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View Full Version : Jet vs. Steel City vs. Delta drill press



Bill Sherman
10-12-2010, 5:57 PM
I'm looking at new drill presses. The jet JDP-17DX is on sale right now and looks to be a good buy. I like the quill travel on the Steel City but it is more expensive and the Delta is a little more than the SC. Any experience with these drill presses? Thanks for any help.

Bill

Van Huskey
10-12-2010, 6:04 PM
I'm looking at new drill presses. The jet JDP-17DX is on sale right now and looks to be a good buy. I like the quill travel on the Steel City but it is more expensive and the Delta is a little more than the SC. Any experience with these drill presses? Thanks for any help.

Bill

It may help to put in the other product numbers, although the Steel City is pretty easy to figure out Delta has a bunch and if you are comparing the Jet to the 18-900L it is pretty lop sided...

Dan Hintz
10-12-2010, 6:05 PM
Well, Delta is now owned by Black & Decker... B&D, IMO, has never made a quality product in their entire career when it comes to the cheap end of the scale... the higher end Delta stuff is supposedly still of decent quality. I hear good things about the SC equipment for the price range. Jet's higher-end stuff is usually pretty solid... they own Powermatic, and although PM stuff has apparently slipped in quality the last few years, I'm looking at the PM2800 myself.

As always, YMMV...

Steve Peterson
10-12-2010, 6:56 PM
What I like about the SC:
6" travel
Depth stop is super easy to adjust
No slop in quill, plus it has a split head to adjust if needed.

What is not so great:
Belt cover is flimsy
Work light falls down without additional support
A few speed combinations are hard to adjust because the belts are too tight. SC now has a variable speed version available for around $600 that would be worth considering.

Bottom line:
The mechanical parts that matter are well made on the SC. The things that are not so great are mostly cosmetic.

The Jet has a similar 3/4 HP motor with a slightly larger table. If I was buying a DP today, it would be a tie between the Jet on sale and the variable speed SC. Without the sale, I would buy the SC.

Steve

glenn bradley
10-12-2010, 7:39 PM
I can't believe I am saying this but, for the money I would buy a Delta. Jet's don't impress me and the Steel City situation is still not comfortable for me. Getting parts and service out of Delta is like trying to move a sleeping elephant but you do get what you're after in the end.

You don't mention what Delta model you are looking at but, when my brother discovered how poor the PM 2800 was he returned it and got the Delta that my dad has; DP 17-959 IIRC. I have the 17-950 which is not even in the same class of machine; almost flimsy by comparison but usable. Just my experience.

Bill Sherman
10-12-2010, 8:02 PM
I was refering to the Delta 17-959L and SC 20520, sorry. I was not aware that SC had a VS. The jet is on sale for $420.00 which makes it attractive.

Bill

Greg R Bradley
10-12-2010, 9:06 PM
As Glenn said above, I'm pretty happy with the 17-959L and our father is also. I bought the PM2800 and returned it after 2 days for the Delta. I saw that Delta for $492 at Rockler last weekend. It should be $463 at my local tool dealer next weekend. I think Jet & PM have much of their equip at a sale for the next two weeks so it should be onsale everywhere. I would have bought the 18-900L if it had been available. It is important to not compare the brand but the specific piece of equipment. For example: I have several pieces of Jet equipment that are excellent, BUT I would say most of it IS marginal, frequently flawed in overall design. The low end Delta stuff is pretty poor also - like their bench grinders.

I've seen enough variation in drill presses that I would try to look at the actual piece you are buying and take THAT ONE home with you.

Van Huskey
10-12-2010, 9:31 PM
I've seen enough variation in drill presses that I would try to look at the actual piece you are buying and take THAT ONE home with you.

That is my mantra about imported DPs especially if you are concerned with runout. I have decided on a PM2800 BUT I will not get one that I have not verified the runout on. As a blanket statement I have found about 50% of imported drill presses in the 500-1000 dollar range have unacceptable runout. If the 18-900L had VS it would be my choice.

Thomas Delpizzo
10-12-2010, 9:51 PM
I have an older 17-900, so there' no attached light, and other bells and whistles. It's been OK, I've found that the quill needs a bit of persuasion to stay in place. It also seems to be about 1/2 a degree off of 90 degrees. The quill also seems to wobble ever so slightly. I did notice, to my astonishment a few years back (its about 10 years old) that it was made in China. I thought they were made in USA or Taiwan at that time. Maybe that accounts for some of my disappointment. But I agree with the prior thought on Steel City: With the nonsense that went on with that company (sounded like a bunch of rich and childish investors wanting their way) I, too, am concerned about their future as the original philosophy of the company has been compromised. As a result my recent band saw purchase did not include their formidable model.
Just my 3.5 cents.

Donny Lawson
10-12-2010, 10:42 PM
I'm not sure of your budget but Lowes has a nice 15" Floor model Porter Cable w/Laser and a light for 299.00.
Donny

Bill Whig
10-12-2010, 11:58 PM
I'm not sure of your budget but Lowes has a nice 15" Floor model Porter Cable w/Laser and a light for 299.00.
Donny

I noticed that it is rated at 1HP and 8 amps. I couldn't find the amperages of the following Delta drill press (I even looked in the manual), but the 17-959L and 18-900L are .5 HP and .75 HP respectively.

Are they exaggerating the power of the P-C DP by saying it is 1 HP--more powerful than the Delta models?

