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Delta 15-344 Review

As a serious toolmaker and professional machinist, I rely on my tools for my livelihood. My Delta 15-344 Drill Press is the best machine I have ever owned. It is incredibly powerful, extremely versatile and one of the most reliable pieces of equipment ever made. Of course I would expect nothing else from Delta, which is why I have no less than 6 Delta tools in my shop. But back to my review of the 15-344. This is a machine that I bought 4 years ago to replace an aging bench-top press I had. I have to say, I don’t know how I got by without it for so long.

Manufacturer:Delta Machinery
Model:15-344 Drill Press
Motor:3/4 HP
Speed:16 options, range: 170 - 3000 RPM
Drills in:Wood, metal, and plastic
Weight:240 lbs.
Dimensions:70" x 28" x 20"
Table size:20" x 14"
Warranty:5 years
Learn More:Click for full specs, pricing and customer ratings.

First off, if you are reading this review, you’re probably familiar with the reputation that Delta has for making quality machines – especially their drill presses. But I bought this particular model because of its variable drive speeds and super-powerful motor. It’s also one of the only production-quality machines in its price range. I’ll go ahead and list the specs here, for those of you who aren’t already familiar with them.

Specifications

  • 3/4 Horsepower three-phase motor that runs off of 200-Volts.
  • Variable-speed motor allows you to adjust from 450 to 4700 RPM – on the fly.
  • Enormous spindle bearing and pulley, supported by four oversized and pre-lubed VS bearings.
  • Cast-iron working surface that tilts and has 1.5-inch coolant trough.
  • Quill travel is very long at a full 6 inches of depth.
  • Automatic belt tensioner that Delta is famous for, with reverse self-locking taper.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, the 15-344 is solidly built and massive, just like the Delta 18-900L. When I first installed it in my shop, I thought I wanted it near my workbench and centered. I’ve since moved it to a less intrusive spot – against the wall. Of course it took three of us to do that!

Details

Like I said, I make tools and machine parts for a living. I rely on precise tolerances for all of my projects, and the Delta 15-344 hasn’t let me down. The motor is 3-phase, and so is very powerful, yet quiet. It spins at a relatively low 1750 RPM by itself, so doesn’t actually use a lot of juice. The adjustments for the variable speeds are amazingly easy and accurate. If I find that I’m overheating a piece, I can dial it back with one hand and keep pressure with the other.

The enormous work table is an amazing feature in itself. Like I said above, it has an inch-and-a-half channel for coolant, with two 3/8-inch pipe taps on each side for drainage. It also tilts up to 45-degrees, which I sometimes use rather than adjusting my clamps. It’s very easy to tilt also, considering the weight.

One thing that I would add to this amazing drill (and I have on mine), is a flexible work light. I’ve put a clamp-light on mine that does the job, but it should come with one. Oh well, that’s the only thing I’ve found that’s even a little disappointing about this machine.

Click here for customer ratings, shipping rates and pictures.

Overall, the Delta 15-344 is an incredible drill press that works perfectly for me under even the most challenging conditions. It’s not a cheap machine, but it holds its value forever. I did some checking recently on prices for used machines and found that they are close to what I paid for mine new, 4 years ago. Now that’s value!

Delta 18-900L Review

If you’re reading this detailed review of the Delta 18-900L, chances are you’re serious about your shop tools and want the best drill press your dollar can buy. Well, let me just say that you won’t be disappointed with this machine. A few minor quirks aside, this is one of the most functional and solidly built drill presses I’ve ever used. From the 16-speed, 3 pulley drive system to the large and sturdy multi-position table, the Delta 18-900L lets you know it’s here to do business. You’ve already read the specs so I’m going to include an overview below of some of the primary features that stand out for me, for those who like to skim, followed by my observations after using this fine machine.

