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Opinions on Big Box floor drill presses?

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Finally decided to spend a few dollars [~$300] and get a floor stand drill press. Mostly for mild steel, 1/2" holes. Haven't found anything used within driving distance. Any opinions on the drill presses available from any of the Big Box stores ? (Going to Albuquerque later this week and thought I'd shop around a bit.) 

Thanks, Dave

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Be sure and check the spindle stroke.  Not all are the same.  There are a lot of versions on which the stroke is too short to make it through a 4 x 4 which can be a pain...where another brand will have that 3.5"+ stroke.  This is kind of a judgement call but IMHO, worth the hassles or extra few bucks to seek the longer stroke version.

The problem with the imports is generally runout.  Even a little runout can be devastating to a smaller drill bit in metal.  Most of the time, the problem is the cheap Chinese chuck and/or chuck taper mount.  Figure on getting a much better quality chuck after-market and you can possibly see a huge improvement from that. The chuck is generally mounted on a taper shank and the quality of those varies also.  Good ones are not expensive and should be on the replacement list--although you can buy some good chucks with an integral shank too.  Tapers can get confusing in both chuck and spindle so do a little double-checking when buying replacements.

Rarely, the internal taper in the press' spindle is the cause of runout.  The fix for that is tough and probably not worth going into for a case like this.

Sometimes the pulleys are cheap and slightly out of round.  That can induce vibrations which cause problems.  If you can run the machine you will be getting before you take it home, you can usually feel this problem and avoid the bad ones.  Sometimes the same "feel" comes from a belt with a "set" which will work out in use or simply a really bad quality belt which can be easily replaced.  You can usually spot belt related problems by belt flapping at the higher speeds.

Otherwise, not a whole lot which can go haywire.

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  • 2 months later...

I've had zero trouble with my imported home-center purchased Porter Cable drill press.

I picked it over the rest of the imported drill presses because Lowe's is closer to my house.  3 yr Porter Cable warranty & out the door for $240-something. I don't remember how I got it for that amount- I see they're more now, or at least priced more online.

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An update: spent a bit more and bought a Grizzly- nothing but regrets. Press came complety loose inside shipping box- as in no packing materials. No manuals. Chuck had been banged up pretty bad on receiver end. Laser light didn't work. They sent a new manual - for an old version of the press and not applicable to the new model. Promised a new manual - still waiting. Laser centering didn't work. They sent a new laser, but without manuals it was impossible to determine how to access. Support provided some help, but required disassembly of entire upper pulley system. Still haven't been able to remove all the pulleys. Still have to try and fix chuck. Piece of crap and lousy support from Gizzly. 

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The tool has failed the "Implied Warranty of Fitness" requirement of the Unified Commercial Code article two.

That warranty insures that the product must be do what it purports to do.

Mention that phrase to the tool purveyor the next time you talk/write to them, and they most probably will start to view the matter in a new light, and take you more seriously. 

That warranty is always a material term of any contract of purchase and sale. If it is not met, the contract and sale is void, and the seller has breached same.

The code differs slightly from state to state therefor I have not cited specific statute numbers.

If the seller, is non co-operative contact the State Attorney General and ask for advice. Also, The legal aid class of a local law school may want to have "fun" going after the slimers. The students work under the supervision of experienced lawyers/professors.

Bonnne chance.


p.s.  some contracts contain a clause that purports to invalidate the implied warranty of service. That clause is illegal and void but there is no sanction for the seller putting it into the contract. It scares the willies out of non-lawyer purchasers. And is an abuse but it is usually in most contracts of sale.

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Rogue guy. Listen to Slag, patent law is ONE of his hats. Being an avid "People's Court and Judge Judy" fan, I can attest and verify, the "implied warranty of serviceability" shoots down  more slimeballs and cheats than almost anything else. Grizzly or even the Big Box is in breach, either has feet that can use a little fire holding.

Frosty The Lucky.

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