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Cheap Drill Press

al heeley

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Does anyone have/use one of the budget table-top types of drill presses for working on guitars?

I'm thinking of the type of thing they sell in the UK DIY stores for £39 - £49. Are they better than not having anything or are they a waste of £39 as they are not up to a serious precision job, speaking as a hobbyist user rather than a pro or semi-pro luthier, that is.

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I have a Ryobi 10" drill press.

It's better than not having one, but the table is flimsy and flexes under pressure. The chuck is not great. There is noticeable lateral runout. (It started out without noticeable runout but it's gotten worse with use. Probably my fault for using it as a fret press and with a sanding drum.)

I'm not sorry I bought it (was under $100), but I'll be upgrading in the future.

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Throw 20-30 more quids and get yourself a good drill press instead.

I've got meself a 110$ Craftsman (Canadian brand), 9" table drill press. And it's as good as my 16" 750$ General drill press. It's just less powerful and the table is very small. Very good for small jobs.

Edited by MescaBug
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Spend the 60, but if you can, spend even a little bit more. Well, if you only build basses, a smaller press that won't reach the middle of the body will be enough, if you build more guitars, you want something that can drill the TOM studs and various bridge holes in the middle of a guitar body. I currently have a cheapie (About the 60 quid mark, Euro equivalent) that's OK, but not fantastic. Runout is minimal, plenty accurate for tuning machine holes and the like, and very useful for chambering bodies with a forstner (saves on router bit wear).

But I really wish I had the space (and the cash flow) to replace it with something bigger and more reliable. Although I sometimes wonder whether or not I should get a milling machine. And then I remember I hardly have the time to do the woodworking I want to do, let alone get into metalworking, with its own huge variety of tooling, techniques, materials, etc. I suspect I'll stick with ETS if I want some custom hardware made :D

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