What is a Mag Drill?

In this guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about a mag drill.

A mag drill(also called a mag drill press) is fitted with a cutting tool or core drill that uses an electromagnet and a cutting tool attachment to cut metal holes. Magnetic core drills are fast, versatile, and accurate tools that you can use to cut neat holes in metal. So, it is crucial to understand the tool’s scope, including the requirement and shortcomings, before considering one.

Quick Summary: A mag press(magnetic core drill press) is a portable drilling machine that employs an electromagnet or a permanent magnet base to make holes in metal. It can also do thread cutting, reaming, countersinking operations, and twist drilling. A portable magnetic core drill press drills holes in metal using a special cutting tool known as a core drill or annular core cutter.

We’ll cover more complicated concepts below.

The Description of a Mag Drill Press

Portable mag (magnetic) drill presses are a new-tech machine that is a faster replacement for older metal hole-making machines such as a geared head drill press, radial arm drill press, mill drill, average drill press, and so on.

Drill Bits

A portable mag drill press equipped with core drill bits (annular cutters) creates holes larger than 12 mm in diameter. Twist drill bits can be used for holes with diameters less than 12 mm. These machines’ core drill bits are typically made of high-speed steels (HSS) with tungsten carbide tips (TCT).

The user selects HSS or TCT core drills based on the nature of the material to be drilled and the diameter of the hole.


A magnetic drill press with annular cutters provides an accuracy of 0.005 mm to 0.001 mm in stainless steel, steel, and other materials.

Depending on the machine’s purpose, portable mag drill presses come in various sizes, shapes, designs, electronics, and equipment. It integrates the versatility of a drill press with a powerful magnetic base that allows it to adhere to the surface of the steel (ferrous metal). It can drill horizontally, vertically, and overhead.

Magnetic Press Design

magnetic press labeled parts

A magnetic drill press comprises four main components: a magnetic database, a drill stand, a motor, and an arbor.

Magnetic Base

A powerful electromagnet is installed in the base of a mag drill press to clamp the machine to a workpiece to be drilled quickly. 

When activated, this magnet becomes strongly fixed on the workpiece, locking the machine base to the workpiece and allowing the user to provide a consistent feed against the workpiece. 

The electromagnet is valuable in a portable mag drill press. It keeps the device steady, prevents it from dismounting during drilling, and allows you to work with the machine in overhead, horizontally, or vertical orientations.

A magnetic drill press is typically used on ferrous materials directly, but it can also be used on nonferrous materials such as stainless steel with clamping devices.

Drill Stand

The main section of the mag drill press is the Drill Stand. It houses the electrical switches for the motor and magnet, the magnet indicator, and Circuit boards. 

The mag drill press’s body holds the motor and magnetic base. The feed handle is attached to the body. The mag drill press’s body allows the motor to slide on it for upward and downward feed.

The body of the mag drill press also serves as a handle for lifting and moving the machine to various locations. Mostly, cast iron is applied to the body.

Mechanism and Mode of Operation of Mag Drill Press

A mag drill press operates similarly to a traditional drilling machine, with the added benefit of being portable. 

Because of this edge, the magnetic drill press is mobile and practical. The mechanism of the mag drill press motor corresponds to that of a DC motor — with speed and torque controls.

A magnetic drill press can be used using the following steps:

Step 1. Maintain the mag drill press on the workpiece you are drilling.

Connect the core drill (annular cutter) and an ejector pin — based on the diameter and cutting depth of the potential hole. Next, position the mag drill press where you want to drill a hole.

Step 2. Adjust the mag drill press until the hole is in the center.

Step 3. Attach the power source to the mag drill press machine (230V or 110V per the model being utilized).

Step 4. Adjust the machine’s speed gears to match the cutting speed. Then, turn on the magnet switch and the motor.

Step 5. Turn on the lubrication faucet/tap. To drill, give the mag drill a downward feed. This results in the formation of a hole in the metal workpiece.

Step 6. Pass the entire annular cutter via the workpiece, reverse feed and return the motor to its original position. A metal core will fall, creating a neat hole in the plate.

Magnetic Presses — Types

Mag drill presses are classified into several types or models based on their applications, drives, size, feed, operation, etc. The following are some of the most common types.

Lightweight Mag Drill Presses

Lightweight mag drill presses, ex. MAB 100K, a lightweight magnetic drill.

Automatic and Semi-automatic Feed Mag Drill 

Automatic and semi-automatic feed mag drills save time and energy, resulting in increased output.

Pneumatic Mag Drill

Pneumatic core magnetic drills are common in areas where there is a danger of electrical fire. This model was designed to be more secure. A pneumatic medium powers the motor, and the magnetic field is generated by a permanent magnet rather than an electromagnet.

Rail Core Drilling Equipment

The best choice for drilling holes in railway tracks is to use specially designed rail core drilling devices. These machines are fitted with special clamping equipment to get clamped on the track — not magnets. Rail drilling models come in electric and gasoline drive configurations, such as RailMAB 915 and RailMAB 965.

Horizontal Mag Drills

Horizontal mag drill presses with angular gears are ideal for most restricted drilling applications.

Mag Drilling and Milling Machine

A portable milling machine is an inventive magnetic base drilling and milling machine. This machine can perform light milling, drilling, countersinking, and reaming operations. A cross-table base is included with this machine. This portable milling machine’s model number is MAB 825 KTS.

A Conventional Drilling Machine vs. A Magnetic Core Drilling Machine

I will compare the two drilling machines on multiple fronts:

1. Accuracy

A drill press lets you precisely set the angles, depth, and width. As a result, you can drill many holes without worrying about the angle or depth.

A magnetic drill is most effective on ferrous metallic surfaces. This machine is capable of making precise cuts into hard and heavy metal.

2. Speed

The drill presses have depth and angle settings; no need to slow down since you are cautious. The machine does the majority of the work automatically and with minimal strain.

mag drill adheres to the metal surface. Speed feels natural because it is stable and lightweight. They cut holes at a quicker rate and are very accurate.

3. Versatility

Mag drills are the most adaptable machines. You can use them in various settings, including horizontally and overhead. Furthermore, this machine can reach areas that are difficult to reach.

A conventional drill press may not be as portable or maneuverable as a mag drill, but it has advantages. You can adjust the motor speed and use it with other tools, such as spindle sanders and rotary sanding discs.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video Reference

ASC Process Systems

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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