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What is a Radial Drill?

Alexis W.
Alexis W.

A radial drill, or radial drill press, is a motored machine used to bore holes of varying sizes into materials that may be too hard or solid for conventional drills or drill bits to penetrate. A radial drill also provides the user with more stability and precision than a conventional hand held drill, as the head of a radial drill press can be moved along a horizontal arm, allowing the drill to be moved without moving the piece being drilled. The speed of the drill bit’s rotation can also be altered to suit the specific material being drilled, so that neither the work piece nor the drill bit are damaged while the hole is being bored into the material.

Radial drills are most commonly found in metal fabrication shops because of their increased ability to allow the user to be precise when boring through tough material. Without a radial drill, achieving the necessary precision would pose a problem for the user, as a conventional power drill would not provide the stability or strength required. Radial drills can also be found in cabinetry shops, where they are very commonly used with woodworking jigs designed to create uniformity in hole placement throughout certain work pieces.

A radial drill bores several holes of varying sizes.
A radial drill bores several holes of varying sizes.

Any time a particular material needs to have precision boring work done for a project, one of the best ways to achieve the desired precision is through the use of a radial drill press. In many cases, the only way a material can be bored with comparable precision is through the use of a computer numerical control (CNC) router. A CNC router, however, requires an intensive amount of training in order to properly operate the machine because of the extensive variety of tasks the machine can handle; the drill press is a much more accessible precision boring tool, requiring less training to master.

Typically, lower-end radial drill models are far less expensive than models equipped with “add-on” products. Add-ons may include an adjustable air nozzle for keeping the area around the drill bit clear of debris while the hole is being drilled, or special clamps to be used for holding a work piece perfectly still while it is being bored. Also, the size of the drill and amount of range the drill arm allows the drill to reach are directly related to the cost.

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    • A radial drill bores several holes of varying sizes.
      By: Monkey Business
      A radial drill bores several holes of varying sizes.