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Drill Presses

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Meet the Presses
 
6 drill presses go head-to-head in a WOOD magazine tool test.
 
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    • Meet the Presses      Drill Press Chart
    Tool and Tool Buying Forum

 
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Although you might not think about it much, we're willing to bet you rely on your drill press more than you realize. Besides boring holes at exact angles with dead-on repeatability, a drill press also is the safest way to use large hole-makers, such as Forstner bits and circle cutters. You can even press it into service for mortising, drum-sanding, or clamping parts in a tough glue-up. Choose well, and a drill press can be one of your best and longest-lasting friends in the shop.

How we learned all about the drill team
After unpacking and assembling the six models in our test, we measured for runout (wobble caused by an off-center or bent spindle) at the quill, chuck, and 2-1/2" below the chuck using a precision-ground steel rod and a dial indicator. To gauge the reliability of the depth stops, we chucked a twist bit into each machine, set the stop to 1/2", and drilled 100 holes into 3/4" medium-density fiberboard (MDF). We then measured the difference in depth between the first and last holes, and noted the difference.

Next, we observed the power of the press by setting it to its lowest speed, then boring with a 2" Forstner bit and a 2 1/2" hole saw. Although the ampere ratings vary among the models, all of the drill presses handled the test without difficulty.

Finally, we put each machine through a month's worth of use, performing such tasks as drilling angled holes, drum-sanding, mortising, and more. During these tests we noted the ease of moving the drive belts to change speeds, as well as any difficulties in clamping a fence or workpiece to the table.

To learn the results of our tests of the Craftsman 22917N, Delta 17-965, Grizzly G7944 and G7946, Jet JDP-17MF, and Shop Fox W1680, pick up the October 2001 issue of WOOD magazine and turn to page 84.


 

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