If you do any kind of workshop work, there's a good chance you've heard of the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press. This is a smart drill press that does a lot more than just add electronics. One of the most talked about features is that this is a direct drive system. There is no belt to turn the chuck. It also means there aren't any belts to change the drilling speed. So how does it work?
This is where the "smart" comes into play with the on-board electronic components. The system dials in speed electronically, like we've seen with the Milwaukee One-Key system. The biggest difference between the two is that all the functions of the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press are built into the control panel, so there is no app to control it. Although it would be a cool innovation for the next generation.
The Nova Voyager (manufactured by Teknatool International) has many standard features that make it a professional-grade tool and not just a gimmick. I won't go into detail there, but let you read below. I want to highlight what Nova does well and where there is room for improvement.
First, the direct drive motor puts out 1.75 horsepower and spins up to 3000 RPM. That's pretty darn good for a drill press in this price range — but there's more to it. You have an optional setting that can increase the power up to 5500 RPM if the material you are using is suitable for it. If you hook it up to 220V, you'll increase the power to 2 horsepower.
The direct drive system is an integral part of the tool and has an overall incredibly smooth operation with no noticeable skips. This results in very accurate drilling. A soft start also helps keep everything under control. With plenty of power, speed and precision, this is a solid drill press in its own right.
Electronics take things to another level, replacing those manual strap changes with buttons. The system becomes very easy to operate with just a few minutes of practice. It's certainly easier than opening the case every time you change materials or bits.
Nova Voyager Drill Press Cons
There are a few common complaints, and we've noticed three in particular during our use so far. First, the electronic warning beeps are barely audible from the motor and drill. The most common phrase we hear is "useless". It's a nice feature, so it would be great to turn it up or have a volume option in the settings. Since this should be easily controllable via software, it's easy to fix.
Chucks are another source of annoyance for some users. It accommodates drill bits from 3/32" to 5/8". For those precision parts, this eliminates the need for a 1/16" or smaller drill. This won't affect everyone, but it's a notable limitation.
The Nova includes another really great feature, the Reverse Twist feature, which helps the drill return cleanly. It needs to be adjusted to run more than a few turns to cover longer holes. Here are other issues that should be fixable with software.
Some users mentioned keyless chucks, but I'm not so sure in this case. I prefer my drill press to have a key. Given the orientation of the chuck, it just gives me more confidence. Bits that I can twist and turn to get the most leverage out of my hand as possible. Drill presses are another matter.
I haven't had much time to get the Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press working, but Tim Johnson at Shop Tool Reviews has been using it for a few months. Head over there to see what he has to say about performance and what he thinks of the Pro Tool Innovation Award winner's features.
Click here for Tim Johnson's video review!
Key Features of Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press Maker
- 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 a variety of projects (default 50 – 3000 RPM, setting option can be increased to 5500 RPM)
- No belts for quiet and smooth operation.
- Smart speed selection for the correct speed for the application
- Slow start pilot hole function
- Tap Accessibility
- digital speed readout
- electronic brake
- load reading
- Digital Socket Depth Readout
- Dial knob for precise speed adjustment
- forward, backward
- 2 turns of handle move 6" socket
- Adjustable mechanical stops combined with digital readouts allow for accurate and repeatable motion
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"
- Spindle speed number: variable
- Speed Range: Default 50 – 3000 RPM (option in settings can increase to 5500 RPM)
- Spindle taper: MT-2
- Spindle to table/base distance (maximum): 23 1/8" (587mm) / 40.94" (1040mm)
- Bench Dimensions (L x W): 16 1/2 x 16.1/2 inches (419mm x 419mm)
- Bench inclination: -45° to +45°
- Table rotation: 360°
- Chuck Size: 5/8" (3-16mm)
- Column diameter: 3.62 in (92 mm)
- Base Dimensions (L x W): 22 1/4 x 17 1/2 inches (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 and electronics), 5 years (all other parts)