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Thread: Delta 18-900L 18 in. Laser Drill Press

  1. #1

    Delta 18-900L 18 in. Laser Drill Press

    Hey, I wanted to get some input, I was about to pull the trigger on this drill press and then I started seeing posts online about poor customer service from Delta and difficulty getting parts but the posts were about 5 years old. Any updates on this? Any reason I should avoid buying Delta tools? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    When Delta changed the most recent time (there have been many variations over the years) the majority of their tools went "unsupported". Since so many people have Delta tools and they were such a strong name for so long, this hit folks as a rather low blow (me included). The 18-900 is still a current machine and one of the better DP's you will find in the price range of the home shop enthusiast. I would not feel any buyer's remorse on ordering one.

    Do watch your torque on the table trunnion knobs. The design of the part that provides the actual grip on the trunnion is prone to failure BUT, not if you use a reasonable grip. Once I saw what they looked like and understood the stress areas I realized what happened.

    Delta DP Fail (6).jpgDelta DP Fail (3).jpg

    For my 17-950 the part was unavailable. I was able to make a wooden "shoe" and this has worked for many years. Until this thread came along I had forgotten I even did it ;-)

    DP Trunnion Fail Fix (1).jpg
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  3. #3
    Hey Glenn, thanks for the helpful reply, that DP seems to have been around for a while and I've seen many good reviews on it, so thanks for helping me think through this and the pics are helpful, too.

    Bart

  4. #4
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    I bought one of these a couple of years ago. Home Depot had it on sale for a New Years day sale. Price was just under $1000 and delivery would have been added on to that. I went across the street to Lowes and not only did they price match, but I got the 10% Veterans discount, AND free delivery. So delivered to my garage was under $900. Assembly was . . . fun. That head on the thing is very heavy so I used my engine hoist to lift it. If my ceiling had been one inch lower I think I would have been SOL, and that is no exaggeration. I like the machine very much, but I find the lazer very difficult to get aligned properly, so I gave up on it and don't use it.

    Wayne

  5. #5
    Thanks for the input Wayne, Lowe's still has the lowest price where i am at $1050 plus tax, but i would have killed for your deal. Again, thanks for helping me with the due diligence, don't want to make a bad purchase that could have been avoided.

  6. #6
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    The Delta lasers don't seem to be calibrated well at the factory. I had given up on mine too, but several years later I decided to figure out why they didn't work the way that they should and discovered the problem.

    In the package that comes with the drill press you should have a white 1/2" diameter shaft with a point on one end. If you can't find it, you can easily make one. For calibration this shaft gets installed point down in the drill chuck. Put a piece of scrap wood on the drill press table and clamp it in place. With the table also locked in position, lower the chuck and make a pointed dent in the scrap wood. You don't need to run the drill press motor for this or any other part of this laser calibration procedure.

    Now turn on the lasers and adjust the laser lines so they both cross this pointed dent in the scrap wood. Now, lower the drill chuck again and look closely at the laser lines where they are shining on the back side of the white shaft. You can block the beam from one laser while you check the other, but check both. The lines should be perfectly vertical on the white shaft. If they are not, the laser module inside the laser unit needs to be turned until it projects a perfectly vertical line on the white shaft. This will require dis-assembly of the laser unit. The large knob that each laser module is mounted in has a clamp inside that holds the laser module, and this clamp needs to be loosened in order to turn the laser.

    Once both laser modules are projecting truly vertical lines, you can re-assemble the laser head and check the calibration of the lasers to assure that their lines are perfectly vertical on the back of the white shaft.

    Then raise the shaft and adjust the lasers to get them crossing at the cone shaped dimple that you made in the wood. When these steps have been completed, you should be able to raise and lower the drill press table and the lasers should cross at the same point where your drill bit will make the hole, no matter how high or low the table is adjusted or how long your drill bit is.

    A Tip - The knobs that hold the lasers need to be hard to turn so they don't move after being set, but it can be difficult to get them positioned exactly where needed when turning them by hand. I found that using a pair of pliers to lightly grab and turn them gives me a larger turning arc of hand movement, making it much easier to get each laser positioned accurately.

