View Full Version : Drill press suggestions
01-26-2004, 05:53 PM
Guys, I asked this question awhile back over on Ho-Ching and I've finally saved up some money($500.00) to get a drill press of some sort. I'd like to know what yall would buy and if that not enough money I'll wait a little longer. I got a new Grizzely cat. the other day and it had a 20" one for about 500.00 but I'm not stuck on that. Just wanted some suggestions. Can you tap stuff with a drill press if it is varible speed?or do you need something specific. Would I be better off with a cheap mill of some sort? Any opinions would be appreciated,Thanks, David
01-26-2004, 06:18 PM
I have a 17" delta And a HF mill/drill. What are your priorities as to what you want to do?
To tap on a drillpress, you would Need a "Tapping head" It attaches to your arbor, or chuck. It has a gear and clutch assembly. When you feef it it goes forward. When you let off on the feed the head reverses. I'll post a picture of mine. The mill drill has a reversing motor. I tap most of the time on the mill, rather than setting up the tapping head. I use the tapping head if I have a lot of holes to thread. I just clamp the stock to the table, tap and move it.
If you have big holes to drill the mill/drill has slower speeds.
I have large bits, MT shank, and S&D. Also a "Boring head for the mill.
Harbor Freight has it on sall currently for $799. But you will need a lot of tooling.
Another option is a used industrial drill. but those are usually 3 phase and " WELL USED":dizzy:
Here's a picture of tapping on the mill
01-26-2004, 06:35 PM
Here's the tapping head on the drill press.
01-26-2004, 11:24 PM
Drill press depends on 2 things, where you're located, and what you intend to do with it.
Around here the old machines don't bring any money, so $50- will buy you a machine that don't meet OSHA and will drill a 2" hole.
For the same $50- you can go to the Family Dollar and buy a damn decent copy of a Jet that comes in real handy in a welding shop, cause weldors rarely give a dam if the machine is .012 out.
Mill/drill machines are always a compromize, not much as either a mill or drill, and rarely up to heavy work.
If you're not going to drill bigger than 1", a cheap Chinese drill press will do the job all day long by adding a jackshaft to it, or swapping the 3 step pullys to 6 step pullys.
There is a lot of used machinery out there looking for a home, just takes a bit of time to find it.
When you buy machinery, it's always a good idea to determine what you want it to do before you put dollars down.
Tapping heads ~ unless you have a few hours of tapping to do, waste of money.
01-27-2004, 11:06 AM
Franz;I finally actually have to disagree with you, about a mill/drill doing heavy work. : :blob2: Of course it's no bridgeport and it is a compromize. I have to redial the head if I have to move it on a setup. Some day when the opertunity presents itself, I'll squeeze a Bridgeport into the magic Garage. In the meantime i have to make do with my commie mill/drill. I've bored 2 1/2",2 3/4", and 3 1/8" holes in 3/8 CRS for a template for a door machine. with a boring head. A bridgeport would have been much better, but my little machine worked ok, I just had to baby it a little. Sure wish it had power down feed
I got the tapping head before I got the mill. I had to fabricate a bunch of brackets for covers over fan belts after an osha inspection :realmad: it was a real time saver.
01-27-2004, 12:25 PM
Jim, I guarantee if you set a mill next to the combo in the shop you'll not use the combo again.
I have a little Atlas table top and 2 Brown & Sharp #2 mills, one set up horizontal and one set up verticle.
OLD IRON is still the BEST iron!
I have about 3 tapping heads in a cabinet, and can't remember the last time I used one, I sure as hell haven't since I got the first Royobi battery drill with a clutch.
01-27-2004, 12:54 PM
I said I'd like to have a bridgeport. Down here we don't have any heavy industry. Used machinery is at a premium. What I've found is either totally worn out, or priced like new. I even looked at a nice little Altas shaper, but the guy put it on E-bay and it fetched big bucks.
I got my South Bend lathe because it had a unusual nose thread. 1 7/8" x 8TPI and a small through hole. Not desirable for comerical use. It was the last of a lot of five lathes, the rest all had large through holes, and 2 1/4" x 8 threads.
I bought a a couple rough cast back plates, fitted one to a four jaw chuck, and made a face plate out of the other.
But for 800 bucks I can't fault my little mill. Someday when I get a bridgeport I can still use all the tooling
One of my current projects is modifying an old steady rest to fit the South Bend
I use a drill and gun taps for building panels. But for drilling and tapping a bunch of 3/8" or 1/2" holes that have to be straight you can't beat a tapper.:blob3:
01-27-2004, 01:57 PM
I bought a 16 speed, 5/8 chuck, floor model made in Taiwon 30 years ago. It has drilled thousands of holes. I like the size, not to small and not too large. The table is easy to raise. Don't go too small. I have seen smaller ones that would flex.
