Drill press question-size

bgdawgrr

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So I’ve never had one in my shop, but want a small bench top drill press.
I was looking and it shocked me I could get an 8” Wen press under $100. To jump up to a 10”, it’s closer to $200.
One hand, since I’ve never had a press and what I think I’ll use it for is generally smaller, it may be the ticket. The other hand, I’m a buy once, cry once guy.
What’s the opinion on what I should get? Space isn’t a premium, but not looking to sacrifice a ton of space
 
Here's a good place to start. I like the Griz. Their stuff is quality and they stock replacement parts for all models.
Grizzly deals primarily with metal working. If you're into woodworking, go with a Delta. Speeds are different for the two categories. If you don't mind used, you can stumble across drill presses in garage sales and on Craigslist. I picked up a nice old Orbit thru a govdeals auction. Of course that takes a bit of time and patience.
If I had to buy something new I would go Grizzly though.

Shop Tools and Machinery at Grizzly.com
 
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+1 for Grizzly. I had always looked to them for woodworking before I discovered they carried metalworking machines.
I have a floor stand model that I bought at Salem Tools almost 30 years ago. The drill spindle and cast table are true to each other (i.e. 90°), has a Morse taper spindle, and the chuck still grips great. I've drilled thousands of holes, and pressed out and seated dozens of bearings and seals.
 
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As others have mentioned I would go floor. It's just nice to have the extra swing room if you ever need it. Price depends a lot on what you expect from the tool. I have one from Harbor Freight I have had many years and it works great. You have to have real expectations though on price vs what you get.
 
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^^^This^^^
I bought a floor stand ('60s?) made-in-Japan Jet at an auction for $80. It was welded to an old semi truck brake drum, is extremely stable and well built, and has 4 speeds. Older tools are typically just really well built.
I previously stored/used my dad's 90s vintage Jet bench top. There were many times that I found it lacking.

If you really are buy once-cry once, I'd suggest big and old.
 
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Buy used. My Craftsman floor mount drill press is at least 50 years old still performes as well as most of the affordibly priced presses sold new today. It was given to me, after I brought it home I gave it a quick clean up and lube. If the motor ever shows signs of failing it's a simple replacement and it'll be good for another 50 years of home use, unlike many of the modern consumer grade presses.
 
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In your search for used, if you ever come across a drill press brand "Anjo", buy it. I've seen them in automotive school shops and used one for ~8 years. Auto feeds, coolant systems, gear boxes (rather than belts), very herky tables, can often be found as a swing head type.
 
^^^This^^^
I bought a floor stand ('60s?) made-in-Japan Jet at an auction for $80. It was welded to an old semi truck brake drum, is extremely stable and well built, and has 4 speeds. Older tools are typically just really well built.
I previously stored/used my dad's 90s vintage Jet bench top. There were many times that I found it lacking.

If you really are buy once-cry once, I'd suggest big and old.
Amen to that. I picked up and nice pedestal grinder/wire wheel at a local estate sale. This thing was built in the 70's and will last way past my estate sale.
 

Ownerus

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For a smaller drill press (not tiny) I prefer floor models. Allows easy repositioning of the machine when needed. If youre only going to have one, go bigger if you can. 8"+ between the spindle and column is a minimum for versatility IMO.
I'd also go with a Morse taper spindle. A #2 Morse taper is common on average small shop sized drill presses. More spindle speed selection is also desirable, at least for metal work. Usually accomplished by moving belts around.
 
I would scour the used adds and auctions for a good Shop-Smith, hands down one of the most versatile and well made units out there! Mine is a combo Lathe, drill press, table saw, planer and sander plus a few other things I cant remember right now!
Out side of that, a good Floor press is the way to go! Variable speeds are a must, and the slower the better!
Bonus is you can add a cross slide compound vice to the good ones, and turn it into a manual milling machine!
 

Ownerus

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Aside from cutting wood or plastic or possibly aluminum with very small cutters, attempting to use a drill press as a mill will be frustrating. The spindle and bearings are simply not rigid enough for milling. Though the X-Y positioning table can be good for precise hole location, stepping off hole patterns etc.
 
Aside from cutting wood or plastic or possibly aluminum with very small cutters, attempting to use a drill press as a mill will be frustrating. The spindle and bearings are simply not rigid enough for milling. Though the X-Y positioning table can be good for precise hole location, stepping off hole patterns etc.
Grizzly has a nice selection of drill/mills. Best of both worlds. It's on my bucket list.
 

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