In a large production shop, a drill press is standard equipment, but many small-shop owners put off buying one for years. Most often, the reason is a matter of small-shop economics: Shelling out four or five hundred dollars for a floor-standing model gets shuffled down the priority list when there are so many other “must have” pieces of equipment to buy – a table saw, a router and router table, a band saw, a sander or two, clamps, etc. Another concern, for anyone who’s shop isn’t permanently planted in one spot, is the (lack of) portability of a full-scale drill press. A floor-standing drill press is heavy and has a weight distribution that makes it more than a little awkward to handle during a move.
Doing without a drill press, on the other hand, can be difficult to manage. There isn’t another tool that lets you set up quickly for drilling operations that require accuracy and repeatability, or that can be fitted with a mortising attachment for quick, accurate mortises. And a drill press outfitted with a sanding drum is really the only viable alternative to a spindle sander for sanding inside curves.
For shops where cost and portability are concerns, a bench top drill press is the best option, but finding a model that doesn’t sacrifice quality in the interest of affordability and a compact size can be a challenge. We think the Delta DP 300L 12″ Drill Press is an exception. It has a surprisingly complete list of the features you’d expect to find on an industrial quality floor standing model, including an industrial induction motor, a rack and pinion table raising/lowering mechanism, an adjustable-position locking depth stop, and laser crosshairs for accurate work-positioning – all in an affordable, portable bench top package. Add to that the tool tray and work light that come standard, and the optional mortising attachment and you have a tool that truly solves the small shop drill press dilemma.