Drill Press Features

rcarmac

Robert
Corporate Member
6" throw is great.
quality made USA is even better.
Below are three USA presses. The one on the left is a restored DC-drive 1941 14" Delta but it only has a 4" throw. That one is being replaced by the Delta in the middle that has a 6" throw and is a 15" press. The one on the right is a 380 lb. Powermatic 1150, the king of 15" presses IMO. It has a production table. I got the Delta 15" for $106.00 and the Powermatic for $55.00 at public surplus auction. Both needed restoration work which I gladly did to get the end results. I've seen the Asian stuff at the Woodcraft stores and I feel sorry for anyone burdened with having to choose a new drill press as their only choice.


View attachment 198623

Naturally not all USA made and old drill presses are worth the restoration process

View attachment 198624
mine looks like the one in the middle, however my handle is different
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
The one in the middle is a 1975 Delta 15-665 6x6 (6" throw with 6 speeds). I had to compete to get this one even though it was three phase. It is going to be hard to get a quality upgrade these days from that. Sure, one can find presses with more flimsy features but nothing built that well. Most everything I see now looks like claptrap from a Sharper Image catalog.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
The biggest issue I find with my DP, that is more of a pain than changing belts (I solved that by using a more powerful 3 phase motor a VFD, and a digital tach) is changing the table height. The crank and rack and pinion are worthless making it a real pain to change the table height. I have two designs to solve that, but have found neither the time nor motivation to implement either one. :rolleyes:
I had the same problem with my old Craftsman DP without R & P and solved it with a pulley, some rope, and an old window sash weight.
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
I'm with Bob... that old Rockwell would be my preference if you can address your runout issue. Is the wobble in the quill or the spindle? You might just need $30 of bearings.

My opinions on the new bells and whistles are dim...Perhaps there are better laser sights out there, but the ones I've used are junk, the beams are always too wide/diffuse for any real accuracy. A center punch and one's own eyes can do much better, though I can certainly see the advantage if your eyesight is bad. Infinitely variable speed... Why? Unless you're drilling large holes in plate steel, a 3-speed, belt change drill press can do everything you need. When have I wished I had an intermediate speed between 780 and 1140 RPM? Never. The punch-a-depth system on the Nova is cool, I'll give you that, and certainly faster than moving a depth stop nut. But how many precision stopped holes do you do to make it worth it?

Just my preference for simple, well-built tools. And I certainly would put that Nova in my shop in a heartbeat if, say, I won it in a raffle. But if I had $1700 to spend on a DP, I would spend $300 on the DP and take my wife to Santa Fe for a long weekend instead.
 

Charlie

Charlie
Corporate Member
If you can find a Delta 20-950 (has been discontinued for quite some time, so they are like hen's teeth to find), grab it.
I have had one for 10+ years. It has everything you would want:
Variable speed (Reeves Drive)
6" quill travel
Large table which tilts left, right and forward. Raises and lowers very easily
Quick change depth stop.
Check out this site for more info: Delta 20-950 20-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press Review

I recently looked at the Powermatic PM2820EVS ($2000) and it is nowhere near the quality of the Delta.
 

Alan in Little Washington

Alan Schaffter
Corporate Member
One more comment about raising and lower the table- rarely after such a maneuver does the bit strike the same spot. Again, I've figured that one out too, but as they say . . . .
At this point I'm looking at two options. Like Dennis, one is a (manual) pulley and counterweight system (or pulley and adjustable spring system to account for various table weights) or (manual or electric) heavy leadscrew and follower system- an expensive option.

On speed change- not that having continuously variable speed isn't necessary or even that it is still nice to have, for me the benefit or pleasure is being able to quickly and easily change the speed with the twist of a knob. I tinker in wood and metal so must often change speeds over a wide range. Before I modified it, my Delta had two stepped pulleys, one stepped idler, and two belts which made changing speeds over a wide range a real pain, so I rarely did it- and my bits suffered because of that.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
A tip that works for me on the press tables with a gear rack is to grip the table at the back and front and give a little twist while raising. Lifting force should be 60% at the back of the table and 40% at the front. That way, the user avoids the bind.
 

striker

Stephen
Corporate Member
Hi Robert, I worked with your brother for some years....I feel for you:)

I think when I'm ready for a drill press I'll look for a used Clausing 15" machine. They are available in used machinery houses or you find them on online machinery actions. Usually 1800 range. Some are are VS and some step pulley. I've used them in a commercial setting where they ran day in and day out. Good depth stop, easy belt change, solid machine.

good luck with your hunt.
 

rcarmac

Robert
Corporate Member
The one in the middle is a 1975 Delta 15-665 6x6 (6" throw with 6 speeds). I had to compete to get this one even though it was three phase. It is going to be hard to get a quality upgrade these days from that. Sure, one can find presses with more flimsy features but nothing built that well. Most everything I see now looks like claptrap from a Sharper Image catalog.
Do you have any tips for working on it and restoring it. My guess is the bearings are the main issue. Mine is only the 1 bar handle, not the handle you have with 3 pull points. I will try and get the model number today
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
My guess is the bearings are the main issue.
Bad bearings causing bit wobble is very unlikely. Most likely its the chuck that grips the bit. Lots to go wrong over the years with a chuck. Also, some of the 4" throw presses of that era came with horrible chucks. A good chuck from that era will be a Jacobs 633C.

Here's some chuck photos from my archive that you may find helpful.

