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Precise benchtop drill press?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Justin Schmidt, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    Does such a thing exist? Had a 12in delta but the runout was too bad and was ruining my folders. Bought an 8in harbor freight, needles to say I'm taking that guy back. I'm gonna eventually save and get a shopfox micro mill strictly for drill holes but until then?
     
  2. ashwinearl

    ashwinearl

    246
    Nov 9, 2006
    Following!

    I am about to make the same purchase. I have been eyeing the Harbor Freight mid size one with the big motor, but am now having second thoughts. The other bang/buck one in terms of motor strength is Porter Cable at Lowes, but is floor standing, but don't know about accuracy.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  3. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    I like old drill presses, I have an old Buffalo Forge with a Jacobs chuck, Older drill presses are very heavy with cast frames.
    I use it to make slipjoints which has plenty of hole drilling opportunities.

    What specific precision problems are you having?
    If it's roundness of the hole, are using a carbide reamer to finish the hole?
    If it's perpendicularity, is your material flat and straight?
    If it's positioning and matching different components, there are methods to use on a drill press table.
    you mentioned runout, have you considered upgrading the chuck? you can get a keyless Albrecht on ebay for a reasonable price.
    However I think at best you might still have a few thousands TIR (total indicated runout), perhaps .003 (or more)

    If you want real precision, you have to go with a a rigid mill setup...

    You might want to research carefully on that ShopFox, it may disappoint you in drilling into metal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  4. Wild Bill 1

    Wild Bill 1

    198
    Aug 7, 2013
    You will need a mill.Even if you put a high end chuck on one of the drill presses you are talking about you will still end with run out. A mill with collates are the way to go .You drill under size holes and ream the to size.It is not cheep to do it right but you need a mill to start with. WB
     
    DanF likes this.
  5. Carterwhopkins

    Carterwhopkins KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    171
    Dec 12, 2012
    I have a 1942 Craftsman bench top drill press with a Jacob's chuck....Zero (0) runout. It does have some short comings but quality construction is not one. I had the Dunlap motor rewired about 30 years ago and the repair guy was in awe of the construction of the motor and said it would last another 50 years. The drill spent more than forty years at a house on the bay in Miami...barely any rust after all that time in the salt air environment. Old machines rock.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  6. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    Sorry should have mentioned I removed the chuck from the delta and the HF and both have visible runout on the spindle. A new spindle for the delta doesnt exist. Yes I'm using a smaller drill bit then reaming to size.

    @ashwinearl from what I've seen on other forums the standing porter cable is well made and highly reccomend.

    I'd love nothing more than a real mill but I just cant financially afford one at this time
     
  7. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    I have two little benchtop 12’ Drill presses,in my shop for drilling & counter sink for Loveless bolts which I think are the strongest of the Mechanical connectors one is Harbor Fright I use for the counter sink and a Grizzly 12” for drilling handles & if need Be the harden tangs with a Carbide bit.... when I first got into knife making I went to the shop of Robert Loveless... he had three little Harbor Freight Drill presses and told me once they were tuned in to your job for each one, they worked fine! I agree now that I have used them for many years. I tryed two older Drill presses along they way! They both turned out to be way more hassle! :rolleyes:——I wanted to make knives. Not rebuild old presses! YMMV..——-PS, both little presses were well under a $100 delivered to my shop!
     
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The new DC direct drive DRO and AC DVR drill presses are pretty impressive.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  9. Kevin McGovern

    Kevin McGovern KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 31, 2015
    Like @HSC I also have a buffalo forge drill press from the forties. Zero runout, and easy to maintain. I put a new motor and vfd on mine. I make folders on it, and have no issues.
     
    Justin Schmidt and Lieblad like this.
  10. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Wow- I build mostly automatics and I drill 95% of my holes by hand, with a flexible shaft machine.
    I hardly ever use my drill press.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  11. Randy3000

    Randy3000

    680
    Jun 3, 2017
    Valknut, what problems are you experiencing? Oversized or non square hole?

    Center punching, using a sharp, short shank HSS bit with a sharp angle, using cutting lube and the right spindle speed, and not letting the steel ride up when the bit breaks through the other side, all that goes a long way. I am sort of quick to retire a drill bit, I keep the shank to use as temp pins. Using pin stock as temp pins is bad, as they always are a bit undersized and it affects things when you are fitting the blade and spring.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  12. ron_m80

    ron_m80 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 1, 2009
    I can say that my experience mirrors Laurence's comments. I love my old Buffalo Drill press, and my Old Walker Turner is great when leveled, and bolted down to the concrete. However there is a whole other bag of lessons involved in rebuilding old machines that are entirely distracting from knifemaking. A new spindle on a #18 buffalo will run in excess of $700 (not many people run tapered drill shanks anymore), from the last source for them in the U.S. unless you want to get into specifying, and ordering custom machined parts and specifying your own bearings.

    I love old iron tools. So to me it wasn't a loss, just a growing pain. Hope I can move them forward with me, which is another huge concern I have.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  13. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    Got a link or pics?
     
  14. Busto

    Busto KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 26, 2011
    Those Voyager DVR Drill presses are about $1600.00:eek: seems a bit pricey but then again a nice Mini Mill ain't cheap either.
     
    butcher_block and Justin Schmidt like this.
  15. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    at that price point i always bring up you can drill in a mill but you cant mill with a drill
     
    seanj and Justin Schmidt like this.
  16. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    Yeah at 1600 bucks that'd buy a nice lms 3990
    Gonna save up for this and use it just for drilling
    [​IMG]

    Until I can get a precision Mathews mini mill
     
    razor-edge-knives and seanj like this.
  17. seanj

    seanj

    189
    Mar 1, 2010
    My desktop Grizzly drill press cost more than that. With a SouthBend chuck I have a run out of less than .003. I'm happy with it. But if I'd seen this first, I might just have a mill by now.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  18. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    It's too tiny to use for actual milling I think I'd just use it for drilling pi or holes in folders and the z-axis DRO will help counterboring bearing pockets
     
    seanj likes this.
  19. seanj

    seanj

    189
    Mar 1, 2010
    Good point valknut. It is quite small
     
  20. Kevin Wilkins

    Kevin Wilkins

    Oct 7, 1998
    Powermatic still makes drill presses in the USA and I think one other company. Else any of the German brands are good, Alzmetall, Maxion, Flott are all great. Used machines here: https://www.surplex.com/en/machines/c/pillar-or-column-drills-4389.html
    Thing is, a good drill press is expensive. A good milling machine is also expensive. You get what you pay for.
     

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