Another Ridgid DP1550 Review

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Review by RandyMorter posted 02-19-2011 06:59 AM 8803 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Another Ridgid DP1550 Review Another Ridgid DP1550 Review Another Ridgid DP1550 Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

I ordered a Ridgid DB1550 Drill press from Amazon on 2/10/2011 and received it today, 2/18/2011. I paid the $332.22 amount which includes shipping. It was shipped by ABF freight.

Home Depot had them on back order. They charge less but I would have had to pay $324 when taxes were added in at HD so it was only $8 more from Amazon.

I got this DP because of 1) all of the good reviews it gets; 2) good luck with other Ridgid gear (especially my jointer and planer); 3) I’d seen them before at HD and liked them better than other brands at the same price.

Assembly went together fairly well, and it took me about 2-1/2 hours. Probably half of that time was spent cleaning the table and column and waxing them.

I had to raise the collar on the column a bit in order for the table to rotate. When I tighten the set screw the collar twists on the column so you have to do it a few times, positioning the collar to allow for the twist when you tighten the set screw. Once that was done (and once the column was cleaned and waxed) it works fine.

I really have to tighten the table mount pretty tight to lock it to the column. It seems like you get it tightened pretty good but the table still moves so you really have to put some muscle into the lock. The table crank works fine, especially after waxing the column and even putting some wax on the teeth.

My wife helped me lift the head onto the column. I might have been able to do it myself but I’m glad I didn’t have to. It went on fine and seems solid with the 2 set screws. I hung a steel rule from the front of the head to align it to the body but when I stepped back I noticed the floor isn’t quite level so ended up eyeballing the head over the floor mount. Too bad there isn’t some other keying device.

You’re supposed to verify that the tops of the spindle and motor pulley assemblies line up. My motor was about 3/4 of an inch high. I was able to lower the motor using the 4 mounting bolts but the motor is all the way at the bottom and the motor pulleys are still about 1/8 too high. I figure the belt will handle that (am I wrong?).

The idler pully shaft that drops into the hole inside the upper assembly looked like it had been dropped in dirt after the coating was applied. Strangely enough, the hole for the idler also had dirt or something in it. At least they were consistent. I cleaned both out and put a little molybdenum on the pivot shaft for the idler. I got the belts on and set for 1600 RPM.

The belt tensioning handle was frozen. I used the hole in the handle of a large crescent wrench to fit around the tension handle and work it loose (after removing the belts again so I could get the full travel). I moved the motor out with the tension handle and put a bunch of moly on the two shafts. I removed the tension locks and could see the shafts through the lock holes and put moly on the shafts through the lock holes. I worked the tension handle a number of times until it was moving fairly easily and re-assembled everything.

I installed the chuck without an issue but I am concerned about any particles that may have got up there. If it’s so sensitive why isn’t it packaged better?

I had a hard time getting the light bulb to screw in but finally got it. I think this step could be a bit easier if it was done before putting the chuck in (at least for the first time you put a bulb in it). I got a regular 60W bulb in without issue.

I squared the head to the table, sort of. It only has an adjustment for one direction. It wasn’t out, but if it was for some reason (e.g. if the front of the table needed to move up or down) there is no adjustment for it. I think I’ll be building myself a larger table and I may want to somehow include levelling adjustments in my table.

That’s about it – then I gave it a smoke test and drilled four 1/4” holes through a 2×6. It drilled fine.

Overall, though, I am not that impressed with the machine. I have used drill presses before and this one just seems rough. I don’t remember the other brands I’ve used, but this one doesn’t even seem as polished as the ones I saw in HD years ago.

The chuck seems and feels cheap. The storage for the chuck key is a rubber holder that doesn’t really fit the key well. It works but I wonder how long it will work before it either dries out or gets to where it doesn’t have any “spring” left to hold the key. The lid hits the pulley assemble on the left side near the back and even though I adjusted it, the front of the lid buzzed (I put those little adhesive felt pads at verious locations to get rid of the buzzing – they work good. I used some on the upper wheel cover of my band saw too).

The table is NOT ground smooth. There are pretty significant machining marks on it. It may be okay if you don’t put any finish work on it but I will want to put another sacrificial piece below work pieces. Also, the grinding made cleaning it difficult. I kept eating away at my rag and leaving rag particles all over the table. There are burrs in the table slots.

The pulleys just seem cheap. At first I thought I could just lower the pulley on the motor to adjust the pulley height since I could see maybe 5/8 worth of motor shaft between the pulley and the motor, including the flat. I pulled the set screw all the way out of the pulley assembly but they wouldn’t budge. They must be set with some pressure fit or something.

