Please note: Since this review was
published, Global Machinery Company (GMC) has gone into receivership and
is no longer operating. As such, spare parts or technical support cannot
be obtained directly through them. Their website at www.gmcompany.com
appears to still be available online and offers some product information
and manuals but contacting them will receive no reply. Note that
OnlineToolReviews.com does not work for GMC, nor do we offer any support
or spare parts for their products.
Laser-enabled tools seem all the rage these days to make
woodworking much more accurate and faster. Most laser line generators are
found on drill presses and miter saws more than anything else and often,
these lasers are sold as an after-market add-on rather than built into the
The GMC LSR13DP Benchtop Drill Press, however, features a
built-in laser line generator to enable quicker sighting of the target
position when drilling. But of course, it is no point having this feature
if the machine it is attached too is not up to par. So let's take a look
at the LS13DP that carries a price tag most suitable for the hobbyist or
weekend woodworker (Around AUD$150)
Product Build & Assembly
The LSR13DP is manufactured in China and branded by GMC in their
standard royal blue colors. Many will hear the word "China" and
immediately think a product is sub-standard, and they can rightfully hold
that opinion as in some cases, this is true. However, the fact is that
many, many products sold by even the biggest and most well-known companies
are manufactured in China and Taiwan and it really comes down to how well
the parent company supervises the production of these items to meet their
own pre-determined performance and quality standards.
The LSR13DP requires some assembly as almost all woodworking
machinery does out of the box. It is basically a 4-part system: The motor/head assembly
and spindle, the drill press column itself, the base and the drill press
table. Assembly takes around 5 minutes at most and is almost foolproof.
Instructions are provided, but you probably will only need a touch of
common sense to assemble the product. But of course, one should always read
the instructions carefully and pay attention to safety warnings and rules
outlined in the manual before using the tool.
The Jacob's style chuck is packaged separately and requires
you to assemble it onto the drive spindle. Simply slot it on, then you can
either give it a few firm taps with a mallet or set up a block of wood on
the table and lower the chuck/spindle (without any drill bit inserted) to
push against the piece of wood. Apply a moderate amount of pressure to
seat the chuck on the spindle. Removing any oil and cleaning out the chuck
taper beforehand will ensure the chuck will hold firmly and not drop off
at any stage of use.
Being a small benchtop model, there really isn't a great deal of room
to drill larger and/or thick pieces of wood, particularly after you have
inserted the drill bit. While this is not a specific issue to this
machine, it must be a consideration before laying down your money to buy
one. So if you are planning to use thick stock wood or perhaps drill into
the end grain on long pieces, you are going to need a floor model drill
press. You could mount your drill at the end of a bench or stand and then
swing the head assembly sideways to drill longer pieces of wood for say
once off situations, but if you are going to be drilling tall pieces
frequently, look at getting a floor model drill press.
With a standard length 29/64" drill bit sitting in the chuck, you
have about 3" of working space between the end of the drill bit and drill
press table (when in its lowest position). Obviously, with smaller
diameter, shorter bits, you have much more room to play with (up to 5"
with a 1/8" standard length drill bit in the chuck). If you need more
room, you can gain another 3 1/4" in height (less thickness of wood to be
drilled of course) by swinging the table out of the way and using the base
of the drill press stand as your table. So, in effect, this drill press
will handle most work pieces if you are prepared to use the base of the
drill (or perhaps a drill press vice mounted to the base) as well. End
grain drilling (unless if its a very short piece) is probably out of the
question unless you swing the head as mentioned above.
Being a benchtop model, it means the drill press takes up
very little physical room (roughly 23" high, 14" front to back and 9"
across) and is relatively portable, unlike floor models. You can easily
drag this model around to your worksite if you need to go elsewhere to
complete a project.
