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Recently I was shopping for a drill press, and I probably could’ve gotten away with a benchtop model if it was just for woodworking, but I also do metal fabrication so I wanted a stationary model that stands on the floor. I wound up going with this Ridgid drill press.

It performs great.  The speed is changed via moving belts, which I prefer to the more automated methods. There was plenty of grease on the unit to keep it rust-free in its journey overseas. The press is perfectly square, and there’s no vibration to speak of. The depth stop was easy enough to figure out without reading the manual.

I think this tool will serve me fine, and I recommend it if you want something larger than a bench unit but not too expensive.  The press sells for $300 at Home Depot.

Drill Press [Ridgid]
Street Pricing [Google]


15 Responses to Ridgid Drill Press

  1. Jim German says:

    “The speed is changed via moving belts, which I prefer to the more automated methods.”

    Yeah I hate it when things are to easy too.

  2. kyle says:

    What do you mean by automated methods the only ones I haqve ever seen you have to unbolt a center pulley fight belt tension and move the belts by hand

  3. fred says:

    @Kyle Says

    It looks like several drill presses now come with front and rear split pulley heads – coupled with a mechanism to slip the drive belt up and down while the machine is running.

    Take a look at varaibel speed models by Delta and Powermatic to name two to see what’s being offered.

  4. Gary says:

    I’ve got a variable speed Delta dp. I like it a lot. Model 968, I think. But it refurbed for cheaper than a belt change. Definitely like it better than changing belts.

  5. Here is an link to a Delta unit, there are others units out there too:

    Just turn the knob in front to change speeds. Like Kyle said the mechanism moves the drive belt up and down.

  6. fred says:

    Even though we don’t have one – (our drill presses are an older model Delta and an even older model Walker Turner) – here is the one that I’m familiar with


  7. Andrew says:

    I’ve never owned a drill press. Could somebody explain why they are not just variable speed like a regular drill?

    I thought they were just for drilling perfectly straight holes in stuff at exactly the point you wanted (no walking).

  8. Mitch says:

    This is timely. I looking to get a drill press right now. From the comments, it sounds like I will look for the variable speed ones. Any cheaper ones recommended other than the Delta 968? Which appears no longer for sale and it seems like others in that class are more in the $700 to $1000 range.

    re: Andrew
    That’s a good question. I’d like to know too. I assume it’s the properties of the 110v motors. You can’t vary the speed easily for those type of motors without a lot of added expense? I know the motors on the hand drills are different. I think the experts here talked about induction vs universal motors somewhere here. I’ll have to search.

    I’m sure the experts will clarify this. House furnace motors are generally one speed. They have variable speed units for which you pay a lot extra. How do they vary the speeds for those variable speed furnace motors and why couldn’t they do it for the drill press motors? I’m guessing way too expensive to use in a drill press and keep the cost down to $700?

  9. fred says:

    While I’m no motor expert – I think that many samllet handheld tools use DC motors powered by AC (i.e. universal motors). This gives high speed and is amenable to speed control. Larger motors for stationary tools requiring higher power are usually AC induction motors – which are not as cheaply speed controlled. I’ve seen large machinery with frequecy controlled or variable speed drives – but at very high expense.

  10. T says:

    AC motors run at a speed determined by the line current frequency. You can change the speed by changing the incoming frequency. Look up variable frequency drive on wikipedia for a fuller explanation. VFDs are expensive. I think the last ones I got at work were in the neighborhood of 10k to 15K, but that’s for 20HP motors.

  11. frankoamerican says:

    I recently purchased a Rigid drill press and am very impressed with it’s performance and construction. I previously bought a Delta from Lowe’s and after getting it home, assembling it and testing it out, discovered that it was a piece of junk. Runout on the spindle was poor, it was exceedlingly noisy, and the finish on the table wasn’t uniformly smooth.
    Five days later, I packed it up, returned it to Lowe’s, and went to Home Depot to buy the Rigid unit. I almost bought a Harbor Freight drill press for about $219. I figured that if I have to buy Chinese junk then I don’t want to pay for it. The Rigid unit is also Chinese, but well made. Powermatic, Steel City are excellent, but pricey for me.

  12. Browse says:


    Wow – so much for the experts. Variable speed corded drills vary their speeds by selecting different fractions of the AC/power wave (firing angle). In other words, they select fractions of the in-coming power through the switch electronics.

    AC electricity has the shape of a wave – which is essentially energy. At the lowest RPM, upwards of 1/3rd of the wave is needed to start turning the motor (for “halfwave” electronics; less for “fullwave”). At maximum speed, the entire wave is used. The electronics are sensitive to your electric power frequency (times per second the electric wave goes “up” and “down”), which is 60Hz in North America, 50Hz most of the world. The tool’s maximum RPM is tied to the electric power frequency, and the mechanical gearing. The minimum is the above, plus considerations for the initial firing angle.

    The reason for having a mechanically adjusted speed system – such as with the Delta drill press – is to always take advantage of the total power available. Consider that by having the ability to “gear down” the drill is able to have a much higher torque. This is essentially keeping the “power output” (akin to horse-power) the same. With electric variable speed systems (and all corded hand tools), you are essentially ignoring fractions of the total power available at lower variable speeds.

  13. fritz gorbach says:

    Either Home shop Machinist, or Machinist Worksop recently had an article on a low budget conversion of a mini mill to variable speed using a three phase motr and a Vfd. Still at least doubles the cost of your drill press, but an interesting read just the same. I’m not sure if it’s available on line, though. I read it over a coffe at Barnes and Noble.

    As for furnace/air handler motors, most are not variable speed, but haave three or four speed taps, ie high, medium, low, which can be connected to the appropriate spots on the control board. The exception to this is the high end electronically commutated motors(ecm) made by GE. These essentially combine a multiphase induction motor with a VFD built in to the end bell with takes the 120v 60hz ac current in your home, rectifies it to dc, than inverts the DC power to the clean perfect ac power at the proper frequency and phase angle to deliver the speed called for while maintaining consistent torque. These are much more efficient than a standard furnace motor, and although while expensive, typically pay back in a year or so over the operating cost of a standard motor.
    Ge just recently realeased a retrofit universal ecm motor that they call the Greenway, but I havent used, or priced one of these yet. Also, I cant imagine they have the torque for machine tool operation. They do have an excellent web tutorial intended for dealers and servicemen, that is quite informative, but I don’t have the address here. I will try to get it from work and post it, but a little googling will probably turn it up.

  14. fritz gorbach says:

    As for drill presses, I have just a small craftsman bench drill press, with I think a half or two thirds motor, and it does most of what I need.I find that by keeping speed set med high, and adjusting my feed rate and pressure to the material, I can drill just about anything. Bigger limitations than motor or speed control are table size, reach, and spindle stroke. That’s why the next one will probably be a monster. But that’s some years away, I imagine.

  15. greg hogan says:

    i bought an x/y axis “machinist’s vise” at harbor freight for my drill press. but it’s too big. the mounting holes don’t come close to matching up with my table slots, so a new bigger press is in my future. i have a 10″ ryobi tha i really like. so when i get one for the vise i’ll have 2. ideally i’d like three. i build custom tattoo machines. having three would save me a lot of time changing clamps/vises for different steps.

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