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The DP350 is a [mostly] well-designed tool of good quality, and a terrific bargain. This is the only reasonably priced variable-speed bench drill press I could find, so for the time being, Delta appears to have a unique product.

Delta says to tighten the head using the two supplied Allen screws to prevent the drill head from moving on the column. I wanted to be able to move it occasionally, so I installed handles attached to 5/16" x 18 threaded bolts. Now, I can loosen the head, and swing it in place, and re-tighten it, in seconds.

There was no obvious place to store the chuck. I fixed it to a small chain and connected one end to the lower column tightener, so it's handy.

The base is held down to the bench with lag screws or machine bolts. The four corners of the base touch the bench, with the middle of the base 1/8" off the bench. Install spacers directly under the hold-down bolts to keep from flexing the middle of the cast iron base.

Features:

I've owned multi-speed drill presses for 35 years and rarely changed speeds, as it was too much trouble to move the belts. So, I selected a middle speed and left it there, sometimes for years on end. With the DP350, I adjust speed based on the drilling to be done for each job - controlling speed is as easy as turning a handle and can be done in seconds. The drive belt never has to be moved.

Spindle RPMs are controlled by turning a control with two handles on the top front of the unit. As the control is turned, the motor and spindle pulley's effective diameter changes, altering spindle speed. Each pulley has an upper and lower half. When together, they look like any other pulley. They separate vertically as you change speed. As one pulley's effective diameter increases, the other decreases, and vice versa. The diameter of the pulleys doesn't actually change, but the place within the pulley that the belt rides, does. At the lowest speed, the motor pulley is at its smallest diameter (pulley sections apart), and the spindle pulley is at its largest diameter (pulley sections together). As the control is turned clockwise for more RPMs, the bottom of the spindle pulley moves down. This results in a smaller diameter spindle pulley and a larger motor pulley, thus increasing speed. It's a clever design that has worked reliably on my machine. In observing speed changes with the top cover off looking down at the belt and pulleys, speed seems to change at a linear rate, and with the motor always turning the same speed. (Click on customer images above for pulley photos at high and low speed.)

Warning: Don't force the speed control handle, as doing so can bend the inner part that separates the spindle's pulley halves. Only move the handle with the machine ON.

The press comes with a metalworking table (oil troughs in the table). However, it's easy to find a flat spot on the table bottom to clamp a wood piece down.

The adjustable-position locking depth stop (for repetitive hole depths) has a button for release for quick adjustments. Release the button - then screw the stop down or up for fine-tuning. It works fine.

The speed dial decal on my press inexplicably had only the lowest and highest speeds: 500 RPM and 3100 RPM. I calculated approximate RPMs at the beginning and end of each range, and made a new speed decal. (See customer photo of decal.)

Range 1: 500 to 760

Range 2: 800 to 1235

Range 3: 1305 to 1950

Range 4: 2060 to 3100

Negatives:

1. The table angle scale is practically useless. It's ?" below the table's scribe line so you have to swing the drill head to one side to get your eye in position to read it. That ?" gap makes accurate alignment of the scribe line to the scale imperfect, since any side-to-side eye movement changes the apparent reading.

2. Needed felt between the sheet metal case and cast iron to eliminate a rattle.

3. The top cover plate is held on with six machine screws, instead of a piano hinge. Install your own hinge, or drill two perfectly aligned holes in the plate, in order to oil the pulleys without removing the top plate.

4. The pinion handle seam needed sanding to smooth it out.

5. The lower head locking screw (5/16" x 18) is in cast iron only ?" thick. Over-tightening or repeated loosening/tightening could strip those threads.

Summary:

It's simple and quick to set the proper speed for each drilling task - the major feature of this tool, compared to other bench drill presses. Tool improvements are needed, but it's still a good bench drill press and an excellent bargain.

Post Script:

At least one reviewer had the drill chuck "fall off". Suggestion: thoroughly clean (e.g., with alcohol) the tapered chuck spindle and the chuck's mating surface, open the chuck all the way, and, using a wooden mallet, give it a good whack to reseat the chuck onto the spindle. Mine has stayed put for 2 years.

September 2005 update:

My DP-350 recently failed. The rear upper (belt) pulley connected directly to the motor, started wobbling, and the machine was making noises. This is the same problem reported by many others, but theirs died much sooner. A design flaw allows the upper pulley to slide off its inner sleeve, which renders the rear belt pulley, and the drill press, useless.