1  Chuck probs - 1.jpg1  Chuck probs - 2.jpg1  Chuck probs - 3.jpg1  Chuck probs - 4.jpg1  Chuck probs - 5.jpg1  Chuck probs - 6.jpg
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Brief thread hijack: Hey Bob, you don't have a lead on a rebuild kit for that exact chuck, the 633C, do you? I've been wanting to rebuild mine for a while, but the kit, Part # U6, seems to be unobtanium.

Bad bearings causing bit wobble is very unlikely. Most likely its the chuck that grips the bit. Lots to go wrong over the years with a chuck. Also, some of the 4" throw presses of that era came with horrible chucks. A good chuck from that era will be a Jacobs 633C.

Here's some chuck photos from my archive that you may find helpful.

View attachment 198628View attachment 198629View attachment 198630View attachment 198631View attachment 198632View attachment 198633
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
The biggest issue I find with my DP, that is more of a pain than changing belts (I solved that by using a more powerful 3 phase motor a VFD, and a digital tach) is changing the table height. The crank and rack and pinion are worthless making it a real pain to change the table height. I have two designs to solve that, but have found neither the time nor motivation to implement either one. :rolleyes:
I don't have a rack and pinion, just a shimmy up-down table, but I blast the column yearly or so with WD-40 brand PTFE dry lube, and it's more slippery than a politician, goes up and down with ease.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Here are some pictures of mine. It’s a Rockwell 15-069
My guess is that chuck is the problem.
The 15-069 was marketed for the home workshop rather than industry. The industrial version of that 4" throw press had a better chuck and better switch and that's about it. That industrial version was $369.50 in 1979. Adjusted for today's inflation, that price would be $1408.00 today so that;s the relative quality level press you've got.

Look right above the chuck on the spindle and see if there is a threaded ring. There probably is. That ring was there to accommodate the 633C chuck that usually came with the industrial version.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Brief thread hijack: Hey Bob, you don't have a lead on a rebuild kit for that exact chuck, the 633C, do you? I've been wanting to rebuild mine for a while, but the kit, Part # U6, seems to be unobtanium.
No rebuild kits. Getting a good 633C chuck takes some careful looking. A bad one can look good on the outside but can have worn jaws or dings around the mouth that deflects a jaw and makes the drill bit wobble.

It used to be no big deal about getting a good chuck or a worn one and swapping parts. These days, there are some pretty awful things sold in the guise of a key chuck. On the other hand, the imported keyless chucks are of amazing quality when keeps the price at $50.00 or above. go figure.
 

Brian Patterson

Bstrom
Senior User
Many years ago I was lucky enough to score a floor model Rikon radial arm drill press. New the floor model sells for about $500. The table top version for about $400.
I scored a Rockwell radial arm drill press last year for $125 that is in great shape - he actually had two but I didn't expect to be able to sell it so I left it there.
 

HMH

Heath Hendrick
Senior User
Interesting thread/ read! I’m in the unique position of having a restored Delta Rockwell 17” press, as well as a new Delta 18” (18-900) press in my garage right now, (I just finished building a new house, and am in the process of setting up-shop - for the last time, “forever home”, etc). Both arguably the Cadillac’s of their generation. That said, I’m historically an OWWM guy, (having leaned on Mr Vaughn’s advise many times to date), but honestly am having a hard time deciding which to keep, and which to pass along. That said, I’m only keeping one....the new Delta is well built for what it is, and the forward-tilting table, laser, and LED work light is very nice - but the Rockwell is an absolute tank, (at least 2x the weight), and I have a 3 phase motor on it w/ a VFD to run on standard single phase power, while providing infinite speed control vs the belt driven manual speed changes on the “new” Delta.

Robert, I’ll shoot you a PM if you’d like to come help me decide!
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I scored a Rockwell radial arm drill press last year for $125 that is in great shape - he actually had two but I didn't expect to be able to sell it so I left it there.
That was an amazing score. I rebuilt one years back and loved it. I'd still have it if it weren't for the space it took up. It was the ultimate woodworker's drill press.

1  15-126 - 1.jpg
Rockwell radial arm drill press 15-126
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
As the Nova was too expensive, and I looked at two Jets in our local stores, both the depth adjuster did not work, I bought a used Delta, but it was a mistake. I should have bought a Palmgren. I really wish I had a Reeves drive as I would pick the right speed more often.

Many don't go slow enough so I thought, but recent use of my big flying arm cutter doing 4 and 5 inch cutouts suggest the super slow speeds aren't really right. Going to re-asses that. Turns out I don't go below 500 or so anyway even a big bit into steel. Probably because I never drill steel in one pass in the first place. On many, the table does not flip 90 degrees to clamp a long piece for edge drilling. Many have too short a quill travel.

Bought a mid-grade key-less chuck which is a disaster as there is not enough holding power in the belts and motor to snug it, so I have to open the top and hold the spindle. A key would be easier. If I don't buy another DP, I may rig some sort of brake.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Looking back at my notes for 17 inch floor standing, from $650 to $1800

Klutch ( Northern), Palmgren 80177 , Jet JDP-17, Ricon 30-217 , Powermatic PM2800B, Nova Voyager 58000
Every time I use my Delta, I think about an upgrade. As usual, I wanted to go cheap, so now get to do it again.

I found less than the beefiest DP would flex enough that even using Forsner bits to rough a mortice, the flex was messing me up. I had a benchtop Craftsman what was way too flimsy. Seems the same ROT is for all tools: The more iron, the better!
 

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