Tool Test – Ryobi Drill Press

From November 2006 Popular Woodworking
Features Beyond the Bells and Whistles

At first glance, the new “Digital Drill Press” from Ryobi seems like a run-of-the-mill machine tricked out with a laser alignment system and a digital readout. Under the top cover, however, is a great way to change speeds. I’ve always hated looking at the chart and fooling around with the pulleys to change drilling speeds. And if I don’t guess right the first time, I have to go through it all again.

By adjusting the lever on the left side of the drill press, one pulley gets smaller in diameter as the other one gets bigger. It’s just that simple, and the digital readout lets you know exactly how fast the chuck is spinning. The downside to this system is that the slowest possible speed is just under 500 rpm. Our old-fashioned drill press goes down to 215 rpm, and for running a large Forstner bit or drum sander, that turtle mode is necessary.

The cast iron table is made with a thin rim around the perimeter that makes clamping to the table much easier. The fit and finish on all parts of this machine is comparable to most equipment on the market today , not great, but certainly serviceable. The operating handles are a good length and angle to provide plenty of leverage without getting in the way.  The lasers functioned well for locating the center of the bit, but this really isn’t a difficult task to do manually.

On the whole, this is a nice little machine; the controls make sense and function as they should.  If it were possible to reduce the speed to 200 rpm, it would be more versatile.

– Bob Lang

More information on the Drill Press from Ryobi