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Thread: Buying a Drill Press
07-01-2004, 02:36 AM #1
I am looking for a drill press to buy.
I would be interested in what you would do if you were looking for a drill press.
What would you buy and why?
Would you seek out older American iron or go with a new import drill press?
Since this drill press will be used with straight and morse taper drills, it means that a morse taper spindle will be needed.
Thanks for any suggestions and comments that you might be able to offer.
07-01-2004, 02:51 AM #2J Tiers Guest
I am getting tired of the "Hoo Flung Dung" version I have. What I have for criteria is pushing me towards old old iron.
When I grab the extended quill, I don't want to be able to detect any significant shake in it or the chuck. In new "Chimerican" products, as well as many frankly chinese ones, I can still find "too much" shake. To get past that, gets into price ranges I have no intention of getting into.
The really old iron has a different quill setup, a much longer quill movement, and adjustment for wear. And it's available cheap.
New ones I have looked at have no adjustment, when they wear, they are loose, like a tailstock ram. They are often loose on the showroom floor. With no adjustment possible, that is an issue to me!
I am not a commercial shop, so my input may not be relevant to you.
07-01-2004, 03:35 AM #3
Old American Iron. I looked at a couple of Chinese DPs before finding a Clausing 20 inch. The difference is vast. The quill doesn't move sideways, it has useful travel. And though the machine is 30 years old or so, I can call Clausing and have parts the next day. If I try to get parts for a 2 year old Enco or a 5 year old Jet, they don't even know what I am talking about. You are supposed to pitch it and buy an new one. I have an older Enco that is really special: the quill has lots of factory supplied play, and you get to test it on evey hole because the table is not square to the column. They know this and supply a little 10-24 set screw to try and level it.
07-01-2004, 04:07 AM #4
Not that I wouldnt rather have your Clausing- but enco and jet are not the same when it comes to parts. I have a jet drill press I bought in about 1978- in fact, it is so old it doesnt even say jet- it says "orbit"- one of those space age tools, I guess. Anyway, last year I needed a part for it- not only did they have it, but they sent it out that day, FREE. Including free shipping.
Try that on your buffalo, or your clausing.
Of course, yours work better, but mine still actually works ok, for a $175 drill press. (new 1978 dollars)
07-01-2004, 10:23 AM #5Jim Harris Guest
One of my drill presses is a Jet. Got it used (not working) and repaired it. It had a lot of vibration--traced it to the cone pulley on the spindle--hole was bored off-center! What Asian tool owner hasn't "been there done that"?
Just as Ries discovered, Jet _had_ the pulley (to my astonishment) as well as a replacement crank to raise/lower the table. Whoda thought? Stupid thing has drilled many-a-hole over the last couple years.
The Jet doesn't compare with my Rockwell, but it has triple pulley speed reduction so when I need lower rpm it's the better option. It was cheap and gets the job done...can't complain I guess.
07-01-2004, 11:40 AM #6
Some comments I made on another forum re my Asian drill press which you might find interesting. While I'd have preferred an older industrial machine, these just don't exist anywhere near where I live.
"I have a Taiwanese floor mounted drill press sold here under the name Remag. It was sold as a heavy duty machine. I got it at the right price from a company which went broke before they installed the machine. It has a good, heavy tee slotted table with a coolant channel around the edge and is rated at 32 mm in steel.
Heavy solid castings
Adjustable, lockable quill
Geared table lift and good table lock
Good, accurate 5/8 chuck in 3 MT spindle
5" quill travel
Tilting table has a locating dowel which must be removed to tilt the (heavy) table. This means removing the table to take out the dowel. (I think I've only needed to tilt it once in twelve years though).
The dowel hole was originally drilled out of position so it was not possible to get the table level crosswise.
There are 9 speeds - a very good range of low speeds, 6 between 125 and 450 rpm, but then a gap to 960, 1290 and 1850. The recommended speeds for the drills I use most lie in the gap between 450 and 960 RPM.
The column will visibly flex if you really push it hard.
