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Installed on a bench in a fixed position, the drill press is the ideal solution for making holes or vertical bores of great precision in both metal and wood.

Criteria of choice for a drill press

Used in industry or carpentry, the drill press allows a work of incomparable precision to the 10eor 100e/ Mm. Models for individuals do not offer the same rigor or the same drilling capacity. But they guarantee a high stability to perform quality or repetitive work. The six machines tested here have a drilling capacity in steel between 13 and 16 mm in diameter and up to 23 mm in soft materials, such as aluminum or wood. They have the same configuration: the drill is fixed on a column, mounted on a heavy steel base and sufficiently wide to ensure stability. Their height varies between 70 and 106 cm.

Powerful and tireless engines

The tested machines are equipped with asynchronous electric motors (from 320 to 700 W) silent, enduring and generating little vibrations. The motor rotates a spindle through a belt transmission. A tapered chuck is attached to the spindle which moves vertically (between 50 and 80 mm) using a capstan or flywheel. The piece to be drilled is held firmly by a vise or a clamp placed on a steel plate which slides vertically on the column using, most often, a rack. The gearboxes of our selection are five reports for the smallest, twelve or even sixteen reports (Titan) for the largest. The ratios of the Leman and the Titan allow them to vary the speed of rotation of the chuck from 180 to more than 3,000 rpm. Low speeds are used for drilling large diameters. On all drills, the speeds are changed manually, except on the Einhell. To find the right ratio, the belts move by hand on pulleys of different diameters. They are accessible by opening the hood located on the top of each machine. To handle them, simply loosen them by loosening a screw or a lever; a painful and boring operation, especially on the Quantum and the Scheppach. On 12- or 16-speed machines, it is difficult to find even if there are diagrams that help to position the belts.

Choose the right size

But nothing indicates which drill to use according to the speed and the material to be machined. Only three models (Einhell, OTMT and Quantum) offer correspondence tables in their instructions. No need to take a drill too big if the parts to be machined are of modest size: it is necessary to be able to evaluate its needs. Depending on the parts, the distance between the axis of the mandrel and the column and the distance between the plate and the mandrel must be taken into account. Another element to check: the "game" of the spindle of the chuck, a source of inaccuracy. However, the machines tested all have a satisfactory factory setting. Finally, note that the use of a vise (present on three machines only) is essential to block the pieces to be pierced.

CONTROLS AND ACCESSORIES

CONTROLS AND ACCESSORIES

The capstan that lowers the spindle is usually made of three rods and a plastic or rubber handle screwed onto an axle. On the Quantum, the handles are very ergonomic.

6 Drill presses for bench (from 159 €): presses

The start and stop buttons are located under a bonnet. It must be lifted for start-up but, in case of emergency, simply hit it to stop the engine. The Einhell and the Titan are devoid of it.

6 Drill presses for bench (from 159 €): bench

The installation of the drill on the self-tightening chuck is fast and is done without tools. The OTMT and Scheppach drills use the chuck key. All have a morse taper fit more precise for drilling metal.

6 Drill presses for bench (from 159 €): presses

A vise is provided on three models (Leman, Scheppach and Titan). This tool quickly becomes indispensable when one wants to drill metal. It comes with a fastening system, consisting of bolts, which clamps the vise on the table.

THREE TYPES OF SETTINGS

THREE TYPES OF SETTINGS

The drilling depth can be adjusted by means of a gauge generally placed as close as possible to the capstan. A stop screw locks the requested dimension. On the Einhell and the Quantum, a nut and a counter nut serve as a stop.

6 Drill presses for bench (from 159 €): bench

Controlled using a crank, the descent and the rise of the plate are guided by a rack (except on the Quantum and the Scheppach). If there is play in the bore (as on the Titan), the movement is done in fits and starts.

6 Drill presses for bench (from 159 €): drill

The 12 or 16 speed models have three pulleys and two belts. There is one pulley and one less belt on 5-speed drills. The reports are visible inside the hood. A lever is used to relax the belt.

Comparative table of 6 drill presses

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The choice of System D
We have chosen the machine that makes life easier for DIYers: the Einhell drill is indeed very practical in many ways. An extension allows to enlarge the surface of the drilling table for long pieces. A variable speed drive makes it easy to change gear without losing time thanks to a digital display that gives speed instantly. The table slides perfectly on the rack. Finally, during the precision tests, she proved that she was precise in the wood. Despite a high price, it is worth the detour.

An update on safety
Some common sense rules are to be observed. The main risk comes from the rotating chuck and drill. You have to work with tight clothes and tied hair. The part to be drilled must be properly clamped on the table to prevent it from being thrown. Finally, it is better to privilege the kick-start buttons that prevent untimely start-ups.

The result of the tests
Apart from their difference in size, the machines are all pretty close. Details annoy a little like the changes of speed of another time (manual change of the belts) or the nuts or the screws of the protection system of the chuck which tend to loosen with the vibrations (all the models except the Quantum ). The Leman, the first of this test, is the most homogeneous and offers a wide range of drilling thanks to its twelve gear ratios. Second, the Einhell drill scores points thanks to its practical aspects. Too bad the minimum speed is too high. Third, OTMT is effective in all tests. It lacks a little precision. The fourth is a good surprise: the Scheppach offers unbeatable value for money. In fifth place is the Titan, which is still a good machine with an excellent price / performance ratio, but falls on finishing details. Serious and precise, the Quantum closes the march. Indeed, its high price and the lack of accessories penalize it.

Our tests
In our tests, we mainly worked on metal parts (a U-section with a thickness of 10 mm) to perform a succession of holes. We made pre-holes Ø 8 mm at a speed high enough to evaluate the successive changes of speed. We then tested the maximum drilling capacity of each machine in the metal at the slowest speed. At each drilling, the drill has been lubricated to preserve sharpness. Then using a rod, we checked the false rounds (irregular holes due to an off-axis bit). For each model, the test was good. In the wood, we checked the accuracy of the depth gauges by blocking them on 20 mm with a Ø 8 mm wood drill bit. Some rating discrepancies were noted.


Video Instruction: AWF NU TOOL N 7B 12 Speed Drill Press