I ordered my drill press from the palatine woodcraft a couple weeks ago
when they had their pre wood show sale. Originally, I had planned to
get the 20" grizzly drill press. But the allure of the variable
speed feature was too much to ignore. And grizzly's variable speed DP
is $1500. Also, the sale price brought it in a little under the
grizzly price. I also decided that I was much more likely to use the
variable speed feature than the extra capacity of the 20" grizzly.
Woodcraft was having problems getting machines from delta so it
wasn't until Monday night that I was able to pick up the machine.
They had a loading dock and a ramp with wheels. We rolled the machine
into the back of my van. My wife and I caught it as it rolled down the
ramp. The box was about 250lbs. I picked up some casters and a
cordless impact wrench on the way home.
At home, I easily wheeled it into the garage with a hand truck. I had
expected two boxes, but it all fit in one making it sort of a long box
because of the post. The directions said to mount the cast iron base
to a piece of plywood 21" by 28" to help stabilize it. I cut the
piece of plywood, then went to bed.
I couldn't work on it again until last night. I attached the casters
to the plywood, then attached the cast iron base to the other side.
There was a little cosmoline on the base. It weighs a lot more than it
looks. I put the base on the floor and attached the post. The post is
held on with four 17mm bolts. It bolted up easily and all the holes
lined up. Then I cleaned all the oil off the post. The rack and
pinion mechanism for raising and lowering the table is similar in
design to my old delta bench top drill press. There are two rings at
the top and bottom of the post that capture the rack. The rack is
supposed to hug the post as the ends of the rack travel in grooves. I
don't care for the design. And in this case, when the table is up
high, the arm holding the table acts on a point high on the rack. The
rack flexes and binds in the groove at the bottom making it's motion
sort of jerky. Oiling the bottom ring would probably fix it. And the
reality is that I'm not likely to move the table from side to side
much once I build an auxiliary table.
My daughter and I stared at the 120lb plus drill press head in its
neatly formed Styrofoam cradle. It mocked us in all its cast-iron
glory, laughing that I would even consider simply picking it up and
placing it on the post with nothing more than my arms. I shifted the
head out of the Styrofoam so that I could get my arm under it. I
locked the casters on the base and tightened down the table just in
case. I grabbed the head, one hand under the switch on the cast iron
housing, the other under the motor. My daughter put her hands under
the head. We both stood up together resting the head on my chest. I
had just barely not enough power to lift it up to the top of the post.
My daughter provided the last bit needed to put it on top. I felt sort
of light and strange after getting it up there. The moral of the
story: that was dumb. I should have had two men doing this job. I got
it up there none the less.
I lined everything up and tightened down the head, then attached the
table and other hardware. I spent about 15 minutes cleaning the
spindle, taper, and chuck. Mineral spirits cleaned it right up. The
chuck went on without incident. And it's a big chuck, about the
diameter of a coke can.
It came wired for 110, and I'll probably leave it that way.
There's a diagram on the back for switching to 220. The lamp that
came with it has its own power switch and plug, so wiring for 220
won't affect that.
I switched it on and was greeted with a bit of a rattle. It seemed
like there was more racket than there should be. As it ran, it sort of
got comfortable and started to get smoother and quieter. I can't
discern any run-out with my eye. I don't have a dial indicator.
Turning the variable speed handle is a bit odd. You turn it clockwise
to go faster, and counter clockwise to go slower. Going slower takes a
bit of strength to turn the handle. But turning clockwise to go faster
can be done with just a finger. It stays where you put it though.
I'm not sure if this is right or not, but it doesn't seem to affect
the usability of the machine.
I chucked up a 3/8" twist bit and grabbed a piece of 2x4 for a test.
On the slow speed, the bit grabbed and tore out wood as it entered. As
you'd expect, it also tore out when exiting the other side. After a
few holes, I turned the speed up to full blast and tried it again with
the same bit. Entering was perfect. All the wood was sheared instead
of torn making the hole perfectly round and clean. It didn't even
tear out on exit, and this was in a soft wood with a semi-dull twist
bit. I had intended to test a large forstner bit, but it was getting
So far I'd say I'm very happy with it. It does seem a little top
heavy, but I don't really feel like it's about to fall over. With
the casters unlocked, I can grab it by the table and wheel it around.
It feels good and stable. I'll probably put some long 4x4s under
the plywood base as out-riggers just to be safe.