Drill Press 17-965 - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Drill Press 17-965

Delta - Drill Press 17-965

Delta’s 16-1/2-in. drill press features a 3/4 hp motor and micro-adjustable depth stops.

$399 (As of 10/25/2005)

(5 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor Choice-Best Overall

Editor's Review: Tool Test: Drill-Press Review

by Bernard Maas

review date: October 25, 2005

Having decided to search for lower-priced, full-height drill presses that might be a good choice for a home shop, I came up with nine 15-in. to 17-in. models to review.

To evaluate and compare them, I noted the condition of each after shipping and the ease of assembly. I looked at chuck-to-post distance, table size, overall height, motor rating, speeds, length of quill stroke, finish, and stability. I tested the accuracy of each machine out of the box: runout on the chuck and spindle-to-table perpendicularity. Finally, I looked at noise level, vibration, table-height adjustment, speed changes, depth adjustment, quill-return tension, and the presence or absence of a quill lock.

The Delta is my top choice because of its smoothly operating chuck, decent runout results, quick-action depth stop, unusual quill lock, and longer quill stroke.

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Editor Test Results:

Runout 0.002 in.

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Delta
Manufacturer's Web Site www.deltaportercable.com
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-223-7278
Quill stroke 4-7/8 in.
Chuck Capacity 5/8 in.
Chuck-to-Post Distance 8-1/4 in.
Horsepower 3/4 hp
Amps N/A
Volts 120/240v
Speed 16 speeds

I purchased a Series 2000, 17-965C Drill Press and I have used it lightly over the years. I have had to replace the On-Off Switch twice and now the Drill Press Chuck has seized up. I am located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada ($1.4 Million population) but there is no local source of parts for Delta. I have ordered a replacement drill chuck from Mikes Tools in the U.S. but shipping is expensive and I will likely have to pay duty on the shipment. As I am a hobby woodworker, I would expect a Floor Model Drill Press to last a lifetime without any significant issues. I am disappointed in the quality of the Delta Drill Press and the lack of available parts. I will not buy any Delta equipment in the future.

The table could be bigger for woodworking. Flatening the cross supports on the bottom of the table would make it much easier to use clamps on the table.

I have had this drill press for about 4 months now and am not impressed. I have noticed three sperate problems.1) The switch is poor quality. You have to press the on button very hard to start the motor. So hard that the entire press moves; which leads me to the next problem.2) The base is too small. If you do not want to bolt the press to the floor, you must attach a large piece of wood to the bottom of the press so it does not move around. Even with a large piece of oak plywood attached to the bottom it still moves around quite a bit. It feels very top heavy and could benifit from some weight at the base.3) Last problem is the motor. I have drilled about 200 holes and the motor is already starting to fail. When the switch is activated, the motor only humms and I have to spin the chuck by hand to start the motor. Maybe this is a quick fix, I don't know, I havn't looked into it yet. I will be selling this press when I get the motor issue resolved.

All-in-all, an excellent product that has given me few problems in the four years I have had it. It has good power, is easy to use, and has a nice set of accessories available for doing more complex operations. There are only a couple issues that seem to be a problem. The depth stop often slips, depending on the angle that the button catch is turned, causing you to drill deeper than you would wish. Second, the thumb screws on the belt tensioner are too small to tighten adequately with your hand. Unless you use pliers, they often loosen up and the belts slip. Lastly, it would be nice if the swivel on the table had indexed holes for the locking pin so that it could lock in at more angles than just 90 degrees. Maybe the newer models have this. If not, they should.

I have had this drill press for 3 months It gets used 4-5 times a week for drilling small and large holes in birch ply and cherry,oak It has lots of power and is easy to use. quill travel is the main reason I chose this press but I have come to really enjoy the depth stop. It is the simplest to use and very reliable. The only thing that bothers me (and no manufacturer has figured it out in over 20 years of using presses) It lacks a place to quickly hold the key! also I don't care for the self ejecting key. I have never in over 20 years turned on the press with the key in the chuck. It is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. That being said, 9 out of 10.

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