MOTHER's Survey: Comparing Drill Press Equipment

MOTHER's survey shares the results comparing drill press equipment from different manufacturers, includes information on bench-top drill press vs standing drill press, weight of machines and the importance of repair parts


| November/December 1985


In MOTHER's last issues, we cut through the mysteries of two major shop tools, the table and band saws. Now we'll explore the ins and outs of another work saver by comparing drill press equipment from different manufacturers. (See MOTHER's drill survey chart in the image gallery.)

If you thought a drill press was strictly a production metalworking machine, it's time to reconsider: These one-time behemoths have been slimmed down, lightened up, and priced in a range comparable with other home-shop tools. What's more, with the addition of a number of accessories, a drill press can do far more than bore right-on-the-money holes in wood or metal . . . it can be used as a router, drum sander, circle cutter, rotary planer, buffer, shaper, and mortising chisel, as well.

Though drill presses are available in both standing and bench-top models, the floor units are nearly always the better buys unless you're specifically looking for a more compact tool. (If that's the case, you'll still find valuable information in this article and in the accompanying chart; some of the bench units are available as shortened versions of the heavy-duty stationary models, while others are clearly meant for lighter, less severe service.)

Let's start comparing drill press equipment with the machine itself. With the exception of the industrial-type radial drill presses (which incorporate a horizontal arm to allow a range of lateral adjustment), most of the tools on the market share a similar design. Starting at the bottom, the base serves as a pedestal, a column support, and—in some circumstances—a secondary work surface. The column is simply a stanchion that carries an adjustable worktable and supports the machine's main element, the head.

This all-important component consists of the motor, a step-pulley drive system, and a spindle that rotates within a housing known as the quill. The quill's vertical movement is controlled by the feed lever, and its stroke can be limited with the depth stop. A splined-shaft arrangement allows the spindle—and the chuck fastened to the end of it—to move up and down with the quill.

Know Your Drill Press Options

One of the most attractive features of a drill press is its versatility, so keep that in mind when window-shopping. If your sole purpose in buying the tool is to precision-bore holes in small pieces of stock, a bench-top model may suit you fine. On the other hand, if you wish to take full advantage of the machine's total capabilities, the standing version is probably a better choice, since, with its longer column, it can accommodate small, large, and oddly shaped workpieces.





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