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Jet 17" Drill Press


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I just got my new Jet 17" drill press up and running.

First impressions:

It's really heavy. I mean _really_ heavy. No worries at all that it'll fall over or anything.

Looks solid and well-built. Was pretty easy to put together. Came with two Allen wrenches needed for assembly. Only other tool I needed to put it together was a box wrench (forgot the size) for the four bolts that hold the shaft to the base.

Nice features include: 16 speed; easy speed changing with a couple of thumb screws and a lever; spring-loaded chuck key that's impossible to leave in the chuck (not that I've ever done that...); really nice, heavy, well-built chuck; built-in 60W light; nice, heavy round steel table.

For a drill press in this price range, it would have been nice to include laser crosshairs.

Having said all that, cranking it up past about 1600 RPM results in completely intolerable vibration. I mean, the workpiece starts jumping around in relation to the spinning bit, even when it's clamped down. Completely unusable past 1600 RPM.

I looked at the motor and found that it was installed at the end of the travel in the slots in the motor mount, so there's no way to move the motor upward in the mount any further. I believe the vibration is the result of the pulley that's mounted on the motor spindle, being mounted too far up on the shaft away from the motor. Unfortunately it's in alignment with the other two pulleys in this position, and there's no more room in the motor mount (without modification, which I'm not doing), to move the motor spindle up further into the pulley.

So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. I'll talk to the folks at Woodcraft about it tomorrow I guess.

Replacing the belts with link belts would probably help, but I'm not sure how much. And I don't really want to spend another $40 to get the thing working like it should have out of the box.

On the other hand, I don't look forward to taking the thing apart, packing it back up, and returning it...

Anyone have any other things to try, to reduce vibration in a big drill press?


Edited by Rick500
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Sounds like a nice press, unfortunate that its got such serious vibration. On the laser cross hairs, I'm sure some people dig them, but I end up lining everything up anyway normally out of habit even with the lasers, I don't know that I could ever just go by lasers.

I know what you mean about taking that thing apart for returning, it would no doubt be a pain. However, I would truly consider it, even though its a pain you don't want to start out by having to rig a new machine to work properly. Obviously, you know and said that already, but I just wanted to give you a push to return it. If your new one does this as well, you may want to consider models or brands, ya know? Or at least you have a new machine that runs well out of the box, it sucks to go through all that, but it would likely be well worth it. Anyway, thats great you got the nice full sized press, I can't wait till I have the space for one. Well, either way you go best of luck and congrats on the puchase. J

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is that the Jet JDP-17MF? I have one of them that I bought maybe a year ago and it has been good to me so far. I wasn't going to get quite that expensive a drill press but I got it on sale at Rockler plus some extra off from a card I had.

Edited by jnewman
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Yes, it's the model you mentioned.

I should've posted an update this weekend.

I finally got it operating satisfactorily but I had to spend about $45 to make it happen.

I did everything I knew how to, to diagnose the problem. Checked the alignment of all the pulleys, checked and adjusted the belt tension, checked the installation of the chuck, etc. etc.

I went back and talked to the people at Woodcraft, and the only additional thing they suggested was to check the belts themselves to see if there were any irregularities (there were none).

So with no other ideas, I bought six feet of Powertwist flex link belt.

That solved 95% of the problem. I also used a piece of scrap wood to lever the motor a little farther back than I could by hand, to put more tension on the belts. I shimmed the base a little to make sure it was absolutely level on the floor.

I tried to call Jet over the weekend, but evidently they're only there Monday through Friday. I'll have to call them back this week.

I notice that the forward pulley is not spinning perfectly true, although the other two are. Same with the spindle that pulley is on. Although, strangely, this doesn't translate to the chuck, which looks to be spinning dead-on centered. But I think this pulley is causing what remaining vibration exists. Hopefully Jet will have some suggestions and/or a send a replacement.

Anyway, it's performing acceptably now. I don't like the idea of having to have spent almost $50 to make it operate like it should have out of the box, but at least it's working.

This is the first issue I've ever had with a Jet tool (and I have their band saw, jointer, and drum sander in addition to the drill press). I still trust the brand, but they aren't exempt from problems.

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When I first got my $200.00 Duracraft drill press, the middle pulley was tilted and was causing some serious belt wear. Had the "discount tool center", where I had bought the dp, put a new middle pulley on. After a few months the ball-bearing on that middle pully was throwing out grease. They handed me another new pulley. It's been fine for the 15 years since, and I'm even still using the original belts !

All I'm trying to say is if you payed big bucks, keep being a damn squeaky wheel until you got what you paid for in the first place.

And it also just goes to show how with a brand new tool , you can go through just as much hassle as buying a used tool and refurbishing it.

I also have the "60 watt max" bulb thing on mine, but I have a compact 25 watt fluorescent in there which supposedly throws out as much light as a 100 watt regular bulb. I just assume I'm not breaking any rules by doing this.

But lots of light *behind* the bit is just secondardy lighting for me. I have a floor lamp fixture to throw light on the front of the bit.

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I have a delta 16 1/2 inch floor standing drill press and had the same vibration issues. I removed the center pulley and installed a single link belt. I don't have as many speeds but I don't really need it for wood working. Occasionally the cover vibrates and I just slap the cover to stop the noise.

I have been thinking of a larger drill press 20" with variable speed electronic control to eliminate vibration all together. Weight = stability.

Also make sure your chuck is not way off, I also had to replace the chuck on mine due to the excessive runout. A $40 Chinese chuck was twice as accurate.

I don't think this caused the vibration just the pulley setup. You can also try bolting the machine to the floor.

Edited by Woodenspoke
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