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Thread: Powermatic PM2800B Drill Press Review

  1. #1

    Powermatic PM2800B Drill Press Review

    I wanted to share my initial thoughts about the PM2800B for anyone who was interested. I got it yesterday and put it together and my initial reaction is one of slight disappointment but I'm going to continue to use it a little and break it in I guess.

    The first time I started it up there was a horrible rattle coming from the motor. Turns out 3 of the 4 bolts holding the motor casing were loose so I had to tighten them up and then that noise went away. Next I turned it on and started adjusting it through it range of speeds and it ferociously vibrated at higher speeds. So I took the black housing off the top and found that there was already a pretty good buildup of black belt dust after only 5 minutes of running. After thinking about the design it seems to me that the belt is going to wear quite a bit until a bevel gets built up on the belts. I don't really understand why the press wouldn't come with the belts already beveled but ohh well. Everything on that drive assembly looks misaligned to me but to be fair it is possible that it is supposed to be like that. The manual says nothing about it at all. I called Powermatic and they said put some hours on it and the vibration should go away. I'm not happy that I have to do this, but I'm willing to try. The loose bolts and the vibration gave me a sick feeling in my stomach about the $1400 purchase I had made. Powermatic is not winning any awards with me in the recent months. My table saw is running like crap and they lost my purchase on a new bandsaw.

    OK so enough of the negative because honestly everything else on the drill press is really really nice. I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting the locking bolts on the fence but I'm sure I can figure that one out. The table is very large which is exactly what I wanted. The T slots are cool, and it will be very easy to clamp things onto the table using the T slots or the sides of the table. The digital speed display is also pretty cool.

    The upper and lower stops for the quill travel are awesome. They are extremely quick to adjust because you just push a button and slide them up or down wherever you need them. No more spinning the old style stops. The lasers are pretty cool but the lights are just downright awesome. They are incredibly bright. The keyless chuck is also nice. I had a very expensive keyless chuck on my old drill press. This one is not as nice as my old one but it is still a far cry from the average drill press chucks.

    I like the bigger base the drill press sits on. It isn't huge, but it is definitely bigger than the standard drill press base and it is nice and sturdy. Fit and finish is also very nice.

    I really wanted this to be an amazing review but the vibration has me worried. I'm going to give it a few days and just go drill a billion holes in some scrap wood and see what happens. I will be sure to post updates when I have them. In the mean time please feel free to ask questions and if you want to see more pictures of anything let me know. I think Powermatic is doing an absolutely terrible job of promoting these new products and showing potential buyers decent pictures or videos of the drill press. Maybe if I get time tomorrow I'll do my first ever video review of something and post it on here.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Trinidad, West Indies
    Congrats on the new tool. Hope the vibration issue sorts itself out. Thanks for posting the review.

    I am not sure how the drive is constructed but the loose bolts could have caused the pulleys to be misaligned. This could be an easy fix.

    Generally vibration does not improve with time and use.

    The video would be interesting to see.


  3. #3
    So I have a theory and I'm going to call powermatic about it tomorrow. Spent some time studying how this thing works and I think I know how the pulleys should live up. If I'm correct mine is severely out of adjustment. If it fixes the problem I think I will be much happier with the purchase. It really is a cool design if it ends up working.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Blog Entries
    I have the last one of this drill press. the vibration was caused by the belt sitting in one place for too long. Once it broke in it was fine. I think in a short timeyou'll be very happy with your investment.
    What you listen to is your business....what you hear is ours.

