Fine press for careful work

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Review by ferstler posted 11-28-2008 09:58 PM 6073 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fine press for careful work Fine press for careful work No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I paid three hundred bucks for this 15-inch device a couple of years back. I had initially picked out a Delta 16.5 incher, but when it came time to make the purchase Lowe’s had sold out of the Delta and doing a special order jacked the price up too much.

The Ridgid is a fine tool, although it is still basically a standard-quality item in this class. It has 12 speeds, running from 300 on up to 3100 rpm, although to make speed changes you have to open the top, release the tension with a lever on the side of the housing, and move some belts. Well, that is pretty typical. The motor is not a super powerhouse, being ½ horsepower and 8 amps (single phase), but when I recently did some forstner drilling with a 3.25-inch bit the motor had no problems, as one would expect with the speed torqued down to 300 rpm. The chuck had to be tightened very securely however, to keep the bit from slipping. The unit has a built-in lamp that helps to light up the table area.

The set up procedure was without incident (the housing is heavy, and maybe an owner could use some help in lifting it onto the post) and the chuck installed without a hitch. Alignment was right on. I did want to get the entire unit a bit more up into the air, so I built a wooden base underneath that lifts the entire unit about 5 inches.

This drill comes with the usual cast-iron table and as you can see from the photos I overlaid a plywood version to protect work pieces from scuffing and dinging accidents. The wooden table is also considerably larger than the iron one underneath, and the design lets me use clamps to solidly lock certain work pieces into position. (I also have a drill-press vice mounted on a moveable board that clamps easily.) I also installed a fence in the back to block chips from vaulting into the area behind the drill, and the fence is held in place underneath by wing nuts that allow for quick removal when dealing with larger items.

In addition to this drill press, I have a 10-inch Ryobi unit (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that is used for lighter-duty drilling jobs. (It also has a wooden table installed over the cast-iron one.) Together, they make a good team. With the Ridgid, I have discovered that the slightly smaller size, compared to the Delta, or even to some still larger models is not really that big a deal. The Ridgid press is a solid performer.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4294 days

8 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4461 days

#1 posted 11-30-2008 07:18 AM

Yup , the large Forstner bits slip in my JET DP also…...Woodcraft told me that it was my fault because :
a) I didn’t tighten the chuck enough

b) I used the incorrect speed

c) I used the wrong “feed rate”

d) I needed to sharpen the brand new Forstner bit that I just bought from them .

and then finally :

e) All JET DP do that !!!

I contacted another JET dealer and they told me that they sell a boat load of JACOBS chucks to JET owners to replace the original chucks with and that seems to solve the issues . I have contacted JET to see what they are going to do for me….You might want to contact RIDGID as well : )

PS…How do you keep your shop so clean and organized ? : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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342 posts in 4294 days

#2 posted 12-02-2008 07:02 PM

Well, a 3.25 inch forstner bit causes a lot of drag no matter how sharp it is. I am not surprised that any chuck would slip a tad. As it is, mine did not slip continuously so much as occasionally slipped a small amount, but the effect was kind of jolting. A bit that large should have a hex shaft for a better grip in my opinion. Then, again, the potential for slippage will keep the user from putting too much downward pressure on the bit itself.

As I noted, when I used mine I set the rotation at 300 rpm (the max speed marked on the drill shaft indcated 450), which allowed the press to put a LOT of torque into the operation. This made it easy to try to go too fast, which obviously put a lot of strain on the chuck clamps. Reducing the pressure eliminated the problem. Note that other big bits (like a 2.25 inch forstner that I used on some other clock drilling work), had no problems at all. That 3.25 incher, even a sharp one like the new Grizzly job I used, is just a lot of bit for any press to deal with.

The secret to keeping a shop clean and organized is to be sufficiently obsessive. That description fits me to perfection. My big problem is that I am completely out of wall space to hang new stuff and lack the floor spce to obtain and comfortably store a contractor saw. Hence, my small Ryobi jobsite saw stored under my miter-saw stand.

Howard Ferstler

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768 posts in 4447 days

#3 posted 12-03-2008 12:45 AM

Do you tighten your bits using all 3 holes?

I was taught to tighten bits in that manner, Large bits I go around twice.

This evens the pressure out on all 3 jaw pieces, and helps force the bit into a slightly better alignment. As a bonus its easier to release the bit when you are done.

View izak's profile


5 posts in 4223 days

#4 posted 12-16-2008 12:39 AM

I purchased the Rigid DP 1550 last year and a few months later I changed the Chuck out to a Jacobs Keyless Chuck. I love it so far. I have extensive training in Safety and do feel that a key can be a hazard especially if the key is hung off by a long tie.

The light is nice but does not always illuminate the critical areas. I added a Neon on a flexi stem.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4294 days

#5 posted 12-16-2008 12:58 AM

The Ridgid chuck should have a center-spring pin that makes it impossible to keep it accidentally stuck in the key hole. I always replace mine on the clip on the chassis, or at least set it aside on my bench. I agree that hanging the thing on a tie of some kind is asking for trouble. I also agree about the light and should have said something about the shadow it casts.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4294 days

#6 posted 12-17-2008 09:07 PM

Oops, I meant that the Ridgid KEY has a center spring on it that makes it impossible to leave it installed in the key hole in the chuck.

Howard Ferstler

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4103 days

#7 posted 05-18-2009 05:15 AM

I just purchased the DP1550 as well. I got most of the assembly done yesterday. I found the runout and play to be very low, only about 1/1000th of an inch each. I haven’t had time to check the table’s alignment fore-and-aft, yet. This drill press is such an improvement over my old benchtop model, which had a lot of runout and slop, and no adjustments. I didn’t realize the belt cover moves back so far when raised, though (it has parallelogram hinges, giving you a lot of room “under the hood” to change belts); give yourself a couple of extra inches of clearance from the wall. I tried to post a few pix of the swiveling base I made so the front of the car doesn’t run into it; I hope they came out.

Thanks, guys, for the recommendation on the keyless chuck. Until then, I’ve put several powerful magnets to hold the key on the left side (I’m left-handed).

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4351 days

#8 posted 05-18-2009 05:18 AM

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