I need to outfit my shop with some tools pretty much starting from the ground up. One of the things I need is a good drill press. Today I went and looked at a Rockwell 15-655. The price seemed to be pretty agreeable at $350, but the photo made it hard to tell the condition. I have no experience with these drills, so I went and had a look-see. It has the variable speed control on the front, but the hand is gone. In fact, there's nothing there but the stub. Try as I might, I couldn't even figure out how the old control was attached. I didn't see a key way or a hole for a roll pin or set screw. How are they attached? I also wasn't sure what to listen for as far as worrisome sounds versus, "They just do that." The spindle seemed to have no wiggle at all when I tried to wiggle the chuck, but when I powered it up and ran the spindle all the way down, when it got to about 9/10s of the way down a rattle started up inside the housing. It didn't sound friendly. Anyone know what would cause that?
Sorry if these are all basic questions, but I don't have anyone local to ask. I am wondering if I shouldn't pay more money for something that's seems like it stands a good chance of not needing immediate maintenance, but the other used ones I've seen have run around $700, and I'm on a tight budget (of course). What other make/model could I consider? Are these Rockwells good enough that it would be worth putting money into? I've seen the variable drive go for $300, which would be bad if I had to replace it.
I'm wondering also if maybe I shouldn't get something on a smaller scale like a Craftsman. However, I plan on doing some occasionally heavy work with it, and I know Rockwells have a reputation for lasting just about forever.
Thanks for your thoughts,