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Craftsman or Harbor Freight drill press?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by BallewBlade, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Hi all, I'm looking to get an inexpensive bench top drill press and was looking at,either a 12in Craftsman or a 10in Harbor Freight. I'm leaning more twords the Craftsman but the HF is cheaper but seems like less quality. Do any of you guys own or have used these drill presses? Thanks for the help in advanced!:thumbup:
     
  2. JBH Blades

    JBH Blades

    1
    Dec 30, 2013
    If those are your only two choices go Craftsman. Or better yet check Craigslist daily, You'll probably find a deal on a better drill press than the HF and CM. Just check it out carefully. Ive got three pieces of equipment all circa. 1946-47. Give them a little love, good to go.
     
  3. Augus7us

    Augus7us

    687
    Oct 9, 2014
    Read the reviews on the HF page, half the people that bought that dp say it can't drill a straight hole out of the box. I would say the craftsman is better but not by a whole lot.

    I'm with JBH I would look for a used one on CL. Even some of the chinese made stuff like Jet is better quality than the two you mentioned and also cost more new but used you can usually find a decent deal on CL. If you are considering buying used and would like some tips on what to look for let us know or pm me, I can give you a few things to check.
     
  4. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Yeah I may go the craigslist route, its just been so hit or miss for me but thanks for the advice.
     
  5. If you're not in a hurry I'd wait for something to come up on Craigslist. You might even look in neighboring cities. Search the word "estate" and it will bring up local estate sales and maybe you can find one there.

    I've used the cheapest HF one when I started and it's definitely possible to drill great holes with it. One way of doing it is to use a dremel with a carbide cutter and make a divot exactly in the center of where you want the hole to be. Make sure to clamp your work on the drill press table. Then use a smaller drill bit on the press and drill a pilot hole. Then step up to your desired diameter bit and you should be GTG. Also, use sharp American made drill bits, slow speed, and lots of cutting oil. It takes a little bit more time and effort but that's the nature of knife making.



    All this being said I'd get the nicest press you can afford. Buy once cry once.
     
  6. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    I ultimately want a quality drill press but I figured I could start cheap. I used a friends 8 in craftsman and it worked fine for drilling up to a 3/8 hole, could do 1/2 with a pilot hole. I use really nice drill presses at the welding shop I work at on a regular basis but I think a cheapo dp would work for a while until I get a good one, I was just looking for any input on the cheap ones. Thanks so much guys and I will keep an eye on craigslist!
     
  7. Sgt John

    Sgt John

    90
    Mar 24, 2013
    I have used the 10" 12 speed HF drill press for over a year now. I have never had a problem with drilling straight holes. It's a decent drill press for the price and you get what you pay for. It's not the best drill press out there, but it will get the job done pretty well as long as you set it up properly out of the box.
     
  8. crocogator106

    crocogator106 Gold Member Gold Member

    808
    Nov 16, 2012
    I bought the cheaper 8" 5 speed HF drill press about a year ago and it still works great. Definitely not the best quality but I only use the slowest speed, use a lubricant and bought a set of Norseman bits and have not had a minutes trouble but I really baby it and drill really slow. I think the quality bits really make the difference.
     
  9. Randydb

    Randydb Basic Member Basic Member

    671
    Sep 27, 2014
    The cheapo ones don't last. Be patient and find a decent one on craigslist. I have bought two cheap bench top presses in 5 yrs and I think the second one is dying. I am getting a pretty good vibration when I run my press on its highest speed.
     
  10. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Glad it has worked well for you and thanks for the input.
     
  11. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Yeah a good sharp drill but with lubricant is the way to go, I don't mess around with cheap bits, its all about high speed steel bits. Why don't you run your DP on a faster setting?
     
  12. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    !
    Thanks and I did find a good one on craigslist for $100! Just need to get the money and go pick it up.
     
  13. In terms of sharp bits I would highly recommend a Drill Doctor. You can get a basic one for around $40 IIRC. I got one at an estate sale a few weeks ago for $15 and it is amazing how well it works. I had probably 4-5 "ruined" 1/4in bits and now they're sharper than new. They plow through metal quick and give me long spiral chips. It only takes a minute or so to sharpen a bit with it. I don't think I'll ever have to buy new bits again now. I was buying new bits somewhat frequently so it's already saved me a good amount of money.
     
  14. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Cool I'm glad that drill doctor works well, I would like to try one, but I do know how to sharpen bits by hand on my belt sander, it pretty easy and fast once you get the hang of it. Its a shame to throw away a dull bit and it amazes me how many people chuck em! And yes when you see nice even long chips you know that bit is sharp and cutting like it should! Thanks for sharing.
     
  15. crocogator106

    crocogator106 Gold Member Gold Member

    808
    Nov 16, 2012
    Just a good practice to drill slow; especially with a cheaper drill press. Drill a little then lube, drill a little and lube until hole is done. There is not much difference in the time it takes to drill a hole on slowest speed to highest its just easier on your bits and press not to mention the heat build up on the blade.
     
  16. bodam

    bodam

    102
    Sep 8, 2014
    I bought a HF drill press and I regret it. It drifts around making it impossible to drill exactly where I want the hole
     
  17. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    That's unfortunate, Harbor Freight is hit or miss.
     
  18. y0ukn0wwh0

    y0ukn0wwh0

    601
    Mar 16, 2008
    I might suggest checking into the Porter Cable as I saw some decent
    Clearance at our local Home Improvement Center.
     
  19. BallewBlade

    BallewBlade

    713
    Oct 10, 2011
    Thank you I will check that out, I know Porter Cable makes quality tools.
     
  20. Mike Fennessy

    Mike Fennessy

    325
    Dec 19, 2005
    HF is definitely hit or miss. I have a small cheap one that works great. I also have the milling machine and I absolutely love it.
     

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