Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Cheap Vs expensive drill press - real world difference

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
478
Reaction score
157
Location
Haddenham
Hi there

Looking for a drill press for my shop.
Not a full sized one, a bench top one would be preferable. Buying used is something I prefer as it keeps the cost down and usually I can get a better quality tool for the price.

There are 1000s of options from £60 brand new ones to £500 used ones.

I don't really understand what is the real world difference.

Can someone please share their wisdom on this?
Also, if you have a make that is reliable, please mention that too (Clarke seems to be everywhere!)

My budget is less than a £100, preferably.

Thank you very much in advance.

Best regards
B
 

Chris152

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2017
Messages
2,192
Reaction score
48
Location
Cardiff
When I started woodworking a couple of years ago I bought a draper drill press for about £80. the bit wobbles when under any pressure which makes it pretty hopeless for anything precise, so instead I use a morticing machine with an adaptor as a drill press, way better but set at one speed. I use the Draper to hold sanding drums and nothing else.
My advice at that kind of price is to buy used, as you suggest.
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,606
Reaction score
62
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
0. Use the search function to find the very frequent discussions on this topic. People have been very helpful.

1. Be more specific about what you want to do with a drill press: woodwork, metalwork, big holes, little holes, sanding...

2. I probably couldn't build a small bookcase profitably for 100 quid. So imagine the quality of any new drill press you might buy.

3. So take a view of how good "good enough" might be.

4. Avoid eBay if at all possible, but look on local small-ad sites first. It takes the "must buy this one" pressure off: if you're not travelling miles, you don't feel so bad walking away from a bad deal.

These are not complex machines. You want straight, tight tolerance components and good bearings. You can change the latter to improve things. I recently got rid of the last few Chinesium bearings on my bandsaw, in favour of SKF ones. It's not 'transformed' but it is loads better than it was. That was around 27 quid to do. Bearings are pretty standard. If you have a friendly local garage they probably have a bearing press, so can shift any bearing that you can't. Usually fitting them is easier than removal.

The speed of rotation depends on the diameter of the drill bit in use, and to a lesser extent what sort of bit that is: Big = slow, small = fast. The slower speeds seem to be harder to find, except in old drills - that was a decider when I bought my (cheap Clarke floor standing) drill new about 20 years ago. It had slower speeds than the competition at the time. If I had known then, etc. I would have looked for something old+British or old+American.

Others may disagree but I find the tilt-able table is a right pain. I have used it on a few occasions, mostly to hold things vertically for end drilling, but it is a nightmare to set up. Furthermore the clamp mechanism tends to throw it off square for other tasks - as you lock it, the screw pushes the table off. This is probably another area where old secondhand is good. With experience I would have something that was accurately square every time, over "flexibility". You can always use tilting blocks on top of the table for metalwork, or just wedges for woodwork.

Hope that helps.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
17,161
Reaction score
440
Location
Derbyshire
I got a Nutool £50 on ebay. It had an allen screw missing which made it unusable. Fitted a screw and it works perfectly. The chuck is excellent and precise.
I guess it might not last long in a busy engineering environment but for a one man woodwork shop it's absolutely fine.
 

TFrench

Established Member
Joined
6 Jul 2015
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
122
Location
Leics
If you need one quickly my advice would be to look for a cheap second hand nutool or similar. Can be had for about £30-40 quite easily. Yes, they are garbage but it will get you going and you'll know what to look for when you upgrade. Plus you won't lose money as you can punt it back out for the same as you paid. I started out with a clarke, moved on to a startrite and now have a massive grimston geared head floor standing jobby.
Yes, I have a problem.
 

MikeJhn

Grunkel
Joined
2 Sep 2014
Messages
4,104
Reaction score
103
Location
Kent mostly and France the rest
Most seem to be obsessed with quill wobble at full extension, I don't drill at full extension and neither does anyone else, once you are drilling into something that is deep enough to need full extension of the quill the workpiece is guiding the drill, so a little wobble is not significant IMO, if you are a woodworker then any decent drill press will probably be adequate, different thing entirely if you are machining parts, but then if you where you would know what you want, if looking second hand e-bay is good if you use by PayPal and have a good description prior to buying, also factor in a keyless chuck.
 

That would work

Established Member
Joined
29 Dec 2018
Messages
608
Reaction score
18
Location
Dartford
I've used a few cheap ones mainly in schools who have got rid of decent ones!
Here's what I've experienced with them (Drapers and Clarke mainly)
1. Vibration
2. Things just working loose
.. it seems anything with a thread fall off at some point.
3. Tables that are not flat.
4. Thin castings.
5. Return springs that will take your hand off they are so tight.
6. A bit noisy.
7. Poor switches.
8. Unacceptable play on the quill.
9. Just generally unpleasant to use.
Go for a used machine, a renowned make like Fobco, Union etc.
Mine is bench Fobco, rusty and bad cosmetically when I got it for £70 but mechanically perfect.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
17,161
Reaction score
440
Location
Derbyshire
That would work":2m87h4qh said:
I've used a few cheap ones mainly in schools who have got rid of decent ones!
Here's what I've experienced with them (Drapers and Clarke mainly)
1. Vibration
2. Things just working loose
.. it seems anything with a thread fall off at some point.
3. Tables that are not flat.
4. Thin castings.
5. Return springs that will take your hand off they are so tight.
6. A bit noisy.
7. Poor switches.
8. Unacceptable play on the quill.
9. Just generally unpleasant to use.
Go for a used machine, a renowned make like Fobco, Union etc.
Mine is bench Fobco, rusty and bad cosmetically when I got it for £70 but mechanically perfect.
I don't have any of these probs with my cheapo Nutool and it's bloody heavy - no thin castings but probably less well finished castings.
 