I repaired the drill in about 30 minutes using $2.00 worth of standard hardware. Here's how: Unscrew the top cover to access the motor pulley assembly; lift off the retaining ring with a removal tool, then remove the spring retainer cup, spring, upper pulley half and its inner sleeve. Once the upper rear pulley half is off the machine, drill two holes using drill size No. 3 in opposite sides of the thick part of the pulley base. Thread the holes with a ?" x 24 tap. Insert ?" long, ?" x 24, Allen screws, coated in Locktite, slip the pulley onto the sleeve, and tighten the screws. This will solidly hold the upper pulley onto its inner sleeve.

Similar-sized Allen screws are OK in lieu of ?" x 24. Click on customer images above for photos of screw location. If the old ring was stretched (& weakened) when you removed it, reassemble using a NEW retaining ring. Open the new ring only far enough to slip it into the groove on the motor shaft.

If you can't find the correct size retaining ring locally, go to: www dot dewaltservicenet dot com - part number 904160.

Delta responded to an e-mail regarding this design defect, as follows:

"We added a pin to the motor pulley to keep the bushing from coming out of the center of the pulley. This was fixed long ago, shortly after the tool came out. If you wish to speak with a technical representative regarding this, please call 1-800-223-7278."
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1111 comments| 188 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 7, 2002
Overall impression: A lot of drill press for the money. Decent quality. Pretty heavy construction. Good performance. Everything worked well out of the box.
Head assembly - The motor, spindle and speed control system are solidly fixed to a one-piece cast iron frame. Sheet steel panels complete the remainder of the enclosure. Rubber pieces isolate the top cover. The depth control system has a quick adjust feature. All of these work well.
Constant speed drive system - This is probably the costliest part of the machine for Delta to produce. The variable speed drive system is quite simple, but requires some solid, precision components - and they seem quite well made in this machine. The speed control operated smoothly, and the noise and vibration levels from the drive system were very reasonable. I might try a link belt for fun to see if it's any smoother, but it works pretty good as is. ... I'm real happy getting this good of a variable drive system.
Runout - Without a dial indicator, and the Jacobs chuck installed, I looked for signs of runout. I mounted a short router bit and a longer bullet point bit. With my bare eyeball, I couldn't see any runout. At high speed the long bit ran very smooth - no wobble. At least no signs of excessive runout.
Perpendicularity of the spindle to the table - I checked this with a good straight bit mounted in the chuck, and rotated it to different quadrants. Using my best machinist square, fore and aft squareness was right on. This is most important because it is not adjustable and accounts for the total accuracy of the head, column and table. Side to side squareness is controlled by table tilt, which is adjustable. I was able to adjust this perfect as well, with a little work.
Table - The table has drip channels for metal cutting. With straight edge, the table looked to be within .001-.002 inches flat. The milling was slightly rough but ok.
The table can be tilted, but the angle-of-tilt indicator is pretty useless - the weakest feature of this product. There is a pin to locate the table at 90 degrees, but it isn't real convenient to use. I will probably avoid tilting the table and get a good tilting vise.
The table height adjusting system worked fine.
Base and column assembled and worked fine.
Packing good, but the box was open - luckily nothing missing. Rust preventative on everything. Small suggestion to Delta: the spindle needs more clearance to the box in case the box is dented in.
0Comment| 110 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 9, 2002
The above rating may not be fair and is likely higher, but I've been waiting for over 10 yrs to obtain an 'inexpensive' drill press with variable speed options, thus eliminating the annoyance of constantly changing belts (my current drill press has 3 belts - what a pain!). When this Delta 12" product appeared on the market, I was anxious to buy - the two reviews here were positive but little has appeared in the literature I read on the quality & reliability of this variable speed engineering by Delta (i.e., watch out for the 'first on the block'). Well, I ordered the drill press which arrived today - assembly took about an hour - when I turned on the motor, a whining noise occurred but the spindle did not turn - I called the Delta 800-number - options: 1) send me a 'new' motor (which I would have to replace!); 2) take the 'heavy' machine to a local repair shop (wait & no guarantee); or 3) ship back to Amazon for a replacement or a refund - I choose the latter. Although I did not have the opportunity to use this machine (which probably operates well when working) - plus, I own at least a half dozen other Delta WW machines in my shop (so, I do trust them & like their products), I had other concerns when looking at this machine which are not clear from the literature on the Delta web site or in the other reviews. In the manual, the standard maintenance recommendations are: 1) Run the machine daily through all of its variable speed options; and 2) Oil the belt drives weekly! Both are ridiculous requests for the 'weekend woodworker' - as I am - the major complaint I have if wanting to comply to the last request is that the machine does not have the usual 'hinged' flip lid where belt changing is usually done; instead, there are 6 Phillips head screws w/ little rubber gaskets (i.e. easily lost) to remove to even get into the belt drive system! Variable speed drill presses that work conveniently are a dream but Delta in its first try in this price range needs some more 'tweaking' to get it right! I'm sure they will come through in the end.
