View Full Version : Tool Gloat: New 20 Inch Drill Press

Paul Alciatore
04-23-2013, 05:09 PM
I have needed and intended to buy a floor stand drill press for some time. Although my garage shop is not finished yet, I have felt this need many times in the past months so I bit the bullet and got this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P03FrontCrop_zps97f56f44.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/P03FrontCrop_zps97f56f44.jpg.html)

I am not a big HF fan, but I took a chance on this. Similar models from Grizzly and other on line sources would have cost about $150 more plus shipping. I got this from the local HF store for less and saved the shipping. They have been OK on returns so far so I figured if it was total c###, I could just take it back. But I was somewhat surprised that it did not have any major problems. I did have to wait about two weeks for it to be shipped to the local store, but there would have been some shipping time anywhere I bought it. I was patient.

Assembly was OK. I had my son to help and could not have done it by myself as the head was quite heavy and has to be lifted onto the column. If you buy this or a similar model, do pay attention to the directions for mounting the head and you will not have to do it twice as I did.

I did have an initial problem with the built in light. I could not get a bulb to screw in. I contacted HF support, but it took another two weeks for them to get back. I guess a small staff and a heavy work load. By then, I had taken the top cover off and discovered that the socket had been bent out of shape when it was installed. A standard bulb did screw in easily so I straightened it out and reinstalled it. Problem solved. At the same time I added a cable to take power for external lights out of the head so the switch on the front of the machine would control all of them. You can see a duplex outlet installed on the rear of the shelf for them.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P07gama_zpsad97cc51.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/P07gama_zpsad97cc51.jpg.html)

The external lights are two very nice LED, clamp ons that I found at Lowes. I cut and installed a couple of wood brackets to clamp them to. I made them from some shelving scraps that I had left over. I added a couple of CS wood screws through the clamps to keep them from moving around. The wires are routed with some cable clamps under the top cover. The three lights give a very good illumination on the table and I appreciate this very much.

The table I added to the column had room on the left side for the less used tooling, like extra chucks and Allen keys. I need to add a couple of screws to hang the vise on the end of that side when it is not in use. The right side of the table has four holes for the drill chuck keys. I put two small holes for the small chuck key and two larger holes for the larger chuck key. That way, I can swap them front and back so the key in use is in front for easy use. The rest of this side of the table is just flat with no holes for things like drill index, cutting fluid in small containers, and whatever I need. It has a 1/4" aluminum fence to prevent things from falling due to vibration.

Here is a shot of "first chips". I was making the mounting brackets for the column table.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P1010022_zpsce66296c.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/P1010022_zpsce66296c.jpg.html)

One surprise I had when I first tried it was the chuck that was supplied. It is a 20mm/3/4" model but they did not specify the smallest diameter it would grip. It turns out that is 5mm/3/16". They should have warned the customer about that. Perhaps it would be a bit much to expect it to go down to 1/16", but even 1/8" is out of the question. I had purchased the Grizzly version of this machine for my former employer and it did go down to 1/16". My added, 1/2" chuck is seen mounted in these photos: the original, 3/4" chuck is stored on the left side of the added column table.

So I had to purchase a second chuck with a 1/16" to 1/2" range. I expect this one will be on the machine and used about 99% of the time.

One other small problem I have noticed is that one of the plastic ball ends on the down feed hand-wheel has stripped threads. That is OK with me because I hate the yellow balls. I intend to replace them as soon as I get my lathe set up. Oh, and the set screws they provided for securing the head did not grip properly in the threaded holes. I was afraid I would have to tap the holes a size larger, but I purchased some SHCS and found that they worked fine. They stick out a bit too much and I need to cut them down, but that can be delayed for now.

Finally, I do not like the spindle stop on it. It is the rotating collar type and it does positively stop the down travel of the spindle. But it is hard to make small adjustments to the depth. I like to set a spindle stop to control the depth of a countersink. This task requires small adjustments to the stop and the collar type does not make this easy. I have installed screw type stops on several other drill presses, including my own bench top model and they make this kind of fine adjustment very easy. I like using a 16 TPI fast adjust nut both for speed of adjustment and because one turn equals 1/16 of an inch. So adjustments of 1/32" or 1/64" or even 1/128" are quick and easy. And they are not even fine adjustments with it. Small rotations of the nut allow depth changes of a thousandth or two. Here is such a stop on my bench drill press:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P1010006.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/P1010006.jpg.html)

I will add a similar stop to this machine as soon as I can. I anticipate that an added advantage of having two spindle stops will be that the original collar stop can be used to control the upward travel when working with the table a bit low for the current bit. This happens when changing bits for one job and it is time consuming to change the table height for each bit change. Having an up travel stop will save time and effort in these circumstances.

Overall, I am very happy with it and am sure it will be a good addition to my shop.

Paul Alciatore
04-23-2013, 05:27 PM
OK, I have made my contributions to the "project posting" request for now. So, back to work.