I was excited to get this, I’ve been wanting a DP for years. But once I got it I was a bit let down. I think it will work but I just don’t have that pride in it like I do in even my Ridgid 5” Orbital Sander I got a few days ago. If it didn’t cost so much I wouldn’t mind, but it did cost a bit, I’m not sure any other brand is any better in this price range (the grizzly doesn’t have the same speed range which made me choose the Ridgid). I think the older versions were better built.

UPDATE 2/19/2011

I used the press for about 40 holes today, building a little stand for my Ridgid Oscillating Belt Sander out of 2x lumber. It drilled just fine and it was a pleasure to be able to use a press instead of a hand held to get the holes more perpendicular to the surface.

The only issues I had with the actual drilling were NOT due to the press. I need to make some sort of clamping jig so that I can drill into the end grain of a 2 foot long or so piece. When the motor starts the light really dims – I wish I had another circuit in the garage. I was kind of surprised at this, though, it’s only supposed to be an 8 amp motor. My band saw is 10A and it doesn’t dim the lights nearly as much. Could the press have some binding or something, like the belt being too tight (I can actually deflect it easily about 3/4” instead of the recommended 1/2”. They say if it’s too tight it can ruin the bearings or motor, if it’s too loose the spindle can slip. I’d rather error on the slipping spindle side.)

Update 3/17/2011

One of my motor adjustment knobs broke, part number 817320. The plastic “T” broke. Underneath is a tapered square head that the plastic is pressed on which can be adjusted with a crescent wrench. I tried super glue but as soon as I tried turning the knob again the super glue failed.

I contacted a local (Phoenix) Ridgid repair shop and they said I’d have to pay for a replacement. I’ve had the press for almost exactly one month. The replacement cost would be about $3.

I contacted Ridgid online on 3/16/2011. I got a reply on 3/17/2011 that they’d ship me a replacement part, no cost involved. I think that’s great customer service in this case!

I’m going to replace the knob/stud with an after market unit anyway. I’ll probably get one from J. W. Winco – they have a cast iron knob with the threaded stud screwed in, drilled, and pinned for about $9.50 (M10 1.5×35). I just think those would last forever.

Update 3/23/2011

I received the replacement knob from Ridgid today. It appears to be of higher quality. The plastic seems heavier and is attached better. This replacement came from Gardner, part #817320. If the other original part breaks I’ll order the cast iron or stainless replacements at that time but for now I’m back in business!

This is the second item I’ve contacted Ridgid about (the other was my OSS) and have been pleased with their response timeliness and results.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

22 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6157 posts in 3588 days

#1 posted 02-19-2011 07:23 AM

Just add a table and fence and I think you will find it a great tool. You will never see that nasty steel table again. I love the action on the handle – it has just the perfect spring tension.
Best of luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 02-19-2011 05:42 PM

Thanks for the review. I may replace my older Delta at some point, but to be honest, right now it is doing everything I need it to do. However, I am in the market for a new one for a vacation house. This one is probably a little big for there, but I might have been tempted. Now I will look around a bit first.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3698 days

#3 posted 02-20-2011 02:39 AM

I’ve had this DP for about four years and have always been pleased with it. Can’t beat Ridgid quality I don’t think.

-- Life is good.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 02-20-2011 04:29 AM

“My motor was about 3/4 of an inch high. I was able to lower the motor using the 4 mounting bolts but the motor is all the way at the bottom and the motor pulleys are still about 1/8 too high. I figure the belt will handle that (am I wrong?).”

In addition to adjusting the motor height as the directions tell you, you can also adjust the motor pulley height by loosening the set screw in the pulley and moving it up and down the motor shaft. Doing it that way will also allow you to position the motor where you may find it easier to tension the belt since the motor can cause some binding in the tensioning adjustment (at least it did on mine when the motor height adjustment was all the way at one limit).

-- Greg, Severn MD

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

#5 posted 02-20-2011 05:29 AM

Greg – I tried that (which was what I was trying to explain above) but couldn’t get the pully to move on the shaft. It just now dawned on me maybe I should have tried a rubber mallet on the pulleys. Like I said, there’s plenty of visible shaft between the pulleys and the motor.

It just seems like there was no oil applied to anything anywhere.