Droogs

Is that chisel shar ... Ow
Joined
14 Mar 2013
Messages
3,995
Reaction score
1,082
Location
Edinburgh
Also check the quill travel, a lot of the cheapy new ones have a very limited 50mm depth of cut. Most of the used older ones have a fair bit more. If on your travels you come across a "Kelly" bench drill then buy it, apart from being a sexy art deco design it has 5" of quill travel. and some of the most precise fitting components I've ever seen in a drill
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
2,011
Reaction score
143
Location
Warwick
Chris152":2pwqd5vc said:
When I started woodworking a couple of years ago I bought a draper drill press for about £80. the bit wobbles when under any pressure which makes it pretty hopeless for anything precise, so instead I use a morticing machine with an adaptor as a drill press, way better but set at one speed. I use the Draper to hold sanding drums and nothing else.
My advice at that kind of price is to buy used, as you suggest.
I got rid of my Draper drill press in exchange for a mortiser also. It was a great decision, it is a precision tools as a drill press, and cuts good mortises too!

I haven't found the single speed a bother; of course, it depends what you frequently drill.
 

Simon_M

Established Member
Joined
14 Mar 2019
Messages
212
Reaction score
1
Location
Awbridge, Hampshire
Bench drills are pretty simple products. Entry level machines have limited travel of quill, may not have a big clearance and height to be useful.

Power isn’t a problem and almost all will have an induction motor. Cheaper ones don’t have low speeds which are essential and easily overlooked or they have tables that don’t wind up so should be avoided.

It’s not uncommon to pay lots of money for a cordless drill and overlook the benefits of a pillar drill. Needs vary but a reasonable drill need not be too expensive but £100 is too limiting to be happy with results IMHO.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
17,161
Reaction score
440
Location
Derbyshire
phil.p":1jofwr1m said:
Simon_M":1jofwr1m said:
... they have tables that don’t wind up so should be avoided.
My Meddings doesn't have a wind up table. I survive, somehow. :D
My Nutool DP16 has a wind-up, rotating and tilting table! It's quite firm and solid in spite of this.
Also 16 speeds, 80mm quill extension and no wobble.
It's a bit over spec for my purposes.
 

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
478
Reaction score
157
Location
Haddenham
Thank you, all.

To answer some of your questions, it is mainly for woodwork only.
Just to be able to drill holes precisely and slowly rather than burn the bit and the wood!

I will look for the makes listed here, will also keep an eye out for a mortiser as well.
£100 was a number I thought was good enough, looking at the options on ebay. But if it does cost more, I'd rather have the right tool albeit at higher cost (need to save up for longer!) rather than keep buying the wrong thing until I come to my senses.

Seems like the common issues have been covered well here. I'll see what the fleebay and rumtree have to offer!
 

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
478
Reaction score
157
Location
Haddenham
Just another question.

For drilling 18-25mm holes in 2 inch hardwood, how slow is the correct speed?
 

dzj

Established Member
Joined
29 Jan 2013
Messages
1,076
Reaction score
47
Location
Serbia
A Forstner bit ~500 RPMs, a Spade bit possibly twice that.
Always best to try on an offcut.
 

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
478
Reaction score
157
Location
Haddenham
Got myself a Nutool cheapo for £45 on Plumtree!

Have been using it mainly to drill 42mm blind holes for tea lights - it has been great. So much better, quieter and more accurate than using a cordless drill. I have set it on the slowest speed, which is still faster than desired, but the 42mm forstner bit, once engaged, slows down anyway :D

The wobble hasn't been much of a bother at all, but the travel is just 50mm, which is fine for my uses at the moment. And this thing is tiny - can hide it under the workbench when not needed and lift it into place when needed.

Friends and family are happy with the tea lights, but I could have done better. Then again, I don't know who said this, but as Woodworkers, Engineers, Photographers and most artists, we are our worst critique!

Thank you everyone for your time, effort, suggestions, recommendations and watch-out-for-these list!

Best regards and Holiday greetings
B :ho2
 

Terry - Somerset

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2012
Messages
686
Reaction score
201
Location
Taunton
I have a fairly basic Axminster bench drill bought 7/8 years ago. It has had fairly light hobby use but would add the following observations:

1. Be clear what the gap between the drill chuck centre and the pillar is - it is not possible to drill holes in the middle of panels!

2. Get one with a table that can be raised/lowered with a handle - a pain to adjust without this.

3. Main weakness is lack of travel on the chuck. If drilling deep holes the only solution is to stop part way an raise the table.

4. Even a cheap pillar drill will produce holes hugely more accurately than a hand held drill. For woodwork it is fine although possibly would not cope with precision metalwork.

5. I have made a box which sits on the drill table - hole in the top to allow a sanding drum, one in the side connected to dust extraction! Probably not recommended due to sideways stress on the quill bearings etc but good for ocassional use.

6. Old kit is often very well made and could last many lifetimes of hobby use. But they are heavy to move around (if needed) and spares (if required) can leave it non-functional if not readily available.
 
Top