0Comment| 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 12, 2003
Yes the variable speed would be a nice feature, if it wouldn't cause the machine to break down!!! I suppose if the drill press were manufactured better and the price increased it would all work out in a perfect world, but the truth of the matter is its a PILE OF JUNK. Improper tolerance for the bearings which require a press fit only to secure them made them pop out while changing speeds. The keyed sleeve that holds the motor pulley on its shaft is press fit only and pops out frequently. What a royal pain in the stuff. I have made modifications on my drill press to keep it running, including making a shim to hold the bearing in the frame at the 'output' pulley and beating it into place with a hammer\block of wood from the top of the shaft, and fabricating a custom washer to go under the spring of the 'input' pulley to keep the keyed sleeve in place. The extra material under the spring made the retaining ring\spring\cap shoot off and Lucklily I was able to find them and avoid injury. I have since heated the spring with a torch and compressed it a bit to make it fit. I have also permanently made the drill press a LOW speed unit. What speed it is I have no idea, the markings on the speed indicator are innacurate from the factory, and after all the modifications that were nessecary to make the PIECE OF JUNK function at all, the actual speed would be even harder to guesstimate.
ALL IN ALL A VERY POOR DELTA PRODUCT. DO NOT BUY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!!!
11 comment| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 5, 2003
I have to give the the DP350 variable speed drill press a thumbs down. I have owned mine for two months and suddenly had a problem with load noise and vibration yesterday. I removed the top cover (another story) and found that the pulley that is located over the motor had the top and bottom parts drastically out of alignment (no longer parallel).
I called Delta at the 800 number and explained the problem. They stated that this was a "known problem" and that they would send me a new pulley at no charge. HOWEVER, the part is back ordered and they didn't know when they would ship it. After some more questiosn they said it could be a month before they shipped it.
So lets see. Owned it two months and it will be out of service one month on a known warranty problem.
That coupled with the already identified issues with the speed decal that is not calibrated and the bolted on top cover which has four bolts and two screws and no hinge to permit oiling of the pulleys, and I say stay away from this product.
11 comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 17, 2007
I was a toolmaker for 25 years and have used alot of pro drill presses. I bought the dp350 new about 3 years ago for my home wood shop. I was impressed with its build and wanted a small varible speed drill press, I thought this would be perfect. All my machines are JET except for this one drill press and a Delta planer. The planer is great this drill press is JUNK. Over the years I don't think my dp350 has more than a few hours total on it. It was always noisy stiff and vibrated too much no matter how I tried to adjust it and dampened the way I have it mounted to a table. 3 weeks ago it really started to make noise and vibrate and then the on-off switch started to smoke. I emailed Delta and did what they suggested. When that wasn't the problem I loaded it into my truck and drove to the repair center as Delta suggested. I just got the call from them $155.00 to fix it. Needs a new Quill and switch and a few other things. I'd like to dump it in the river and buy something else, but I'm hoping my $155.00 will now give me the drill pres I thought I was buying 3 years ago. It never was right and I'm going to let Delta know how I feel after I finish writing this. I will write back if they tell me anything I should share with you. I am very disappointed with this drill press. Buyer beware!// Today I talked to Delta. I told them I know I have no warrenty left, but I just wanted them to know how crappy their dp350 is and how unhappy I am. They had a tech call the repair center I took it to and then the tech called me. He told me everything I already knew about the repair! He said they ordered the parts and he will check back to see how the repair center makes out....not to help with the $155.00 so far, but at least he's trying to make some kind of effort. It kills me to pay this repair, heck I could buy a new one all over again for about $40.00 more, but then I'd have 2 boat anchors instead of one. I'll give a final report here when it's all over. Mean while if your buying a drill press buy a JET. FINAL UPDATE: I picked it up yesterday total bill for estimate and repair $146.00. Needed a new pulley,new switch,new belt and a new quill. Repairman did a good job, no problem with the service center. I think it's better than when it was new, but it should be considering the amount of hours I used it. Anyway nothing more from Delta in the way of satisfaction. Just think twice before you buy one.