Howie – your point is why I went with the Ridgid. I have other Ridgid tools I really like. I am guessing but I wonder if the newer ones (even though they look basically the same) are from a different manufacturer (this one came from China). The edges of the castings are rough, no or little chamfers around threaded holes, no lubrication, etc. It just doesn’t seem as finished as my jointer, which I’ve had for 5 years or so, or even the little 5” sander I got this week too.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View SteveMI's profile


1157 posts in 4069 days

#6 posted 02-20-2011 10:30 PM

Good discussion guys, I am going to be in the DP market soon. I’m trying to figure out how to reorganize my shop for floor space to use a floor unit when the weather turns in the spring. I need the travel of a larger DP, envy a table that I can attach fixtures to without grief and need the ability to drill accurately into sides of boards wider than 6”. Embarrassed to say, but I am making do with a 10 year old craftsman bench top.


View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

#7 posted 02-21-2011 06:08 PM

Thanks Deke. I seem to recall the ones I saw in person at HD looking better too, but of course I didn’t try the belt tensioner there to see how it worked. I agree with the light – too bad more tools don’t have them (there’s probably room on a band saw, and it can’t cost much for the socket, wire, and forming the cavity).

I’ll probably add a table when I can convince my wife I need to spend more money! She’s kind of thinking I should actually make something now!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View jred's profile


49 posts in 3940 days

#8 posted 02-21-2011 11:28 PM

I just got one of these last weekend. I was at a Home Depot I don’t normally go to and saw that they were marked down from $300 to $255. The only one left was the floor model and she gave me another $25 off because of that. With a 20% off Harbor Freight coupon i was able to get it for about $190 total. It’ve got to say that i haven’t had any of the issues you’ve shown not even the rough table. Maybe they picked a good one to use as the display and I got lucky with that.

Enjoy your new drill!

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

#9 posted 02-22-2011 01:45 AM

Jred – so your table doesn’t have the machining marks in it like mine?

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4423 days

#10 posted 02-22-2011 02:02 AM

nice review. it looks very similar to my old Delta 16.5” drill which was a fantastic drill a DP doesn’t really have much to it. as long as you can get it aligned, there should be little left to do.

As for the table not being smooth – it’s a DP not a TS or a planer/jointer where you are trying to slide material across it. with a DP you want the table to have friction with your work pieces to better hold them in place so you actually want it anything BUT smooth. for woodworking though I find it better to have a woodworking style table top anyways which goes over the metal factory table (unless you have the new deltas/powermatics with their woodworking tables already built in)

I’d try to work out the kinks (Ridgid has good customer service) after which there really is little to play around with the DP as it’s one of the simpler shop machines. it does 1 thing and it does it well.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

#11 posted 02-22-2011 06:19 PM

Thanks PurpLev. I agree with what you say about the table finish. I was interested to see if there are differences in the units, like maybe they came from different plants or something.
I’ve gotten over the kinks, I think, mainly by lubing up some things. This unit works fine, and if I’d gotten it for $150 I’d REALLY be happy!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View bvdon's profile


502 posts in 3790 days

#12 posted 02-23-2011 03:33 AM

I wonder how this compares to the DELTA 17-950L 16.5-Inch… anyone have experience with both?

View jbmfc's profile


2 posts in 3419 days

#13 posted 03-01-2011 12:51 AM

Hey Randy, I also had some tweaky startups with mine, but am very happy with it overall. I think it’s still a great deal for the money. I got a little over enthusiastic with the brake cleaner and messed up a bit of the paint (but got all the grease off…) My pulley spindles were aligned fine, but the motor mount bolts weren’t very tight. I tightened them down. No problem with the belt tensioner or pulley shaft. When I brought the table up high, the tension put a bend in the gear strip which I had to take off and unbend. I also think the rubber chuck key holder may wear out, how has everyone else done with that?

-- Jim -

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3465 days

#14 posted 03-01-2011 01:13 AM

Hi Jim,

I don’t care for the chuck key holder either. Even if it lasts it’s not an easy thing to use. I just found out the key has some iron in it and you could use a magnet to hold it, which is what I plan to do.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View Viking's profile


882 posts in 3970 days

#15 posted 03-01-2011 10:00 PM


We have had this Ridgid Drill Press or a little over a year and are very happy with it. It went together well and only real adjustment needed was the belt alignment. The pullies could be adjusted easily so took less than one hour to be up and running.

Caught a really good sale at Peachtree on their basic DP table and DP dust collection kit. I really like the built-light but added a HF magnetic base lamp for even more light.

This is a great tool and thanks for your review.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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