Delta 18″ Laser Drill Press Review – Model 18-900L

By Todd Fratzel on Power Tools, Product Reviews

Delta 18″ Laser Drill Press – Model 18-900L

Earlier this year the folks at Delta sent me their all new 18″ Laser Drill Press – Model 18-900L to test and review. This is the last of three different size drill presses that we’ve reviewed this year and it’s also the largest one. The Delta 18″ drill press is a serious workhorse for serious workshops! Read on to learn all about this drill press and all it’s features.

For those of you wondering about the recent sale of Delta I thought you might like to hear what the new owners have to say. In recent discussions from the people running the New Delta Power Equipment Corp. and they are fully committed to the sales and service of this new drill press and consider it an example of the kind of high quality, state-of-the-art woodworking tools and equipment they will continue to invest in and offer to the serious woodworker.

From Delta

This drill press establishes a total package of features to address woodworkers’ needs for ease of use, accuracy and capacity. Elements include a patent-pending Auto-Tensioning Belt Drive System, a full 6-inch quill stroke and DELTA’s proven over-sized woodworker’s table. The revolutionary belt drive system gives the user the ability to easily change the speed of the machine. Accuracy is achieved with micro-adjustable depth stops and an independent depth scale, allowing the user to zero the scale and set up for repetitive drilling in a quick and easy manner.

A fully adjustable TWINLASER® projects a bright red cross-hair on the work surface that can be easily fine-tuned and indicates a center point of the bit regardless of table position or thickness of material. The new DELTA 18-900L 18-inch Laser Drill Press is backed by a five-year warranty and is available now at specialty woodworking dealers for $829.

Delta 18″ Drill Press Specifications

  • Size: 18″
  • Motor: 3/4 HP
  • Motor Control: On/Off Rocker Switch
  • Speeds: 16 (170-3000)
  • Table Size: 20 x 14 “
  • Table Tilt: L/R 0-90, Forward 0-48 °
  • Table Insert: 3.75 x 3.75 x 0.75
  • Column Diameter: 80 mm
  • Spindle Taper: Morse #2
  • Chuck Taper: Jacobs #3
  • Quill Diameter: 52 mm
  • Quill Stroke: 6 “
  • Key Chuck Capacity: 5/8 “
  • Chuck to Table Capacity: 22.25 “
  • Chuck to Base Capacity: 42.5 “
  • Height: 70 “
  • Width: 20 “
  • Depth: 28 “
  • Weight: 240 lbs

Product Features

  • Auto-Tensioning Belt Drive System allows for fast and easy speed changes while maximizing transmission efficiency with consistent belt tension and motor alignment.
  • Full 6″ Quill Stroke for deeper drilling applications and Best-In-Class capacity.
  • Over-sized Woodworker’s Table with patented design bevels 0°-90° left and right, tilts forward 0°-48 °, features T-slots for clamping, and a removable center insert for through-table drilling.
  • Micro-Adjustable Depth Stops and Independent Depth Scale allows the user to zero the scale and set up for repetitive drilling, quickly and easily.
  • Fully Adjustable TWINLASER projects a bright red cross-hair on the work piece at the point of bit contact.
  • Flexible LED Light illuminates the work surface for better visibility.
  • Heavy-Duty 3/4HP Motor provides ample power for demanding drilling applications.
  • Large Non-Tip Base increases stability.

Our Thoughts On The New Delta 18″ Drill Press

First off let me say that this year we’ve tested several drill presses and the Model 18-900L from Delta takes the prize for the largest, most powerful, most features and best quality. This is a serious drill press for serious woodworkers so read on to find out what makes this drill press so special.

Controls

The controls for the Delta 18″ Drill Press are very simple and easy to use. As you can see the front panel includes on/off switches for the work light and laser. Just below that is a nice large on/off rocker switch. For me simple is good and Delta did a good job keeping things simple on this model.

Just to the left of the front panel is the Micro-Adjustable Depth Stop. Built from a heavy stainless steel rod and collars it works really well. The depth stops adjust easily as the stops spin effortlessly along the rod.

