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Drill Press for Automotive Use - Radial arm or standard

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  • Drill Press for Automotive Use - Radial arm or standard

    Hey everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and I am in the market for a drill press. I have used my uncles newer Craftsman occasionally for small projects, but I was not impressed and I also just want my own.

    Drill Press Use: I will be using this to mainly drill out/thread steel brake rotor lug holes and center hub holes, brake caliper mounting holes and inlet holes, steel wheel hubs for pcd variations, aluminum wheel lug holes and center bore openings, and also for notching tube for bumpers and other misc fabrication.

    The drill press I am looking at is an older Rockwell/Delta 32" Radial Arm Tabletop Press. I figured the radial arm is good for getting into the center of a wheel. I'd like any advice as to what I should be looking for. I know most of you will say get a mill or lathe. I do not have the funds to do so or else I would. I'm self taught here and I want to learn as much as possible, as I am fascinated with machining and building things. My current budget is $300 and under. Is this a good press to do what I want to do??

    Thanks for any help/advice you post!!

  • #2
    The Rockwell radial arm drill press would be a pretty good deal for $300 if in good condition. That is likely the best you're going to do. I say grab it before it gets away. Get a decent mill as soon as your situation allows.

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    • #3
      I think especially if you do a lot of head work, a radial arm would be much better suited for the job. Much bigger table area would be just one benefit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Looking at pictures of the Rockwell radial drill models I see there are two styles. There's an older one with a larger table and cast arm that moves in a dovetail to extend. Then there's a model with tubular arm. Which one are you looking at?

        The older style with the cast arm looks to be a lot more solid and stiff than the one that uses the tubular arm. With the older style I think you would be OK with doing much of what you listed. With the tubular style arm I think it'll be too flexible to do some of what you listed. The flex that is inherent in the lighter arm size of the tubular model will lead to chatter and oval shaped holes in some of the jobs you list. Especially when stretched out quite a way. The greater the reach out the more possible will be the less than desirable results.

        I feel that the one with the tubular arm is far more suited to wood working than to metal working. Oh sure, it'll drill metal just fine up to a point. But some of what you listed is pretty critical in nature and demands fairly accurate and true results.

        You listed "boring out center holes in alloy wheels". That one sent up a bit of a red flag for me. If you're talking about using a fly cutter or boring head to do such work be warned that more than a few of us have tried milling with a drill press with less than stellar results. In fact most of us that have tried it found it to be a total failure and would give up the whole hobby if that was the only way possible to mill metal. Or only ever make round stuff in the lathe.

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        • #5
          The big problem with drill presses is that lightly built drill presses chatter like crazy on large holes. As in, 1/2" or bigger, which is right in your sweet spot when it comes to lug nuts. I would not choose a radial drill press (at least not one of these woodworking ones) because I believe they are even less rigid than today's import DPs.

          It's all about rigidity. And there isn't much you can do with a machine with a thin-walled column. Today's import DPs have really REALLY thin column wall thickness. The ones from the '80s and early '90s were much stronger.

          If I were you I'd resolve to take my time and go find a 17" or 20" drill press made in the '80s. Don't fall in love with "old American iron" which in this case translates to "homeowner grade". I bought a 20" drill press made in Taiwan awhile back and did a refurb on it. Now I love it. Try the link below to see it. - metalmagpie

          http://www.nwnative.us/Grant/shop%20...s/drillPress20

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Andre3127 View Post
            I think especially if you do a lot of head work, a radial arm would be much better suited for the job. Much bigger table area would be just one benefit.
            The drill press I am looking at is a tabletop press. I have never done head work so I am not sure if this would do the job. Would definitely be awesome if it could.

            Originally posted by BCRider View Post
            Looking at pictures of the Rockwell radial drill models I see there are two styles. There's an older one with a larger table and cast arm that moves in a dovetail to extend. Then there's a model with tubular arm. Which one are you looking at?

            The older style with the cast arm looks to be a lot more solid and stiff than the one that uses the tubular arm. With the older style I think you would be OK with doing much of what you listed. With the tubular style arm I think it'll be too flexible to do some of what you listed. The flex that is inherent in the lighter arm size of the tubular model will lead to chatter and oval shaped holes in some of the jobs you list. Especially when stretched out quite a way. The greater the reach out the more possible will be the less than desirable results.

            I feel that the one with the tubular arm is far more suited to wood working than to metal working. Oh sure, it'll drill metal just fine up to a point. But some of what you listed is pretty critical in nature and demands fairly accurate and true results.

            You listed "boring out center holes in alloy wheels". That one sent up a bit of a red flag for me. If you're talking about using a fly cutter or boring head to do such work be warned that more than a few of us have tried milling with a drill press with less than stellar results. In fact most of us that have tried it found it to be a total failure and would give up the whole hobby if that was the only way possible to mill metal. Or only ever make round stuff in the lathe.
            The arm flex is one of my concerns. I am unsure what model this is. The pictures remind me of the 11-090, but there is very little info in the sale ad. Seller is getting rid of it to purchase a newer floor press.



