Drill Presses

Wen 4214 Review: Variable Speed Drill Press

Wen 4214 Review

Photo: youtube.com

What We Like

  • Mechanical variable speed adjustment with an LED readout
  • Work light and X pattern laser lock
  • Powerful and durable 2/3 HP motor
  • Easy-to-read locking linear depth stop
  • Beveling worktable

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy (85 lbs.)

Bottom Line

A powerful, variable speed drill press that drills with equal torque at any speed. This makes it ideal for drilling through different materials with ease.

Introduction

As the name suggests, a drill press is a tool that is used to create holes mainly in woodworking, but some are powerful enough for metalworking as well.

Wen’s 4214 is one such tool and apart from being powerful, it is equipped with an infinitely variable speed adjustment that makes it very versatile. All this is explained in detail in the review below.

Wen 4214 Review

Wen 4214

Photo: WEN

Performance: Mechanical Variable Speed Adjustment

With a speed range of 580-3200 RPM, Wen’s 4214 is controlled via a mechanical speed adjustment lever, which gives you infinite control over the speed setting within this range.

Regardless of the setting, this system delivers equal power and torque, meaning that the drilling performance is maintained at an optimal level at all times.  

As you turn the lever, a digital LED readout shows you the RPM in real-time. This is very useful because drilling through different materials requires different drill bit sizes at different speeds. Therefore, you can easily monitor the RPM before and during the operation.

That said, to achieve these speeds, power is provided by a 5-amp, 2/3 HP induction motor, which develops enough torque to spin the drill bit through wood, aluminum, and thick iron.

A work-light and an X pattern laser are built-in to light up the work area and mark the drilling spot respectively for accuracy enhancement.

The laser maintains its mark at the center despite the height of the work table, which can be raised or lowered using a rack and pinion system to fit workpieces with different widths.

This table measures 9.5 x 9.5 inches and has a roller extension to expand its size for better load balancing. It also bevels up to 45º on either side, which makes it possible to drill angled holes.

Other than that, the drill bit can also be raised or lowered by adjusting the height of the quill through a rack and pinion system. This adjusts the spindle to a maximum stroke of 3-1/8 inches, which in turn lifts or lowers the drill bit by a maximum of that height.

Combined with a swing of 12 inches, this means that you can drill through the center of a circle measuring 12 inches in diameter and dig up to 3-1/8 inches into it.

While the maximum drilling depth is set at 3-1/8 inches, there is a depth adjustment gauge on the right side of the press, which enables you to limit the spindle travel to an exact length.

This comes in very handy when you want to make accurate and repeated drilling operations using the same depth measurements. 

Design: Rigid Frame

To hold all the components and workpieces securely in place, Wen’s 4214 is equipped with a rigid heavy-duty frame that is made of cast iron. This consists of a cast iron head, table, and base. A sturdy column acts as the backbone, connecting all three.

Overall, this ensures you drill accurate holes because the solid frame stands firm. Additionally, the base has slots that you should use to mount the unit on a bench or work stand to make it steadier.

Setup: Quite a Process

Assembling this drill press is quite a process because it comes fully disassembled and contains very many pieces. You will need an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, and a hammer to get started.

Begin by mounting the column to the base, in which you must align the support holes to the ones on the base. Install and tighten hex head bolts to firmly join these two pieces together.

Next, mount the table via the table support bracket to the column. Ensure the rack and pinion system works perfectly after this installation.

The drill head is quite a heavy piece and therefore, if you can’t lift it alone, look for someone to help you mount it to the column. After this, fit the three feed handles then the speed adjustment lever to the respective slots.

With the drill press almost complete, mount it to a bench or stand using heavy-duty fasteners. Once secure, install the LED bulb then install the chuck and make the necessary adjustments.

Next, install the drill bit and square it to the worktable. There are a few more calibrations that need to be done on the laser light, spindle return spring, angular spindle play, and belt tensioning.

