The magnetic drill press is perhaps the most versatile, adaptable and useful method of drilling available right now; able to produce the power of a conventional drilling machines in a portable, lightweight frame, magnetic drills are a valuable tool for a range of industries. Here’s how you can buy the right drill for the job:
To buy the right magnetic drill press you need to understand the following: how they work, what types are available and what their key features are. In this short guide, we’ll talk about everything you need to know to buy the right drilling machine for your job, as well as some of the general benefits of mag drills. First things first:
What Are Mag Drills?
Magnetic drilling machines are portable drills with a magnetic base, they are attached to a metal surface which allows them to magnetize and begin drilling. This process means that they are portable and can be transported to different sites and surfaces with ease. We can break a mag drill down into the following components: magnetic base, machine body, motor, coolant tank, chuck/arbor and gearbox (if applicable). These components make up a magnetic drill, with each part performing a vital role in the drilling process.
The magnetic base is a unique component of the drilling machine which sets it apart from other portable drilling solutions. By magnetizing to the metal surface, the drill is capable of cutting metal at horizontal and vertical angles, as well as moving between surfaces.
Of course, the machine body is also a crucial part of the drill. With different machines prepared for different environments, there’s guaranteed to be a mag drill for the job. Many mag drills are produced with hard-wearing, tough materials and constructed to withstand difficult conditions, making them perfect for industries such as offshore oil and gas drilling.
Another crucial part of a mag drill is, of course, the motor. This component drives the machine, allowing it to cut through the surface below. Motors range in size drastically, from lighter, more portable machines with smaller motors to heavy-duty drills with larger motors. Many machines also include a gearbox, designed to allow the movement between gears which facilitates variable speed operation.
The vast majority of magnetic drill press machines contain some form of coolant tank, with many options providing an internal cooling system. This allows the cutter to remain cool during operation, preventing overheating and excess wear. Many operators also use an external cutting lubricant to help keep the cutter at a safe temperature, read more about the benefits of cutting lubricant here.
Often referred to as the arbor, the drill chuck is the component of the machine which allows the attachment of a cutting tool, such as annular cutters, countersinks, hole saws, taps and a range of other equipment. This component is also sometimes referred to as the tool holder.
How To Buy The Right Mag Drill.
To buy the right magnetic drill press, you need to look at a few key aspects of a mag drill and their significance. You can do this by looking at key features in relation to your own needs, for example: how large are the holes you need? How tough is the material you’re cutting? Let’s break some of these questions down:
An essential thing to consider, hole size refers to the cutter capacity and depth of cut the drill is capable of. This is crucial to think about prior to making any buying decisions, understanding your future project requirements and buying a drill which can fulfill them is essential to getting a solid return on your investment. For example, if you’re planning on drilling larger holes a machine like the Element 100, with its impressive 100mm capacity and 100mm depth of cut, would be necessary. However, if your projects never require this size, a more budget-friendly option would likely suffice.
Thinking about the types of materials you want to cut through is critical to getting the right drilling machine, are you looking to drill the toughest metals on the planet, or just thinner, softer metals in large quantities, or both? Getting through heavy-duty alloys will require a more powerful motor than softer metals. As well as this, choosing the right annular cutter is extremely important here, with different types of cutters capable of getting through different materials. Read our short guide here for more on choosing the right annular cutters.
One of the key benefits of a magnetic drill press over conventional drilling machines is their portability, being able to move between sites and surfaces means that these drills are incredibly adaptable and can be used across different projects. However, as they are designed for different operations and strengths, mag drills vary in their portability. Perhaps the most portable drilling machine on the market, Low Profile drills are typically very lightweight and compact, offering performance in smaller spaces (a key example being the Rotabroach Element 50 Low Profile). In contrast, larger machines, with more heavy-duty cutting ability, are typically far heavier and therefore less portable. Consider how often you’ll be moving the drill and the environment you’ll be working in.
Many drills come with additional features designed for enhanced performance and safety. In some cases, these features are simply a welcome extra to the drill’s performance, however in others they can make the difference between good and great operation. A good example of this is CutSmart, a technology incorporated into all Rotabroach Element machines which is designed to prolong tool life and protect the motor of the drill. Look out for features like this on magnetic drill presses, as well as other safety functionality, to ensure that you get the most out of your investment.
Understanding all of these features ensures that you get the right magnetic drill press for the job, essentially it is key that you establish the needs of your project first, as this will inform the decision on buying the right magnetic drilling machine.
Now that we’ve established some of the key features of mag drills, let’s talk about other key information to consider:
Using Magnetic Drilling Machines Safely.
Like any power tool, a magnetic drill press has to be used with care, their powerful motors and high-performance operation mean that they can also present significant risk of harm if used incorrectly. Here are some key things to consider when operating a magnetic drill press:
Understanding the space in which the drill operates is essential, many aspects of the workplace can pose a potential risk to the drill’s safe operation, as well as its efficiency. For example, standard safety advice for power tools applies with a a magnetic drill press, such as being aware of the space around you, especially other colleagues.
As well as this, a crucial additional concern for a magnetic drill is the magnet adhesion- metal chips and other residue can potentially impair the magnet’s attachment to the metal surface. A clean surface ensures that the magnet can properly connect to the target material, some magnetic drills also display magnetic adhesion which helps ensure that the drill is attached and safe to use.
Again, here we’re working along traditional power tools operating advice, the drill operator must be fit to use the machine: this means they must not be physically and mentally incapacitated, must not be intoxicated and must be sufficiently trained to use the machine, with an understanding of fundamental safety instruction on using magnetic drills.
Using the drill when not trained, or otherwise fit, to do so is a significant risk to health and safety of you and those around you.
Ensuring that your drill is in proper working order is essential to safe operation, a damaged magnetic drilling machine can pose significant safety risks to the operator and those around them. Check the power cable and socket for damage, ensure that these vial components are undamaged to avoid potential risk. Most drills will have a safety belt or safety chain supplied, ensure that these are in place before operating a magnetic drill.