Wen 4208 Review: Affordable Beginner 5-Speed Drill Press
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
The Wen 4208 is an affordable drill press that has a 5-speed operation. Though not recommended for heavy-duty drilling, it is an ideal choice for beginners.
Despite having a 5-speed system, Wen’s 4208 is quite an affordable drill press. However, it is powered by a 2.3-Amp, 1/3 HP motor, which is not very powerful, and therefore, it is better suited for light-duty drilling. As such, the tool is recommended for beginners.
To learn more, this review details everything that this tool has to offer so let’s get started.
Wen 4208 Review
Performance: Versatile Wood and Metal Drilling
Powered by a 1/3 HP induction motor, Wen’s 4208 can achieve spindle speeds of up to 3140 RPM. However, this motor does not rotate the spindle directly. Instead, the rotary motion is transferred to a set of pulleys, which you can adjust to achieve 5 different speed settings.
These are 740, 1100, 1530, 2100, and 3140 RPM. The motor and spindle sides have 5 pulleys each and these have 5 different sizes, going from largest to smallest.
On the motor side, the set of pulleys is arranged with the largest one at the top going towards the smallest downwards. On the spindle side, the set is reversed, with the smallest being at the top and largest one at the bottom.
Switching between these speed settings requires some manual work of shifting the belt from one pulley to the other and this can be done in the following manner.
Lowest pulley on both sides (smallest pulley on the motor side, largest on spindle side).
Second lowest pulley on both sides (second smallest pulley on the motor side, second largest on spindle side).
Middle pulley on both sides (medium size on both sides).
Second highest pulley on both sides (second largest pulley on the motor side, second smallest on spindle side).
Highest pulley on both sides (largest pulley on the motor side, smallest on spindle side).
If this is a bit confusing to you, there is a belt/pulley speed chart on the underside of the pulley compartment cover. This provides a diagrammatic guide that is more straightforward.
That said, these settings are very important because drilling through different materials requires different drill bits at different speeds. In general, metal drilling requires slower speeds because the material is hard while wood drilling requires higher speeds because it is soft.
It is worth noting that with the engine being a 1/3 HP motor, you should not use this tool for extremely heavy-duty work because it is not very powerful.
Apart from speed, this drill has a spindle-travel of 2 inches, which means the drilling depth is capped at 2 inches.
You can control this by using the built-in locking depth adjustment system. This is placed next to a depth gauge, which allows you to set the cutting depth to any value between 0 and 2 inches. Consequently, this enables you to make accurate repetitive cuts on multiple workpieces.
If your workpiece is too thick, the worktable can be raised or lowered, and it can also be tilted up to 45º to the left or right, which allows you to drill angled holes.
Design: Heavy Duty Frame
Wen’s 4208 is built using a heavy-duty frame and this mainly includes a sturdy metal column and a heavy cast iron base. The head and table are made using cast iron, and this gives you a durable heavy-duty design that is built to last.
All these components form a compact drill press that measures 7.5 x 22.88 x 11 inches in size. The unit is relatively lightweight because it weighs only 34.2 lbs. and this makes it easily portable.
Therefore, if you have multiple drilling tasks in different worksites, this drill press can come in very handy.
Setup: Set Aside Some Time
This unit is shipped while fully dismantled and therefore, you need to set aside some time to set it up. Before getting down to this task, make sure you have an adjustable wrench and a hammer or block of wood.
After unpacking all pieces, begin by attaching the column to the base and tighten them together using the included hex head bolts. Next, attach the table to the column and position it in the direction of the base.
Mount the drill press head on the column then align it to the direction of the table and base. Once aligned, tighten its set screws to fit if firmly on the column. After this, mount the three feed handles and tighten them into their slots.
With the main components in place, mount the drill press on a stand or workbench to prevent it from tipping over or sliding as you install the remaining pieces. Next, install the chuck, then the drill bit.
After this, it’s time to make some tweaks and this involves adjusting the speed, the spindle return spring and belt tensioning. All these instructions are laid out in detail with installation diagrams in the user manual for clear guidance.
Operation: Pretty Straight Forward
Since there is no laser or work light built-in, there is only one switch that you need to flip to power on the motor. However, you need to insert the safety key into the switch housing first and this is designed to prevent accidental starts.
That said, there are some guidelines that you need to follow for safe use. For instance, workpieces must be clamped to the worktable but if too small, they should be held by a vise. The worktable has 4 slots that can help to fit the clamp or vise as required.
You should also mark the point of drilling by punching using a nail and this is especially important because this unit lacks a laser light.
As for feeding, you must use moderate force. Too much force might stall the motor, cause the belt to slip, break the drill bit, or destroy the workpiece.
On the other hand, using very little force will cause very minimal contact between the bit and workpiece, resulting in overheating. This might destroy the bit or burn the workpiece.
That said, when working on a wooden stock, brad point bits are recommended but metal piercing twist bits can also be used. However, do not use auger bits because their rapid drilling can whirl the workpiece off the table.
For metal, use metal piercing twist bits and set the press to the lowest speed. Remember to lubricate the tip as this will reduce friction and therefore, minimize overheating.
Note: With wood, remember to use a scrap piece on the underside to prevent splintering as the bit exits on the other end.
Coming in at less than $100, Wen’s 4208 is very affordable. Despite this, it has a lot to offer, especially with its 5 speeds, which make it ideal for drilling through wood and metal. That said, within the manufacturer’s lineup, this model is the smallest and least powerful drill press.
The closest one to it in terms of price and features is the Wen 4210T, which is a newer version (2019 model) of the 4210 (2014 model). The 2019 model is cheaper but the features are quite similar to the 2014 model.
That said, the 4210T and 4210 are better than the 4208 because they have a larger 10-inch swing, a more powerful 3.2-Amp motor, a laser, a work light, a larger table size, and an overall larger size.
An affordable, versatile drill press that is ideal for entry-level use.
Though very affordable, Wen’s 4208 5-speed operation makes it very versatile because it can be used to drill through wood and metal.
However, since it is powered by a relatively less powerful 2.3-Amp motor, the drill press is not recommended for heavy-duty work. It also lacks key features such as laser guidance and a work light. Therefore, it is better suited for beginners as they learn this craft.
On the bright side, the unit has a compact and lightweight design, which when combined with its versatility, makes it suitable for working on remote projects in different worksites.
- Product Name: Wen 4208
- Product Brand: Wen
- Motor: 2.3-Amp (1/3 HP)
- Speed: 740-3140 RPM (5 speeds)
- Swing: 8 inches
- Spindle Travel: 2 inches
- Chuck Capacity: 1/2 inches
- Table Size: 6-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches
- Table Tilt: 0-45º left and right
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 22.88 x 11 inches
- Weight: 34.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 2-year limited
- 5-speed settings (740, 1100, 1530, 2100, 3140 RPM) with manual belt adjustment.
- Depth adjustment gauge for accurate depth locking.
- 1/2-inch keyed chuck with onboard key storage.
- Sturdy cast iron head, table, and frame.
- Durable induction motor with ball bearings for extended life.
- Slotted table for mounting clamps and vises.
- Predrilled holes in the base for quick and easy mounting.
- Fits a wide variety of bits.
- Beveling worktable (up to 45º on either side).