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JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press
A very capable and rugged bargain!
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 7-28-2010
One of the more common drill-press-related comments I receive from NewWoodworker.com viewers regards their search for a solid, no-frills drill press with good capability and capacities without the bells and whistles. While recent trends in the industry seem to lean towards digital and laser-based “shinny things”, the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press is focused on durability and truly useable features in the woodworking shop.
Many of you will look at the photos and video in this review and not a resemblance between this machine and the JDP-15M Bench Mount Drill Press I reviewed a couple weeks ago. That is because the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press is the big brother of that JDP-15M Bench model and actually does share many components.
The 63”tall by 13”-wide and 31”-deep dimensions mean the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press incorporates substantial capacities without eating up excessive floor space in today’s smaller shops. Its 161-LB weight demonstrates the JET equation where lots of cast iron equals durability lives on as well.
The JET Floor Mount Drill Press features a massive cast iron headstock mounted atop a 2-7/8”-diameter, precision ground steel column. An all cast iron 11” by 19-3/4” base keeps the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press stable but has boles that make bolting it to a suitable floor easier. The base also has slots and a machined flat surface for mounting work clamps.
The JET Floor Mount Drill Press has a 15” swing, 16 speeds (200-3630RPM) and a spindle to table capacity of 29”. Swing the table out of the way and the spindle to base capacity jumps to an impressive 48”! The spindle has a vertical travel of 3-1/8”. To fill out the package, the included chuck handles bits with shanks up to 5/8”-diameter.
Power and Speeds
The JET Floor Mount Drill Press is equipped with a ¾-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.
Three step pulleys atop the powerhead, under a flip-open metal cover generate the 16 speeds from 200 to 3,630 RPM. 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. JET adds a simple chart inside the top cover that shows all of the belt configurations for the 16 available speeds.
The JET Floor 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 all the way around to create a ledge that makes using clamps much easier The table also has four angled and two straight slots for using common 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. This one feature could prove far more valuable than many woodworkers think initially.
Spindle and Controls
The JET Floor 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 a safety chuck key. The key has a spring loaded tip that forces it out of the chuck when you are not 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, even in tough woods 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 without sacrificing control for even delicate drilling jobs.
To keep the work area well lighted a 60-watt bulb in recessed 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
One of the things I like about the JET Floor Mount Drill Press is that it’s not loaded down with fancy features meant more to capture the contents of your wallet than improve your drilling chores in the shop. Consequently there are no surprises or major learning curves in using this machine. The biggest thing to get used about the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press is that it is a very capable machine that can handle more than many new operators realize.
The 3/4HP motor has plenty of power and the spindle is rock steady, even when using large bits or drilling at compound angles. The plunge action is very smooth and the handles on the plunge wheel easily generate power without sacrificing the control we need for accuracy. The work light is a useful touch but its placement is makes it even more handy. Being able to fully light the work area without glare in the operator’s eyes makes our life easier.
The table on the JET Floor Mount Drill Press is impressive in its size but perhaps more so in its function. Raising and lowering as well as tilting the table is used frequently but common in modern drill presses. Being able to pivot the table in addition to the height and tilting means you can create setups on the JET JDP-15MF Floor Mount Drill Press that used to require cutting wedges or making specialty jigs. This one feature could be a real time saver as well as enhance the accuracy of our work simply because we don’t have to use a purpose-built jig.
The flat edge around the table perimeter is also a very good idea that makes clamping workpieces securely much easier. This flat area frequently allows using smaller clamps that tend to stay out of your way better.
The JET Floor Mount Drill Press is a very well made and soundly designed machine that brings more than the standard load of features to the woodworking shop. The solid construction and well-rounded capacities mean that this machine will benefit any shop it inhabits.
With a street price of $525.00 (7-24-2010) the JET Floor Mount Drill Press is an economical alternative to many other full-sized drill presses. 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 Floor Mount Drill Press fits that description in every way.
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