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
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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.

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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.