Nova Voyager DVR Drillpress
Nova rolls out a smart drill press
Nova Woodworking, best known for its lathes and turning accessories, has introduced an advanced drill press loaded with handy digital features that make it stand out from other drill presses commonly used by woodworkers. Nova’s Voyager drill press has no belts or pulleys. Instead, the speed of the direct-drive motor is controlled electronically, which allows for infinite variability in speed between 50 rpm and 5,500 rpm. Because there are no belts and pulleys, the drill press is very smooth and quiet.
The Voyager features a small control screen on the front of the machine that lights up when you turn it on. Enter the type of material you are drilling (hardwood or softwood), the type and size of bit you are using, and the drill press sets the speed automatically. You also can adjust the speed manually, and store this setting as a favorite that is easy to access.
There are a few more cool features. You can set up the drill press to spin the bit only when the quill is being lowered and raised. As you pull the handle the bit starts, and it stops as soon as the quill returns to rest. This is nice when you need to reposition the workpiece between drilling holes, because you won’t accidently hit a spinning bit.
Another helpful feature is that the bit can be zeroed on any surface, even ones that aren’t flat, by simply touching it to the surface and then pushing a button. Then all you have to do is enter the cut depth on the digital screen, and the bit stops spinning and cutting as soon as it reaches that depth. The digital readout also shows the depth of the hole as it’s being bored. I used the press to bore some 13⁄8-in. holes 3⁄4 in. deep in an irregular surface. I simply zeroed the bit at each location, drilled a hole, and the bit stopped spinning at exactly 3⁄4 in. deep. If you don’t want to program the depth, you can zero the bit and watch the digital readout. Pretty nifty. The depth can also be set the old-fashioned way with locking nuts on an indexed, threaded rod.
There is also a quill lock for holding the quill at a set height. Quill travel is 6 in. and it takes only two revolutions of the handle to travel the full distance. The keyed chuck has a 5⁄8-in. capacity. Overall, this is a great drill press, one I’d be happy to have in my shop. —Roland Johnson is a contributing editor.
Digital depth stop. There is an oldfashioned stop, but you don’t need it. Just tell the drill how deep to bore, and it stops the bit when it reaches that depth.
Zero out the bit. Once you lower the bit to the surface of the workpiece and press a button, the drill knows where to begin measuring when determining the drilling depth.
Computer-assisted drilling. After you’ve told the drill press a few things about what you’re drilling and the bit you’re using, its onboard computer determines how fast to spin the bit.