206 but that might be
a little to much for your purpose and its not too good when using it for
I don't know if I agree with the good quality portable vs low end fixed
argument. I have a $99 8" Craftsman bench top drill press - probably
about as low end as they get and it is very useful and accurate (at
least for what I've done). Someone once wrote (I think on this
newsgroup) that drill presses are really metal working machines so even
the cheapest ones do well with wood. Also, I had one of those drill
guides and it was pretty bad (maybe I had a really cheap one of those
too) and I eventually threw it out.
Anyway, I would definitely get the drill press if you have the room -
even if you can only get the cheapest ones.
Something like this - http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page $05
while not as accurate as a real drill press, does still get used occasionally
for drilling holes in places where the drill press can't reach, or in things
that are not movable. I would stay away from the things that strap a hand drill
to a plunger mechanism.
You really want a decent drill press though...
I have the same one. It's also sold by Sears and Ace Hardware. It's OK,
but I find myself freehanding all the time instead of using it. I
suppose if I had to drill through some dowels, I'd use this.
Avoid the one made by General, which you find at the Borg.
Sears, Ace, and Grizzly (among others) also sell those lever-operated
drill stands, and they look OK to me, but for that money you're just
about into a Chinese 8-10" benchtop drill press. For some reason, drill
presses are one of those things the Chinese manufacturers seem to be
doing OK with (as opposed to, say, scroll saws). Ace sells their 10"
for $99. Their brand is just rebadged Tradesman, the el cheapo line you
see in Sears and Borg. I got the 8" version from Harbor Freight on sale
for $39 last weekend. Haven't assembled it yet.
I agree with the others who say that even a cheap drill press is orders
of magnitude more useful than a guide.
They have a pretty small footprint. My 10" benchtop, while not light,
is not difficult to move from one spot to another. Getting it up from
floor level would not really be something I'd want to do on a regular
basis, but if you have to stick it in a corner or something because
you haven't got a good spot for it, if it's up at bench height it's
not bad to move. I just tip it forward and get my shoulder under the
head to take most of the weight and away you go.
I'm having a hard time picturing why you'd need a perfectly straight
hole in something attached to the house.
Probably as expensive as a small stand alone drill press, but
definitely on MY wish list:
Otherwise, a Google search turns up the General 36/37, which is
apparently a bit wobbly according to the Amazon reviews.
looks to be better than the Rockler
(http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page $05) version simply because
you do not need to remove the chuck from your drill to use the guide.
Oops... Now I'm confused. The Rockler picture shows a guide that seems
to reuse your chuck on the guide, and appears to work at right angles
only. Then I downloaded the users manual, which shows a Wolfcraft
guide that seems identical to the Highland Hardware picture and the
guide at sears.com. So much for shopping online. It does not seem
that you have a lot of choices.
I'd suggest you look for the Wolfcraft guide locally and see if it
seems sturdy enough for your needs. It will probably be fine for
household use and usable for most woodworking needs. The $30-35 cost
will not be missed from the tool budget if/when you decide you need
the standalone press, and you will still have a guide for portable
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