01-28-2004, 07:38 PM
I went through the same mental thought process as you on this subject... and budgeted about the same amount of money for a drill press... $500.00. Also, like you, I was willing to pay more for a cheap mill/drill if that would net out to a better value drill press.
I often heard the adage "The best drill is a mill."
However, in the end, a diligent eye, a cluttered home, and a stroke of luck decided my choice.
One day, while I was rummaging around buying the assets of a downsized business, I spotted a forlorn drill press in the corner of the building's maintenance room. I noted the make and model number of the drill press, as well as the amperage, service factor, hp and date code of the motor. That's the diligent eye part, since that wasn't one of the rooms I was initially there to inspect.
That night I went home, to my cluttered home that is, cluttered with tool catalogs going back 15 years. Below, I will detail what I found to give you a good shopping list to compare from. I pulled out my Grainger Catalog #379, circa 1987, and low and behold, I find the Dayton Tradesman Model 3Z919, a cast iron, 20 inch floor model with a 5/8" chuck, a No. 3 Morse Taper arbor, a 2.5" diameter quill guided with 4 heavy duty ball bearings "to resist side loads and deflection," a 17" x 19" extra large precision ground work table with several parallel 9/16" T slots as well as 1/2" NPT threaded opening for coolant recirculation, a 3.625" column, 4.8125" of quill travel, and, most importantly for metal, a speed as slow as 150 RPM, which is about as slow as stock drill presses get before having to go to a geared head or a mill.
All this, for only $707.56. That is 15 year old dollars. And that is without the motor. The 3/4 (true) HP motor, sold separately, was an additional $155.23, back then, for a total price of $862.79.
Curious, I wanted to see what Grainger sold the 3Z919 for in today's dollars. I followed the Grainger catalogs up the years, through the price increases, until 1995, when the model supplier changed! The drill press suddenly looked different. The replacement model did not appear as "heavy duty" as the original model, and the price went back down again, and in 2002, the 37919 20" press was priced at around $753.00. In the meantime, Grainger had introduced some other 20" Dayton drill presses, that had some qualities of the older 37919, but were better still, and were priced accordingly at $1,400.00. And of course, all along Grainger carried the worthy Wilton brand that ranged from $2,500.00 to over $7,000.00 for the model with our most coveted built in reversing switch for tapping, etc. If I were lucky enough to win the lottery, that one would be mine, and I'd have bought it 15 years ago to save on the over $2,000.00 price increases that have added up over the years on the exact same machine.
But my luck lay somewhere in the realm of this other 15 year old, heavyweight, Dayton brand, Taiwan made, 3Z919 cast iron soldier, and armed with the knowlege of what this drill press would have cost me had I bought it new, I was prepared to deal.
The next day I went back to continue my negotiations for the office equipment, and mentioned the drill press. We plugged it in, it worked, I offered $100.00, he asked $200.00, we settled at $150.00, and thus I unexpectedly chose a drill press over a mini mill.
Maybe that is what will happen to you, at a garage sale, at a machine shop closure, who knows. I know I spent a lot of time before debating on whether to get a Sears, a Harbor Freight, a Grizzly, an Enco, a Delta, a Jet, or another valium. It didn't help matters when I learned that many of the aforementioned brands are made in the same Taiwanese factory, (Palmdale or Palmer or something like that), and distributed by the same US Importor, Colovos company.
While in that shopping misery, I learned that I wanted the biggest diameter column, the biggest diameter quill, the longest quill travel, the most bearings, the heaviest base, table, and head, and the heftiest rack and pinion gearing system for the table rise as well as the quill. I learned that I wanted a MT3 arbor, as it is very common, and heavier than an MT2, and some J styles that are also found in drill presses. I learned that with metal, I wanted the lowest speed possible in order to drill the larger holes.
I also learned that a couple of prominently marketed features don't really matter in reality, only in inducing sales.
First, the number of speeds. 16 speeds? I mean really! That is like these 27 speed bicycles... where once we had 1, then 3, then 10, then 18, then 21, then 24, now there is more space taken up by the freewheel between the chainstays than the wheel itself. Back to drill presses in metalworking, I hardly have found the need for 3 speeds (slow, medium, and fast) , and find myself completely satisfied with the 9 speeds that came with the machine I happened on. Furthermore, changing one step pully on the motor shaft will give me twelve speeds, if I want them. If I was working a lot with wood, maybe I would. Anyway, I would deprioritize the number of speeds, as that number should take a backseat to the rate of the speeds available, particularly on the slower end. Several slow, evenly spaced graduations in the sub-1000 rpm range would be my preference over a high number of speeds that range to 4400 RPM.
