Bad choice

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Review by ralbuck posted 12-22-2017 09:17 PM 2385 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bad choice No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Although H-F has some good power tools this is NOT one of them.

Way underpowered. Sloppy run out—at least 1/8th wobble on a longer bit even having been re-positioned in the chuck many times. Depth control is real JUNK! Table is not square to the bit,

It does have a nice switch location, handles, (although it takes lock -tight to keep them tight, they are comfortable and easy on the hands. The light uses a standard bulb and is positioned well for work.

Not very usable for cribbage boards due to the wobble and slop.

It is only for light occasional work; motor got hot drilling cribbage boards holes in cedar!

I will say that the H-F people tried hard to treat me right! The product is just junk!

I have their mini-lathe and it is a terrific value. I have used it almost 2 years and am slowly learning to run a lathe. I have had no issues with it; even with NO Knowledge of lathe operation to begin with.

Save your money for a better drill press.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View ralbuck's profile


6577 posts in 3112 days

18 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile


9635 posts in 2888 days

#1 posted 12-22-2017 09:45 PM

Maybe this is just a bad one. Not saying that this drill press is top quality at all but sounds like it should be somewhat better. You never know with their tools but there are some gems.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


19515 posts in 4521 days

#2 posted 12-22-2017 10:37 PM

I would think it should be at least as good as a hand held drill motor ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Grumpy's profile


26603 posts in 4696 days

#3 posted 12-22-2017 11:44 PM

Ralbuck, sorry to hear your choice was not too good but at least you have warned others

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Tooch's profile


2013 posts in 2721 days

#4 posted 12-23-2017 01:18 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience, albeit a bad one. Please don’t hold it against the city of Pittsburgh, those tools definitely are NOT made here!!!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3576 posts in 2340 days

#5 posted 12-23-2017 09:32 AM

Run out: Did you check the quill/spindle run out .vs. the drill chuck run out?
Would interesting to know if the spindle and bearings are sloppy, or if problem is poorly machined chuck assembly.

Most drill press have a “removable” chuck attached to morse taper shaft. The tapered shaft is “wedged” into matching tapered bore of the spindle, which is riding on bearings and attached to overhead pulley system.
It is possible for the morse taper shaft to get loose inside the taper (without it failing out) and this exaggerates any chuck run out. Can also get dirt on mating surfaces which is bad too. Most times run out can be minimized with simple removal and rotation of the chuck taper shaft. Anyone doing precise machine work would check/tweak run out as part of new machine set up. :-)

No one likes to buy a new tool and then need to spend time and more money on other tools to set up and tune the new toy. BUT – minimizing quill/chuck run out with a drill press is almost same as aligning miter slots/rip fence/blade for a table saw? Only need dial indicator & magnetic base, can pick both up at HF for <$30. Plus you can use same dial indicator on table saw alignment with simple miter slot fixture. (wink, wink)

Table to Drill square: Was problem the table not flat, table mounting bracket poorly machined (table not square to column), or head spindle not parallel to vertical column?
These cheap drill presses have head clamped to vertical column via a bore that has pinch clamp on back, and set screw on side to lock the head into a position aligned over the base. The vertical column should be parallel to the main spindle (take out chuck to check). It is easy for head mounting to get tweaked during transportation, and unless something is bent; can be re-adjusted back into square.

Junk is still junk, but if a better quality drill chuck would fix the run out problem and still let an inexpensive drill press preform well, might be worth trouble?

I have an 40 year old El-cheapo Taiwan made, floor model drill press bought brand new from a local farm and fleet store on sale. HF still sells the same 16 speed design today! It has had it’s share of run out/square problems. When I changed my old school chuck (with key) to quality key-less chuck bought from MSC, I learned just how bad the run out was on my original chuck and how to minimize it.