I've used it to drill holes from 1 mm to 1 1/8 in. in steel with no real problems, so I suppose I am reasonably happy with it." This is in a home shop, not an industrial situation.
07-01-2004, 12:14 PM #7
I bought a Delta 16-1/2" VS drill press showroom-model for a pretty decent discount on a clearance sale.
- worm drive table adjust up & down
- infinitely variable sheave
- great up to 1/2" holes in steel
- 6" quill travel convenient for different length bits and size workpieces
- T-slot table in "X" pattern
- uses a JT spindle taper so no Jacobs #14N possible
- chattery over 1/2" dia
- VS belt doesn't have super torque to match super low speed at bottom end of range
It's a decent press but no good for large holes.
I stumbled upon this 800# bad boy....for $100 (unabashed gloat 8-)
It needs cleaning and restoration but all is functional. The table is a little trashed but I plan to use it for big nasty holes in structural stuff and holesaws which chatter like crazy on the Delta. It's got a back gear that lets it run slooooowwww with full torque, perfect for those larger bits.
For general use punching holes in this and that the Delta is my choice. Of course a Bpt mill could be used as a DP if under tight budget or space constraints, I think you'd want the 3-spider handle rather than the irritating 1-arm, 360 degree handle offered as fzctory standard.
07-01-2004, 12:28 PM #8
Based on years of experience with machine tools, I would NOT buy an Asian import drill press, even for a home shop. I am not sure how heavy a class of work you will be doing, but if you need to run Morse Taper shank bits you are getting up there. I would go with the recommendations for a used Clausing or a used Powermatic. Powermatic was a good middle-weight US builder of drill presses. Unfortunately, they were bought by Jet and discontinued most of what they mad ein the USA. We have a few variable speed Powermatic drill rpesses with MT spindles at the plant and they have held up well in maintainence service.
Older US made heavier drill presses are out there and go cheap at sales. Buffalo Forge made some vee-belt drive drills with back gearing and power feeds as did Canedy-Otto. These were a good deal heavier than the usual round column "sensitive drill presses". These took the place of the "traditional" flat belt/geared drills these firms made earlier. These were modern machine tools made into the '50's and '60's. Buffalo Forge built them on into the 1970's I think. They are good heavy service drill presses if you find one. All kinds of rigidity that you won;t find in an Asian machine or even in a Clausing or Powermatic. Parts may be a problem down the road, though. In terms of ease of moving the machine into your shop, as well as parts and maintainability either the Clausing or Powermatic drill rpesses would be the likely choice.
I have a 15" Powermatic sensitive drill press (floor model) in my shop. It is a 1965 machine with a plain spindle, no Morse taper. Within its limits it is a nice drill press. I picked up an "antique" drill press for 200 bucks. It is a 1917 Cincinnati-Bickford. A classic old time drill with flat leather belt drive to bevel gears, a monster open-frame 3 HP motor, back gearing to give really low spindle speeds, a number 3 Morse Taper Spindle, power feeds. It also has an open bull gear drive from the motor to the first pulley and lots of other open gearing to be lubed. It was not abused and was a nice tight machine with very few "extra" holes drilled in the table and no other damage. Downside is it is a "plain bearing machine" meaning I have to get out the oil can and stepladder any time I go to use it. I spend a couple of minutes minutes putting ont he leather belts (drive and feed), five minutes oiling and wiping down the machine, five minutes bolting the job to the table, and perhaps 30 seconds to drill a large hole. But... I have a classic old machine which I can run big tapered shank bits in and which will handle large heavy jobs. I can take a fabrication job like a trailer hitch assembly or a repair job for a tractor loader and put it on that old drill press and put big holes in it. The table has a rack-and-pinion plus worm geared jacking mechanism so I can land a heavy job on it. If you don;t mind old machinery and taking a few extra minutes to get it ready to run, you can do quite a bit of work with one of these old timers.
