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Best of the Chinese Drill Presses?????

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  • Best of the Chinese Drill Presses?????

    I've been researching drill presses and it doesn't take long to find negative comments about all the name brand presses that are made in China. I had narrowed it down to Palmgren but they are so heavy the shipping was going to be $128.

    Is there any consensus on which might be the best? I can get Jet, Westward, Dayton and Craftsman all local. I'm looking to speed around $500. Mainly I'm drilling 1/2 inch holes in 1/4 and 1/2 steel. I wish I could find one that was slower in spindle speed in that price range but all start around 240.

  • #2
    Jerry, maybe you can get what seems best local, ignoring the speed issue and play some games with the pulleys to get the speed down and torq up. If the Jet is Taiwan, it might not be bad. My Jet cast iron bandsaw is Taiwan made and gets three thumbs up from me. Never really looked at their DP's though, and mine is a super cheapo, works for me, but not good for what you need to do.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jerry43
      I've been researching drill presses and it doesn't take long to find negative comments about all the name brand presses that are made in China. I had narrowed it down to Palmgren but they are so heavy the shipping was going to be $128.

      Is there any consensus on which might be the best? I can get Jet, Westward, Dayton and Craftsman all local. I'm looking to speed around $500. Mainly I'm drilling 1/2 inch holes in 1/4 and 1/2 steel. I wish I could find one that was slower in spindle speed in that price range but all start around 240.

      If you want a good drill press for $500, find a used H.F. or other Rong Fu type Mill Drill. I sold mine because it was lacking as a milling machine but it was the best drill press I ever had. That way you would get 2 hp with a nice range of slower speeds, an X-Y table and R8 capability.

      I have a 1959 Craftsman 1/2" drill press that works well but the slowest speed on the spindle is around 450 rpm and that is much too fast for large holes. I'm considering modifying the speed somehow but it would take some effort and it's low on the list

      Now I have to drill larger holes on my Webb Mill. It works well but it's a lot bigger than your typical drill press.

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      • #4
        I have an very heavy older Griz G1201. At the time I bought it I think they only sold 2 models. It is not sold anymore, but it has what I think is a great feature. There are three pulleys and two belts. With this type of drive you can get very low rpm and high torque. Just what you need for larger holes in iron or steel. So my recommendation is to look for a drill press with a similar drive system. It is much better than the conventional two pulley drive.

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        • #5
          Drill presses

          I have two Craftsmen DP's that are 15-20 years old.
          One came from an industrial firm that abused it and I bought the other new.
          I don't use them much but both have been bulletproof except for the motor on the used one that was replaced before I bought it.

          I have no idea about the guality of todays Craftsman DP's.

          I also have two chinese 5 year old HF DP's in other shops and so far they have worked very well - no problems.
          One of these has been used to drill hundreds of 1" holes in 1/2" plate.

          I would say buy the cheapest that looks reasonably good and is local - no freight.
          You should spend less than $200
          If it breaks, take it back or buy another.
          Bill
          Last edited by Seastar; 02-25-2010, 09:41 AM.
          I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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          • #6
            I would say buy the cheapest that looks reasonably good and is local - no freight. You should spend less than $200. If it breaks, take it back or buy another.
            I agree with this --- Go to your local HF store and get one of their 12 speed DP's (one with the 3 pulleys) Scrounge up a 20% off coupon and as said, you should be able to get in under $200.

            I have one and I have to say its a pretty impressive tool for what they sell for - fit/finish/paint is just very good. While I dont do repetitive large holes, what I have done is handled with ease. (I cant recall what the low speed is but is pretty low)
            If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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            • #7
              I hadn't given HF much thought but I do see some attractive prices on their website so I will swing by there late today. I could junk a few of them for what Jet charges for one of theirs. Thanks for the info

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jerry43
                I hadn't given HF much thought but I do see some attractive prices on their website so I will swing by there late today. I could junk a few of them for what Jet charges for one of theirs. Thanks for the info

                Jet equipment is OK I guess but it's rather expensive compared to other Chi-com equipment.

                The idea of a three-pulley drill press is the key. That way you can get the slowest speeds. You definitely need the low speeds for the larger holes. My Webb Mill goes down to 70 rpm in low range so I'm OK there but I do like the ease of use of a regular drill press.

                I also have one of the small bench top H.F. drill presses with a 3/8" chuck that I bought on sale for $39.95. I use it upstairs in my barn on the second floor where do my hobby stuff. It's got three pulleys and, IIRC, it will go down to around 100 rpm. I only use it for smaller work, however so it's not critical. It's a real gem, though.

                Good luck.

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                • #9
                  My craftsman DP works beautifully! Good power, smooth, I like it.
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    I'll chime in with the other guys. A drill press is really a simple tool as tools go. Ain't much to them. I have a 1953 Delta that has been flawless for, well, since 1953 (too many fingers to count).

                    Don't spend a fortune on a DP. Buy a cheapie and play with pulleys for speed control. It will probably outlast you... and if it doesn't, give it to the junk man and get another.

                    $000,000,000.02 advice

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                    • #11
                      The 12 speed 3 pulley DP is a good choice. Don't forget to check Ebay & Craig's List. I found a brand new HF 12 speed 3 pulley on Ebay for $75 from a seller of damaged freight located in North Central Tennessee. It was missing the drill chuck and the box was torn and soaked with hydraulic fluid. I assembled it and it works great.

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                      • #12
                        There are at least five things wrong with a cheap import drill press.
                        - First, you've already noted the problem with too high a low speed.
                        - Second, they have a short spindle throw, perhaps as little as 3". You want something closer to 5".
                        - Third, they have cheap bearings.
                        - Fourth, there is no adjustment between the quill and the housing. Better drill presses have a split housing, which allows you to take up the fit for wear.
                        - Fifth, they make speed changes awkward enough that most users end up drilling most of their just-this-one holes at the wrong speed.

                        For $500 you can do way better. One approach is to buy a used Delta, Walker-Turner, Powermatic, Clausing, etc. with a belt drive and retrofit a 3 phase motor and VFD. Another approach is to buy a machine (Clausing, Powermatic, etc.) with a Reeves (mechanical variable speed) drive.

                        Even an old Shopsmith 10er ($100-200 used) makes a better and cheaper drill press than most imports. Long throw. Both vertical and horizontal operations. Decent speed range if fitted with the variable speed pulleys.

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                        • #13
                          Im with the poster who said buy an old round collumn mill from someone for $500

                          Little oversized for a drill press. maybe not quite as much Z as you'd like, but awsomely rigid for a drill press, the X/Y table is a blessing in aligning your drill to spot marks/etc. while new they are overpriced, lots of people let them go used for 1/2 to 1/3rd of new.

                          Some of them have very low min speeds too, like 120rpm.
                          Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                          • #14
                            It is fairly easy to add a jack shaft to a drill press and get really slow speeds if that is what is required, one of the old Popular Mechanics articles showed how to do it.

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                            • #15
                              Isn't it a bummer that there really isn't any other options these days. I have been thinking about that a lot. All of the US companies now have everything made in China, so there really isn't a choice to by American these days.

                              Greebe

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