Manufacturer:Delta Machinery
Model:18-900L Drill Press
Motor:3/4 HP
Chuck:5/8" Jacobs®
Speed:16 options, range: 170 - 3000 RPM
Quill stroke:6"
Drills in:Wood, metal, and plastic
Weight:240 lbs.
Dimensions:70" x 28" x 20"
Table size:20" x 14"
Warranty:5 years
Learn More:Click for full specs, pricing and customer ratings

Overview

  • Innovative 3-pulley, 16-speed drive system that delivers a range of 170 to 3000 rpm.
  • Micro adjustable quill depth-stop mechanism for precise depth control.
  • One of the easiest to adjust and most functional tables I’ve ever seen.
  • Solid cast-iron support arm, head, base and table.
  • Powerful and very quiet ¾ HP drive motor.
  • Highly accurate twin laser “crosshair” sighting system.
  • Very bright LED light on a heavy-duty flexible stalk.
  • Smooth controls and excellent overall build quality.

Details

Delta 18-900L review photo 1

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Delta 18-900L is its size and weight. At almost 300 pounds, this is a serious shop tool. You’ll also notice that this drill press was designed to accommodate the specific needs of woodworkers. The cast iron table is very large, at 20” x 14” and is adjustable side-to-side from 0 to 90 degrees. What makes it especially useful for woodworking though is that it adjusts front-to-back from 0 to 48 degrees to allow for compound angles. It has a large cut-out that can accommodate an insert to protect your bits and your work. Also, since the table is so heavy, the crank handle for raising and lowering it is much appreciated.

The quill feed is also very well designed, with a full 6-inch travel. The handles are large and very easy to grip, sending the quill through its entire range in one turn. The depth-stop mechanism is ultra-precise, using heavy gauge threaded rods and a split-nut design. When you push the button to release the split-nut, the stop moves easily up and down the guide rod. Releasing the button locks it into place and fine adjustments can then be made to get it precise.serious shop tool. You’ll also notice that this drill press was designed to accommodate the specific needs of woodworkers. The cast iron table is very large, at 20” x 14” and is adjustable side-to-side from 0 to 90 degrees. What makes it especially useful for woodworking though is that it adjusts front-to-back from 0 to 48 degrees to allow for compound angles. It has a large cut-out that can accommodate an insert to protect your bits and your work. Also, since the table is so heavy, the crank handle for raising and lowering it is much appreciated.

If you’re interested in other tools, check out my comparison chart of the top delta drill press machines.

I mentioned the 3-pulley system that allows for a 16-speed range from 170 to 3000 rpm. The fact is that this innovative design makes it really simple to change speeds, but that’s not the best part. Instead of using a drive-shaft release like most other drill presses out there, the 18-900L uses a spring loaded tensioner to apply the correct pressure to both belts at once. A roller presses on the rear belt, and a lever locks it into place. The center pulley is on a swivel, so tension is always universal and exactly what’s needed for that drive speed. It’s truly unique and yet a simple design. That being said, you remember I said it had some quirks. Ok, here’s one – If you want to go from a very slow speed to a very Delta 18-900L review photo 2fast speed, the belts need to be reversed. Not a problem really, but in order to do this, you need to remove them and swap their positions on the center pulley. Just a little more time consuming than I’d prefer.

The controls on the front panel are also very well designed and high quality. The power switch is large and easy to use. If you have to turn the drill off quickly, it’s a very simple motion to reach out and hit the paddle switch.

The LED light is mounted on a very heavy-duty flexible extension, and provides a surprisingly bright light. It could be a little longer in my opinion, but it works great. The twin-laser sighting system is very accurate once it’s adjusted correctly. It’s pretty simple to calibrate the lasers, aligning them independently, first vertically and then horizontally. I’ve never had the need to re-adjust mine, it’s as accurate now as it was when I first set it up.

Overall Impression Of The Delta 18-900L

After using the Delta 18-900L for a little more than a year now, I can honestly say that it is well worth the investment. This is a tool that is so functional and well-made that I find myself thinking of projects that will allow me to use all of its features.

Click here for customer ratings, shipping rates and pictures.

The solid feel, powerful drive motor, precise adjustments and super rugged construction make this the best drill press I’ve ever owned. I’d recommend it for anyone in need of a high-quality machine, whether it’s in a woodworking environment or a metal shop. This is a shop tool that’s built to last.