Thursday, March 8, 2012

V3.10 - Drill Press: Parts and Parts

Last week, we left off at item number 8 on our list of things to consider when buying a Drill Press. Item 8 is a very important thing to consider if you intend to keep your Drill Press for a while. It’s also something that is a problem for some companies. We’ll explore the reasons it’s a problem, even though there isn’t a lot that we consumers can do about it, except let the manufacturers know of our displeasure.

Ok, so number 8 says: Be certain you can get proper replacement parts and service, if needed. Now, I could leave it at that and just dump you, but I am just not that way. Any advice I give in these columns has to be impartial and honest, above all. Frankly, there is a company that is near and dear to my heart that is having some serious part delivery issues right now. Truthfully, it wasn’t their fault that they got into this condition, but they have to deal with it now.

Of course, I’m talking about Delta. For those that don’t know, I was a founding member of Delta’s Technical Service Department back in 1985 and I finished my career with them in 2005, as their Technical Service Manager. Had things not been so discombobulated (that’s a southern word meaning: messed up) I’m sure I would still be with them…but that tale was told in this column last year - so let’s move on.
Anyway, Delta - when its tools were made in the USA (and I mean FULLY made here, not just assembled here) used to be able to supply parts for decades. They stored the patterns and kept the blueprints like, forever. They understood the value of being able to support their tools far into the future. I think some of that mindset might have been due to the efforts that Delta made in the war support and schools markets. Both of those groups would probably require their supplier (Delta or whoever) to be able to support the product for a set amount of time. So let’s step aboard the Wayback machine and take a look at Delta once it started making tools in the far East. That was when Delta discovered the same thing that other manufacturers did. Once a tool that was say, made in China, was discontinued, the Chinese manufacturer destroyed all of the molds and patterns, and probably the actual blueprints. The trick to keep this from biting you was to obtain a decent record of your part purchases and make your best forecast of future part purchases. Then you’d order however many parts you think you’d need for however many years you intend to support the tool. We need to stop here for this week, but we’ll do it more next time…

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.

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