OK, so I needed a small drill press, and just didn’t have the real estate in my shop for a big floor model. I would also suggest that you check the slop (deflection) in the spindle bearings by moving the spindle side to side while indicating it. If, however, the spindle is okay and the chuck has excessive runout, you can try disassembling the chuck and adjusting (removing high spots from individual jaws, etc.). I would also suggest that (depending on how the chuck is mounted) you check the mounting of the chuck to the arbor itself.
It has pulleys with 4 steps where you can move the belt up or down to get the four speeds. Drilling bigger holes shouldn’t be too hard as one only need to change the drill bit to a larger one. At best… and at worst, you’ll have a chuck and shaft slipping out of the Morse taper at high speed. Replacement chuck teeth kits are available, but replacing the whole chuck is an alternative worth considering.
As far as the bearings they are standard off the shelf metric cartridge bearings, I don’t remember what size. The crank handle that moves the drill table wobbles, and locking it down positions the table higher or lower than you want it every time. Thought I might have paid the widow too much at $150 but after a mild restoration, I think I got far better value than any current new tool. I posted the full drill press restoration on the Garage Journal forum where many other guys have done the same restoration on the same style drill press.
I am looking to spend less than $500 and have read quite a few drill press reviews Also took a scout around Amazon, but was looking to hear thoughts direct from those that are in the trenches, using their drill presses over the course of a few years. EBTH’s full-service model makes it easy, with proceeds typically 3-5 times higher than a conventional sale.
If you look down on the machine from the top I am fairly sure that you will find one of the parts of that slow speed attachment slides over the main column and is secured in that position with a set screw or something like that. Well, that OSS capability is something I’ve not seen in a drill press, and it could make it attractive if you will edge-sanding a lot of curved work. There’s boat loads of good information over there, including owners manuals and parts lists. Most sizes use a single pair of wedges, but some require half of two different size wedges.
After narrowing down to the aforementioned 3 benchtop drill presses , it is time to come up with a winner which can be a tricky affair given all their goodness. Bolting your drill press and other machines you have to a heavy wood or metal desk or table will do wonders (hit the thrift store, they’re cheap). If the run-out is in your chuck, spend the money you would save on bearings and purchase a decent chuck. Quill feed length is greater than most new machines and operation of the chuck and bearings is top notch.
You are right to separate the runout of the spindle from the runout of the chuck, since they both will affect the overall runout of the drill press. A reasonable drill press from Taiwan that has good bearings and stout spindle Quill will cost 1500 -2000 dollars. A couple of years ago I got a great deal on a new Delta drill press close-out at Lowes and sold the old Craftsman for $100. If I was to go the frequency modulation route, I would buy a 1/2 HP 3ph motor and a single to 3 phase frequency drive. It’s a late 40’s or early 50’s Craftsman 150 Series drill press like one that I once had.
Edit to add: Occasionally you can find an old used drill press with a chuck that is worth more than a new chinese drill press. The range of movement isn’t much, and I found a lot of small work pieces out of drill range because of the fixed position right half of the vise right above the handle. Try to adjust the drill table up and down, and you’ll find a flimsy plastic locking arm that feels like it’ll break at any minute. This Craftsman probably won’t see nearly as much use as that little thing did, I’m getting older and don’t do so much.