If you are looking for that all on one tool that will make your hobby building or home workbench more accessible, the Shop Fox W1668 may be the bench drill press you are looking for. Larger swing and spindle travel distances, oscillating sander option, 5/8” chuck, and an adjustable twelve speed pulley system grants you more abilities at the tips of your fingers.
This tool is marketed as a bench-top drill press but it is actually two tools in one. With the addition of a drum spindle, any drill press can be turned into a sander but the Shop Fox W1668 takes this ability to the next level by adding in an oscillator option. A simple throw of a belt and your spindle is moving up and down 3/4” of an inch. This feature turns this simple drill press into a true contour sander.
Drilling and sanding creates plenty of sawdust, metal filings, turning shavings and other swarf that clutter your work bench and contaminate your shop floor. This model comes with a 2” dust port for collection of those pesky byproducts for clean disposal, or depending on your location; recycling. This handy dust port not only contributes to a cleaner workspace, but also to the overall safety by keeping contaminates out of the air and splinters out of your skin.
Larger working areas translate to a more versatile tool. The swing on most bench-tops in this class are maxed out at 8” meaning you can drill into the center at 4”, the Shop Fox W1668 gives you a 13.25” swing allowing you to drill at over 6”. This is 150% the range of contemporary models.
The Spindle travel is also increased on this model. 3.25” throw gives you a vast improvement over most models’ 2” throw. You simply have more working space on this drill press.
A secondary idler pulley and belt grants you the option of twelve speeds for this drill press. The top speed is 3050RPM and the lowest is all the way down to 250RPM. This large array of options makes this same tool capable of drilling 3” hole saws into hard wood as well as 1/16” holes into aluminum and just about everything in between.
The down side to such a versatile tool is the price. You’re getting an oscillating drum sander, dust vent, 12 speeds, but all at a much higher cost than some of its closest competitors. Many reviews claim this tool is trying to do too much as suffers by doing all of them “good enough” while not excelling at any of them.
You are also getting an incredibly large tool. At 113 pounds, this beast is heavy. Initial shipping problems were a direct result of inadequate packaging for such a heavy object, and Shop Fox seems to have addressed that problem but that does not alleviate the obvious trouble of having a heavy and oversized drill press sitting on your work bench instead of standing on its own where something of this size obviously belongs.
The Shop Fox W1668 is a heavy duty bench drill press that is pressing the limits of the term “bench-top”. Its large size and enormously heavy weight feels like they took a floor-standing drill press and cut the column down. The sheer enormity of this tool almost disqualifies it as a bench model. Dual tool use, outstanding features, and additional speeds are truly worth having and make this a quality purchase. Many users agree that this tool is high enough quality, but not worth the hefty price tag and extensive bench top real estate. If you absolutely must have a bench-top, this is an excellent choice. Otherwise spend the money on a floor standing model.