Hope this helps other cheap drill press aficionados!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View hunter71's profile


3530 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 12-23-2017 11:17 AM

The old saying “you get what you pay for” is not as true today as it once was. I am a hard shopper now that SS pays me. I am not afraid to send something back and do just this, post the REVIEW.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Oldtool's profile


3024 posts in 3036 days

#7 posted 12-23-2017 01:21 PM

Thanks for sharing, this post will provide valuable information to those considering HF for tools.
With HF it’s hit or miss on quality. I have some of their power tools, purchased because of the low price & the knowledge I would only use them occassionally. I’m willing to work with the shortcomings of the tool, like the $14 hand grinder which I’ve only used once in three years, but I needed it at the time for a project.

As hunter71 says, “you get what you pay for”.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

#8 posted 12-23-2017 01:43 PM

I think this is the famous ”$49 five speed drill press” we all see advertised in the ads?

I knew a guy who bought five to put in a line to drill holes in the guitars he was making. It didn’t work out for him, either.
Thanks for the review!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View ralbuck's profile


6577 posts in 3112 days

#9 posted 12-23-2017 05:53 PM

I have used and also owned other “economy” drill presses that were MUCH better in almost all aspects. I do like the light, and the handles. I am going to be replacing this. The whole shaft wobbles; the bad runout is not in the chuck itself or in bent bits; I checked both with a small square too.

I am very pleased with the El Cheapo mini-lathe I purchased at H-F though. Their clamp quality has been improving too. I will still buy some things there, just, I will be very shy about their electric tools from here out.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View TwoThumbBruce's profile


53 posts in 3862 days

#10 posted 12-25-2017 01:48 AM

I’ve had my share of HF tools and suffered with them for years. Better than nothing, but now it’s sunset time and I’ve called in my chips, moved to Florida and threw out/gave away those “gems” and now on the market for better quality. I must say that having a table saw with lousy bearings that made the blade wobble, several tools that the plastic switches broke off, and many other minimal “features”, what I’ve gone through will help me appreciate quality tools.

-- Bruce, Florida

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3726 days

#11 posted 12-25-2017 03:54 PM

I’ve had decent luck with my HF stuff even though I’ve only purchased one power tool from them. I use them for items like metal brakes and link belts.

The one power tool I did buy was a buffer/sander to buff a sail boat hull. All I needed was a tool to spin a bonnet and it did just fined doing that. I ended up concaving foot stool tops with it as well. I’ve had it for about 15 years and it still works to this day.

View Ted78's profile


409 posts in 2845 days

#12 posted 12-26-2017 06:54 PM

I think they’ve cheapened this up in recent years/months. I have a $49 drill press from HF I’ve used for years with little issue. Small and not a power house, fit and finish is a little rough on the castings, but materials and design are good if nothing fancy. I know at the very least the table is much thinner and flimsier on the one I saw in the store the other day than on the drill I have. Maybe other cost cutting measures have been made as well.

-- Ted

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409 posts in 2845 days

#13 posted 12-26-2017 06:59 PM

I just noticed that giant HF hole saw on that little saw. I can assure you that would require a VERY light touch and be very slow going on that press. I know becasue I’ve done it. If you sharpen the hole saw up a bit fist (they don’t come very sharp) stick the belt on it’s slowest speed, take a very light tough and drill thin enough stock from both sides it can be done, but it’s asking a lot from that little 1/4 motor.

-- Ted

View TwoThumbBruce's profile


53 posts in 3862 days

#14 posted 12-26-2017 08:06 PM

CaptainK – You may not be a woodworker, but your advice is very helpful. I’ve attempted to do some of the things you talked about but not really knowing what I was doing.

Guys (and Gals)—- I think HF has a place for many of us for certain products, but I think that for the key machines, it’s hard to beat a quality tool that you’ll enjoy long after you forgot what you paid for it.

-- Bruce, Florida

View Annia Palmer's profile

Annia Palmer

13 posts in 1014 days

#15 posted 12-27-2017 10:37 AM

I also appreciate with you. H-F power tools are not a good product. A Couple month ago I bought H-F Drill Press. I did not open it for six weeks due just had not had time to use it. When I open it worked the first day the second day it would not come on I am guessing it is the power switch. Looks like its to late to return, looks like I am stuck with a 63.00 drill press that did not work. I will never buy any H-F power tools.

-- Annia Palmer

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