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We just covered the Sidewinder router lift from Woodpeckers which moved the height adjustment from the table top to the side for easier access, but how about going one step further and motorizing the lift so you can adjust the height on the fly? The MLCS PowerLift does just that.

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Controlled with a foot pedal, you can make adjustments to the height in increments as small as .005″. You can watch the speed, direction, and height of the lift right on the digital control panel. The lift also has a depth stop so it will stop when you reach the desired cutting depth and can lift the router motor high enough so you can change bits above the table. To eliminate backlash when raising and lowering the router, MLCS connects the DC motor to the lifts screw by cogged pulleys and belts.

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The whole point of a router lift is to make it easy to quickly and accurately adjust the height of a router. Most router lifts are pretty accurate, but sometimes adjusting them isn’t a quick as it could be. Generally you have to use a special tool for the top of the table to adjust the height. Woodpeckers’ new Side Winder Router Lift uses a flexible cable and crank that can be mounted within easy reach to quickly raise or lower the router.

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This is part three of a series where I take a look at the Delta DP 350 drill press. If you missed the first two parts, check out the links at the bottom of the article.

In part II, I left off mentioning that Rockler had just put this drill press on sale and I wondered if Rockler would refund me the difference. It never hurts to ask, so I asked my local store if they’d give me store credit for the difference. Without hesitation, they said sure. They would have refunded the difference to my credit card if I hadn’t had another $50 of stuff to buy anyway. It wasn’t even a problem that my receipt got wet and the bar code was unreadable. And no, they have no idea who I am; I have no doubt they would have done this for any customer. All in all, a stand up corporation.

First Real Test

My first real project with the drill press was boring holes for a pair of dry erase marker holders. I needed a series of 1/2″ diameter holes 1-3/4″ deep in some red oak. To set the depth stop, I drilled the first hole approximately 1-1/2″ deep and then incrementally drilled a bit more and checked the depth with a caliper until the hole was 1-3/4″ deep. Then I set the depth stop from that first hole.

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In the first post of this series, I chronicled my experiences purchasing, transporting, and assembling Delta’s DP350 bench top drill press. You might want to go back and read it if you haven’t already. In this post I’ll look at the specifications and features of the drill press.

One of the first dimensions to look at when buying a drill press is what is the widest piece of stock the machine can drill into the center of. For some reason, manufacturers use this measurement rather than the more practical distance from the column (or back of the machine) to the center of the chuck. It makes the machine sound twice as big as it really is. So a drill press like the DP350, which claims to be a 12″ drill press, actually measures 6″ from column to center of the chuck.

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Sick of struggling with a micro-mill machine from Harbor Freight to drill holes, I decided to buy a real benchtop drill press. I really didn’t want a full-size floor model because I don’t have the floor space for it in my shop, but I have plenty of bench space. A few years ago I did the research and determined that a Delta DP350 was the best option, but lost my good judgment at the last minute and figured I could do more with a micro-mill.  Now, after a little more research, I discovered not much has changed.

I headed on over to my local Rockler to pick up the drill press, but was dismayed that they didn’t have any on the floor, even though they had in the past. I thought maybe I should have called first, but figuring it never hurts to ask, I found out they had a few Delta DP 350’s in the back. So I ended up paying about $230 after tax and Rockler’s super secret 10% discount, which is about what you’d expect to pay looking at the street price.

Hefting the box into my truck with the manager, I noticed it was damn heavy, about 80 lbs. of awkward box. Although the weight was a good sign, there was no way I was carrying it by myself down to my shop; I would have to take it out of the box and transfer it piece by piece down to the basement.

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JessEm has created a featherboard that lets you adjust its height (or width) independently of position. What’s more, while positioning the height, guides keep the featherboard parallel to the fence or table.

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