The mag drill has been a critical tool for creating extremely accurate holes in thicker metal for many years now. Over the years there have been many improvements such as swivel bases, variable speed, integrated cooling, reversible as well as automating the process of actually drilling. The BDS / CS Unitec AutoMAB 350 ($1499) in a 1-1/2” mag drill that can be used automated for drilling in as well as automatically retract the bit completely. So why pay more than double of their own MABasic 200 ($599) for an automatic mag drill?
While it only take about 20-30 seconds to drill through a standard I-beam by automating the process you can actually set up a single worker to run 2, 3 or even 4 (in thicker material) of these units simultaneously which can come in handy if you’ve got hundreds or thousands of holes to drill in a large project. It might not seem like a big deal but other automatic mag drills do not retract the bit on completion only stop once drilled which leave the bit in so there is some manual cranking up before you can take it to the next work site which saves time.
This doesn’t necessarily mean however automatic drilling is not for typical shop use. The automatic drilling function is still a time saver in the shop and more importantly the drill will always apply the correct amount of pressure, keeping heat/friction down and extending the life of the annual cutter bits which can save a lot of money over time. The AutoMAB 350 is a very nice compact high quality mag drill for manual operation as well (switches auto to manual instantly) integrated coolant tank provides good fluid delivery in either mode.
We found this very nice Youtube video from ChuckE2009 (15:49 of in-depth coverage) which goes over most of the features and operation of the drill better than we could do. He throws out the question in the title “Best Automatic MAG Drill Ever?” After some hands on time with the drill we were equally as impressed!
If you are wondering who is BDS? No surprise as they do not sell directly in US, here they are co-branded and sold as CS Unitec Mag Drills but manufactured in the same plant in Germany, to same specs (but obviously with US power cords). They offer the largest line up and the only manufacturer to offer advanced features for very large diameters, integrated tapping, variable speed, etc. Similarly the CS Unitec Annular Cutters are manufactured by BDS in Germany and quite possible some of the best cutters on the market. That being said with less name recognition the pricing remains aggressive so great value overall with long cutter life.
If you have any mag drill or annular cutter questions you can always as the pros at Ohio Power Tool 800-242-4424, they are happy to help you find the right solution for any of your metal drilling needs.