    When the lasers are calibrated, they can be quite handy for speeding up your drilling process when you need to drill a lot of holes in your project. Once adjusted correctly you will not need to make any further adjustments to them unless the unit gets hit and bumped out of position or you somehow manage to turn the drill press head on the column. Take the time to get the laser unit calibrated as accurately as you can and it will serve you well as long as you don't forget to turn the laser power switch off when you finish using it. Otherwise, you will need a new battery to use it the next time DAMHIKT. I have two Delta bench mounted drill presses and one floor mounted Delta drill press. All three now have these laser modules. One is a Delta and the other two (better made) are the Wixey models.

    Charley
    Last edited by Charles Lent; 03-05-2019 at 10:23 AM.

  7. #7
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    Lasers are great for rough work. The width of the beam is greater than the level of accuracy I generally use a drill press for.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  8. #8
    Charles thanks for the detailed description. Sounds like I'll have some work to do on the lasers.

  9. #9
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    Charles,
    This is nothing like the procedure that came with my drill press. I might have to give this a try to see if I can get it working better.

    Wayne

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Lasers are great for rough work. The width of the beam is greater than the level of accuracy I generally use a drill press for.
    Ditto. The lines that my laser projects are about 1/16" wide. They cross at an angle of maybe 30 degrees, so you need to guesstimate about the real center of that intersection. Adjustment on mine took much longer than it should have for the resulting precision. They do, though, help you to know where to start looking.

  11. #11
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    Wait for a 10-15% off coupon from Acme Tools (if they are still doing them). Thats how I bought my 18-900L. IIRC I got it for around $850 shipped. First thing I did was mount it to a mobile base since all my tools are mobile, and ordered up a Jacobs 14N chuck for it (the one it comes with isnt that great). I recently picked up an Albrecht keyless chuck for it too and that has been nice to have. These days though I think I would have probably gone with the Nova DVR though. Seems to be a cooler drill press. Acme Tools also sells them too.
    If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

  12. #12
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    I don't think you'll find a better woodworkers drill press for $1000. I've been very happy with mine (had it for 4 years I think). As others have said, the lasers aren't of much value. Not hard to adjust, but not precise enough to be very helpful.

  13. #13
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    I debated this press versus the Rikon 17" variable speed. I am buying the Rikon tomorrow. I really liked the 1.5hp motor and the variable speed. I use a lot of forstner bits and also do a lot of metal drilling. Variable speed with the flip of a lever is a great thing.

    That being said, they are both great drill presses. I wish the Rikon had a laser, but the 1.5hp motor and variable speed were much bigger factors. I can always add a laser if I decide I want one.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Lasers are great for rough work. The width of the beam is greater than the level of accuracy I generally use a drill press for.
    The Wixey laser units have a better focused beam than the Delta version, but it still isn't accurate enough if doing very fine work. I use mine to locate the place for the hole that I want to drill, but depend on my eyesight to do the fine positioning. The lasers do help speed up your work when you have a lot of holes to make and they are fairly close together. I've recently been using one of my Delta bench top drill presses with the Wixey laser unit to drill scroll saw blade starter holes in scroll saw projects. Having the laser helps me get the piece positioned so the hole to be drilled ends up within the correct area of the pattern, since I don't have an exact location mark for each hole, but need to sometimes drill over a hundred .025" holes in each piece. In these projects, a laser cross hair is a definite help. Without it, I have to roughly position the piece, bring the bit down to almost touching, then fine position the piece, then drill the hole. With the laser cross hair I position the piece to get the cross hair over the spot that I want the hole, and then pull the handle and drill it. Then move the piece to the next position and repeat the process. I can do it about 2X as fast using the lasers.

    Charley

  15. #15
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    Bumping an old thread here I know, but I recently checked the prices on the Delta 18-900L and the Nova and wow was I amazing to see how the prices have sky rocketed! The 18-900L I bought for $850 and the Nova I could have easily gotten for $1150 shipped but now it looks like the Delta is around $1400+ everywhere and the Nova is up to an astonishing $1700! Thats just silly! I mean its cool I could probably sell my Delta for more than I paid for it, but replacing it would cost a fortune! As with pretty much all my tools, Im glad I bought when I did!
    If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

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