Motor and Performance
The LSR13DP features a 1/3HP single phase motor... a common size for
most smaller benchtop drills. It is an induction motor as you would expect
and operates fairly quietly. In testing, we found the motor to perform
adequately given its size, but you can expect it to stall in some
circumstances when it comes under heavy load. This is to be expected,
however, this can be minimized by selecting the correct speed for the
drill bit you are using. Larger drill bits or borers require a slower
speed for best cutting/drilling action. You must also manage the feed rate
to keep the motor from bogging down. With a little common sense and
experience, you will find the 1/3HP adequate for most small drilling
operations. You wouldn't expect this type of motor to handle a 2" Forstner
bit drilling through dense hardwood... it will bog down quite frequently
or may not cut at all, however it does handle 1" Forstner bits well with a
touch of patience and the right speed/feed rate.
I managed to stall the motor twice during testing, however
a change of feed rate and drill press speed remedied that problem quite
quickly. The motor performs as you would expect for a 1/3HP outfit, and as
long as you know its limitations, and compensate for them, you should be
fine. If you expect the smaller motor to perform like a 3/4HP motor, then
you will be disappointed, and I might suggest a course in logic as well,
taught by Dr Spok no less :)
The LSR13DP has 5 adjustable speeds driven by a single drive
belt. To adjust the drive belt, a small thumbwheel is used under the top
cover to move the motor in and out. The 5 pre-set spindle speeds are as
- 500 RPM
- 890 RPM
- 1400 RPM
- 1900 RPM
- 2500 RPM
Strangely, however, There is no indication or sticker
anywhere on the machine to indicate the the belt positions needed to
attain each speed. The manual does not even show this. Perhaps the sticker
was missing? Of course, this is no big drama if you have used a drill
press before, but for new woodworkers who might have purchased this
machine as their first drill press, confusion could arise and the sticker
would certainly make life easier as a ready-reference, right on the drill
Drill Press 'Runout'
Certainly a hot issue with drill presses. You want the drill bit to
run as true as possible without shaking, vibration or excessive movement
at the tip of the bit, particularly when first engaging the cutting edge
into the work piece. If you have bad runout, you will certainly notice it,
see it and hear it. Runout can be caused by a poor quality chuck, or loose
or inadequate seating of the chuck taper on the drive spindle (fixable),
or there could be some general 'play' in the spindle itself, which is much
more troublesome and not easily repairable (if at all). A dial indicator
can measure the amount of runout on the drill press. We measured a runout
of roughly 0.005" at the chuck, which is not too bad at all for a
budget-priced drill press. I was expecting worse, but was presently
surprised. I only hope all of this particular model that come off the
production line perform the same in this department.
General Machine Features
The LSR13DP sports the following features:
- Swing (Throat) Capacity: 104mm
- Max Spindle Travel: 50mm
- Chuck Capacity: 13mm
The depth stop feature on the LS13DP requires you to loosen
the hex screw on the inside of the feed wheel and then adjust the marked
collar with the depth gauge to the desired depth of travel and then
re-tighten the hew screw. Rather time consuming, and a little frustrating,
but it works, however, there are simpler methods that could have been
employed in the initial design.
Table height adjustment is the basic un-tighten, manually
slide the table into position and re-tighten again routine. It's what you
would expect on the budget machines and the adjustable/rotatable
lever-type clamp means the table can be held securely in position, but you
must then re-center the table so you don't end up drilling through it!
The table itself features the closed "X" patterned slots
with a central 3/4" drill protrusion hole. The table can be adjusted to 45
degrees left and right by loosening the bolt underneath the table at the
drill press column. The table can be deflected downward when significant
force is applied, however, you would not normally apply such a force
during normal drilling operations. Just a thing we like to do around here
to test strength and durability!
There is no work light on the LSR13DP, so external lighting
is necessary if you work indoors or in a low-lit room, however, the laser
line generator is more visible is slightly darker rooms.
The top cover on the LS13DP is another itching feature. The
top cover is secured with a Philips head screw and becomes frustrating
when you need to change drill press speeds. It certainly takes much longer
to remove and replace the top cover than your standard flip/latch type
cover. I found I ended up leaving the screw out and just sitting the cover
on top. By its design, it will stay there happily without falling off, but
may create some noise if vibration occurs during drilling.
The feed wheel handles are comfortable and the feed wheel
itself turns smoothly throughout the full range of spindle travel.
