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Drill press choice?

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#1
I have two drill presses in the shop. An old Rockwell table model (outstanding for small stuff) and a newer Powermatic 2800 (not good for metal). I will likely sell the PM to make space but perhaps I would keep it for woodworking only.

I am evaluating new or used presses for metalworking and want to "buy once". I want a floor model that can drill a 1" hole in 1/2" steel plate easily.

I am thinking it should have at least 18" capacity and I'd like the ability to mount a laser centerpoint indicator on it. I may use it occasionally for woodworking but my buying motive is strictly to improve my capacity for drilling metal. I would like it to weigh less than 750 pounds so I could move it without too much trouble with an engine hoist.

Looking for insights and recommendations.
 

randyjaco

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#2
If cost isn't a consideration I would go with an Ellis. Super machine!
I don't know where you are located, but I have a reconditioned 20" Clausing, I am selling for $2k. It's also a great machine.
Randy
 
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#3
Thanks Randy, yes I have seen the Ellis. A friend has an Ellis bandsaw and that's how I came to become familiar with them and as you know, it is made in the USA. Looks like they sell one variant now, the Ellis 9400.

In the spirit of buying once, I have it on the list for consideration.
 

schor

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#4
For the money old will be the way to go. And old stuff is just better.

 
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ACHiPo

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#7
For the money old will be the way to go. And old stuff is just better.

This makes me want to get my old Atlas drill press cleaned up. I'd about given up on it because it's so heavy and hard to adjust, but the shiny post on those makes me think with some TLC I make it a lot more user friendly. It does have that nice thunk-whirrr sound.
 

stupoty

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#8
I am evaluating new or used presses for metalworking and want to "buy once". I want a floor model that can drill a 1" hole in 1/2" steel plate easily.
If your mainly wanting big holes in steel perhaps a mag drill ? I've been lusting after one lately and have noticed even the cheep ones seem to be quite versatile.

:)

Stuart
 
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#10
Thanks for all the input thus far.

I dug in deeper on the Ellis and spoke to them today on the phone.

The machine is made of imported castings, quill, motor, VFD, etc. They assemble it here and then test it. So my belief that it was made in the USA was in error. It is assembled in the USA from mostly Chinese parts and pieces. The VFD is Japanese. After assembly it is tested by drilling several holes, tuned as necessary, and then crated here for shipment.

Okay, looks like a US made machine is not available but this one is still a very nice drill press. It would be a big plus in my shop.

Meanwhile, I am continuing the hunt for an American made 18 to 20 inch machine. I have a milling machine and do not want a mill/drill. I also have a very fine table model Rockwell from the late 50's early 60's.
 

Nogoingback

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#11
How about an Edlund? The smallest model might work in a home shop. They don't come up very often, but I've seen 3 on CL in my area in the last few months.
 
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#13
How about an Electro Mechano 20" ?
https://gulfport.craigslist.org/tls/5977247603.html

Also, I believe Buffalo Machines still makes their own drill presses.
http://www.bmt-usa.com/7.html
Yes, I saw that EM20 a few days back. Looks like it may a couple of hours from me.

The add mentions he has parts - a likely indicator that something is broken? Needs work?

I sure tire of Craigslist on the gulf coast. The pricing is often comical. Meanwhile I sent an inquiry and am waiting.

What do you think one in decent shape is worth? I would need to get a panel and VFD to run it. Just went through that on a lathe. It is not a problem, just time and more money that must be considered in the total cost.
 
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chips&more

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If you are going to spend $1K – $2K, I would get a Bridgeport mill. It’s like a drill press on steroids. And can still be moved with a cherry picker…Dave
 
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#16
Agreed, mills are great. I have a brand new PM935TV.

Just in the market for a better drill press now.
 

bl00

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What do you think one in decent shape is worth? I would need to get a panel and VFD to run it. Just went through that on a lathe. It is not a problem, just time and more money that must be considered in the total cost.
I'm just generally aware that they exist, but don't know enough about them to say what the value is. There's one on ebay from a dealer in Ct for $2200, so I would view that as the very top end of the price range. Maybe you should take a drive up to HGR and go shopping.
 
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#18
Yes I did see the ebay one too when searching. If I were spending $2200 plus a VFD upgrade, I'd think the new Ellis as a plug and play new machine would be the prudent thing. BTW, it can be turned down to less than the 100 rpm the Electro Mechano is limited at. Not a huge deal but a 1" bit needs to go slow.
 

projectnut

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#19
If you're considering something used take a look at one like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/390904342084?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

I've had one like this in the shop going on 20 years and t works great. It can be wired either 220V or 440V either 3 phase or with a phase converter or VFD. It has a 2 speed motor capable of speeds between 80 rpm and 2000 rpm. It can also power feed down and has depth stops. If I recall correctly it's capable of 1 1/4 inch holes in steel plate.

They're tough machines and weigh in at about your max weight of 750 lbs.

I'd see if you can find one other than this. They're asking a ton of money and it's probably been up for sale on EBay for at least a year, maybe as long as 2 years. I paid less than scrap metal price for mine. It was in excellent condition, but unfortunately in a shop our company was closing down. None of the other shops had a use for it so rather than see it go to the dumpster the company sold it to me.

ON EDIT: Here's a link to the operators manual on the Northern Tool website:
http://www.northerntool.com/images/downloads/manuals/155870.pdf

They say the machine is no longer available new from them, but I'm sure there are several either new or used in the market. The specs for both the VS-1 and the VS-3 are on page 5.
 
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jdedmon91

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#20
If you are going to spend $1K – $2K, I would get a Bridgeport mill. It’s like a drill press on steroids. And can still be moved with a cherry picker…Dave
I have two small drill presses in the shop not bench top and both Craftsman branded. One is a small one and a larger one with 1/2 capacity. However I don’t use them often unless drilling a smaller non critical hole.

I do most drilling on my Lagun mill. Even the parts that need a precise location but a larger size


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samthedog

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#21
I have an Arboga E2508 and it is a fantastic drill press. What makes it great is the rpm range that is from 100 to 2700 rpm, it's rigidity, clearance from the table to the spindle, common MT3 spindle and rack and pinion table AND head adjustment.

I found that what a drill press offers is the rapid removal of material with large drill bits that a mill might struggle with. The rigidity is super important because when you start to get past a 1 inch drill bit, it puts huge torque on the machine and causes things to flex and move in ways you wouldn't expect. I would expect that this would cause havoc on a mill's accuracy. My advice is to get the most rigid press you can - specifically the largest sized column you can find. I can recommend Arboga machines and they tend to come up quite often in the USA despite being a Swedish machine.

Paul.
 
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#22
I started this thread in Feb. 2017. Of course there has been a little water under the bridge since then and I thought I would report back on this thread of where it all landed.

After a lot of research, searching for used machines, and evaluating what was available new, I bought a new Ellis 9400. I have had it for over a year. It is a fine drill press and augments my milling machine and lathe. Ellis has a very good reputation. I believe the reputation is earned because it is quite robust, rigid and heavy construction, variable speed via a VFD, and generally very well made. It offers excellent low speed performance.

I recently needed to drill several 3/4" diameter holes in some structural steel. I adapted the machine to use an annular cutter and its power feed. The Ellis performed very well cutting these holes. The holes were cut in less than 8 seconds in 1/4" thick steel. I posted this elsewhere here on the forum so some of you have seen it but for fun, here's the very short video snippet of one of these holes being cut.
 
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