Second thing I would not do is pay much attention to the horsepower ratings... particularly those from Sears, who's advertising team rates their motors on a polished teflon jig driving a foil lace pinwheel that a flea's fart could blow from 3 blocks away. Otherwise, I think that the very largest drill press Sears currently sells is a decent model when purchased on sale combined with a Craftsman' clubs discount and a 7:00 am day after holiday extra bargain morning.
It's all in the fixturing and the fence, when it comes to power tools. Too much seller emphasis is put on the motor, when ease of use, accuracy, and repeatability all come from sturdy fixturing and a square reference fence. I bought a T slotted X/Y axis travel table, as well as machinist "furniture" blocks for my drill press, and spent twice as much for those two peices as I did for the press itself. And no, I dont' expect to do any machining with the drill press... it's just nice to be able to clamp an awkward peice down and move it over a foot along an axis while still securely fixtured. That's where I'd put more money in a drill press, rather than in a 2 HP peak develped motor over a 1 HP peak developed motor. And to hold the 60 lb. X/Y table, the furniture, as well as the steel part being drilled, the drill press table, column, and base had better be beefy.
Lastly, a third thing that I learned. Buying one of the Taiwanese drill presses, new or used, that has been branded by a national store, like Grainger or Sears, means that you can call up their 800 number and have a complete owner's manual, schematic, and part's explosion diagram faxed or sent to you at your request... just by giving them the model number. I have had much more success with this practice from Grainger than I have had from Sears, since Sears sometimes discontinues parts and support for items just 5 years old, while Grainger never seems to forget what they've sold... even if 30 years old.
Needless to say, I ordered all the diagrams I needed for that 15 year old drill press from Grainger, with no problems. I don't know if Grizzly or Enco brands have that support capablity. Surprisingly, Harbor Freight does. Delta got bought out by Portor Cable, and I wonder what happens to support continuity and legacy parts availability when cost consolidation mergers like that happen. Never hurts to call the company and ask before making the deal at that garage sale.
Used is not the only way to go, but it can be a fairly cost effective way to get a decent, serviceable drill press. I hope my experiences help you, as you set out to find yours.
01-28-2004, 09:03 PM
And, while you're waiting and pondering all the solid information Charles just gave you, you can hustle over to Harbour Flotsum and plunk down $40- + your local political crook's tax bite, and bring home one of their halfassed POS tabletop drill presses to get you by till you find the big one.
Now yall know I do NOT normally advocate Harbour Flotsum but in this instance, I do. These things are a knockoff of a 20 year old Dayton that sold back then for around a hundred bucks, and they are very handy.
Unless you're manufacturing FEL kits for garden tractors, chances are the majority of holes you'll drill will be under 1/2", and will be in light material. These 40 buck machines work fine in that aplication.
When you do find the big press, chances are you'll also keep the cheapo, but even if you don't, you can easily get what you paid in a garage sale. Bottom line, for $40- it beats hell out of no drill press.
01-29-2004, 09:29 AM
Oh my Franz I think all that snow stuff has done something to you.
Next thing you'll be needing one of my twelve step programs, HF anonymous, and Sending Hillary Christmas cards:dizzy:
01-29-2004, 08:22 PM
AND, a guy with a few skills could take a magnet or 2 out of an air conditioning compressor clutch, and make a magnetic drill press out of one of the cheap things.
01-29-2004, 10:58 PM
Jim ,Franz,Mike and Charles thanks very much for the replies. I may look around for a used one. I have to go to Atlanta to check em out. Thats about 90 miles from my house. Like Jim said I don't know how much used heavy duty type machinery they have around but I'll check around. Seems like all the heavy machinery is in New York with Franz or in California with Rocky D. I was looking for some of that used cantelever rack to stack my steel on and could only find it up north. I know I could make some racks but if I could find some locally it looked cheaper than making it. That was a lot of info on the drill press mill issue thanks alot for all of your time. I've got plenty of 1/2" drills laying around just never got around to getting a drill press or a bender. Thanks again I'll let yall know what I get . David
02-01-2004, 10:39 AM
Hi guys...I figured since I had a similar question, I'd tack onto the good info here.
Any thoughts on this drill press shown here?
HF Drill Press on sale... (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=43389)
Right now, I can get this drill for $179 (through Monday) - normally $289. They do have a couple of other models right around that price, but they have smaller HP motors, less speeds, no oiler, smaller swing, etc. I also checked Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, and Grizzly - "equivalent" spec'd models are at least $100 more. I was originally going to just get a small benchtop model, but at some point I may want to get a tubing notcher and I'll need 14" of clearance to use that (unless I use it with my hand drill).
Just wondering if anyone has purchased a HF drill press (particularly this one) and has any feedback. This isn't going into a production environment, just a hobbyists garage.
02-01-2004, 10:49 AM
Jason, the pic ain't showing up.
Re the horsepower, it's both bogus, and the motor will burn up, so figure on replacing it in the future.
