School Shop Drill Press Recommendation

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Forum topic by TechTeacher posted 02-01-2012 04:39 PM 5861 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 3730 days

02-01-2012 04:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press

I would like to replace one of the drill presses in our school wood shop area. I was thinking about the 18” Powermatic (PM2800) until I read some of the reviews. Does anyone have this machine in their shop and have any input about it’s quality? Or have you recently purchased a drill press that you like? I’m looking to stay under $1,500 if possible. I see that a lot of the drill presses have a laser on them, not sure that I am impressed by this feature. This machine will only be used for woodworking. Any insight would be appreciated.

6 replies so far

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 4027 days

#1 posted 02-01-2012 05:10 PM

This is the drill press I would buy if I needed one. I bought this for a place I worked and it was a great machine. G7948 12 Speed 20” Floor Drill Press . Powermatic doesn’t really give you the pertinant info needed to compair their’s with the Grizzly. They only tell you about their “bells & whistles”. All I can say is this is a real working drillpress with no bells and whistles, should last many years. Oh yes remember to mount it securly to the floor.

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View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 5076 days

#2 posted 02-01-2012 05:47 PM

I would go with the Delta
It has great reviews, and a full 6 inch quill stroke

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 02-01-2012 06:06 PM

^I’m actually in the market myself. The only two new ones I’m considering are the PM and the Delta. Both have good ratings. I know “Dude” in Handplanes Of Your Dreams has the PM. He really likes it. Someone recently posted a very favorable review of the Delta. The only reason I haven’t taken the plunge is that I’ve got my vintage tool guy looking for a Waker Turner radial. Probably definitely off the table for your application. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Julian's profile


1676 posts in 4025 days

#4 posted 02-01-2012 06:26 PM

I purchased a Delta 17-950L 16.5inch drill press about a year ago at Lowes and am dissappointed with the performance. It was on clearance so I bought it. Plenty of power, large table, but my dissappointment; is too much wobble in the head. I tried resetting the drill chuck but it does not go away. It has the laser sights but when you move the table the laser has to be readjusted. If I had to buy another I would probably choose the Powermatic (pricey) or the Grizzly (heavy duty and great price). My expierence with Delta is the quality of their power tools is not very good. That’s my 2 cents worth.

-- Julian

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 5231 days

#5 posted 02-01-2012 06:54 PM

Hey Carl—In 2006 I uprgaded to a Jet floor model drill press and it has been great (my home shop). When I was teaching wood the drill presses didn’t have a table raising feature so I made my own with a counter weight system. I’m sure you’ll find one that’s pretty tricked out. I do recommend an auxillary light though rather than a laser thing. The nice thing about a Jet is that for that money you could buy three. Good luck and later- bob

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View rum's profile


148 posts in 3920 days

#6 posted 02-03-2012 12:24 AM

I have an 18-900L here are the reasons I like it: – great table – especially for woodworking. The multi-angle adjust makes some thing possible that were at best annoying previously. – 6” quill throw. This also translates into a pretty beefy head to accommodate. – super easy belt tensioning/adjustment (they don’t really promote this feature enough imho – I really like this feature) – nice and solid feeling – measured runout < .001” retracted and < 0.003” at full extension (yymv – this is just on my machine :D) – good range of speeds (low end is low and high end is high).

I would agree that delta has had some quality issues, but evidence I’ve seen is that the 18-900 is a well made machine – I’ve only seen a very few people have any issues (mostly around the return spring which looked pretty easy to fix).

I also considered the VS drills from PM and steel city (ok actually I built a matrix comparison of about 30 different models), but neither of them went slow enough for me (400 and 500 RPM respectively). This is a concern if you need to drive larger bits for some reason. I think the variable speed would be nice in a school wood shop as it removes one more thing for the fingers to get stuck in and the kids to mess up, but… other details pushed me in a different way (and hey its just my fingers I’m worried about :D).

Of the belt driven machines I think the delta is by far the easiest I’ve seen to adjust the speed on and the tension is automatically correct. I also have an older (SN 282) 17” jet than I use for metal working and the above list is really the set of features that distinguish the two for me.

Also on my short list were the two 20” jet, palmgren 80174 (which no longer seems to be shipping a comparable model?), general 75-260, and the 20” dayton (grainger store brand). I might have gone with the grainger if I could have touched it or found any reviews – the specs looked good anyway heh.. If I was reviewing today the grizzly would require a solid second look (I had some power limitation issues, since fixed, that removed it from the short list at the time.. its certainly beefy).

Personally I find the laser useless. Center punch and drill small->large if you actually care about accuracy (although the delta fence has nice stops so you can get really repeatable holes with it and a clamp – if you get the delta I would recommend budgeting for the fence, worth the extra $65).

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