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  • Looking for a Drill Press

    Since all of my machining equipment is stored until I get a workshop built, even my Bridgeport is stored. I need to buy at least a Drill Press for my two-car garage. I've never owned one, so I haven't a clue what to look for. Suggestions are appreciated.

  • #2
    Get the Bport out of storage.

    The end.

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    • #3
      They all suck. A 12 speed with an actual morse taper (MT2 prob) might get you by.
      21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
      1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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      • #4
        You will have a new appreciation for a B'port , after using a general duty drill press..

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        • #5
          I don't think the typical import drill press can go slow enough for general use even with the double reduction. In my opinion they have a lot of speeds but not a low enough range for larger drills , say much over 1/2 or 5/8". Of course it depends on the size of the projects you are doing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wdtom View Post
            I don't think the typical import drill press can go slow enough for general use even with the double reduction. In my opinion they have a lot of speeds but not a low enough range for larger drills , say much over 1/2 or 5/8". Of course it depends on the size of the projects you are doing.
            It depends on many things. My atlas/Clausing 1800 has a lowest spindle speed of 250 rpm, but it is rated for 1" drills in CI. Single reduction, MT3 spindle.

            Agree that Import anything seems to be set up for spinning really fast at low torque, with 10" or larger lathes that have no speed under 150 rpm, etc.
            CNC machines only go through the motions

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            • #7
              If you are thinking of a new something, you will be disappointed. A nice very older 17" or 20" Delta from the 40s or 50s properly set up with a 3 phase motor and VFD will work much better than anything new.

              This is one I sold several years ago to a friend.
              Click image for larger version

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              Grantham, New Hampshire

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              • #8
                By a Fosdick, Delta, Buffalo, Walker-Turner, C. Allen, etc. Almost any old iron is better than CCC.

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                • #9
                  A view of the old (1952) Atlas-Clausing 1800. I do not have the belt guard for mine, but it is nearly 7 feet high, so not much of an issue.

                  Not sure I would recommend the standard smaller Atlas drill presses, although they are better than the chicom ones. Clausing, or industrial Atlas (that were transitioned to Clausing) are fine.

                  CNC machines only go through the motions

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                  • #10
                    I've got a slightly older Palmgren that I like, it's good for ~250 - 3,200 RPM with a Reeves drive, MT3 and digital readout of RPM.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    • #11
                      I beg to differ. I am a fan of the 1980s Taiwanese drill presses. They have a work light, depth stop, and the table cranks up and down. They are also inexpensive. I have rebuilt several of them and once they are correctly set up they are not unpleasant to use. I have gone as far as to tear the motor down and have its rotor balanced. This made a serious difference in the machine. The vibration normally associated with these drill presses was just gone. This is what the 3MT drill press looked like after I finished it: - metalmagpie

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                      • #12
                        If you want to drill metals, get a DP with double reduction pulleys.
                        Less speed, more torque. If you have 3 phase and a VFD, they
                        work pretty good too. A very good press are those 17" Delta/Walker Turners
                        made from WW2 and later. I have one with the geared low speed attachment
                        that mounts on the end of the quill, just like a tapping head might mount.
                        It has the larger series of step pulleys also. Very well thought out machines.

                        Jerry, your big Atlas make me think of my friend who has the same machine.
                        He has it powered by a static phase converter (motor starter) and he found
                        out by accident that it has a very cool feature. If you bog the motor way down
                        like really forcing a large drill bit, or maybe power tapping and you bottom out
                        the tap, the motor will momentarily stall, and then the static box kicks in the
                        caps again, and for some unknown reason, the motor starts up IN REVERSE !
                        Nice when power tapping because it backs the tap out for you. If you shut the
                        power down and re-start the motor, it will start up back forward again. There
                        is no reversing switch. This just happens when you load the motor down to the
                        point of stalling, and the static start cap relay kicks in and the you get instant
                        reverse. Oddest thing I ever seen, well next to that spacecraft, but you know
                        what I mean.

                        --Doozer
                        DZER

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                        • #13
                          I agree with metal magpie, I have the same DP. The smaller, lighter imports tend to run too fast for big drills in steel. Another thing to consider is quill travel, many fall short of adequate. I'd prefer 6" or more. My 20" Tiawan press has a little over 5" and I get by okay with that. Lastly get one with a internally tapered spindle, like a #2 or #3 morse taper. I know some pretty good presses have a external taper, like a #33 Jacobs. Delta/Rockwell machines come to mind. I have one of each type, and much prefer the morse taper socket.
                          I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                          Oregon, USA

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                          • #14
                            Geez guys, he's after something to get by for now until his shop is built and all the other heavy gear comes out of storage.

                            For just about any use in drilling metal though I would agree that the type with the middle pulley that allows for a double reduction is the way to go. And that pretty well automatically puts you up into the size range of the style shown in metalmagpie's post or the slightly smaller MT2 version still with the double reduction.

                            In fact my own mid 80's Asian import bench top model has proven so handy that I've never felt the need to upgrade it and it still serves me very well. And it is one of the slightly smaller MT2 models. A few times I've thought about a bigger one. But for me in my size of metal working it simply hasn't been needed. Oh sure, here and there it's a struggle to get something or other into position and needed an outboard support. But it's proven to be a handy size with good metal working speeds for the scale of work I do in my metal working.

                            Here's a shot of the center island with the lower top height showing the faithful drill press sitting back to back with the new mini knee mill back when the shop wasn't so cluttered.

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                            If you can find one of these bench top MT2 DP's that has the double reduction pulley setup for cheap you might like it well enough that it finds a place in your eventual shop for quick and handy hole drilling. I've used it to drill up to 1" holes with a couple of steps. It wasn't happy about it. I'd say 3/4" is a far more realistic maximum size. But it got the job done.



                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                              By a Fosdick, Delta, Buffalo, Walker-Turner, C. Allen, etc. Almost any old iron is better than CCC.
                              Be careful with Buffalo. Buffalo forge and blower built excellent machines. Chicom drills with the Buffalo nameplate are junk.

                              Clausing and Powermatic also built good machines.

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