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JET JDP-15M Bench Mount Drill Press
It IS a bench mount drill press - honest!
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 7-21-2010
I know. You are looking at the photos and wondering how this JET Bench Mount Drill Press could be considered a tabletop machine. I had similar questions when I tried to pick up the box. The 39-1/2"tall by 13"-wide and 31"-deep dimensions seem too big for a bench mount machine but if power and capacity are important a somewhat larger size can't be avoided. And, the 156-LB weight means that it better be a solid bench!
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press mirrors the JET Floor Mount Drill Press in many points of construction. From the massive cast iron headstock to the 2-7/8" all steel, precision ground column diameter and the 10-7/8" by 18-1/2" cast iron base, this is a tough, "built-to-be-used" drill press.
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press has a 15" swing, 16 speeds (200-3630RPM) and a spindle to table capacity of 16-1/2". Swing the table out of the way and the spindle to base capacity is 24"! The spindle has a vertical travel of 3-1/8". To fill out the package, the chuck handles bits with shanks up to 5/8"-diameter.
Power and Speeds
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press is equipped with a 3/4-HP, 115/230V (pre wired for 115V) motor. JET rates their motors using a continuous duty cycle, a process that provides a far more accurate representation of the power available than the "peak" or "max" figures some other manufacturers continue to use.
The 16 speeds from 200 to 3,630 RPM are generated through three step pulleys atop the powerhead, under a flip-open metal cover. An easy to use tension release makes changing the belt configurations simple and fast. This is a very reliable, slip-free system for obtaining such a large range of speeds.
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press also sports a16-1/2"-deep by 13"-wide cast iron table. The surface is ground to be certain that it is flat. The traditional skirt around the outside edge of a table casting has been moved inwards about an inch to create a ledge that makes using clamps much easier The table also has four angled and two straight slots for using table clamps.
The table is on an articulated mount that can be cranked up and down as needed and locked in place with a single hand-operated screw. The table tilts to 45-degrees to the left and right plus spins on a center pivot that has its own locking handle. If you can't get this table in the right position for even weird drilling jobs you simply are not doing something right.
Spindle and Controls
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press has a tough 1-7/8"-diameter spindle with the very popular #2 Morse taper that makes it compatible with many drill press accessories. JET includes a nice J3 keyed chuck with an extended chuck key. The key has a spring loaded tip that forces it out of the chuck when you are holding it in. If you ever accidentally started a drill press with the chuck key hanging in it that little spring tip will make all sorts of sense to you.
On the left side of the powerhead is a depth scale with adjustable stops that make repetitive or depth-sensitive jobs more accurate. Reaching the desired depth is easy thanks to the three spoke plunge wheel on the right side of the powerhead. The handles are long enough to give the operator good leverage and control for even delicate drilling jobs.
To keep the work area well lighted a 60-watt bulb in built into the underside of the powerhead. A separate switch on the left side turns the work light on and off. The under-head location allows the light to fully illuminate the work area without glaring in the operators' eyes. This might seem to be a small feature to some but adding light can make many jobs safer and more accurate just because you can clearly see what you are doing.
In the Shop
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press is very traditional in its operation so there are no surprises or major learning curves hidden there. The biggest things to get used to about this drill press are its capacities and its physical size. This kind of power and capacity needs cast iron to keep it stable and durable. The only real learning curve is getting yourself to accept that this is a bench mounted drill press that in many ways acts like a floor model.
The 3/4HP motor has plenty of power and the spindle is as steady as they come. The plunge action is very smooth and the handles on the plunge wheel strike a nice balance between comfortable throw and leverage. The work light is a nice touch that many will appreciate far more after they need it a couple times.
The table on the JET Bench Mount Drill Press is impressive in its size and function. Raising and lowering as well as tilting are nice but common. Being able to pivot the table is different and potentially very valuable. I can think of several drilling tasks I have had in the past where this pivoting capability could have saved a bunch of time.
The flat edges are also a good idea and certainly do make clamping workpieces in place easier. This flat area also makes it possible to use smaller clamps that stay out of the way better.
The JET Bench Mount Drill Press is a very well made and soundly designed machine that brings all common drill press capabilities and a few extras but does all of them on a larger scale than any other benchtop drill press I am aware of. The JET Bench Mount Drill Press very well could be THE machine for the space-challenged shop with full sized drilling needs.
With a street price of $410.00 (7018-2010) the JET Bench Mount Drill Press is an economical alternative to a full-sized drill press as well. All of the cast iron that makes this machine so heavy also contributes to the durability you want in a tool like this. A drill press should be a buy-it-once tool and the JET Bench Mount Drill Press fits that description in every way.
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