07-01-2004, 02:49 PM #9TakMan800 Guest
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, look for one of these:
They come up on eBay every now and then for around $500 to $1K. I’ve got one in my shop. These usually come with Clausing or Delta-Rockwell drill heads. When I’m not using the drill presses, I just raise them up the columns all the way and end up with an excellent, super heavy-duty cast-iron workbench that can be used for layouts, weld fit-ups, etc (the table is Blanchard ground flat to .002” per foot.). The tables alone sell at McMaster for $1600. You could even sell one or two of the extra drill heads to offset the cost. Plus it saves space; you don’t have an extra footprint for the drill presses.
[This message has been edited by TakMan800 (edited 07-01-2004).]
07-01-2004, 06:26 PM #10
I'm happy with both a Clausing variable speed drill press and a Rockwell Delta. But, finding a used drill press in good shape with the morse taper socket you want may be tough. The JT33 taper types outnumber these probably 10 to 1 in home shop sizes. For that reason, you might consider a used round column mill drill. Just fine for drilling, less deflection than a Clausing, Delta, etc., decent quill with 5" travel, and an x-y table with t-slots as a bonus. Now that everyone wants a dovetail mill, prices may be dropping a bit.
07-02-2004, 12:55 AM #11Cass Guest
The most important thing to look for in drill presses is column diameter. The capacity of the drill press is directly related to the diameter as a rule of thumb. The heavier column drill presses generally have bigger tables etc. Bigger is always better.
The Bridgeport milling machine was originally conceived of as a precision drill press and was never intended to be used as a milling machine. Milling machines at that time were always bed type machines and the movable knee was considered too lightweight for milling. Of course the first Bridgeports almost immediately got used for light milling and the rest is history as they say. Point here is that a milling machine is a great drill press so you might consider one of the Asian milling machines instead of a drill press.
07-02-2004, 01:00 AM #12
While a drill press is much superior to a hand drill for general drilling, I never used mine after I got my milling machine and therefore sold it. I mean, why would you use one instead of a Bridgeport type mill if you had access to it?
I could see using a drill press if you had a fixture with hardened bushings to guide the drill but for any kind of accurate drilling the milling machine (or one of those mill/drills) would seem to do a much more accurate job with less bother.
07-02-2004, 01:24 AM #13
07-02-2004, 03:14 AM #14
Cass where did you get your info from? Before Bridgeport made a milling machine, they were selling small milling heads to adapt to the large clunky machines of the era. That head was first delivered in 1932. By 1938 Rudolf F. Bannow bought off his partner and concieved of the idea while delivering some casting patterns to a customer. Pattern making was the real business of Bridgeport in those days. He sketched the design of the original Bridgeport miller on his brown paper lunch sack while waiting to get unloaded. When at the factory, I always admired that schetch framed and hanging on the wall in the offices. What a genius. I never met him, but his brothers son was the national service manager most of the years I worked there, Rudy. What a great guy he was. Untill the take overs, it truely was a family afair.
07-02-2004, 06:15 AM #15I mean, why would you use one instead of a Bridgeport type mill if you had access to it?
I have a couple reasons....
<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI> Don't have to relocate the vise and/or rotary table for a quick job<LI> For part time woodwhacking I really hate to get wood dust on the mill or any metalworking tool for that matter...bandsaw is the exception<LI> Less chance of drilling the milling machine table or vise unexpectedly[/list]
But I certainly understand if space is a premium.
07-02-2004, 09:17 AM #16
Takman...I have one of those table drill press set ups. Only its a little older with 2 walker turner belt drive heads....I got it for the huge cast iron table....lots of work surface...it weighs a ton, but its worth it. Got it for $100 at auction about 4 years ago....I actually bought it for my company, because we were doing more and more production work. But we eventually got a knee jerk GM, and he had us get rid of tons of stuff....( half of which we eventually went and replaced after they fired him).....the factory that I got it at had at least 8 some of which where 3 and 4 head tables.........I recently bought a clausing for the shop. and we love it...I wanted a press that the rpms went down to about 150 or less....which is hard to find...1995 version 2277 paid $1750, in mint condition...bob