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Thread: Looking for a Mag Drill

  1. #1
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    Looking for a Mag Drill

    Hi Guys,

    I'm looking for a mag drill for custom fabrication. I'll be using this mainly for drilling large holes in plate steel that my current drill press seems to struggle with, or awkward pieces I can't get under the drill press. I have a 3/4" thick welding table so no issues getting the drill to "stick" while drilling. I plan on utilizing both annular cutters and drill bits depending on the application and size of hole required. I've narrowed my search down to the Hougen HMD904, Milwaukee 4272-21 or CS Unitec MABasic 450. Let me know your thoughts on these as the Hougen seems to have a good reputation on this forum, but this version is only one speed while the others are two speed. The Hougen also has the smallest drilling diameter, although I doubt I'll have to drill a hole over 1.5". The other brands also include a drill chuck while the Hougen requires separate purchase ($190) which eliminates it's price advantage. They all seem to be relatively similarly priced so looking for opinions on durability and performance.


    Hougen HMD 904 - $845
    https://www.hougen.com/mag_drills/HM...mag_drill.html


    Milwaukee 4272-21 - $1,100
    https://milwaukeetool.com/Products/P...Drills/4272-21


    CS Unitec MABasic 450 - $990
    https://www.csunitec.com/drills/port...magnetic-drill
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have the DeWalt 1622, works great with annular cutters. For less than 800$ I believe it's the best deal. The problem with it and many others is when using a Chuck for twist drills. They all have limited travel and tend to wander, A LOT. For twist drills the Milwaukee models made specific for that purpose work best.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Iím partial to the Hougens.


    The 904 is a good size for fabrication work.
    :

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  5. #4
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have the cordless version of the Milwaukee drill. The only gripe I have with it is their "tool free chuck". Standard chucks with Allen screws to lock in the cutters are much more rigid, the cutters have a slight bit of looseness in that Milwaukee chuck. Which obviously gets worse the longer the bit. 1" deep cutters it's barely noticable, I bought a 2" set because i do a lot of 2" tubing and it's a lot trickier to get perfectly placed holes. Now with the twist drill chuck adapter you essentially have a 10" long bit, you can wiggle the tip of the bit almost a 1/4" back and forth. Definetly not what I expected for a $2k drill.

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  6. #5
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have a milwaukee compact. the version before that one and have worn it out, slides are shot and have also used the 904, liked the milwaukee because you could cheat the safety easer but also shattered a few bits while doing it, When things moved. that new milwaukee doesnt look to have enough travel to run regular jobber bits and 730 rpm is prety fast for most things. Im most likely going to break down and buy a new 904s
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  7. #6
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Fein is another brand you could look at. They bought Jancy (slugger) as well. Walter also has high end mag drills.

    https://fein.com/en_us/tools/magnetic-base-drilling/

    https://www.walter.com/products/powe...setLocale=true

  8. #7
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have the Haugen HMD917. Two speed, comes with a arbor and chuck for twist drills, and adjustable base. Very solid and versatile machine. A bit heavy with the two speed gearbox.

  9. #8
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have the 904 the base swivels on mine. No complaints. However, if you desire to use a chuck, I don't think I would select the 904 because of its compact size. Just my though, after considering purchasing one it also does not reverse so tapping would not work. Hougen has install directions on their sight, might be work checking out.

    If weight is a major concern then... they're all heavy. Especially when holding horizontal, the swivel does come in handy.
    Last edited by tapwelder; 04-13-2020 at 02:11 PM.

  10. #9
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    I have the 904 the base swivels on mine. No complaints. However, if you desire to use a chuck, I don't think I would select the 904 because of its compact size. Just my though, after considering purchasing one it also does not reverse so tapping would not work. Hougen has install directions on their sight, might be work checking out.

    If weight is a major concern then... they're all heavy. Especially when holding horizontal, the swivel does come in handy.
    I agree on using the drill chuck. Not a lot of clearance for jobber bits on my 904. A guy would do well to use stub drill bits with this machine.

  11. #10
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I have a Hougen 904 and like it a lot. Previously used the Milwaukee, but found the Hougen much better.

    In ten years I've used the drill chuck option one time. The rotary broaches are much better, unless you're drilling small (less than 3/4") holes. Then the drill chuck with a standard drill bit is a better option (the small rotary broaches will break easily).
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  12. #11
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I recently got a mag drill from eBay for around $200 bucks and have drilled over 20 holes so far and it has done a good job.
    It’s from China of course but for the money it’s been good. But I don’t need one of the expensive ones for my purposes.
    You might check them out if you think they might work for you.

