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I know that many of the members here have lots of experience with shop tools. I'm looking for a recommendation for a mid-priced drill press. I gave my Shopsmith away, and occasionally I need a drill press. I don't want to spend megabucks, but I want one better than harbor freight-quality.

thanks in advance

ken
 

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Ken, There's really nothing wrong with Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, or other off shore brands. I had a Northern Tool for 15 years, then lost it in a divorce. I then bought a Harbor Freight, maybe 20 years ago. Belts can wear, no matter who makes the drill press. Drill chucks can also wear but are replaceable, as well as the motor. The only other questionable area would be spindle stability/accuracy. 99% of the time, you'll be drill in to a layout, so accuracy isn't an issue.

Two things I'd recommend: a vise and get a floor model, not a bench model. You never know exactly what you'll be drilling next and the floor model has more versatility. Bob
 

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I have a Delta I bought probably 15 yrs ago. IIRC I paid less than $400 for it new. I do not use it often but wouldn't part with it. Same for my 20 ton HF press. Both have served me well.

And Bob is correct. Best buy is a floor model and include a vise.
 

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Wish I HAD bought a floor model but in my small shop, just didn't have the room. I have three drill presses in there!
 

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I know that many of the members here have lots of experience with shop tools. I'm looking for a recommendation for a mid-priced drill press. I gave my Shopsmith away, and occasionally I need a drill press. I don't want to spend megabucks, but I want one better than harbor freight-quality.

thanks in advance

ken
Yeah, you don't want harbor freight. Not these days. I am familiar with what they used to sell, and frankly, the new ones are not that. (How bad is that when Harbor Freight takes a dive in quality?) Drill presses aren't cheap any more either. I'm not sure just what you're looking for, but generally speaking, if you need a drill press at hobby prices, my strong suggestion is to craigslist one. Even if you could craigslist an old Harbor Freight drill press from ten or twenty years ago.... That's a nice step up from what's on the floor right now. (And these new HF drills do work, but for that money, you can do better. Tables that are not plausibly square to the column, heads that are not square to the column, quills with .060 inch of slop in the head, plastic pulleys that don't have the "hole" quite square in the middle... It's bad.) The old bog standard "Taiwan Import" pattern drills are usually plentiful and reasonably priced, and really quite effective depending on your use. (Watch though, a lot of them have an old, good brand on them that was sold out, hence some people with no bad intentions might unknowingly price them a little high.)

Another place I've had luck with in the past (several items, but not a drill press. Yet....), is Grizzly. They're fishing in the same crappy pond as Harbor Freight, but seem to have a little better quality control in place. By that, I mean there is some quality control, versus none. And you can get parts. They have some that I am very entertained by.

I'm guessing a little bit by your mention of the Shopsmith. Do you know what you're looking for yet? Bench? Floor? Swing? Horsepower? Metalworking? Woodworking? Jack of all trades? Hole size requirements in steel? Fly cutters, "safety routers", mortisers for wood? Any other special hopes or requirements? Myself and I'm sure others would probably have much more specific advice with a little info there, as I'm sure you know, drill presses, for as simple as they are all over the map in terms of size, quality, weight, rigidity, performance, capabilities, and of course price.
 
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