under powered drill press

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Forum topic by TTOKC posted 03-22-2016 01:52 AM 1070 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2450 days

03-22-2016 01:52 AM

Hi All,

I have a craftsman bench top drill press that has been OK for me as I have usually been working with Lowes lumber. The last few projects I have done have been cherry, maple and purple heart and the drill press has stalled when using a forstner bit.

I have been considering a full size DP but really don’t have the space for it and am wondering if I can simply switch out the motor on mine for a 3/4 or 1 HP motor.

It would be great if I could simply buy a larger replacement motor that would bolt on but would appreciate any thoughts or input you guys have.



8 replies so far

View nerdbot's profile


97 posts in 2693 days

#1 posted 03-22-2016 07:32 AM

I ran into this same problem myself. The problem isn’t so much the motor as it is the drill press speed. Larger forstner bits (1 1/8” and bigger) require low RPMs, around 250. My benchtop drill press (and almost all relatively recent benchtop drill presses) usually only go down to about 500 RPM. I’ve read that you really need 3 pulleys to be able to step down to those low speeds, which unfortunately are usually in the floor models and hard to find in benchtop models. However, I did see at least one article/post out there where someone figured was able to modify their drill press to get lower speeds. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked for him.

I ended up buying a floor drill press. The point has been made that a floor model doesn’t really take up that much more space as most people build a cabinet on wheels to go around the base. Something worth considering.

View johnstoneb's profile


3190 posts in 3504 days

#2 posted 03-22-2016 12:49 PM

Are you sure it is the motor stalling. My drill press the belt slips long before the motor stalls. I run up to a 3” forstner and 4” hole saw without power problems. I have to stop and tighten belt some times.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View hotbyte's profile


1129 posts in 4307 days

#3 posted 03-22-2016 12:53 PM

Sounds like we have similar DP. I’ve had the issue and dropping to slowest speed helped but didn’t totally resolve problem. Rather than a larger motor, I’m wanting a totally larger, more capable DP. One some recent projects with thicker and/or wider stock, the little bench top doesn’t have throat capacity or depth of travel. But, one tool at a time and a few more hand tools are at top of list :)

View Evowood's profile


29 posts in 2128 days

#4 posted 03-22-2016 02:11 PM

You could check out this That one goes all the way down to 140 RPM and has a 3/4 hp motor. Not sure how good the runout is though.

View TTOKC's profile


3 posts in 2450 days

#5 posted 03-22-2016 02:37 PM

Thanks for all the feed back. I will have to check my speed setting to see where I am at. When I unboxed it I think I set it for what I was working on at the time and have not changed it since. I will also check to make sure the belts are tight. I would really love a full size DP (and band saw) and have been checking craigslist every day but my wife and I both keep our cars in the garage so my workshop has to be able to be jammed back in the closet at the end of the day.

I see a lot of the youtube woodworkers using grizzly products I will check out their benchtop DP.

Thanks all.


View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 2175 days

#6 posted 03-22-2016 06:04 PM

You can probably switch out the pulleys and gear it down some more to get more oomph. That would be about $30.00 or so. The pulleys are available from

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View TravisH's profile


785 posts in 3266 days

#7 posted 03-22-2016 08:17 PM

I don’t think power is the issue but how it is being used. Slower speeds, proper feed rate/chip removal, and sharp bits.

View TTOKC's profile


3 posts in 2450 days

#8 posted 03-22-2016 08:54 PM

That seems to be the consensus. I will dial back the speed.

This just showed up on Craigslist today and only a few miles from me.

As much as I would love to have it, all my tools have to fit back in the closet at the end of the day.

I just picked up a Dewalt 13 inch planner for $275 on CL that I have to find a space for. No way a fill size DP is gonna fit.

Thanks for all the feedback.


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