Grizzly - G7944 Drill Press (Rating: 4)

'I should preface this review by disclaiming that I purchased this machine used. The previous owner purchased it from Grizzly 4-5 years ago and claimed to have used it seldomly. However, the 7944 currently listed on Grizzly's website appears to be identical, with the same specifications. Just sayin '

So I've had this machine for several weeks now, and have used it with hole saws, forsteners, and HSS metal bits. Here are my thoughts:
This drill press is pretty generic in design, but thats not really a bad thing. Its a well-tested platform that several manufacturers have built and/or emulated over the years. The main specs on this model include-
- 14" Swing
- 3/4hp
- 64" tall
- 12 Speed (140-3050 rpm)
- MT-2 Chuck 1/64-5/8
- 11.5" square table
- 3.25" Spindle Travel
- 175 lbs

I'll try not to bore you with too many arbitrary accolades. At the end of the day, this DP delivers. Its not an industrial machine, but is large and powerful enough to keep-up in a light-use commercial setting such as an auto shop. In fact, the DP in the last auto shop I worked at had a similar machine which worked great. That said, this 14"/.75hp DP could easily satisfy the needs of most any hobbyist, serious or otherwise.
All the features work well. The MT-2 chuck has no runout, holds tight, and has yet to slip. Of course, choosing the correct speed is important in preventing a bit sfrom slipping.This machine has 12 speeds to choose from. Honestly, I only need slow, medium, and fast, but an additional nine speeds isn't a bad thing. 140 rpms is nice for large hole saws and forsteners. I typically keep it set around 980 rpms for general drilling.

The table elevates on a rack/pinon system. It could be smoother, but works pretty good. The table itself can swing 360 degrees and can tilt 90. I've only tried to tilt it once, but it firmly held the adjustment. The table is square in shape. I was lucky enough to get a pretty nice auxillary table included with the DP. Most people elect to add an aux table to their DPs so I feel the table's shape is somewhat moot.

This particular machine included a small light fixtiure mounted just behind the spindle. It takes a small appliance bulb and illuminates the work area beautifully. A gooseneck light is probably better, but I won't complain about the fixture. Its a great feature that my last DP didn't have.

Overall fit/finish is great. I couldn't find anything cheaply made EXCEPT the depth stop. The stop consists of a threaded rod with two stop-nuts to adjust the depth of the quill stroke. The threaded rod travels through a bracket, mounted to the side of the casting, that acts as the "stop". The problem is that the bracket is a chintzy, thin L-bracket. When drilling anything to a precise depth, great care would need to be taken to ensure that too much pressure were not applied to the bracket as it bends easily. Otherwise, everything on the machine is tops.

Current price for this machine is about $450 shipped. Honestly, I would not pay that much or this DP. Sears sells a comparable model for under $400 and can be picked-up in-store. As well, Lowes sells a Porter-Cable DP that might even be a bit nicer than the grizzly for about $300. The PC has a longer quill stroke, stronger motor, and gooseneck light. That said, the Grizzly might not represent the best value among DPs in this class. And great deals can usually be had on used machines. Heck, I got this DP for $100, and it was in mint condition. But if you like Grizzly products and service, and don't want to deal with big box, this would be a safe pick.

4 stars. Performance is fine. BUT- If I were buying new, at full retail, I don't think I would have bought this machine. Only because there are comparable products at better pricing.