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Mag Drills for a Fab Shop

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Good Day Gents!

Many of you recently helped me identify and order a new Ironworker so I come to humbly ask for your wisdom, again! We are an industrial maintenance department that does a large amount of custom machine building in support of our companies growth. (To the point that we are almost a company inside the company!) We have 10 full time employees specifically assigned machine building tasks.

We are in need of a good mag-drill to allow us to drill (and sometimes tap) holes in a variety of frames that range from 1/4"-5/8" thick and 1.25" diameter holes. I would like to invest in a good drill that can support us thru the next few years. It does not matter whether it is battery or corded. Right now I am up in the air on an 18v Milwaukee or a Hougen.

I've used several different over the years in a maintenance function but not to the level that we will need. (One day we will get a large CNC that can do this for us but we aren't there yet.) Thoughts?
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
I never thought about a cordless mag drill. We just got 4 Milwaukee’s a few weeks ago for one job- they are doing great for it but are toys and not the same league as the hougans or “German drill”. Sorry I do not know the brand, it is blue and massive. The pipe guys like it (2” and 2 1/4”) holes in 1.5 plus plates.
The Milwaukee’s are much lighter (bonus if you have to move them) but are sloppy, even by steel shop standards.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
I have a Jancy now, its decent but not as well made as those old fifty pound Black and Deckers. But I was much younger when I was slinging those B&D’s overhead. If I was buying now, I would be looking at Nitto or Fein. Cordless is great for some things, but I am dubious about it for a mag drill.
 

tdmidget

Diamond
Joined
Aug 13, 2005
Location
Tucson AZ
The Hougen or Fein or such are not drill presses!!!! They use annular cutters and while they make nice holes rather easily I have not seen one capable of tapping in any shape or form. Pretty sad when people on PM do not know the difference.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
The Hougen or Fein or such are not drill presses!!!! They use annular cutters and while they make nice holes rather easily I have not seen one capable of tapping in any shape or form. Pretty sad when people on PM do not know the difference.

Most of the annular cutter mag drills come in two different formats- the real shorty ones are ONLY for annular cutters. But all the major manufacturers make a taller one that will take a drill chuck as well.
My Jancy, which is very similar to a hougen, is tall enough you can switch out to a drill chuck, I have drilled hundreds of tap size holes with it over the years.

For actual tapping, the higher end companies DO make models that can be configured for tapping. they cost more, obvio. Usually they have enough clearance to install a tapping head.
Here, for example, is a vid of a tapping equipped Hougen. https://youtu.be/i2KInDizRb0
Nitto, Milwaukee, Fein, and others all make models that are tall enough to fit a tapping head.
All of these taller mag drills will also accept drill chucks, allowing you to drill tiny to about 5/8" holes with twist drills.
Usually at 5/8", I switch to annular cutters.
 

JS

Stainless
Joined
May 5, 2005
Location
Republic of Arizonia
Milwaukee,mag drill, variable speed under 500 rpm w/ 2 speed gear box, #3 Morse using adapter....will run Collis Morse tap collets and annular cutter with adapter...
 

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Most of the annular cutter mag drills come in two different formats- the real shorty ones are ONLY for annular cutters. But all the major manufacturers make a taller one that will take a drill chuck as well.
My Jancy, which is very similar to a hougen, is tall enough you can switch out to a drill chuck, I have drilled hundreds of tap size holes with it over the years.

For actual tapping, the higher end companies DO make models that can be configured for tapping. they cost more, obvio. Usually they have enough clearance to install a tapping head.
Here, for example, is a vid of a tapping equipped Hougen. https://youtu.be/i2KInDizRb0
Nitto, Milwaukee, Fein, and others all make models that are tall enough to fit a tapping head.
All of these taller mag drills will also accept drill chucks, allowing you to drill tiny to about 5/8" holes with twist drills.
Usually at 5/8", I switch to annular cutters.

