Well, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade the ol' Craftsman bench
drill press with a real one. I've seen, and liked, the Steel City unit
and am planning on buying it as soon as the local store gets more stock
after Christmas. The alternative is to wait until Spring for Delta to
get around to releasing the new "woodworking" units they announced nine
months ago. They plan to have a few nice features but I am concerned
about where Delta is quality wise these days. Does anyone out there
own a Steel City drill press? Can you confirm (or otherwise) that they
are as nice as they look? If you had it to do over would you buy it
I'm also very interested in this question. I'm going to be getting a
drill press RSN, and I'm trying to figure out which one. The Steel City
looks _very_ nice.
Here's the ones that I'm comparing: any advice would be welcomed.
Grizzly G7947 17", $425 at Amazon
Delta DP400 16.5", $440 at Amazon
Jet JDP-17MF, 16.5", $425 at the local Woodcraft
Rikon 30-230 , 17", $330 at the local Woodcraft
How important is quill travel? The Rikon is sitting at 3", and the Steel
City has 6". There's also a hundred dollar plus difference, though. Are
there any decent DPs in the 200-300 range?
My drill press has 3" of travel. While I haven't run into anything that
I could not accomplish with it, I do find that I have to adjust the
table height for just about every operation. I'm thinking that with
double the quill travel you would not have to adjust the table height
each time you change bits.
I do recall one occasion where I had to drill a pretty deep hole - I
had to drill to my machines max., stop, raise the table and start again
with the bit already in the hole to get to the needed depth. In my
experience this situation is pretty rare, but if I were buying a drill
press again, I'd try to get one with more travel.
About a year ago I bought my son the Grizzly model G7943. I went to
Grizzly to look at it first and it looked pretty good to me. It has a
14" swing and 3.25" quill travel. Also 12 speeds and 3/4 hp motor.
This is a table model and the same head on a floor model is the G7944.
I especially liked the DP table and the recessed light. Thinking about
one for myself when my old Rockwell dies.
Prices: G7943 $225.00 + 69.25 shipping
G7944 $250.00 + 69.25
It's nice to have a bigger quill travel, but how often are you going to
drill a hole that's deeper than 3"? Not very often probably,
considering most woodworking involves wood 2" or less thick..
If you need to drill a deeper hole, it's not that hard to drill a hole,
raise up the table (allowing the bit to start off in the first hole),
and then go deeper.
I think my quill travel is 3".. maybe it's 4".. Anyhow, it's never held
me back. The fact that I don't remember tells you that it's not that
big of a deal.
My projects might differ a bit from yours but the extra travel is one
of mnay features that draw me to the two presses I was asking about.
One occasion in particular comes to mind with a recent lumber rack
project. The design I had used 2x4 construction where all the peices
were through bolted to each adjacent peice. Makes it strong as a brick
****house but it was a royal PITA drilling all of the holes going
through the 3.50" direction of the 2 x 4. Moving the table for a hole
or two, maybe. For two or three dozen...
As long as I am going to invest in a real drill press I am going to
make sure I never have that problem again. From what I have seen of
the Steel City unit (which is not a great deal hence my post) the extra
$100 is far more than just extra quill travel. I was hoping someone
out there could confirm that. FWIW, the Steel City unit is $469 and
they have a $75 rebate
"Moving the table for a hole or two, maybe"
You only need move the table once, no? Dill all the holes to 3" dept. Move
table, drill the last 1/2"
But, if the bit is long enough, drill the first three inches, then raise the
wood 5/8" to finish the boring job. (this can be done with a bit of
Ok, took the plunge and got it.
If you are happy moving your table to drill long holes, using spacers,
or a bench top fits your projects by al means read no further.
For anyone interested in an opinion, I am very impressed with this
drill press. It was a bigger package than expected but did fit in the
van. Getting it out of the van, onto the porch and into the basement
was a bit of challenge (very well built, read damn heavy). Got it down
there piece by piece, cleaned, waxed and assembled all in one evening.
I do not have a dial caliper so I can't measure the run out but it
purrs like a kitten with no vibration at all. The table adjustment has
no noticeable backlash, which I also had to be careful of on the
Craftsman. Their website only listed a bracket for a light but it came
with it. The belts are typical V type but adjustment is very easy. A
levered cam moves the motor in and out to remove/adjust tension. I am
considering bolting it to the floor but it has a good footprint and is
not tippy at all.
Total damages: $396 (after a $75 rebate)
Would I do it again: In a heartbeat.
LOL, man, I don't blame you for getting the best drill press you can.
My point was that
it's not critical to have the extra quill travel. One can work around
Glad you bought the drill press that you liked the best. Thanks for the
review. If mine dies, I'll take a look at Steel City.
"you have to handle every piece of lumber twice."
Yes. So? Your point? Your approach (given 3" of quill travel)?
If you adjust the table height for every hole drilled, don't you have to
"handle" every piece of wood twice as well a) first three inches; b) put
down wood; d) adjust table; e) pick up wood; f) finish hole; g) reset table;
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