            As for center bore on wheels, I am looking to open up the hub to fit on different vehicles. Going from, say, 57.1 mm to 66.3mm. I have seen guys do this with a router and bit.....yes, you heard me right.....A ROUTER!! I'd much prefer doing it in a press, where it is locked down and I have control over the pressure and cutting. I have no clue what bit I would use to do the job and I am all ears as to what you guys recommend.


            At some point I would love to buy a lathe and bridgeport. Right now funds are non-existent and I am just trying to move projects forward with what I have and can afford. I may even consider a cheap mini lathe at some point just for small pieces like hubcentric rings, but as for now, that stuff is on back burner.

            Thanks for input so far!

            Comment


            • #7
              Wet noodle in a wind storm.
              A Cincinnati Bickford it is not.

              -D
              DZER

              Comment


              • #8
                JE, that's an even lighter version of the one I saw in the pictures. There is another model up from that which uses the same tubular ram but with a larger size tube. I figured that was the one you were considering.

                Looking at the other items around it I'm guessing that the tubes for the column and ram are only about 2 inches in diameter. So Doozer's "Wet noodle in a wind storm" sure does sound about right.

                This one is a lighter version of that. And frankly I'd consider it as only a step or two up from using the router idea you mentioned. I'd frankly suggest you save your money and put it along with a little more towards a model with more meat to it if that is the exact model the fellow is selling. It may be that the only way to find out is visit the fellow and see for yourself. But if it's a match for that picture I'd thank him for his time and walk away.

                The one you show might be fine for a wood worker looking for a bit longer a reach. But that's about the limit for something THAT light. It may or may not do half of what you hope to do but even at struggling to do half of what you want with a decent degree of accuracy I think you'd be lucky.
                Last edited by BCRider; 11-23-2016, 03:05 PM.

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                • #9
                  The DP you have pictured is a wood workers machine way to light and highspeed for what you are proposing. Your are going to need a slow speed spindle to make a hole in the 66mm range. less than 200 rpm. So factor that into your shopping.

                  good luck

                  lg
                  no neat sig line

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                  • #10
                    That is not the one I had in mind. The one in the picture will not do what you want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys! This is why I posted in here. Saved me from buying something that probably would not work for me. I guess I can do the small stuff like drilling the rotor lug holes to 5/8 and drilling/tapping new brake caliper ports on my uncles drill press for now. I'll keep saving and looking for a deep throat press I can afford. I want a Rockwell/Delta but would be open to suggestions as to what you may recommend.

                      Again Thanks Much!!!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have one of the above pictured Delta radial drills in my wood shop. It is somewhat acceptable for smallish holes in wood and nearly defines 'wet noodle'. A cheap floor press from Harbor Freight is a giant improvement as far as rigidity.
                        You need to determine the minimum distance you require from the column to chuck for your particular work, so you will know how big a machine you must have. A drill press is a very handy tool that you will use a lot, so try to get a decent and reasonably heavy one.
                        Location: North Central Texas

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Now if you could find THIS ROCKWELL RADIAL DRILL then you'd have something worth buying and using....

                          If you're into this sort of hobby for the long haul it is worth coming to an agreement with yourself that you will not buy crap tools just because they are cheap. A good drill press that will serve your needs for the rest of your shop days is the way to go. The one I use in my own metal shop was bought back in the early 80's and is still going strong. So figure on this being a life long investment and choose wisely. That way you'll get something you can use now and in the end will likely cost LESS because you never need to replace it later on.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi,

                            Nope, no benchtop Radial drill from Delta will do the job. They are strictly woodworker machine. You will need something bigger and more powerful.

                            Think of this as a minimum example http://www.grizzly.com/products/15-H...ce=grizzly.com Not saying you this is the one you need, but look at the specs, that's much closer to what you are talking about. Notice the swing size, the 2hp motor, and the speed range.

                            Until then, for the here and now. Handtools can do amazing things. A good hand drill with a good hole saw and a tight fitting plug to guide the saw can do what you want. And careful use with guides can help immensely maintaining location and angles. A MagDrill could also be pressed into service for much of what you are talking about.

                            Dalee
                            If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                              Now if you could find THIS ROCKWELL RADIAL DRILL then you'd have something worth buying and using....

                              If you're into this sort of hobby for the long haul it is worth coming to an agreement with yourself that you will not buy crap tools just because they are cheap. A good drill press that will serve your needs for the rest of your shop days is the way to go. The one I use in my own metal shop was bought back in the early 80's and is still going strong. So figure on this being a life long investment and choose wisely. That way you'll get something you can use now and in the end will likely cost LESS because you never need to replace it later on.
                              How about this one for $300??

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