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Thread: What drillpress should I look to buy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    columbia, sc
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    561

    What drillpress should I look to buy

    Im slowly upgrading each of my cheaper/lower quality power tools over time. Right now I have a $150 floor standing drill press which has served me well but Id like to be on the lookout for something better. What would you recommend?

    Budget - no big constraint

    Use - general woodworking - lots of Forster bits, sometimes a circle cutter, normal brad point bits, ... I have the common Ridig osc spindle sander so I dont do much sanding on it

    Seems like 3 useful features would be
    - little quill (sp?) runout
    - variable speed via a dial would be nice but that may eliminate all the nice old machines so this is just a nice to have
    - big table - though I can probably build this
    - depth stop - need this

    Are there a lot of great older units on the market and are they dramatically better than for example a new PM. Seems like Ive read reviews from this group on the new machines and they have not been overwhelmingly positive. So it may be a trade off of build quality vs convenience features.

    Im in no hurry so I can shop for a while to find the right machine
    Bob C

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    1,813
    How long a quill travel would you like. My Walker turner 20" has 6" travel. I put the belts on medium speed and use a vfd to control speed. Mechanical variable speed is loud 1800's technology. Buy an older three phase machine and the price competition is reduced.
    Bill D.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Tampa Bay area
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    I went through the same scenario a while ago. My money went for the Nova Voyager and I have not regretted it. Variable speed with the twist of a knob is so convenient I do not know how I worked without it prior.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Camas, Wa
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    3,487
    If you are looking for used then look for a Powermatic 1150 or 1200. A Clausing would good also.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    46,358
    If you want "it slices, it dices", the Nova variable speed is a really kewel DP...not inexpensive, however.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Crown Point, Indiana
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    2,075
    I got the Nova DVR Voyager and love it. It has 6" of quill travel, no quill slop and very low run out. I have not regretted getting it. Speed changes with just a turn of the knob. I have had mine a year or so and no problems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Evanston, IL
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    1,135
    I bought the floor model Porter Cable that Lowe’s currently sells and the run out was awful and PC’s customer service was worse, so I returned it. I found an old Clausing on Craigslist that was reasonable and 3-phase. Bought a vfd to run it and now have a heavy duty machine with speed I can adjust with a dial. The Nova sounds nice and is plug and play, but this was much less expensive and a bit of a fun learning experience for me. If you are interested in rehabbing a used machine, check out the Old Woodworking Machines site for info. Drill presses are also pretty common in their classifieds if you register.

  8. #8
    I have used many different drill prese's over the years and the Nova Voyager is by far the nicest. If you hate swapping belts and use a lot of different sizes and types of bits the speed control alone is worth the price.
    Last edited by Paul Follett; 07-22-2018 at 12:42 PM.
    Paul

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    1,533
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Frank View Post
    I got the Nova DVR Voyager and love it. It has 6" of quill travel, no quill slop and very low run out. I have not regretted getting it. Speed changes with just a turn of the knob. I have had mine a year or so and no problems.
    I was looking at the Nova at Woodwerks. The table height adjustment handle looked as if it would be interfered with by an add-on table like the Woodpeckers table. Do you have an aftermarket table on your DP?

    Otherwise, I was completely impressed with the Nova.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    LA & SC neither one is Cali
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    The first hurdle is new or used.

    If you go used I would suggest the venerable PM 1150 or 1200, there are better used presses but these are more than good enough for any woodworking. They also have the benefit of being easy to find, reasonably cheap and have good parts availability.

    On the new side the big Delta and PM were the choices for quite a while but the Nova simply blows them away. They have passed the initial and short term quality test and aside from some software update issues that were solved appear to be extremely solid.

    In the end it is just poking holes in wood, something that a HF or Borg DP will do acceptably for most woodworking. If I was buying a new DP and the budget allowed I really wouldn't look anywhere but the Nova Voyager. I would say if one is a Luddite to the point that a flip phone scares them then the Nova might be a little much, I am not saying it is difficult to use or understand but someone like that will likely never use any of the features that make it cool.
    5,306 miles from where the greatest things with 4 wheels are born
    5,328 miles from where the greatest things with 2 wheels are born
    5,301 miles from where the greatest things with 2 wheels and a band are born
    Seems to be more than a coincidence to me...

  11. #11
    IMHO, your list is missing
    • Good table elevation mechanism

    I gave a beautifully operating 1940's Delta to a relative to use in perpetuity due to the fight to raise and lower the table. A good solution to this is:

    trailer jack.jpg

    But, in the end a modern machine, while not near as smooth and accurate, won out due to convenience of operation.
    She said How many woodworking tools do you need?
    I said Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Tymchak View Post
    The table height adjustment handle looked as if it would be interfered with by an add-on table like the Woodpeckers table.
    Unless they have changed it recently it indeed does and requires a notch being cut in the back right corner of the auxiliary table.
    5,306 miles from where the greatest things with 4 wheels are born
    5,328 miles from where the greatest things with 2 wheels are born
    5,301 miles from where the greatest things with 2 wheels and a band are born
    Seems to be more than a coincidence to me...

  13. I will be facing the same purchase decision before long and I am pretty sold on the Nova Voyager from the looking Ive done. There may be more robust DPs out there, but for the duty it will see in my shop and the features it offers, the Voyager looks like a great option.

    Does anyone know if Nova has addressed the low volume of the indicator beeps yet? This seems to be one of the most common complaints. Not a deal breaker for me but would be encouraging to see them address a common suggestion from buyers.

    Would be really interested in reading a review of whatever you decide on.

    Dean

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Orange, CA
    Posts
    35
    Dean,

    I'm not sure if there have been updates, but I've never had an issue hearing mine. The DP is so quiet. I can see an issue if you have other workers or noise coming from somewhere else. Mine was purchased last November.

    Dennis

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    columbia, sc
    Posts
    561
    Well up until this point I had not even heard of a Nova. Engineer so bells wont scare me off. I have three phase power but clearly only needed for older pieces.

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