Ridgid - DP1550 Drill Press (Rating: 4)

A little more than a week ago I was in my local HD to get some sandpaper and saw that they had two new Ridgid 15" drill presses marked down to $150. With my military discount, they would sell it to me for $135. I had been thinking about a drill press though not too seriously but this was a price that was just too good to pass up so I got one.

Set up wasn't too difficult but there were a couple of minor issues. I'm not crazy about the gear track for the table height adjustment. As you can see in the pictures, the process of setting the chuck in accordance with the instructions caused mine to bow. It doesn't affect operation but it ain't right either and that sort of bothers me. There was also a problem with the process of aligning the pulleys that was primarily caused by bad instructions. The instructions tell you to check if the pulleys are co-planar and if not, adjust by loosening the motor mounts and raising or lowering the motor. When I did so, I discovered that I couldn't raise the motor high enough to make the pulleys align without the motor contacting the shroud. Further inspection revealed that the problem wasn't the motor mount at all but rather that the allen screw holding the pulley to the motor shaft was loose and the pulley had slid down on the shaft. Simply loosening the allen screw and adjusting the pulley on the shaft is a much more effective and easier means of fixing the issue than trying to wrestle the entire motor assembly. Finally, the built in lamp requires an appliance bulb (smaller than std bulb) but nothing in the instructions tells you that. Other than those minor issues, the tool performs well.

Speed is adjusted by re-positioning belts on the pulleys (the same as most of us older guys grew up with) but the process for doing so is easy and a chart affixed to the inside of the lid ensures you always know which combinations to use. It provides a 3 ½" quill travel which is about right for this class of drill press and adequate for most jobs.

With the money I saved on the initial purchase, I was able to afford a couple of upgrades. I purchased a drill press laser and a Pinnacle table from Woodcraft. The laser assembly attached and aligned easily with the included alignment pin. I think you can see from the photo that the laser produces a set of cross hairs that are easy to see. While I know that I could have built my own drill press table but I already have a backlog of projects and I'm really happy with the Pinnacle table. While its fence doesn't lend itself to doing work on edge, (I'm sure that I will build my own tall fence to supplement this one) I like the etched rules on the rails it does have and a taller fence would interfere with the laser on boards lying flat. Zeroing the rules was a piece of cake since I had already attached the laser. One other thing that I like about the Pinnacle is that the t-tracks screwed all the way through the table rather than just into the particleboard like some tables do. This allows greater pressure on the clamps without the danger of pulling up the t-tracks. The replaceable MDF inserts provide ability to back all drilling or surround sanding drums.

All together, I'm pretty durn happy with the total system that I was able to put together for a price less than $300.