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Mow that I'm retired, I'm considering getting some tools for a hobby bench. I was thinking about this drill press because, for now, I don't see myself drilling holes in large pieces of metal. They also have an X-Y table available. Thoughts? Thanks.

MicroLux Variable Speed Drill Press

X-Y Table

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the thing t consider with a drill press is the distance from the drill to the support because that is the max size piece you can drill.

their xy table works with any press.

but since i started using my laser cutter and 3D printer i rarely use my drill press or band saw. laser cutting holes are far more accurate with a laser cutter.

Last edited by AlanRail

Having spent a lot of time using drill presses on wood, metal and plastic, I'd suggest looking for one that has an adjustable height work table.  With this MicroLux, I think it's likely you'd often need to block up your work pieces.  Blocking up makes clamping the work piece more cumbersome and less secure.  If you're drilling into metal, this often means starting with a small hole and drilling progressively larger holes to get to the size you need (even with a step bit).  Small diameter bits are generally shorter than the larger diameter bits, requiring lowering the work piece as hole size increases and bits are longer.

I have several drill presses ranging from a vintage high end Craftsman Floor model to a Harbor Freight cheapo (~$75 in today's dollars). If you're doing light drilling and the chuck is true on the arbor, a less expensive model will work fine.  A depth gauge is also a good feature to have, but in my opinion mechanical ones work well.

Whichever drill press you choose, X-Y vices are very useful.  They're available from numerous third party vendors and will adapt to most any drill press' adjustable height work table.

Last edited by SteveH

It’s not a direct comparison but I have the smaller, three-speed version of this. I have found it reliable and well-built and certainly good enough for the limited amount of work I use it for. Yes, I can see that an adjustable table would be better in many cases but that would increase both size and cost beyond my reasonable needs. The optional accessories seem to me to vary in quality and ease of use; some are plastic and getting a precise “fix” on the object being drilled is not always straightforward, but the machine itself is fine.

If I had it to do over again I’d probably opt for this variable speed model but I have had no real issue with the speed adjustments on mine.

I have four of the $75 (or less) Harbor Freight small cast iron drill press.  My scratchbuilt brass locomotives have thousands of holes drilled on these cheapie but high quality drill presses.

I did not know that home laser cutters can make holes in brass.  Keep your fingers out of that beam!

I have a really good X-Y table.  It is only used when I emboss rivets.

Matt, next time in San Diego look me up.

@SteveH posted:

Having spent a lot of time using drill presses on wood, metal and plastic, I'd suggest looking for one that has an adjustable height work table.  With this MicroLux, I think it's likely you'd often need to block up your work pieces.  Blocking up makes clamping the work piece more cumbersome and less secure.  If you're drilling into metal, this often means starting with a small hole and drilling progressively larger holes to get to the size you need (even with a step bit).  Small diameter bits are generally shorter than the larger diameter bits, requiring lowering the work piece as hole size increases and bits are longer.

.

if this one is a copy from the Proxxon , then the hight can be adjusted (in europe whe have them from Proxxon)

the whole motor unit can vary in hight



Cor

@moonlicht posted:

if this one is a copy from the Proxxon , then the hight can be adjusted (in europe whe have them from Proxxon)

the whole motor unit can vary in hight



Cor

That height adjustment is the case with mine - I do not know if it is a Proxxon under the labels but some Micro-Mark small powered tools I have definitely are. I don't find having to adjust the whole motor unit up/down the rod on which it travels particularly accurate and an adjustable table would clearly be better, but it works well enough for my purposes. I am not scratchbuilding whole engines/cars out of brass, just drilling mostly in aluminum or die cast shells or metal frames or components I have fabricated out of metal sheets.

Another vote for a Harbor Freight Benchtop at 1/4 the price. The table and base are ground cast steel vs an extrusion. It has an 8” throat vs 6.5”. The table can be adjusted for height. As pointed out the XY table can be added to any drill press.

https://www.harborfreight.com/...ill-press-60238.html

I also have a variable speed Edison 1/4” hobby drill press with a 5” throat purchased at a flea market for 5 bucks and have made many many train parts with it. Its chuck closes to zero so is able to hold drill bits as small as #80.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

I bought one and it was just okay.  The chuck was rather crude and had noticeable run out.  After a year, or so, of moderate use, the switch failed (yeah, happens to the best of them).  I replaced it and all seemed well again.  I mentioned I had one to Dennis M. and he asked if I wanted to trade for his Cameron (he really wanted the digital readout).  I agreed to the exchange and I feel I got a way better machine with the Cameron.  I suppose it should be...they cost 3 or 4 times as much.

Also have one of the Harbor freight specials and I use it for heavier drilling.

After using many small drill presses, even an old Unimat, I would say, if you can afford it, and want accuracy the Cameron is the way to go.

As Bob often states, opinion only.

Jay

I have a drill press from MicroMark as well as a larger one from Harbor Freight.  I was also disappointed in the quality of the MicroMark press, and the Harbor Freight model isn't anything to write home about either, but it only cost me $30 on sale!

I happened on a sale of a Dumore jeweler's drill press with some other tools several years back, the whole bunch was $150, one of my better buys. I was actually buying the tools mostly for the press and tools, but it also included other tools, including the Dumore drill press.

The Dumore is a precision piece of equipment, and far exceeds the quality of any of my other drill presses!  It only goes to 1/8" drill size, but that's sufficient for much of my use for a precision drill press.

After using it and realizing it was an unusually high quality, I went looking to see about the brand.  From the prices of them on eBay, I'd say mine was a good purchase.   Here are a couple of the listings of the same style press.

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One spec rarely given is the drill chuck. Most cheaper ones have a lot of runout. A number 80 drill bit is only .0135” diameter. The runout of many chucks due the jaws not closing evenly can exceed this. You can improve many less expensive drill presses by replacing the chucks with a Jacobs or better yet Albrecht chuck though the latter is likely more expensive than the drill press you just bought.

Pete

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