Shoppnig for a new drill press

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Chasper

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Mar 22, 2007
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Indiana
I've been using and abusing a Delta 350 bench drill press for 7 years, replaced retracting spring twice, chuck twice, on/off switch once, pulleys once, belt once, now the pulleys and belt are worn out again. I've spent well over the purchase price on replacement parts which are becoming hard to find; it is time for something better. I'm not finding what I'm looking for:
--bench press (got to be a bench)
--3/4 hp motor
--5/8" chuck
--3+" spindle travel
--very little run out
--enough weight to minimize vibration

Over the life of this Delta I've drilled holes in about 30,000 pen blank sections and squared both ends on as many. At 2 1/2" per pen section that works out to over a mile of holes drilled and 60,000 ends squared. I need something tougher.

What I don't need is:
--variable speed, I set the speed when I bought the Delta and have never changed it
--alignment lasers, just another costly and unnecessary feature to wear out.
--drill to post depth over 8" 99.9% of my use is pen blanks, my pen vise has been clamped down in the same spot since I took it off to replace a part two years ago.

Drilling on the lathe is not the answer, when I need serious precision I do drill on the lathe and I've been drilling and squaring on the lathe for the last 2 weeks since the latest pulley and belt failure. Too slow.

I'm not finding what I'm looking for. Any suggestions?
 
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mdburn_em

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Mar 16, 2006
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Chesapeake, VA, USA
I've started looking at possible replacements for mine. It's still ticking so who knows if or when I will need to.
I've considered the Jet Jdp-15B. I have a number of Jet tools. I like them and think that they make quality tools.
I'm looking pretty hard at the WEN 4214. It's half the weight of the Jet. Will it skitter all over my bench? I suppose I can bolt it down.
The review by "tony" the retired tool maker carried a lot of weight with me.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HQONFY6?ref=emc_b_5_t

A number of reviewers of the WEN were upgrading from a Delta.
I think that new units are going to come with a laser whether you like it or not.
It doesn't have a 3/4 HP motor so it's probably a non-starter for your requirements.

The Jet would be my recommendation then.
 
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leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Tunica, MS,
I was intrigued at the "set it to one speed" and stick with it. I use Forstner bits several times a year but I do as much flat woodworking as pens, (more in fact) and as a result change the belts/speed on regular occasion.

I use 2, 2 1/2 and 3 inch forstner bits, which does need slower speeds. IF I did pens only, I can see where single speed is all that one needs.

One thing that was pointed out several years ago either here or on a wood working forum: a bench top drill press takes up the same basic space as a full drill press; and that is not a huge space. IF you have 12 to 16 inches (20 if using a wider DP table) of floor space room, that will free up some bench top space for bench working and leave the DP dedicated of that. Not a big deal, but something to consider.
 

gtriever

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Apr 23, 2017
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Paducah, Kentucky
I toyed with a drill press upgrade just recently, to replace a 26-year old K&F press. You might take a look at the Rikon 30-140 Radial Drill Press. Specs look pretty good for the price, as does the versatility.
 

Charlie_W

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Nov 16, 2011
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Sterling, VA USA
To get the motor size, chuck size and travel, you may want to consider buying a floor model and then cutting the post to the length you want.
This may be the way to get a solid, durable tool that fits your specs.
Good luck!
 

greenacres2

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May 2, 2017
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Northwest IN
Lee's comments are spot on for me. I went from benchtop to floor standing and then built a rolling cabinet for under it. Don't often need to have 20" or so of clearance--but when I do I just roll the cabinet out of the way and lower the table. That said, I've just started on pens, and do a fair amount of flat work (hobby in both cases)

earl
 

Chasper

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Mar 22, 2007
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Indiana
The reason I'm not looking at a floor DP is because of the work surface that a bench model provides. When drilling or squaring I have tote boxes of blanks on the bench, with a floor DP there is no where to put those materials. After thinking it though that seems like a silly concern, I can make a table to slide under drill platform, I could even mount the work surface on the shaft. I never need to move the platform up or down more than 4-5 inches.

With a floor model there are more options for what I'm looking for and most have more quill travel.
 

Woodchipper

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Mar 15, 2017
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Cleveland, TN
For what you are doing, I would be reluctant to buy from HF. Check out various brands. I'm guessing some are like lathes- made in the same factory. I have a Delta that I bought t Lowe's and have had good luck with it but I don't do the drilling that you do. Good luck in your search!
 

southernclay

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Sep 6, 2013
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Dawsonville, GA
I had seriously considered the Harbor Freight larger bench top, it has pretty good reviews and over 3" throw. I ended up with a floor model 17" Jet (Craigslist) and very happy but my pen stuff is mostly on the lathe. The Harbor Freight may be worth considering, buy 2 and have the spare ready when you wear out the first : )


Sent from my iPhone using Penturners.org mobile app
 

RileyD

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Feb 28, 2017
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31
Location
New Hampshire
If you've switched to floor models I'm looking pretty hard at the Jet JDP-17 which seems like a very nice drill press.
 

campzeke

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Jun 28, 2015
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Tampa, FL
You may want to check Craigslist in your area. I have purchased several tools including 2 lathes off of Craigslist. Good way to save a few $$
 

WriteON

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Aug 21, 2013
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Lake Worth,Fl. / BlueBell, Pa.
I'll take a referral also. Would like a compact bench top. 8" should be fine. Laser. Belt is ok but would like VS. What would $150-$300 buy? I'm not opposed to a floor model but weight is an issue for me. I can't move heavy equipment.
 

gtriever

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Apr 23, 2017
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Paducah, Kentucky
8" is pretty tiny for anything besides flat work. And by flat, I'm talking metal flats. Been dere, done dat, and ended up having to add an extension tube to the column.
 
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