  13. #12
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Thanks a lot for the advice guys! One of the reasons I'm looking at picking up a mag drill (on top of needing to drill large holes in thick steel) is I'd like to have a backup for my old 1950s delta DP220 drill press that seems to be on it's way out. With the limited stroke, would i still be able to use a mag drill as a drill press? I hear Lis2323 made some kind of stand that I'm curious to hear about. Maybe he and others can chime in...
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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  14. #13
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    You can get a chuck adapter for most of them. You could always tack a piece of tubing with a plate on top on a table to raise the mag drill higher.

  15. #14
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I made a table for my mag drill. With various adjustments it can handle quite a lot of different size workpieces that are too small to mount the drill directly.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  16. #15
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Interesting. I don't quite understand how you adjust the drill press though. Do you simply stack more or less steel under the mag drill to adjust the height (if for instance you had to drill into square tubing of different sizes) or is it pretty much fixed height and the stand is more about clamping thinner plate you other wise couldn't use the magnet on? In either case it looks cool. If you really can use a mag drill like a drill press that sounds great as I might be able to kill two birds with one stone when/if my drill press dies.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  17. #16
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    Looking for a Mag Drill

    Hereís another way to consider. It can easily double as an on site drill press.

    Receiver mounted in top picture.



    Last edited by Lis2323; 04-16-2020 at 10:36 PM.
    :

  18. #17
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    Hereís another way to consider. It can easily double as an on site drill press.



    Why is your shop so clean!???!

    Rhats an awesome idea though, is that a custom drill press stand?

  19. #18
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    The setup can accomodate up to 4" square tubing by adding 1" metal spacers under the mounting plate. It could do bigger but I have no need. The throat allows for drilling to the middle of a 10" plate which is more than needed. For bigger pieces the drill can be mounted directly. I made the table to use the mag drill rather than buy an industrial quality drill press.

  20. #19
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    The Lis2323 setup is awesome.

  21. #20
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Quote Originally Posted by MetalMan23 View Post

    Rhats an awesome idea though, is that a custom drill press stand?
    Nope. It was a $10 garage sale POS Ryobi drill press. I just removed the drill head assembly, chopped the column and built a little base for the mag drill.


    Oh and itís easy to keep the shop clean when youíre retired and have nothiní else to do.
    :

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  23. #21
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Cool stuff! These stands are envious. I see most people running mag drills have the bigger 'beefier' versions relative what I've been looking into. Any reason I should be looking at the Hougen HMD 905 (or similar) versus the 904? The 904 maxes out at 1.5" holes which I think is a pretty massive hole. Anything I'm missing as far as why you might need to drill holes larger than that every now and again? Thanks for all the comments!
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  24. #22
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    I've used the 905 in a shop I worked out of last year. It's a beast. If you're lookin to do lots of big holes, this is the one for you. It's gonna outlast the others I recon.

    I myself have a $500 Indian pos because I wouldn't bone up big bux for a real one. It's got a stoopid fluid application system that got ripped off by a swarf birds nest the first time I used it so I just use a spray bottle now. It's got a good strong magnet on it and no run out so it performs well. Drilled over 500 holes with it so far 16mm-32mm max, stood up to it ok but you get that funky smell every so often so I wouldn't be surprised to see smoke sometime soon.
    Last edited by Woznme; 04-16-2020 at 11:26 PM.

  25. #23
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Evolution makes an amazing drill, cheap and tough, can't go wrong

  26. #24
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    If you do much sideways work you will want the lightest one possible. trying to set a 905 in place on a truck frame is not my idea of fun also the safty strap is also for a reason i snagged the cord on my milwaukee they dont bounce well on dirt probably would have done real damadge on concrete
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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  28. #25
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    Re: Looking for a Mag Drill

    Hi Guys.Thanks for all of the advice. I decided to go with the hougen hmd 904. Hopefully it's the right choice, but time will tell. I also purchased the Milwaukee annular cutter set and a drill chuck adapter for twist bits as well. This was a lot of $$$ to throw down but hoping to get good use out this tool. It'll be put through it's paces right away as i have a number of projects i plan on using this for.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hougen-HMD904...7349344&sr=8-2

    https://www.zoro.com/milwaukee-annul...4aAh_dEALw_wcB

    https://www.amazon.com/HOUGEN-ADAPTE...gen+dri&sr=8-3

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