04-23-2013, 05:50 PM
very nice! A drill press is one of those almost must have tools in any shop!

if you want a nice addition to the drill press find yourself an X-Y table to clamp to the table and then mount the vise to the X-Y table. Very handy for dialing in holes easily and precisely. The best addition I got for my DP!


Paul Alciatore
04-23-2013, 10:09 PM
Andy, that is a very good idea and this one is certainly big enough to hold a nice X-Y table. Thanks for the suggestion.

very nice! A drill press is one of those almost must have tools in any shop!

if you want a nice addition to the drill press find yourself an X-Y table to clamp to the table and then mount the vise to the X-Y table. Very handy for dialing in holes easily and precisely. The best addition I got for my DP!


04-25-2013, 12:28 AM
Nice to have a floor-standing machine. Mydrill press was a bench-mounted one I saved from the scrap because the base was cracked. I ended-up unbolting the column from the base and bolting it directly to my bench. Who uses those bases anyway? It's a bit wobbly but the table is on the column and wobbles in time with the head so it doesn't affect the way it works :)

I have been gifted a floor-standing Meddings which I have to bring home and convert to single-phase. Once I have that I will get rid of the little benchtop one.

04-25-2013, 10:11 AM
That's a lotta shiny bling on that drillpress!

This thread inspired me to search for past drill press enhancement threads, and think about ways my DP use could be enhanced.

I've been recently using an econo drill press in a friend's shop. It's okay, the castings at least. It has no stop, the spindle handle's kinda cheap. The up and down crank is a bit of a pain. A fundamentally decent machine limited by econo features and hardware, and a single belt step pully limiting the speed range. My DP is a mid 90's floor standing Delta. Nothing fancy, just your basic DP with dual belt step pullies. I definitely need to get one of those quick adjust stop nuts - I hate spinning those up and down.

What I keep thinking about on the DP is a simple hack to motorize the up and down of the table. Mostly just to accomodate the length difference with different diameter drills. I hate having to do the whole table adjust reach-around job. But on most tables, the locking nut must be tightened in order to square the table up. So that'd be a bit tricky. Maybe it could be remoted to the front of the table with pinion gears, so long as it didn't interfere with tilting?

Paul Alciatore
04-25-2013, 01:32 PM
Interesting thoughts on motorizing the table lift. I find that, with a bit of cleaning and some added grease, this somewhat heavy table does crank up and down with relative ease. I also greased the ends of the rack to make them slide easier in the collars so the table can be rotated easier.

What I hate is that the table crank is on one side and the lock knob is on the other. So you must go to the left to release the lock, then go to the right to crank it, then back to the left to lock it. If you do not tighten it too much, you can sometimes loosen it from the right, but still need to go to the left to tighten it properly. I wonder if this could be reversed, perhaps with a larger handle on it to make locking and releasing it easier. With a longer handle, a slip clutch would be nice to prevent over tightening and cracking the casting.

If I were to bring these controls to the front, I believe I would look at electric controls and motors: one to lift and lower and another highly geared one to lock and unlock. I have meant to look into designing some motorized locks for some time. I would really like to have them on things like gibs and the lock-downs on my RT. Oh, and especially on the column locks on my dovetail column mill. I think a fractional HP DC motor with some kind of slip clutch would work in these places. Probably wind up with some kind of 12 or 24 VDC power supplied around the shop for this.

04-25-2013, 02:26 PM
Interesting thoughts on motorizing the table lift. I find that, with a bit of cleaning and some added grease, this somewhat heavy table does crank up and down with relative ease.

I know a lot of flolks leave those dry to keep chips from sticking to the grease or oil, since the column is very much in the impact zone (whether those chips are metal or wood dust). I've been tempted to lube my friend's DP, but I don't dare get crazy with the lube in his wood shop. I already walk on eggshells, trying not to spread my metal grime where it might rub off on the wood ;)

Paul Alciatore
04-25-2013, 08:08 PM
I did not think of chips sticking. Perhaps I need a tall and narrow chip shield.

I do not know if that is a joke or serious. Hummm.

04-25-2013, 11:52 PM
Looks nice Paul. I had a HF 20" DP for years. It never let me down. They were always pretty nice in the casting dept. but the electrics (around 1984) were awful. Then they went with Taiwanese motors and they were good to go. Eventually the Chinese motors were improved also. Cant beat the amount of drill press you get fer the money. Have fun!!!! JR

04-27-2013, 02:26 AM
Re the small drill bits dilemma (sp?). I had an old drill that gave up the ghost about 1980. (who throws out any of this stuff anyways?) I disminantled the drill and got a really good jacobs chuck and chuck key. The assembly simply came un bolted from the drill. I now have two good chucks, 1/16 - 3/8 and 3/16/ - 5/8. As an as-an- aside, I have also taken a part an old chest drill used in oughering (again sp?) holes in wood. Then I have been able to go up to about 3/4". Wayne.