Jet 17" Floor Standing Drill Press

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Review by Jarrhead posted 03-07-2010 05:29 PM 21563 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Jet 17" Floor Standing Drill Press No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I started wood working, a drill press was one of my first tool acquisitions. I bought a Delta 12 inch benchtop model, that has served me well, and continues to do so. Last year when I embarked on the “21st Century Workbench” project (see my project posts), I knew that the little Delta wasn’t going to be up to the task. It doesn’t have the necessary spindle travel to get through 3 inches of lumber, which was required for drilling the dog holes. There had been a few other instances when more capacity was required, so I set out to upgrade. I narrowed it down to two. The Powermatic 18” model (of which there is another review on this site), and the Jet JDP-17DX. Obviously, I opted for the Jet. The primary consideration was cost. The Jet was almost half the cost of the PM. The PM had features that, although nice, I suspected I would rarely use. Most significantly, the electronic speed control. I rarely need to change the speed on my drill press, so when I do, switching belts isn’t that big a deal. Overall, I would say that I am only moderately satisfied with this product. It boasts a “laser crosshair guide” that has limited usefulness. To start with, when the machine arrived, it was nowhere near properly adjusted. I tried for hours to adjust it according to the user’s manual, to no avail. The laser did not react to the adjustments as the manual suggested. I finally called Jet, and their technical department said, “Oh yeah, we’ve had some problems with some of those units”. They were great about sending me a replacement, which worked as advertised, kind of. I was able to get the crosshairs zeroed according to the manual. However, I have found that when you raise or lower the table, the “zero” does not remain constant. To use it at varying table heights, you need to adjust it at each height, which totally negates the usefulness of the feature, IMHO.
The other thing I find negative about this machine is the chuck. To put it simply, it “binds”. The collar does not rotate freely independent of the rest of the chuck body. So, unlike my much cheaper Delta, I cannot make rapid adjustments for differing sizes of drill bits. On the Delta, I can spin the collar with one hand while holding the bit with the other until it snugs down. Only the collar spins, the rest of the chuck remains motionless as the palls expand or contract, depending on whether I am loosening or tightening. Once the palls engage the bit, then I tighten with the chuck key. On the Jet, I have to hold the body of the chuck while I spin the collar. Otherwise, the friction spins the whole chuck, spindle, belts, and motor. It is very frustrating.
The last shortcoming I will note, is the table adjustment. It is somewhat difficult to raise or lower the table, and when you need to rotate the table to one side or the other for special clearance or such, the piece that the gear meshes with on the post tends to bind. I had similar issues with the Delta, although I will say that the table raises and lowers easier on the smaller machine. That is probably directly proportional to the difference in the weight of the tables. Both machines have the crank handle that effects those adjustments too close to the table. There are serious clearance issues for that crank, which are compounded when a larger sacrificial table is mounted.
In the end, the Jet JDP-17DX, does most of what it was engineered to do without too much trouble. I think there are better options out there though.

-- trn2wud

View Jarrhead's profile


91 posts in 4204 days

7 comments so far

View trimmer's profile


90 posts in 4286 days

#1 posted 03-07-2010 05:55 PM

Hi Jarrhead:
I have the JDP 17MF model, in use for 13 yrs. now. Have not had any of the problems you discribed.
Sounds like you have a bad chuck, mine turns with one finger. And the table ajusts up and down fine to on mine.

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4619 days

#2 posted 03-08-2010 04:39 AM

I have this driil press and have no complaints with it. I have a 21” X 29” rockler drill press table on it and have no problem cranking the table up or down. I really like the built in light. Sorry you are having some problems with your unit.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3920 days

#3 posted 03-08-2010 03:18 PM

Thanks for the review. I have the comparable 16.5” Delta DP. I have also had trouble getting the lasers in proper alignment but my attitude is different than yours because I really don’t care. MY DP came with a laser set up but I would never pay extra for one and I virtually never turn it on. Actually, I only turn it on to show off to people visiting my shop – but I never actually use it.

As an FYI, I think the laser guide on my miter saw is great and a very useful feature.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Raspar's profile


246 posts in 3994 days

#4 posted 03-08-2010 07:19 PM

Thanks for the review. This is the next big purchase for me as well. It is nice to hear what others have deemed as issues and how they resolved them. Also thanks for the comments, I know that some things can specific to one machine and not others.

-- Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.

View Swede's profile


191 posts in 3864 days

#5 posted 03-09-2010 12:55 AM

I have a MARK 1 drill press I bought years ago for about $100.00 it has been a piece of junk since day one. I looked at a lot of drill presses but since I also wanted a milling machine I bought a Jet 350018 JMD-18 Bench Model Milling & Drilling Machine. With the stand it cost me a bought $2000.00 but I figured a decent drill press would be at least $500.00 so I killed two birds with one stone (or Check) as they say.

Good luck with your drill press if you can’t make it work properly try another one if you can then get a hold of the Manufacture and complain to them they might have a fix especially if it only needs a different chuck.

BTW if you have to get a different chuck you might consider one of the keyless versions.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View 303Woodwork's profile


25 posts in 3359 days

#6 posted 07-19-2011 08:35 PM

Jarrhead, thanks for a solid review.
Good that people here are willing to share independent reviews of the jet drill press.
Seems like there’s a mixed bag of experiences with this press, on the whole a good piece of equipment.

-- Gotta love woodworking!

View northwoodsman's profile


321 posts in 4592 days

#7 posted 07-20-2011 02:20 AM

One of the 3 “teeth” on my chuck was out of alignment which resulted in a lot of run out. I purchased a good after-market keyless chuck for about 30 bucks and I have no problems now. I’ve had mine about 13 years like trimmer. The chuck also works in my lathes. I put a laser on mine and it does require a lot of adjustment, not to mention batteries. I too put a Rockler drill press table on it. Funny thing is, with all the different speeds, I’ve only changed the speed once. It does vibrate some; I was going to put 2 link belts on it, but just for the heck of it I removed the belts and turned it on, it vibrated just a bad, so I saved the money.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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