All these instructions are explained in detail in the user manual, and they include part diagrams for step-by-step guidance in the assembly and adjustment processes.

Note: A protective coating is applied to all machined surfaces to protect them from moisture during shipping. Moisten a soft cloth using kerosene or WD-40 to wipe this coating then ensure the tool is protected from moisture in your workshop to prevent rusting.

Operation: Different Speeds for Different Materials

Using this drill press is not a very difficult task. Switches for turning on the motor, work-light, and laser light are clearly indicated on the front section. However, before drilling the workpiece, make sure to position it properly, and use a clamp or vise to hold it firmly to the worktable.

That said, there are certain guidelines that you must adhere to regarding the speed. These can be summarized as follows:

Speed (RPM)

Wood Drilling (Drill Bit Size)

Aluminum, Zinc, Brass Drilling (Drill Bit Size)

Iron, Steel Drilling (Drill Bit Size)

530-800

1-5/8 inches

3/4 inches

5/8 inches

800-1000

1-1/4 inches

11/16 inches

3/8 inches

1000-1400

7/8 inches

15/32 inches

1/4 inches

1400-2000

5/8 inches

11/32 inches

5/32 inches

2000-3100

3/8 inches

7/32 inches

3/32 inches

In general, smaller bits require faster speeds than larger ones while softer materials should be drilled at greater speeds than harder ones.

However, when drilling through metal, always use twist drill bits and lubricate the tip with oil minimize friction, which can cause overheating.

With wood, brad point bits are recommended and you should always use a backup material underneath to prevent splintering as the bit emerges.

Note: Don’t feed either material with lots of force because this might stall the motor, break the bit, cause the belt to slip, or damage your workpiece. You should also not feed it with very little force because this will cause the bit to overheat and burn your workpiece.

All these instructions are explained in detail in the user manual.

Price: Worth its Price

Wen’s 4214 is quite expensive because it costs well over $200. However, considering the features that it offers, it is worth the price. That said, the manufacturer does have a lot of drill press models in their tool line up and the closest ones to the 4214 are the 4212 and 4225.

The 4212 is cheaper but has a less powerful 4.5-amp motor, a smaller 10-inch swing, a shorter 2-3/8 spindle travel, and a smaller 8 x 7-2/3-inch worktable.

On the other hand, the 4225 costs almost double the price of the 4214 but for this, you get a larger 15-inch swing, a longer 4-inch spindle-travel, a wider speed range of 280-3300 RPM, a powerful 8.6-amp motor, a larger 12 x 12-inch worktable and a flexible work light.

These features are ideal for intensive, heavy-duty drilling.

Verdict

A versatile drill press that is ideal for drilling through wood and different types of metal. 

With its mechanical variable speed adjustment mechanism, Wen’s 4214 gives you infinite speed options within the range of 580-3200 RPM. This makes it possible to drill through different materials because these require different types of drill bits at different speeds.

On top of this, the unit is fitted with a 5-amp, 2/3 HP motor, which provides enough power and torque at any speed setting to push through these workpieces with ease.

Specs

  • Product Name: Wen 4214   
  • Product Brand: Wen
  • Motor: 5-Amp
  • Speed: 580-3200 RPM (variable)
  • Swing: 12 inches
  • Spindle Travel: 3-1/8 inches
  • Chuck Capacity: 1/32-5/8 inches
  • Table Size: 9.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Table Tilt: 0-45º left and right
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 36.63 x 16.75 inches
  • Weight: 85 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

Key Features

  • Mechanical variable speed adjustment.
  • Digital LED speed readout.
  • Rigid cast-iron frame.
  • Work light and X pattern laser lock for accurate positioning.
  • Adjustable worktable; extends outwards and bevels up to 45º on both sides.
  • Slotted table for mounting vises and clamps.
  • Locking linear depth stop for accurate and repeatable drilling.
  • Powerful and durable 2/3 HP, 5-Amp motor.
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