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Imagine my surprise when I was a Harbor Freight last Friday and saw a Central Machinery drill press table for $30. I just worked a handful of nights and spent that much alone for the T-slot router bit to build my own table for the last part of the DP 350 review.

Toolmonger covered the inexpensive MLCS table before, which cost $60, but you had to deal with the wait and the shipping charges. In comparison, Rockler’s cheapest table runs $100 and their deluxe model runs $120. This table from Harbor Freight beats the cheapest one mentioned by $30.

But what does $30 buy you? First, the 1″ thick particle board table measures 23-7/8″ by 11-5/8″ and can accept a sacrificial throat insert to back up your holes. The 1″ thick fence rides on an aluminum T-track and is adjusted by loosening two top mounted knobs. A T-slot in the fence accepts other accessories, like the included stop block. The T-track on the table can also be used to mount hold-downs and other accessories. Along both of the aluminum T-Tracks is a ruled stick-on tape for setting the fence.

The table mounts to any 4″ to 5″ mini drill press, but given that it mounts the same way most drill press table mount — with two upside down hold-downs — it’d probably work on a bigger drill press.

In the end I’m glad I spent the time to build my own drill press table. It fits my drill press like a glove and has more features than any but Rockler’s best table. If you’re not handy with a router, or just don’t want to spend the time futzing with a jig when you should be productive, it’s hard to beat Harbor Freight’s offering.

Drill Press Table [Harbor Freight]
Drill Press Tables [MLCS]
Mini Drill Press Table [Rockler]
Drill Press Table [Rockler]

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11 Responses to Drill Press Table For Cheap

  1. Toolaremia says:

    Looks good for the price. But are the edges of the particle board sealed? Doesn’t look like it. If not it wouldn’t be long before they would start to swell up in my shop/garage…

  2. zoomzoomjeff says:

    Doesn’t that really chaff your butt when you spend time inventing the wheel to your perfection and then find out somebody sells it for cheap? I feel for ya, man.

    BUT…..thanks to you, we can all benefit now! I’m going to look for this table, and also some type of bandsaw table.

  3. David says:

    Is that particle board or MDF?

    And sealing the edges would not be a real problem. A little poly might do it.

    I’d say this would also make a nice starting point for a top to a DIY router table. Just add a split face to that fence and work on customer inserts.

  4. Chuck says:

    Just be aware that Harbor Freight may not be the kind of establishment you want to support. The founder of the company is suing his billionaire son (CEO) for fraud and elder abuse and employees haven’t had a raise in over two years. Plus a lot of families have been ruined because policy is to fire long-term employees and bring in cheaper. http://ow.ly/2tXKm

  5. Geoff says:

    Shouldn’t we await the result of the lawsuit before passing judgment? Filing a lawsuit is easy, but winning a lawsuit is another kettle of fish altogether…

    I don’t know any facts of this case beyond what’s reported in the media, and I’d prefer to wait for a court ruling before letting the allegations stand.

  6. Dave P says:

    “…employees haven’t had a raise in over two years. Plus a lot of families have been ruined because policy is to fire long-term employees and bring in cheaper.”

    You could use that same logic against Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, Lowe’s,….pretty much any big store trying to weather the economy. I try not to shop at HF because their stuff is sort of crappy. Sometimes money talks, though.

    And at least HF doesn’t make any bones about selling import crap, unlike Sears, who loves to fly the flag while slowly Craftsman becomes a ChiCom trademark.

  7. @Chuck:

    Site your source on this:

    Plus a lot of families have been ruined because policy is to fire long-term employees and bring in cheaper.

    All the linked article says is that he fired some long term executives. If you think they’re hurting financially, I have a bridge to sell you.

    —-
    I like my local Harbor Freight. They have good service and are friendly. They honor prices from any Harbor Freight catalog, flier, and website. I can’t say that about most places I shop. I can’t comment on their executive’s behavior, but then again if you only shopped at places where the executives behaved themselves, you’d be out of options fast.

    That said I only go there once a month or so to pick up strange items I can’t find anywhere else, cheap items that I plan to abuse, e.g. a 4″ caliper to mount to my drill press, or if they beat the snot out of other stores on the price of a tool, which actually isn’t as often as you think.

    I usually go to my local hardware store, Rockler, or the second hand tool store to make longer term purchases because it’s hard to beat local service.

  8. Joe says:

    I have the same setup (drillpress + table) and the clamps that hold the table to the drill press kept slipping and now the threaded inserts are pulling loose from bottom of the table from me trying to tighten them down. It’ll work fine…..after I make some modifications.

  9. russ says:

    Looks nice for the poor man like myself. But as you stated you like the one you made yourself better.

    That’s a good point about the sealing of the particle board.

    I don’t go to HF that often but everytime I have the people have been nice, friendly, and as helpful as possible. But money has been tight so I haven’t bought too much of anything this year.

    With regards to the lawsuit, that is just what it is, a lawsuit. First off, he should have kept 51% until his death, letting the son run the company, then he could jump in anytime. As usual, the lawyers will be the winners.

    A former neighbor of mine was in a partnership with someone and the partner died. Before he knew it the son-in-law was trying to move in on the business. Fortunately the partners signed an agreement giving control to the other partner in lieu of death.

    You mean they got a raise in the last 2 years? Lucky bast*rds!

  10. Emery says:

    I have this table – bought it as a returned item for almost nothing. Once I got it home, I could see why it was returned – it’s not mdf, really – more of a compressed paper. The mount mechanism was not usable – if you tightened it, the paper would just pull out around the hole.

    I drilled through-holes that lined up with the slots in my drill press table and bolted it down, and that has worked OK for light duty. I also had to modify the fence a bit, and you don’t dare put much pressure on any component.

    Having said that, the hardware would probably cost $30 if bought separately (the quality of the extruded parts is fine), so I’ll use it until it disintegrates, and then remake the table and fence parts.

  11. aaron says:

    I checked this out in the store a few days ago. the hardware does look totally fine, even if it’s barely MDF. I might have to pick one of these up one day.

    also, I’ve only had good customer experiences at HF. Lots of their tools have lifetime guarantees as well. Had some problem with a few clamps, brought them back and was in and out in under 5 minutes with new clamps in hand. customer service was fantastic. FAR better than sears, lowes, HD, etc.

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