Thanks!
Bill

Cary Falk
10-13-2010, 2:11 AM
I bought the Steel City DP back when it came out for $369(wow, do they really cost $600 now?). The gooseneck light won't stay put. I am not a big fan of the speed nut on the depth stop. I would rather have the 2 locking nuts. Other than that I am very happy with it. The 6" quill travel is great. It was one of the reasons I bought it. If buying today, I don't know what I would buy. Steel City has it's problems. I get less and less happy with Delta. I have never been a huge Jet fan because I think they are too proud of their stuff and want way too much for what you get. Grizzly does not have anything impressive in their lineup. I saw the new Delta in Rockler last week and it looks promising. I had a Rockler add around here that said they were having 15% off Delta but I can't find it now.

Ben Martin
10-13-2010, 2:32 AM
Any chance you would be interested in a used drill press? The Powermatic 1150A is usually referred to as one of the best drill presses ever made in it's size class.

For between $300-600 you could easily pick up a used one, might even have variable speed and a production table.

Here is a pic of mine:

http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp325/martbj/Drill%20Press%20Table/IMG_2131.jpg

Bill Sherman
10-13-2010, 7:15 AM
Thanks for the responses guys....still searching this. I had hoped the Jet would get favorable reviews as the price is attractive.

Bill

Paul Johnstone
10-13-2010, 12:10 PM
I have the older Delta 17-900, which is an ancestor of the one you are looking at. I am very happy with it.

I think it's good advice to buy a Drill press locally vs mail order, just in case you get a dud.
On the other hand, we have to realize that these are woodworking drill presses. We don't need metal working accuracy to drill shelf pins or holes for Euro hinges.

I have used mine on metal. Not super precise work, but I could drill a line of holes in angle iron with a fence, and they all lined up perfectly.

I don't know about the Jet, can you go to a dealer and look at one? My guess is that it would be fine.

David Hostetler
10-13-2010, 12:17 PM
For what it's worth, it is way out of my price range for now, but the Steel City 20525 is on my "If I won the lotto today" list...

If you can pinch that sucker into the budget, it sure looks like an awesome machine....

Mr. Jeff Smith
10-13-2010, 12:56 PM
Grizzly has been teasing the idea of a dedicated WWing drill press for a while. No idea on their time-line or price point however. Depending on your time-line you could wait to see what that is about.

Dan Hintz
10-13-2010, 1:12 PM
Considering Shiraz has said some projects are still several years out from completion, I wouldn't hold my breath on anything that's just a rumor coming to the marketplace any time soon...

Van Huskey
10-13-2010, 4:14 PM
Considering Shiraz has said some projects are still several years out from completion, I wouldn't hold my breath on anything that's just a rumor coming to the marketplace any time soon...


For me if it is out when I buy I will look at it but I doubt based on Shiraz's posts it will be. If I could just take the split head, table and low speed from the new Delta 18-900 and put it on the PM2800 I would be a very happy guy.

Mr. Jeff Smith
10-13-2010, 5:18 PM
Considering Shiraz has said some projects are still several years out from completion, I wouldn't hold my breath on anything that's just a rumor coming to the marketplace any time soon...

Yeah, but he spoke about it last year! Its got be almost done.
;)

Bill Whig
10-13-2010, 7:46 PM
Sorry, newbe question. What does the "split head" feature give you?

Bill

Van Huskey
10-13-2010, 8:23 PM
Sorry, newbe question. What does the "split head" feature give you?

Bill

It gives you the ability to compensate for wear over time to keep the DP accurate.

Kent A Bathurst
10-13-2010, 9:09 PM
It gives you the ability to compensate for wear over time to keep the DP accurate.

Bill W: Van, as usual, is correct. He seems to have been overcome by a blast of brevity. Since it took me a long time to figure out WTF a split head was, please allow me:

If you stand in front of the DP, directly above the quill/spindle [the steel shaft that rides up and down when you rotate the handle], on a split head design you will see a "slot". To the side, there will be a bolt/something/etc. you use to tighten the casting as it wears over time.

Sooo.........With a split head, you snug the "something" on the side a small smidgen against the slot to stop the shimmy in the slightly sloppy spindle till you are satisfied. I suppose you sorta see. Si?

This post was brought to you by the Letter S.....[wait for it]....Sesame Street.

Sheesh. Slap me. Its the Sierra Nevada saying this s***.

Sorry.

Sayonara.

Thomas Delpizzo
10-13-2010, 9:53 PM
Have you checked any of the DP's offered by General Canada? (not General International).

Steven Hsieh
10-13-2010, 10:20 PM
PM stuff has apparently slipped in quality the last few years, I'm looking at the PM2800 myself.
As always, YMMV...

Is it because it is now most of their tools are produced in China, not Taiwan?

Bill Whig
10-13-2010, 10:53 PM
Thank you and Van, both, for your answers.

Bill

Dan Duperron
10-14-2010, 6:59 AM
I've got the SC and have been very happy with it. I had some concerns about the company at the time, but I really was seduced by the 6" quill travel. Also I got a great price.

Mainly I'm doing woodworking, with just a little associated metalworking, and I agree with some of the other poster's comments. All of the important stuff on the press is done very well. The plastic belt guard feels cheesy but works fine, the gooseneck lamp can be annoying, and I bought the laser kit for giggles but I'm not sure I'd spend that $39 if I had to do it over.

All in all no regrets.

Van Huskey
10-14-2010, 2:39 PM
Have you checked any of the DP's offered by General Canada? (not General International).


Great DPs no question but don't they start at 3-4 times his budget?