I have a chance to pick up a display model at a local woodworking store
for $189.00 if I act Monday. Its listed there at $289.00 retail price.
Anyone used one of these? It seems like a steal, but I'm afraid that
much machine of any quality can't be had even for it's $289.00 list
price and I'll be stuck with a lemon. There isnt a lot of info on the
web about it.
I won't use it a whole (no pun intended) lot, but I've been wanting a
real drill press for a long time.
Radial arm drill presses are useful when you need to drill a lot of angled
holes. A chair maker finds them very handy. For the rest of us, we usually
want most of the holes that we drill to be at right angle to the part we are
drilling and a standard drill press does this fine, but it's a bit of a pain
to set it up for drilling angled holes. A radial drill press will drill
straight holes too, but it's a pain to set it up for straight holes each
time that you want to use it that way. Like I said, it's more intended for
drilling angled holes. So you need to make a choice based on the type of
holes that you will be drilling most.
"Mike W." < email@example.com> wrote in message
Can you explain how a radial drill press is a pain to set up to drill
straight holes? Or right angle holes for that matter?
I have been using one for about 30 years and have never had an issue with
set up for right angle holes.
I bought a Sears version of the bench model several years ago. Like you my
machine does not see heavy use, but I have been glad to have a drill press
on a number of occasions, especially when I need to use Forstner style bits
for large hole drilling.
Shopfox is a brand sold by Grizzly via dealers.
When I have been at the Grizzly showroom looking at the Grissly equivalent,
it seemed a tad better than my Sears model with respect to rotational play
in the shaft.
Like most designs, there are pro's and con's.
A pro is that I bought a radial drill for the potential of greater depth
than fixed head drills. This has come in handy on occasion.
A con is that the drill will flex more than a fixed head unit. This is not
going to be a problem for normal drilling in wood, but if you were to do
mostly drilling in steel, it could cause a slight elongation of a hole.
The Grizzly equivalents are G7945 (bench) for $185 and G7946 (floor mount)
Grizzly tries to market the Shopfox brand as being higher-end than normal
Grizzly. Personally I have not felt the price difference to be worth
slightly different feature.
Performance tool in Michigan sells the floor model for $199.00 regularly. I
purchased one a little over a year ago and have been pleased.
Like all machines, you could get a better one for more money, but I have
found this one to be a good buy, at that price, in my opinion.
The one thing that I found a little cheesy on mine is the depth stop. It is
soft metal that bends easily.
As mentioned in another post the advantage to a radial arm drill
press...it's ability to be adjusted to many angles, rather than just square
to the table.
Disadvantage of a radial arm drill press...it is able to be adjusted to
many angles and thus it's harder to get it square to the table and keep it
If you need or want the adjustability then an RA press is for you. If you
will be doing more drilling that must be at right angles, you might want to
consider something else, unless you don't mind checking your set up more
Yours in Scouting
I have a 30 year old Rockwell Radial Arm drill press. I have no problem at
all with letting the indexing pin locate 90 degrees. Do the cheap radial
arm drill presses not have that simple feature any more?
The online manual for this specific Radial Arm Drill Press model shows
an indexing pin in the table at 90 degrees. It also appears to have a
'Guide Pin' on the head stock to allow easy movement of the head stock
back to 90 degrees.
Mike and Leon,
I looked at my Shop Fox W1670 drill press and the manual that came with it
(yes I kept it), and the manual that is on the shop fox web site. It looks
like they added the index pin after my unit was produced.
I notice that the revision on the newer manual is Jan. 2005. That is just
after I bought mine.
My drill press does indeed have a screw located in the same place as the
"index pin" that they show but it doesn't serve that function, at least not
well. It is a sloppy fit, in a too big hole, in the table swivel casting.
The old manual does not refer to that screw as an indexing pin (actually I
don't see any reference to it at all), but the newer manual does, so maybe
they added some better functionality to it.
You might want to take a closer look at the unit that is on sale in your
area. That screw may or may not be a good, functional, indexing
pin...depending on how old it is.
The guide pin on the head stock is present on my drill press, and it works
I hope that this info is helpful to you.
Mike, If it turns out that the index pin is decent, how about reporting
that info back. If it is good, maybe I'll call them and order a new table
mount for mine.
Will do. I will probably pick up the Shop Fox unit tomorrow. It was
between it and the Delta DP350. The DP350 had so many bad reviews that
I can't bring myself to buy it, even though I bet that variable speed
adjustment is handy.
Sorry it took so long to respond. I haven't had a lot of chances to
really use it, so I'll post a more specific message once I do. What I
can tell you right now, though is that the 'pin' on the table is pretty
tight. It seems dead accurate. The guide pin on the main horizontal
shaft, however, has a ton of play in it.
I have to figure out a way to make the sucker perfectly vertical since I
dont think I can trust gravity or the guide pin. But I do love the
drill press. The few times I have used it so far is a huge improvement
over the turd I was using.
with a few minutes and a dial indicator you can make that press drill
at 90 degrees more accurately than you will ever need for woodworking.
the operation is called "trammeling" and involves mounting the
indicator to a rod in the chuck and indicating a circle on the table.
if you need more help ask back here...
After doing a Google search for '+trammeling +drill' I don't think I'll
be able to find any instructions online (lost of results, not a lot to
do with aligning a DP) so if you could post some more detailed
instructions I would greatly appreciate it.
The guide pin on the main shaft of my DP has a little slop in it too, but
there is a fine groove machined in the shaft that lines up with a scale on
the casting. It allows a good adjustment of the head angle.
When I set my drill press up, I put a laser pointer in the chuck and
adjusted the head until the spot was in the middle of the base. I then
adjusted the scale to line up with the groove and it has allowed me to tilt
the head to any angle on the scale and return it to 90 with good enough
accuracy for my purposes.
The laser pointer that I used was not a precision instrument but it seemed
to do the job well enough.
Yeah, It's the darndest thing.
I think my DP was a transitional piece or something. The manual is the old
version and the table has that screw, but doesn't call it an index pin like
the new one does. It is too sloppy to be an effective index pin.
Thanks for the advice.
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