If you plan on notching tubing, get the machine with the lowest RPM possible.
I don't understand what the oiler is about, do they have a coolant oiler on the machine? If so, unless there is a good recovery system, I wouldn't even consider that a plus.
02-01-2004, 11:16 AM
Thanks Franz...here's the pic and specs...
All-purpose drill press for the home or shop. Heavy duty ball bearing motor with 16 speeds, adjustable stop and gauge. Includes oiler.
Motor: 1 HP
Speeds: 200, 290, 350, 430, 500, 580, 640, 720, 800, 870, 1440, 1630, 2380, 2540, 3600 RPM
Table: 13-3/4'' diameter
Spindle taper: MT 2
Spindle stroke: 2-3/4''
Chuck capacity: 1/8"-5/8''
Overall height: 64-7/8''
Base size: 20-1/4'' x 13-1/2''
Column diameter: 3-5/32''
Shipping weight: 192 lbs.
This one's lowest RPM is 200, which seems about as low as I can go without getting into HF's "production" DPs at $500+. The oiler looks to be just a bottle for dripping cutting oil on the piece being drilled.
02-01-2004, 12:27 PM
The "lubricator" is a plastic bottle with a ball valve with a flex tube, and nozzle.
For 179.00 it would be very servicable.
You can get MT shank drill bits at a flea market or yard sale pretty cheap. Hf chucks leave a lot to be desired. Figure on replacing that eventually.
HF expert Jim:cool2:
02-01-2004, 02:00 PM
Rotaryracer, This is the same machine that I bought upwards of 15 years ago from Harbor Freight. It will get the job done, but do yourself a favor and swap out the chuck that came with it for a better model. The one in it now does an excellent job of slipping and chewing up your drill bits. As far as the "equivalent" spec'd models goes, fifteen years ago when I bought mine the main head casting on the Grizzly and the Sears were the same down to the casting number. Sears had a bit more plastic in its shrouding and a nice pull-out switch key. Grizzly had basically the same press with a smaller motor (still Asian) and a smaller table as well. The $179 price sounds good as I paid around $239 way back when. Spent another $70 plus for a used Jacobs Superchuck and happy that I did.
02-01-2004, 02:31 PM
Guys, thanks for the feedback. Please forgive my ignorance, but Jim, you mention MT shank drill bits. I did a quick search to see what these look like and they're pretty different than the bits I have - good ol' straight shank bits I run in my 1/2" hand drill.
Is this a MT 2 bit? The eBay description says "#2 MT - 13/32" HSS TAPER SHANK DRILL BIT":
Can someone explain the benefits to MT2 bits versus standard straight-shank bits? I just want to understand if I need to buy a whole new set of bits for the drill press versus being able to swap back and forth with what I have.
02-01-2004, 03:18 PM
The short answer is that chucks suck both for accuracy and strength, and become useless at large diameters. You would not want to use a large drill bit >1" with a straight shank. So, when you talk larger drill press machines that can turn a 2" bit, they are configured for taper press fit (like mt3). They make these little sleeves that allow you to use smaller bits in larger tapered spindles. You can continue to use a chuck for smaller bits, with the option to pull the chuck and use a straight tapered bit for the bigger drills.
02-01-2004, 03:37 PM
Gotcha - thanks for clearing that up! I'm off to Harbor Flotsam to pick up my Chi-Com drill press and 4x6 bandsaw!
Thanks again, everyone....
02-01-2004, 06:23 PM
When you get it all uncrated and set up, give some serious consideration to either bolting it to the floor, or adding a larger area subbase. These machines are topheavy and can be very nasty with a heavy piece on the table.
Then, you can head over to http://www.frugalmachinist.com/ and check out his speed reducer that will lower spindle RPM even more.
02-03-2004, 01:08 PM
Hey Franz, get me one of those 50$ ones, a Walker Turner heavy pedestal mount would be ideal. Something that would handle full 1 hp. The check will be in the mail.
02-03-2004, 02:42 PM
I have a neighbor who got so upset at his $50 HF bench mount drill press, he picked the whole thing up one day and threw it in his trash.
(I guess I must have missed diving his dumpster that week.)
I don't remember the specific problems he cited, only that he tossed his, and would never buy another.
Are they any more than 1/4 to 1/3 HP?
To be fair to the little HF, I actually borrowed his a few times in the past. It worked OK for me, although I always clamped it down, didn't require precise accuracy, and didn't drill anything larger than 1/2". The lowest price I've seen for them is $39.00, at HF sales.
02-03-2004, 04:14 PM
S as usual, yer a year late and a dollar short.
Last summer I had p[roblems giving good iron away for cheap money.
02-05-2004, 10:24 PM
I saw a nice powermatic at the welding shop today. I think they were asking $650, and it was made in Taiwan, but it looked like one heck of a drill for the money.
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