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The 10 Best Drill Presses  Sep 2018

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1
Best Drill Presses - Silverline 262212 Drill Press, 250 mm 350 W Review Silverline
9 . 7
2
Best Drill Presses - DART F12-941 Pillar Drill, 240 V, Blue Review DART
9 . 6
3
Best Drill Presses - Sealey SDM30 Pillar Drill 5-Speed Hobby Model 580mm Review Sealey
9 . 1
4
Best Drill Presses - Axminster Hobby Series AHDP13B Bench Pillar Drill Review Axminster Hobby Series
9 . 0
5
Best Drill Presses - Record Power DP16B Bench Drill with 13" Column Review Record Power
8 . 7
6
Best Drill Presses - FERM TDM1025 Bench Pillar Drill - Drill Press Review Ferm
8 . 3
7
Best Drill Presses - Lumberjack Pillar Hobby Bench Drill Press 13mm 300W Review Lumberjack
8 . 0
8
Best Drill Presses - Clarke CDP152B Bench Drill Press (230v) Review Clarke
7 . 6
9
Best Drill Presses - Clarke CDP102B Bench Drill Press (230V) Review
7 . 5
10
Best Drill Presses - SIP 5 Speed Worktop Bench Pillar Drill 230v Review SIP
7 . 0

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Your Guide To Buying a Drill Press

By Yehudah Posnick

    A drill press is a drill mounted on a stand (called “the column”) bolted to the floor, or attached to a workbench. It offers better stability than a hand-held drill, since you clamp the project in place and lower the drill onto it. It's also more accurate, and more powerful than a hand-held drill. You can also utilize their power for other tasks, such as sanding and polishing. But there are different ways of sorting out the dimensions of drill presses, according to the size of your projects. Here is a guide to some of the best drill presses on the market.

    First, let's introduce the various terms that are important in choosing a drill press:

    • Base: In a floor-model drill press, the base is the bottom of the drill press, lifting it off the floor. The Column is set in the base.
    • Table: This is where you place the project to be drilled. You lower the drill onto the project after positioning it on the table.
    • Chuck: This is the part that holds the drill bit in place. It is tightened onto the drill bit with a chuck key, much like in a hand drill.
    • Column: This is the vertical support of the drill press. It is set into the base, and holds the table and head of the drill press in a vertical line.
    • Throat depth: This is the horizontal distance from the column to the chuck.
    • Swing: This is twice the throat depth of the drill press. It is the limit of what length piece you can put on the drill press table. That is, when you put a 12” wide piece of wood on the table, the drill bit will be lowered at the 6” mark—exactly half of the drill press' swing. If your project is wider than the swing, it will jut out from the table.
    • Stroke: This is the depth through which you can drive the drill bit—that is, the depth of cut.
    • Spindle: This is another name for the drill press' motor, the part that rotates when you turn on the drill press. It is housed within the quill, or sleeve—a cylinder that contains the spinning motor. You lower the spindle and sleeve onto the object that you want to drill by means of the feed lever.

    Using these terms, now let's look at the different types of drill presses:

    • Floor Model vs. Bench-Top Model: The floor model has its base on the floor, whereas the bench-top is placed on a table top. This leads to a number of differences:

    • The floor model has a larger swing, and can accommodate larger projects: A floor-standing model has a swing of 15-17 inches; a bench-top model has a swing of 10-12 inches.

    • Floor models have a larger stroke: they can cut into thicker pieces than a bench-top model.

    • Radial Drill Press: These allow you to drill very big precision holes in large pieces of wood or metal. This is because they have a larger swing: 24 inches, whereas other presses have a swing of 12” or 15”. They can also be set to drill at an angle (not just vertically up and down, like typical drill presses).

    • Magnetic drill press: This uses a magnet to hold the object that you are drilling in place—this is very useful for drilling iron and steel. The strong magnet ensures that the drill will not move, even when drilling through a very thick piece of metal. You can even drill upwards through the piece.

    • Geared Head Drill Press: This type of drill press uses gears (like in a watch or clock) to move the parts. The teeth of the gears fit into each other as they rotate. This is used instead of rotating belts to move the drill parts. There is less maintenance involved with this type, since there is less friction. This type is preferred when metalworking, since you can use lower drill speeds than in woodworking.

    Means of varying the speed of the drill press:

    • Step Pulley Drill Press: Most drill presses use this method to change speeds. You change speeds on this drill press by moving a belt to 4 or 5 different positions on different-size pulleys. But you have to stop the machine in order to change speeds.

    • Variable Speed Drill Press: Here you change speeds by moving a dial which changes the diameter of the pulley operating the press. That in turn changes the speed of the press. This model allows you to change speeds in the middle of drilling. This kind of drill press is more expensive, and typically you don't have to change speeds in the middle of drilling. But machinists that use a variety of bits and drill different materials may prefer this model.

    • Attachments for sanding: Some people want to use their drill press for more than drilling. Some models accommodate an attachment for sanding.

    • Coolant system—Drilling can generate a lot of heat, due to friction. Some drill presses allow you to inject lubricant or water to cool off the object that you are drilling.

    • Work-light and laser cross-hairs: These help you precisely aim the drill bit on the mark where you want to drill. This is helpful if you're drilling a dark piece of metal.

    • Tilt table 90 degrees to left and right—This is used in the radial drill press, for making holes at an angle.

    • Adjustable table height—The throat depth of the drill press is what limits the horizontal size of the project. But what about its height? A drill press where you can lower and raise the table can take care of that. 

    • Eye guard: When drilling, little slivers of wood or metal can go flying in various directions. Some drill presses have an eye guard to protect you. (Otherwise you'll have to wear a pair of goggles.)

    • On-board chuck-key: The chuck key is what you use to open and close the chuck (what holds the drill bit), to change drill bits. You don't want to have to look for it all the time—so it's good to have a drill press which has a special location where you can store it.

    • Adjustable speeds: It's useful that a drill press has adjustable speeds, for drilling different materials or different size holes (smaller holes require faster speeds.) As we mentioned before, the step pulley drill press requires you to turn off the machine when changing speeds, while the variable speed drill press lets you change speeds in the middle of drilling. 

    SKIL Toolsis a company manufacturing power tools. They were founded in 1924, and have their headquarters in Mount Prospect, Illinois. They manufacture over 100 different tools: drills, saws, power screwdrivers, sanders, and specialty tools.

    Powermatic was started by Leonard F. Smith, Sr. In 1921. He was a seller of timber and lumber in McMinnville, Tennessee. He thought that he could sell a better product if he cut the wood himself, on his own machinery. He later devoted his efforts to making wood-cutting machines, which he marketed. They now make saws, drill passes, lathes, and the like.

    Shop Fox-- Is a division of Woodstock International, Inc. They were founded in 2000, making tools and equipment for woodworking and metalworking. They are located in Bellingham, Washington.

    JET Tools-- was created in 1958, by Leslie P. Sussman. He was a dealer of manual chain hoists and trolleys, located in Tacoma, Washington. He started manufacturing industrial tools and hand tools, until metalworking and wood working products became the main emphasis.