This week Delta heard “Everybody into the pool,” and joined the fun. With all the recent tool news , General’s new distribution center, Grizzly’s Polar Bear Series and Bosch’s revolutionary miter saw (& more) , you knew it wouldn’t be long before other companies followed suit. Delta held back as long as it could, but now the flood gates have opened.
Delta released a slew of new products that include a new 18″ laser drill press, a 13″ benchtop thickness planer, a 1 1/2 horsepower (hp) dust collector and a 20″ scroll saw. There is also a low voltage control unisaw , a 3-phase machine with the equivalent of a magnetic switch (layman’s terms) , and four premium woodworking saw blades designed for melamine.
If you’re in the market for a new 18″ drill press, the only competition for the new Delta machine is the Powermatic 2800. As it always is, you have to decide what features best fit your needs. The Delta 18-900L ($829) has a 3/4-hp motor, an oversized table that is 20″ x 14″ in size, and a 16 speed, patent-pending auto-tensioning belt drive system that “allows for fast and easy speed changes while maximizing efficiency with consistent belt tension and motor alignment,” according to Delta.The PM2800 costs about $70 more, has 1 hp motor and a table that expands to around 16″ x 26″. There’s a 5/8″ keyless chuck and a single-handle speed changer that allows you to run the full range of speeds without ever touching a belt .
With this information, the call is close. Do you like the single-handle adjustment, or is moving belts more your style? Is a larger table the deal-maker? As you look at a couple other features, there is, in my opinion, a small edge for the Delta press. (Keep in mind that this is all on paper; we haven’t gotten a close look at the Delta 18-900L.)
While the table does not expand to the size of the competition, it does rotate in two directions. The 18-900L table bevels to 90 degrees left and right, and it tilts forward up to 48 degrees to make compound-angle drilling easy. The table also has t-slots to help when clamping and a removable insert for through-the-table drilling and sanding. And what may be the “coup de grâce” is quill travel. The Delta drill press has a full 6″ of travel. The new drill press is making it’s way to stores now, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.
Delta’s 13″ planer is coming in July 2010. It’s suggested price is $529. The 22-590 planer has an innovative micro-adjust depth stop that allows woodworkers to lock-in any finished-thickness dimension from 1/4″ to 1 1/4″. The knives are reversible and supposedly easy to change, and it’s “three-knife cutter head utilizes enhanced geometry to create a more aggressive angle at wood contact, delivering an ultra-smooth finish that requires minimal finish sanding,” according to the company. Include a couple additional features and this machine requires a closer look when it hits the streets.
Pair the planer with the new 50-786 dust collector that will be available in August at a suggested retail price of $429. The 50-786 is a 1200 cfm unit with a one-micron filter bag. The company says the dust collector has a 97 percent filtration and containment of fine dust particles. The machine also has a much sturdier sheet metal frame design, swivel casters and a convenient pull handle for easy movement.
Popular Woodworking Magazine doesn’t write much about scroll saws, but I know more than a few woodworkers (I’ve done it a couple times) that use these machines to produce great looking dovetails. Delta’s new 20″ saw (40-690) has electronic variable speed and upfront controls, a tool-free blade clamp that allows blades to be changed in seconds and an over-sized table (for added material support and capacity) that bevels from 0 degrees to 45 degrees left and right. The 20″ variable-speed scroll saw , suggested retail price of $599 , is also on its way to dealers. Do you use a scroll saw for woodworking? If so, leave a comment and tell me how.
If you’re a tool junkie and want to read more:
- Pick up a copy of “Drills and Drill Presses” to learn about the basic techniques of operating a drill press.
- Read David Charlesworth’s spin on using a band saw in “Precision Band Saw” from March 2008.
- Test your skills by building a“Band-sawn Box” with directions from Lois Keener Ventura. It’s free on our website.