Power / Motor

The Delta 18-900L Drill press comes with a powerful Heavy-Duty 3/4 Horse Power motor. Power is extremely important when drilling large diameter holes (Forstner Bits for example) or holes at very high speeds. The 3/4 HP motor that Delta supplied on this drill press provides plenty of power for a wide range of drilling applications.

We were able to drill large 2″ holes in Southern Yellow Pine and Cambara with ease. The motor operates very smooth and doesn’t bog down at all. I was also quite impressed at how quiet the motor is (which is a nice change of pace in the shop!).

Auto Tensioning Belt Drive System

One of the features that I like the best on the 18-900L is the auto tensioning belt drive system. Changing the drill speed is very easy with the auto tensioning feature. All you do is push the handle (shown above right) to the side which removes the tension on the belt, adjust the belts and then push the arm back. This is a really nice feature that most smaller drill presses don’t offer. Think of it as a tool-less adjustment.

The pulley system includes 16 different available drilling speeds to cover most any combination of material and drill bit. Drilling speeds include: 170, 260, 290, 330, 440, 510, 540, 570, 750, 840, 1150, 1460, 1650, 2190, 2260 and 3000 RPMs.

6″ Quill Stroke with Independent Depth Scale

This drill press has a really nice 6″ quill stroke which allows you to drill some pretty deep holes. This is nice especially if you need to drill holes in 6x material. This is a feature that certainly makes it a word-workers favorite as some drill presses on the market have a pretty limited quill stroke.

There’s a really nice independent depth scale mounted to the base of the handle that allows you to precisely control the depth of drilling. The scale is accurate to 1/16 of an inch with easy to read numbers and divisions.

Laser Sights

All of the drill presses that we recently tested included some sort of laser sight for speeding up repetitive drilling operations. This model includes TWINLASER® which projects a bright red set of cross hairs on the work surface. You can easily adjust both beams for an accurate layout.

The laser on this drill press is hard-wired into the power supply which I like. Some of the cheaper drill presses we tested had battery operated units which seemed unreliable.

As you can see in the photo the laser beam is really easy to see and really bright.

Oversized Woodworker’s Table

Another feature that I think sets this drill press apart from the competition is the table. With a table size of 20″x14″ this drill press is perfect for woodworker’s. I really like the large flat surface and T-slots. As you can see the T-Slots make it really easy to attach a short fence (Biesemeyer Fence Shown). I’m also a big fan of the table insert that allows you to install a sacrificial piece of wood or plastic.

The only other table that I’m aware of which is larger is the one on the 18″ Powermatic. However, that fence is only 16″x14″ unless you extend the wings which makes it 26″x16″ (not solid though). If I had one thing to add it would be the ability to expand the length of the table similar to the Powermatic.

This table allows you to tilt left and right from 0 to 90° and forward from 0 to 48°.

LED Work Light

Another feature that I really like on this model is the LED work light. While most drill presses offer a standard flexible work light the Delta model offers a really bright LED light. I like it for a couple reasons. First of all the light is much brighter and whiter. Secondly the light housing is smaller and easier to position closer to the work area.

Overall Impression

The Delta 18″ Drill Press (Model 18-900L) is a very well built, feature packed drill press well suited for any woodworker’s shop. This is definitely a large drill press that suitable for most any woodworking project. This is certainly not your weekend warrior tool!

Starting from the ground up this drill press packs tons of great features. With a nice large base providing great stability to the 6″ drilling depth and large table I honestly can’t find much to complain about. The quality of this tool is what stands out in my mind most. Over the years I’ve come to expect my tools to perform like “Delta” tools and this new drill press continues to set my standards higher.

If you want a high quality, well built, feature packed drill press for your shop then I highly recommend the Delta 18″ Model 18-900L.

Where To Buy

The Delta 18″ Drill Press is available at local power tool suppliers and several online locations. Priced around $800 it’s a great value. Below are some online vendors that carry this tool.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I’m full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I’m also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I’m also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today’s Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you’d like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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1 Comment

  1. Douglas W Carlson says:

    Thank you for the good review of the Delta Drill Press. I am about to purchase on and it was a reassuring review. Thank you

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