I wanted to share my initial thoughts about the PM2800B for anyone who was interested. I got it yesterday and put it together and my initial reaction is one of slight disappointment but I'm going to continue to use it a little and break it in I guess.
The first time I started it up there was a horrible rattle coming from the motor. Turns out 3 of the 4 bolts holding the motor casing were loose so I had to tighten them up and then that noise went away. Next I turned it on and started adjusting it through it range of speeds and it ferociously vibrated at higher speeds. So I took the black housing off the top and found that there was already a pretty good buildup of black belt dust after only 5 minutes of running. After thinking about the design it seems to me that the belt is going to wear quite a bit until a bevel gets built up on the belts. I don't really understand why the press wouldn't come with the belts already beveled but ohh well. Everything on that drive assembly looks misaligned to me but to be fair it is possible that it is supposed to be like that. The manual says nothing about it at all. I called Powermatic and they said put some hours on it and the vibration should go away. I'm not happy that I have to do this, but I'm willing to try. The loose bolts and the vibration gave me a sick feeling in my stomach about the $1400 purchase I had made. Powermatic is not winning any awards with me in the recent months. My table saw is running like crap and they lost my purchase on a new bandsaw.
OK so enough of the negative because honestly everything else on the drill press is really really nice. I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting the locking bolts on the fence but I'm sure I can figure that one out. The table is very large which is exactly what I wanted. The T slots are cool, and it will be very easy to clamp things onto the table using the T slots or the sides of the table. The digital speed display is also pretty cool.
The upper and lower stops for the quill travel are awesome. They are extremely quick to adjust because you just push a button and slide them up or down wherever you need them. No more spinning the old style stops. The lasers are pretty cool but the lights are just downright awesome. They are incredibly bright. The keyless chuck is also nice. I had a very expensive keyless chuck on my old drill press. This one is not as nice as my old one but it is still a far cry from the average drill press chucks.
I like the bigger base the drill press sits on. It isn't huge, but it is definitely bigger than the standard drill press base and it is nice and sturdy. Fit and finish is also very nice.
I really wanted this to be an amazing review but the vibration has me worried. I'm going to give it a few days and just go drill a billion holes in some scrap wood and see what happens. I will be sure to post updates when I have them. In the mean time please feel free to ask questions and if you want to see more pictures of anything let me know. I think Powermatic is doing an absolutely terrible job of promoting these new products and showing potential buyers decent pictures or videos of the drill press. Maybe if I get time tomorrow I'll do my first ever video review of something and post it on here.
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