FEIN’s New KBE 32 – Be Still My Drilling Heart 

The KBE 32 is FEIN’s latest addition to their metal work range, and the drill’s compact design make it a one-of-a-kind tool you’re not going to want to miss out on.  

Most tradespeople out there will know FEIN from their set of oscillating tools, the retro-orange MultiMasters – a tool I simply cannot do without in my line of work. 

Historically, though, FEIN has been making tools for over 150 years and is actually credited with inventing the first ever electric hand-held power tool in 1895, which eventually paved the way for the world of power tools as we know it today.  

Unlike nowadays, when the MultiMasters have become FEIN’s claim to fame, in the early days the brand’s tools were largely focused on the metal working industries. So, you could look at the new KBE 32 magnetic core drill as FEIN returning to its once humble roots… 

  Design, Design, Design  

  FEIN started with a clean slate and clear intentions when they first kicked off the research and development for the KBE 32. The goal? To make the most lightweight, compact, and powerful magnetic core drill in its class.  

When talking magnets, lightweight is a major challenge. Like any metal worker worth a dime will know, magnets are inherently heavy, and, over the years, magnetic core drill manufacturers haven’t really been able to crack the lightweight conundrum. 

Well, that is until FEIN had their say… With the KBE 32, FEIN’s come out with a class beating power to weight ratio.  

However, weight isn’t the be-all end-all of power tools… The brand’s R and D team were also keen to achieve the most compact and ergonomic design possible and a look at the drill’s slimline profile, switchgear layout and handle confirms that the team succeeded.  

Drilling Down  

Packaging is often more of a hassle than it’s worth, but the FEIN team clearly worked hard to provide a robust case that wouldn’t take up half of your van’s available space. 

Saving you time and needless hassle at the end of the job, the KBE 32 comes in a spacious plastic case and it fits back into it without having to remove cutters or handles, and with enough room for a decent length of electrical cord too. 

  Because I spend most of my time on joinery projects, I am always surprised by the weight of mag drills, but the truth is powerful electromagnets are heavy and that’s not the easiest thing to work around when trying to come up with an innovative design. 

In the KBE 32, though, the magnets are slim, long and form the whole base of the drill, making it incredibly solid and balanced once you set it down. As all metal workers will knows, stability is an absolute must in a mag drill, and, when attached to a heavy RSJ, or in my case a cast iron machine table, it needed a lot of force to move it even a little.  

  

The real highlight for me, though, was the design and layout of the switchgear. Not only is it ergonomically designed, but it can be reached from the top, bottom, back and side of the machine as well – after all, you never know when you are going to be drilling in a confined or awkward spot.   

Because familiarity reigns supreme when we’re talking about power tools, each of the three switches is designed slightly different from the others, so that your fingers soon learn which is which without necessarily having to look each time.  

This design is made possible by the slimline body that incorporates the handle, which in turn incorporates the adjustable slides and shims that ensure smooth operation and accuracy.   

In a bid to keep everything simple and efficient, the KBE 32 comes with a flexible squeezy plastic bottle that can be hooked onto the body. A small flexible tube can then be connected to a nipple above the cutter to feed the lubricant straight to the cutter by giving the bottle a quick squeeze.  

Modern tools feel quiet and controlled when compared to many older tools, and the KBE 32 is no exception. The motor had a bit of a whine at the start, but it was quiet, smooth, well controlled, and, most of all, powerful.  

I was able to drill holes into 5mm thick steel easily with not much pressure on the handles – in fact, steady pressure enabled a hole to be drilled in about 30 seconds. The FEIN-supplied High Speed Steel cutter proved to be extremely sharp as well, only showing how much more efficient new cutters really are. 

With a planned service life of 70,000 holes – which translates into several years of use for most workers – it is clear that FEIN has done its homework with the KBE 32 and I am sure that it will appeal to the sector of the market that needs compact power and efficiency.  

To find out more about the new KBE 32, check out FEIN’s website, where you can also browse through the brand’s extensive range of specialised power tools. 

Have you given the new KBE 32 a go? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know what you thought of it. 

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