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Mag drills are the tool of choice for steelworkers who need to drill big holes in, um, uncomfortable places, like, say, 20′ up the side of a vertical steel tube. The drill forms its own mount by magnetically gripping the steel (or other ferrous metal) into which it drills. As you might expect, mag drills are also generally larger than their standard counterparts because there’s usually not as much requirement for mounting when drilling smaller holes. What makes Metabo’s mag drill different is that it’s cordless, too, eliminating the need for both mount and wired power.

Not surprisingly, Metabo chose to go with a special 25.2V lithium-ion battery for the job — a job that’s so likely to exhaust the battery quickly that they include a built-in storage compartment to hold a second “back-up” battery. (Read: You probably won’t take this out with just one battery. Ever.) Most of the other drill features come straight from other Metabo tools — as well as most modern li-ion cordless products: overload and stall protection and an electronic lockout. One nice professional touch: the Metabo offers easy external access to the tool’s carbon brushes, rendering them easily user-replaceable.

Besides this you get a permanently-lubricated all-metal gearbox, a 3/4″ tool holder (note that it’s got a pretty big tool mounted in it in the photo) that’ll accept 1/2″ twist drills or a 1-1/4″ x 2″ cutter, and a built-in cooling fluid reservoir. It’s a two-speed drill, both nice and slow for big applications (380 rpm or 680 rpm). The press offers a 6-5/16″ stroke, and the whole thing’s just about 2′ long. Its V-shaped base will clamp to flat surfaces or curved pipe greater than 3-1/2″ in diameter.

Also not surprisingly, this sucker isn’t exactly cheap. Expect to pay around $2,400 for it — which, come to think of it, isn’t really that much cash for the kind of fab shop that’d keep one of these on hand.

25.2V Li-Ion Cordless Mag Drill Press [Metabo] [Warning: PDF Link]
Video of the Cordless Mag Drill In Action [YouTube/Airweld]


6 Responses to A Fully-Portable Magnetic Drill

  1. Cameron Watt says:

    I’ve used corded versions of this tool and, when drilling into a vertical surface, always tied it off with a rope in case someone pulled the plug. I wonder about the drilling with a marginal battery. Just remember that no power=no electromagnetism=expensive drill falling to the ground.

    By the way:

    The electromagnets on these machines don’t hold so well on thin metal. You’ll often find that the magnet will hold the drill up but won’t let you apply much feed pressure.

    If you have access to the backside of what you’re drilling you can put a scrap piece of plate there to give more material for the magnet to attract.

  2. Gil says:

    You’d make the $2,400 back in the first safe heist.

  3. fred says:

    Interesting find! Metabo doesn’t’ give drill tip pressure in the PDF you link to – but says the mag base is rated at 2500 lb. pull-away. I see they show it with a “rotabroach” style annular cutter – which stretches motor power. Weight is an issue with these machines – and we like our older BUX drill for its aluminum construction. This dill at 45 lbs. is sort of midway along the scale – so probably could be used off of a ladder – with a safety rope. The compact Milwaukee 4270 is lighter at 26.5 lbs. and its big brother 4209 weighs in at 72 lbs. We use the 4209 mostly for horizontal drilling of plate there a stationary drill press can’t reach.

  4. goodmaei says:

    Having spent some time wielding a Milwaukee mag base, the permanent magnet base looks promising — except for the 2-3 turns to lock it. 1/2 turn or less would be nice, particularly when working at odd angles, like Cameron said. The cordless option seems like it would add a good bit of weight to an already awkward tool – and I usually need a lot of power for a long time when using a mag base, so I’ll stick to corded, thanks.

  5. Fabian says:

    Is this a similar unit to what was used in the movie Panic Room to crack open the safe at the end?

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