I am looking for a more advanced unit. We have 2 Milwuakees. (One is strictly annular % one can take a drill chuck) The both work fine for the maintenance side of the house but are not good enough to support the fab shop. I like the Hougan's and they have a good selection but do not know enough about the other brands to be able to determine if there is a "king of the mountain". I'd like to balance size with capability as there are some of these units that weigh 50lbs+

I also like the concept of a power-feed drill that you can be prepping your next hole while drilling. Does anyone have experience with Hougan vs Fein vs Nitto Kohki? From what I am seeing with Nitto, their units are super nice but only have models with annular cutters. There is no ability to tap which would be a big negative. Perhaps none of the auto or semi-autos can take a tap assembly? I am going to make a few calls today and see what info I can dig up.
 

Scruffy887

Titanium
Joined
Dec 17, 2012
Location
Se Ma USA
I have used a lower level Fein with success in my shop for a few years now. It does have limitations. I have the keyed chuck and you need short drill bits. Holes up to .625. I needed accurate hole placement for some connecting plates and made a template from .75 bar stock. The drill chuck arbor is a weldon and has some wiggle to it. Add that to the fact that the motor must be in the full up position to start. I can start on a center punch mark but the hole will always end up away from the base because of forces involved. The full pattern template stopped that but is a PITA.
 

hawkfan9

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Location
Illinois, USA
My Hougen HMD905 is worth every I paid for, and their annular cutters are very good quality, too.

Someone above said they don't tap for shit. I disagree. They have a tapping attachment that hooks right up and does a great job for me. I've yet to break a tap, and I drilled and tapped my entire 3/4" plate welding table setup with a 3/4" hole grid and a 5/8" tap grid, every other hole, 2" OC. Zero issues. I used a carbide annular cutter and drilled the entire table with the same cutter, and holes are all within tolerance.
 

Shaybuilder

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Location
Nevada
I had a Milwaukee and a Hougen mag drill, The Milwaukee was a nice drill but was to heavy for me to use in a lot of places I needed it. I sold the Milwaukee and kept the Hougen. The Milwaukee was nice since it had a morse taper in it but with the Hougen I mainly use annular cutters. I have used the Hougen to tap 5/8 holes but that is right at the limits of it.
 

dana gear

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Location
Northern califorina, usa
We have or have had, Milwaukee, Hougen and Black&Decker. All seem to work well. Only problems on the B&D where the Magnets would short out, no big deal just a simple rewind.
We had a couple custom shop made Tapmatic units fabricated for tapping, actually I never thought they were ever that great for tapping, the operator had to be dam careful or broken tap central.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
I was using the mag drill yesterday but when it comes to tapping , i am all in on the Metabo 18 volt cordless tapper. For fab shop use I would never be without it. Only goes up to 1/2” but for #8 thru 1/2” its the bomb. Low speed high torque and very controllable, you pull back and it switches direction.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
I was using the mag drill yesterday but when it comes to tapping , i am all in on the Metabo 18 volt cordless tapper. For fab shop use I would never be without it. Only goes up to 1/2” but for #8 thru 1/2” its the bomb. Low speed high torque and very controllable, you pull back and it switches direction.

I had a “ Desouter “ electric tapper that worked like that. It was great. Later on we bought some “ Ingersoll-Rand “ air operated tappers that weren’t very good.

Regards Tyrone.
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
I was using the mag drill yesterday but when it comes to tapping , i am all in on the Metabo 18 volt cordless tapper. For fab shop use I would never be without it. Only goes up to 1/2” but for #8 thru 1/2” its the bomb. Low speed high torque and very controllable, you pull back and it switches direction.

We had a dewalt corded version of that in Missouri- handier than a picket on a shirt.
 

DanielG

Stainless
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Location
Maine
Different mag drills for different tasks.

I have a smaller milwaukee, which is light, easy to use, and easy to switch between drills and annular cutters. The tool length adjustment is very easy to use. I don't have the cordless version, but they're very similar.

I also have a BDS (aka CS Unitec in the US) MAB825KTS. This is a very heavy machine with an XY table on it. It's not convenient in the slightest. We move it arount the shop with a hand truck and pick it up with a crane. But it makes certain tricky jobs very, very easy. The larger magnet also doesn't stick as well to thin materials. It, like many german machines, is very well built with a few really annoying stupid things about it. My biggest complaint is the coolant delivery system. The reservoir valve setup is terrible.

I did try out the BDS auto-feed unit and really liked it. I would get the various reps out and have them demo the machines you're looking at.
 








 
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