  5. #5
    So after a few days of using this drill press I can tell you that I'm truly disappointed and I feel sick to my stomach thinking that I just spend $1400 on a piece of junk. Aside from what I would call unacceptable vibration it seems like the entire thing is just poorly built and misaligned. I'm an engineer so I'm comfortable saying this is a cool design that is very poorly executed. Maybe I don't fully understand the machine but I can tell you at low speeds the front pulley wobbles like crazy and the run out on the chuck is terrible. You can visibly see it move. And yes I installed it correctly and even took it off and cleaned it again and installed it a second time. I'm going to be calling Powermatic tomorrow but I have a feeling this thing is going back on a truck to Powermatic as soon as possible. I'm certain they aren't going to help me on the phone tomorrow but I'll give it a try. The pretty machined aluminum flywheels and pulleys you see in the manual are not what come on this machine. Here is a video. Maybe this front pulley is supposed to wobble like this, and maybe the belts are supposed to be this badly aligned, but I have no idea why you would design it this way or how the belts could possibly last more than a few months.
    Last edited by Jeffrey Kibler; 04-01-2013 at 9:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Upland, CA
    That is very disappointing. I bought a PM2800, was thrilled to get it, and took it back two days later for a Delta 17-959. I was really hoping they had sorted this out and was thinking I really could justify a second drill press or find a home for the Delta and upgrade. I was completely disgusted by the PM2800 but was still really wishing that the PM2800B would be good and could find the excuse to buy one.

    My PM2800 would only go down to an indicated 450 RPM. If I removed the cover, the lever would move far enough to go down to an indicated 400. Problem was, my tachometer showed that around 470 or so. The pulleys did a dance that was worse than your video. The belts were shedding rubber dust at an alarming rate. The crank mechanism on the table height looked like it wouldn't last 6 months.

    Please WMH, get it together and make stuff that works. You did it before - my PM-1200 at work is a great machine. Please, Please! No more crap!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Palm Springs, CA
    I guess I'm lucky. I ordered a PM 2800 for an excellent price by a local supplier. They said it was in stock at another warehouse and could have it in a day. A day turned into a week, then they reneged on the deal even though I gave them a cash down payment. Got my money back but no drill press. After reading about this model, I guess I got the better deal.
    Dick Mahany.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Ashburn, Virginia
    Blog Entries

    I sincerely hope this gets resolved to your satisfaction.

    I'm a Powermatic fan, I was really wanting this drill press to be good.


  9. #9
    I have a mini-update. I got ahold of a good person at Powermatic and they took a look at the videos and said something is definitely not right. The are going to replace the drill press and they want the one I have back to see what the problem is. My only worry is the new one will not be any different than the one I got. I guess we will find out.

  10. #10
    Did you have a chance to measure runout on the quill or chuck? I have an old Delta 16" or 16 1/2" and the runout is terrible. I've thought of upgrading, but have not been convinced the new ones are better in the results in this area.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    It seems any maker can have a not-so-good product. Many makers have not-so-good drill presses and the PM2800 looked great on paper but, fell horribly short in practice. I too was hoping the PM2800B would be the PM2800 with all the problems fixed. Not so according to the reviews by actual purchasers I have seen so far. Fine Woodworking Magazine gave it a lot of rah-rah but, if you have followed FWW for an period of time you have seen this erroneous behavior before (its a great product, nod-nod, wink-wink).

    I hope this works out or, if not, that they take the machine back without any additional grief. The first retailer that comes up with a decent woodworking drill press that is $1000 or less is going to have immediate back-order problems . Grizzly has been promising one for a couple years. Apparently properly performing drill presses are a lot harder to make than we think(?).
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Tucker GA

    Pully Alignment

    The second video relating to pully alignment shows a serious mismatch There is no way that this conforms to any standard of proper assembly. Hopefully the next machine will be better!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Upstate NY
    I loved the specifications on this and went to a local store to check it out. It seemed really tinny, and I wasn't about to pay that much money for it.
    I hope your second one is better, but unless the demo dp was also defective, it is is just poorly made.

  14. #14
    I hate hearing about problems like yours. I'm glad PM is being responsive, however. I have the original 2800, perhaps I'm in the minority but I'm very happy with it. No vibration problems, minimal runout, love the continuous speed control, laser guides are perfect, big table is sturdy, chuck is super nice... I feel like it was worth the price. My only complaint is the fence, the machine runs smooth as silk and I like using it. Good luck and I hope you end up with a machine that you are pleased with.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    black river falls wisconsin
    i must be in the minority to. i have pm2800 and really like it. I must admit the fence is kind of pain to lock in place but overall really like the machean.

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