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If you need to drill a hole in steel, you’re going to want a drill press. The power, the stability, and the accuracy will allow you to bore your way through small or narrow pieces of stock. But what do you do when you need precise holes in a large piece of plate steel that you can’t take to the drill press? You need to take the press to the steel. Milwaukee’s magnetic drill press lets you do just that.

The 4204 features an electro-magnetic stand that you can lock onto ferrous metal. You place the base of the small drill press on the metal surface, turn on the magnet, and start up the drill. The drill won’t start up until the electromagnet is activated.

Once you activate the magnet, the 1/2″ chucked drill can bore through 9″ of material with 1,600 lbs of force. With a dial control, you can adjust the speed up to 600 RPM. Besides the magnet, another feature separates the 4204 from your everyday drill press — a reverse button allows you to back out of the material, if you need to.

The ability to drill precision holes into steel ship decks, manhole covers, or your pickup bed doesn’t come cheap. Street pricing on the 4204 is around $1,200.

Milwaukee 4204 [Milwaukee]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


11 Responses to Milwaukee Mag Press

  1. Joe says:

    Awesome tool. We used a similar mag drill to make holes in 2″ thick rolled steel plate at a job I once had. The best part was that the auto-feeder let you turn it on and walk away, so you could do other work while the drill made holes.

  2. Dan says:

    James Caan used a drill similar to this in the 1981 movie, “Thief”. It worked great for him….he was a safe-cracker.

  3. Fred says:

    Invaluable tool – ours is a Bux – but this one has good specs too.

  4. Eli says:

    Really fun to use too. I used a Fein model to put six holes for a 6 metre cable boom mount on a structural beam in a panel beater’s shop. All the holes were well over my head and all went in like a hot knife through butter.

  5. T says:

    If you’re doing large steel fabrication, these are indispensable. If you’re doing smaller stuff, they’re kind of “meh”. Once you get up into working with full sheets of 1/2″ or larger plate, you’ve pretty much gotta have one. We’ve got 3 or 4 out in the plant, and we couldn’t keep the place running without them.

  6. Clinton says:

    I’ve desperately wanted one of these several times while trying to drill safes for alarm sensors and wires. Definitely one of those tools that I’d find many uses for if I could grab one. Price is a turn-off though.

  7. Jay A says:

    Milwaukee makes a great large mag drill, Hougen can’t be beat for the smaller stuff. There is a similar article on selecting the right mag drill here: http://www.coptool.com/blog/2008/04/mag_drills_how_to_select_a_mag.html

  8. Fred says:

    Re Jay says:

    The link that Jay provides – also shows Rotabroach bits – definitely the way to go in our experience.

  9. JD says:

    Okay here’s an odd ?. Anyone know how to bypass the safety feature that only allows the drill to turn on when the magnet is turned on?

    The reason being is I have an application where I want my drill mounted to a jig. The magnet has been completely removed and the drill is bolted directly to the jig so it will be safe. We figured simply jumping the leads for the magnet would make it work but we were wrong. We’ve tried everything we can think of including hooking the magnet back up but leaving it off to the side (with our application we can’t leave the magnet attached as it’s meant to be because if we do it won’t drill far enough) and nothings working.

    So have any of you had a similar problem? And if so how’d you work around it?

    You can email me at jd@fabtecusa.com. Thanks!!!!!!!!

  10. Eeyore says:

    Fans of mag presses will enjoy the cameo by one in the latest Batman film. It’s in the first sequence, so no need to stay the whole 2.5 hours if that’s all you want to see. Fans of Senator Patrick Leahy will have to wait somewhat longer.

  11. Wil Stillens says:

    I was hoping to just jump the leads and make the drill work… do i need a resistive load?

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