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Scratch 06-21-2007 07:24 PM

Drill press opinions
I need a drill press. Homo Depot has a Rigid 1/2hp 300-3100rpm for 209.00 on sale.
My-nads has a Jet 3/4hp 250-3000rpm for 310.00.

Anybody have any experience with these machines? I need a heavy duty one, I think my bro has a 1/3hp and I've stalled it out more than once.

I want a floor model, at least 3000 rpm, and it's gonna be drilling through heat treated steel mostly.

Wyoming 06-21-2007 07:43 PM

Not familiar with the Ridgid model, but the Jet and darned near every other drill press you'll find today below the commercial/industrial models are all from Asia. Gut feeling after talking to a fellow that owns two Ellis models...we both think Ellis started out with an Asian sourced head and builds a fine drill press from there on out. For you money, head over to a low priced importer such as Harbor Freight and check out there top of the line models. Same goes for Sears, Menards, Lowes, etc. When you find one with the features you like...go for it as there really isn't a significant difference after the paint has been applied. You might even find the model with the cheapest junk ChiCom motor and swap it out for a better quality/higher hp model.

A drill press below the industrial models with power-feed or infinitely variable speed heads are not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination. Design hasn't changed much since before your gramps was born. Go out and spend some bucks on a good model drill chuck and conveniently lose the one that comes with the machine. The jaws will most likely not be hardened nor will the quill have ball bearings. I'm more than happy replacing mine with $40-50 used Jacobs SuperChucks off of eBay that will grab a hardened drill bit and hold it tight and true.

3000 rpm???? I guess everybody has differing needs, but I would be looking at the slowest possible speed from a drill press long before the top speed interested me enough to check out.

Sberry 06-21-2007 07:50 PM

I will agree, usually the issue with small presses is to get them to go slow enough. I would be looking for something that used common belts and pulleys also if I could. I had a Craftsman in that class once that has some cheapy stuff, finally changed out out for common V belt.

precisionworks 06-21-2007 08:08 PM


I need a heavy duty one
Forget the Big Box stores. Heavy duty + drill press = $1000 plus.


at least 3000 rpm
That's the speed to use (in harder steel) with a .031 or a .062 diameter twist drill. For a 5/8 diameter drill, 300 is about right. For a 2" bimetal hole saw, Lennox says 75 rpm is the correct speed.


The Powermatic 1150A is the lightest machine that I'd want ... $1500 (free delivery) at this store.

Lots of others in that price range & higher.

Jim-TX 06-21-2007 10:25 PM


Originally Posted by Sberry (Post 160701)
I will agree, usually the issue with small presses is to get them to go slow enough. I would be looking for something that used common belts and pulleys also if I could. I had a Craftsman in that class once that has some cheapy stuff, finally changed out out for common V belt.

I had a Craftsman one time that used a little narrow belt. It wasn't worth a crap for anything. I still have a Craftsman but I made sure it used the wider (normal) belts. It's been a decent press for what I do which seldom sees holes over 5/8" in steel. It's 3/4 hp and speed goes down to about 240 if I remember correctly.

triptester 06-21-2007 11:01 PM

A year ago I was looking for a drill press and I found that when looking closely at the head castings of similar sized machines they all looked identical. On most head castings holes were drilled and tapped in the same locations but some were used while others were not. I looked at every retail drill press I could find.

The best press if you can find one is a industrial/commercial drill press . The ones out there are usually 3 phase but if you can replace the motor with a single phase one you will have a decent machine probably better than a retail model.

LW Hiway 06-22-2007 02:59 AM

Scratch, Barry seems to be right on the money with his suggestions. If it's something that you'll have to rely on to do the specific tasks you need on the materials you know you'll be using, take heed.

The lighter press's from the box stores are good light duty(at best) out of the box tools, but do lack in umph when pushed very far.

Sberry 06-22-2007 07:44 AM

Jim and I must have had the same unit. Looked about like that powermatic. It never did run slow enough.

Floptop 06-22-2007 12:17 PM

4 Attachment(s)
I bought the previous model to this Westward drill press about 10 years ago, very happy with it. Uses standard "A" series belts. Check out the specs, 1 HP 115 volt, 150 - 4200 RPM, MT3 spindle with 3/4" 3 jaw chuck and shipping weight of 350 lbs. I've drilled up to 1 1/2" holes in mild steel with decent results, 1" holes no problem, lots of power the belts slip before the motor stalls. Still have not found a better unit for the money, unless you can fall into a good used unit like Cutter did with his Clausing, next step up was well over $1000.00 .

cutter 06-22-2007 12:59 PM

Ah, the old Clausing. :) I've talked about it so much I wasn't going to bring it up here but I used it last night to drill some holes in 1/4" angle, making an upgrade on my overhead door for the carrier bearing and spring mount on the shaft. That beat up old press makes me smile every time I power it up.

So that being said, it's just danged hard to beat the old 3 phase machines once you bite the converter bullet or break out of the single phase jail somehow. They are just so cheap and generally well-built that all the little details of building the converter, repairing the speed control and all that just add to the pleasure of using it.

Counting the converter cost (& wiring), 1 inch Jacobs Superchuck, 5/8ths" Albrecht & their adapters & the $60 bearing on the $125 press, I guess I have $550 - $600 invested and since the converter also powers the air compressor that's not quite fair. But a new Clausing would cost in the $2000 range plus shipping - plus the chucks, etc. I wouldn't have even considered it.

Add in the old 80 gallon, 3 ph compressor @ $400 and I have $1000 invested in roughly $4000 of equipment at today's prices. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I can add more 3 ph machinery down the line if I want to. I realize that some of you bask in the glow of new, shiny tools but I take great pleasure in rescuing the old dinosaurs and putting them back in service.

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