Just an update June 2010. Delta never did anything for me, but the drill press is still running fine, but I still would not buy it if I could do it again.
0Comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 28, 2003
Purchased this drill after much review, mainly for woodworking. I read all the reviews prior to purchasing this machine and languished over the variable speed or changing belts. Almost went with the belted but chose the variable for ease of use.
I overcame the weekly oiling mentioned in other reviews by cutting an access hole in the top cover over both spindles. This allowed for easy oiling. When not in use a flat refrigerator magnet covers the holes and keeps out the dirt. Trying to undo the screws with the wimpy washers and then realigning was a pain.
The movement of the speed control lever from high speed to low is somewhat difficult. going back to high speed is much easier. When slowing the speed you are having to overcome spring tension placed on the motors pulley. this is where my problem started.
After 15 minutes of use, a sleeve which is pressed on the upper half of the pully came apart. The results are dramatic! Machine shakes like an earthquake. The sleeve is keyed to the motors spindle and as pressure from the belt is applied to slow the speed down the sleeve slides up the shaft(thats why you need weekly oiling). The sleeve was pressed into the upper part of the wheel and is not pinned or locked inplace with any other mechanical means. I disassembled the parts and presssed the sleeve back into the pully to finish the project.
I called deltas service department in Kansas City. They immediatly sent out a new upper pulley. The only bright thing about the episode. They stood behind their product!
I took the new pully and drilled, tapped and inserted a small set screw with lock tight and it has worked well for the last 3 months.
The press is a good tool; new to the market and still has some bugs so I would go for the standard belt changing pressif I has to do it all over again. One last thing to consider is vibration cased by the belt, especially at high speeds. if you need critical tolerances then purchase a non-variable speed press.
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 7, 2004
This is my first drill press and so far I'm pretty happy with it. My only complaint is with the table. It's designed for a machinist rather than a woodworker. It doesn't have any slots (so you can squirt oil on your work), which makes it difficult to attach any kind of fence or jig to it. My solution was to buy a drill press table and fence from Rockler, so I no longer have this problem.

My first job was a couple of hundred shelf pin holes in a pair of cabinets. The fence and depth gauge worked great here. Much easier than using some of the available jigs for this job.

Then I drilled some 35mm hinge cup holes. Again, a fence and depth gauge made this job easy. The recommended speed for the bit was 500 rpm. The ability to change the speed without fooling with belts is really worthwhile.

Recently, I used the Delta drum sander kit to round off some corners on the fences of a cross-cut sled I was building.

As far as the weekly lubrication goes, I emailed Delta and asked about that. They said if I was only using it a couple of times a week, then monthly lubrication would be OK. I drilled a couple of access holes in the top to make this job easier.

I'm happy with my purchase.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 10, 2002
Delta has come out with a great benchtop drill which gives you all the speeds without the hassle of changing belts. As soon as the catlogue came I ordered Delta new DP350. The Drill came within seven days and was boxed well. Putting the drill together took about 20 minutes, it was a breeze. The unit is well built (which you would expect from Delta) and runs flawlessly. I was a little worried about the power being it's only 1/3 hp. But It cut thru wood, meltal, just fine. I even attached the new mortiser I ordered with the unit (which also went together in a short time) and the drill did a fine job cutting into oak, poplar, and maple. If your looking for a benchtop drill for your shop this new DP350 12" variable speed is the one to get. You can't beat the price. The only reason it doesn't have 5 star is because I would of loved to see this drill with a 1/2 hp motor. But you can't have everything in life.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 20, 2003
With regards to the 12" variable speed bench-top drill press -- Delta has clearly not implemented effective manufacturing and quality assurance checkpoints in their fabrication line.
After assembling the drill press, I turned it on and ran it through the speed range only to encounter excessive vibration. After removing the top access plate, I determined that the spring loaded rear pully was not engaging correctly. A "press-fit" keyed sleeve is supposed to ensure proper meshing of the spring loaded split pully during speed adjustments. The problem is that the "press-fit" sleeve slips. This limits the higher rpm speed ranges. This problem can be rectified by applying LOCTITE 638 retaining adhesive to the sleeve. Unfortunately, the problem did not end here. After getting the press up and running again, I determined that the front pully would not fully open on the high range which limits speed variation adjustments. I opted to add a spring to the internal forward adjustment mechanism to ensure that the front pully would open as intended.
The bottom line -- although the basic engineering design appears to be sound for this DELTA product, the as manufactured product is clearly a dissapointment.
11 comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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