I currently have an '02 VF2 with the standard options and the 2 speed gear head. I bought the machine used so it wasnt an option I chose but I have used it many times for drilling and tapping SS. Im in the market for a 2nd VF2 and found a nice '03 VF2 SS with the inline direct drive spindle. Im just trying to decide if I really need the 2-speed gear box on both machines for what im doing. 75% of my jobs are aluminum and the rest are usually 304 SS. The biggest holes I have tapped (form tapping) to date are 1/2" NPT in AL and 1/2"-13 in SS, at the low RPM the machine automatically went into low gear. At what point do some of you expert machinists feel a 2-speed gear box is in order? Haas advertises the standard spindle as 75 ft/lb of torque but the seller of the machine stated that with the direct drive the torque is much higher.....not sure if that is true or not. Any input would greatly help me with my next purchase!