If you’re into any kind of shop work, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press. It’s a smart drill press that goes way beyond adding electronics to its feature set. One of the most talked about features is the fact that this is a direct drive system. There aren’t any belts turning the chuck. That also means there aren’t any belts to change drilling speeds. So how does it accomplish that?
That’s where the “smart” comes into play with the onboard electronics package. The system is capable of dialing in a speed electronically, much like we see with Milwaukee’s One-Key system. The big difference between the two is that the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press has all the functions built into the control panel, so there’s no app for controlling it. Though that would be a cool innovation for the next generation.
The Nova Voyager (manufactured by Teknatool International) has a host of standard features to make it clearly a Pro level tool and not just a gimmick. Rather than going into a ton of detail there, I’ll let you read about those below. What I want to hit on is what Nova did really well and where there’s some room for improvement.
First of all, that direct drive motor is putting out 1.75 horsepower and delivering up to 3000 RPM. That’s pretty good for a drill press at this price point – but there’s more. You have an optional setting that cranks the power up to 5500 RPM if you’re working in a material that justifies it. And if you wire it for 220V, you’ll bump the power up to a full 2 horsepower.
The direct drive system is an integral part of the tool that holistically has an incredibly smooth operation and no noticeable runout. This leads to hole drilling that’s very accurate. A soft start also helps keep things under control. With plenty of power, speed, and accuracy, that in itself makes for a solid drill press.
The electronics package takes things to another level, replacing those manual belt changes with button pushes. With a few minutes of practice, the system becomes pretty easy to operate. It’s certainly easier than opening up the housing every time you change the material or bit.
There are a few common complaints and we noticed three in particular in our use so far. First of all, the electronic warning beep is nearly inaudible with the sound of the motor and drilling. The most common phrase we’ve heard is “useless”. It’s a nice feature to have, so turning it up or giving a volume option in the settings would be great. Since this should be easily controlled with the software, it’s an easy fix.
The chuck is another source of irritation for some users. It’s capable of holding bits from 3/32-inch to 5/8-inch. That leaves out bits that are 1/16-inch or smaller for those precision workpieces. That won’t affect everyone, but it’s a limitation worth noting.
Nova included another really excellent feature with a reverse twist to help back the bit out cleanly. It needs to be tweaked so that it run for more than a few revolutions to cover longer holes. This is something else that should be fixable via the software.
Some users have mentioned a keyless chuck, but I’m not so sure in this case. I prefer my drill press to have a key. It just gives me more confidence given the orientation of the chuck. Drills I can twist and turn to get the most leverage from my hands possible. The drill press is a different story.
I haven’t had a ton of time to put the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press to work, but Tim Johnson over at Shop Tool Reviews has been using it for several months now. Head over there and check out what he has to say about the performance along with his take on the features of this 2015 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winner.
Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press Manufacturer’s Key Features
- Sensors for superior safety, use, and maintenance: Load, Depth, Vibration and Emergency Stop
- Powerful 1.75 HP Motor handles wood, metal, plastic and glass
- 50 – 5500 RPM variable speed for variety of projects (default is 50 – 3000 RPM, option in settings to increase to 5500 RPM)
- No belts, quiet and smooth operation.
- Intelligent Speed Selection to get the correct speed for the application
- Slow Start Pilot Hole Function
- Tapping Assist Function
- Digital speed readout
- Electronic Braking
- Load Readout
- Self Starting
- Digital Quill Depth Readout
- Dial Knob for precise speed adjustment
- 6” of quill travel in 2 revolutions of the handle
- Adjustable mechanical stop coupled with Digital readout for accurate and repeatable actions
Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press Specifications
- Model: Nova 58000 Voyager DVR Drill Press
- Motor: 1.75 HP Direct Drive, Variable Speed DVR Motor
- Winding Insulation: Class F
- Swing: 18”
- Spindle Travel: 6”
- Number of Spindle Speeds: Variable
- Speed Range: 50 – 3000 RPM default (option in settings to increase to 5500 RPM)
- Spindle Taper: MT-2
- Spindle Distance to Table/Base (Max.): 23 1/8 in. (587mm)/40.94 in. (1040mm)
- Table Size (L x W): 16 1/2 x 16.1/2 in. (419mm x 419mm)
- Table Tilt: -45° to +45°
- Table Rotation: 360°
- Chuck Size: 5/8 in. (3-16mm)
- Column Diameter: 3.62 in. (92mm)
- Base Size (L x W): 22 1/4 x 17 1/2 in. (565mm x 445mm)
- Motor Voltage (V.): 115/230 Single phase input
- Motor Current (Max.) (Amps): 15/10
- Price: $1,699.99
- Warranty: 2 years (motor & electronics), 5 years (everything else)