I'm interested in getting a new radial drill press (Shop Fox W1670 1/2 HP) for my shop. Does anyone have any suggestions, concerns or comments they'd like to share?
OK, a bunch of stuff here.
Firstly, is your supplier local or were you going to order from the US?
Next, the shop fox label is stuck on one design of radial drill press that is sold under a broad range of names. The shop fox is only cosmetically different from all of the other brands of radial drill press. (General international, Grizzly, BusyBee...)
I have the BusyBee CT020N which is the bench top version. Deb has the floor model, like the one you're looking at.
Be prepared. with a "standard" drill press, you change your bit and make your hole. With this one, you change your bit, move our head out or in or rotate the arm and then lock in the index to the column, next set your drill angle (it won't hold vertical so it remains perpendicular to the table) and lock it in. The head rotation is locked with the column movement cinching screw. That means that when you go to move the horizontal column, you lose the perpendicular orientation of the bit and you have to redo that setting.
I bought mine for versatility and because most of the holes I've had to drill to date couldn't fit the swing of the drill press I figured the radial would do the job. Well, it fills that bill but adjustment takes on new definitions of "exercise" and "routine."
Next, there have been recent discussions on several fora dealing with exorbitant shipping costs of items sold on e-bay, amazon and other on-line vendors. Make sure you're well informed first. In one case the price of the product was understated and the shipping cost grossly inflated to allow for the cheaper price.
Next, I had to drive to Ottawa from outside Quebec City to get mine. Busy Bee refused to ship it. It took three trips. The first was beyond anyone's control, the second was to actually get the drill press and bring it home. When I got it home there was a major problem. I called the store and eventually got put onto "Amin" in Busy Bee head office. I send the quill casting to Toronto where it was deemed "perfect" and returned to me. I reassembled it and it sure wasn't, OK! A month and a half later, I grabbed the opportunity and made a 10 hour drive to Ottawa and back to exchange it for one that worked.
I got to the store and the warehouse employee and I assembled mine and turned it on. It sounded like a freight train and he tried to tell me that "that was normal" and I specified "no way." We pulled out another one and it was "perfect." No noise.
The moral of the story, make sure you try it before you buy it. Get a copy of the busy bee manual (online) and read it and make sure you know how it works before you buy. If you're going to Calgary (probably the closest) set it up in the warehouse and try it before you accept it. Make sure all of the speeds are correct and it performs perfectly. It should run smoothly and relatively quiet with no vibrations or scraping noises.
I have mine assembled but not installed. There is an identical radial drill press by General International - General 75-600 radial arm drill press
- where the column moves the head up and down, not the table. I had that working with my old drill press, now I have to install the new one. I wouldn't want to use a mortising kit with this with the arm extended so make sure you have lots of clearance around it. That motor swings out quite a ways.
Deb found her floor model to be top heavy and I have to agree. My bench top model is definitely top heavy. It is bolted to the module and it is still "quirky."
Lots of stuff here to watch for but if it's versatility you're after, this one can't be beat.
Keep us posted.