Laser Line Generator
The laser line generator is the main feature of this drill press. The
feature that sets it apart from other budget-priced benchtop drills on the
market. The generator itself is enclosed within the main body of the
machine directly between the drive spindle and the drill press column. It
is a battery operated laser unit, and takes two AA size batteries which
are accessible by removing the top cover and accessing the battery
compartment. Two AA batteries are included in the box to get you started.
The generator emits two beams of light from the underside
of the main body, behind the drill press chuck. These beams are adjustable
by rotating small wheels at the output source point of the laser. The
laser line is generated by a simple flip switch on the front of the
machine, right next to the main ON/OFF switch for the drill press. Simply
flick it on and your laser lines are projected, Flick it off and they are
gone. Simple stuff.
When turned on the 2 laser lines intersect at a specific
point which, after you have adjusted the beams, should point to the exact
location where the tip of the drill bit with engage your work piece. The
lasers meet at an angle of roughly 45 degrees which provides a fairly
precise intersection point, although it may not be absolutely exact given
the intersection zone may consume a millimeter of space itself, however,
it does provide a good guide to the entry point of the drill bit and will
certainly save time when drilling multiple holes frequently.
Being a laser product, you should of course never stare
directly into the beams as this may be detrimental to your health, nor
should you leave the laser light on while drilling. Sight up your work
with the laser on and when the piece is correctly positioned, switch off
the laser and commence drilling. Laser beams can also be reflected off
shiny or metallic items, so please do take care and exercise some common
sense when using this device.
One problem noted with the implementation and use of the
laser generator is that it had to be re-adjusted slightly when you raised
or lowered the table. As you raise the table, the point of intersection of
the laser lines will move closer to the drill press column the higher you
go. There is perhaps a 2mm difference at intersection point between the
lowest and highest position of the table. There was no easily identifiable
difference in lateral position of the beams across the range of table
height adjustment assuming you keep the table itself centrally aligned
with the drill bit and chuck.
So, you must be prepared to make some small adjustments to the lasers if
you are moving the table up and down over a large height distance. Another
issue is that when using large diameter bits, like Forstner bits for
example, the laser line may be blocked by the bit itself and a drilling
point cannot be determined.
In testing, we found the laser was quite useful in
decreasing 'alignment to a mark' time when drilling multiple holes at the
same table height. Changing drill bits did not affect the accuracy as the
laser should be aligned to the central part of the spindle/chuck. The
laser lines are bright and easy to see in most conditions, but like all
lasers, may be difficult to see in direct sunlight.
The GMC LS13DP Lightsabre drill press is both a joy and a minor
headache to use. The drill press itself is very functional and performs
well with a very low runout score for a machine with its price tag. It
will handle all your weekend work and is a great machine for the beginner,
hobbyist or occasional woodworker. The laser line generator is a very
useful feature and will certainly save time when drilling continuous
holes, however, the time saved here may be given back by the cumbersome
and slow top cover removal and replacement and the time consuming depth
If you choose to buy this drill press, you can at least be
safe in the fact that you have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a full
2 year replacement warranty on the product. GMC as a company do provide
excellent after sales support on their items and are open to user
suggestions and comments. At around $150 Australian dollars (or the equivalent
exchange in your area), the LS13DP offers expected performance for its
size and motor and is suited to those that find themselves drilling lots
of hole on a repetitive basis due in part to the Lightsabre feature not
commonly found on its direct competition in the price range.
GMC Website -
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www.onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior
written permission prohibited!
The LSR13DP Ready for Action!
Under the hood... 1 belt... 5 speeds
Belt tensioning wheel
Choose a slower speed for larger drill bits
From left to right... Power Indicator Light - On/Off
switch with removable safety key - Laser Line Generator Switch
The Depth Stop Adjustment Gauge
2 x AA-batteries is all you need to power the laser generator.
The laser projects onto the table marking our point of
With our laser lines adjusted, we have an accurate point
of entry of the drill bit sighted in advance...
The table locking mechanism and angle gauge for tilting
13mm chuck is keyed for maximum holding strength.
The 1/3HP motor can handle most smaller tasks. Here we
are drilling into hard Ipe wood without any problems.
While you may have trouble with the larger forstner
bits, this 1" bit happily bores away.