How do I drill a hole in a magnet?

I want to drill a hole in a ceramic magnet.

What special style of drill bit would be best? It is about ¼ inch thick, but I broke the metal drill bit and the ceramic bit broke the first magnet.

Any suggestions?

A quick Google search indicates using a laser.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s possible (excepting extraordinary means and apparatus). But if I absolutely had to try it, I would use a Dremel tool with the flexible extension attachment, a carbide or diamond tipped bit and do all of the drilling slowly under running water. Be sure the Dremel is plugged into a GFI protected plug for safety’s sake. The flexible extension is just to keep the tool itself from getting wet. I don’t know if this will work on a ceramic magnet, but it does work on wine bottles, although you break quite a few getting the hang of it.

Unfortunately my laser is at the repair shop. Come on really, my cat is waiting for me to figure this out.

A battery-powered Dremel tool would be even safer. I personally wouldn’t use a Dremel tool, even with the extension, with running water under it with 120V AC power going into the Dremel tool. Especially if it’s a jerry-rig set up for a one-shot use. In theory the GFI plug should help a lot, but I wouldn’t rely on that for the first level of safety (e.g. it should be a backup, not the main line of defense).

How large a hole are you trying to make?

For a small hole I would use a Dremel tool with the conical diamond tip. Use lots of fluid (machine oil is good) to cool the material (especially important if you want your magnet to stay magnetic!) and help with the dust. Ideally you should use the drill-press attachment to keep the bit aligned in the hole. Use high speed and very low pressure to avoid breaking it. It takes several minutes.

I’ve used this method to drill through thin stones (~1/4"), though I’ve never tried magnets.

Just a small hole, but I am getting the idea it is worth my time to find a magnet with a hole already in it.

Here’s a good source for that: K & J Magnetics

Just a tip, you can put any Dremel/Rotozip/etc type bit in a regular drill, (or even a drill press if it will chuck down to 1/8 or so) and have much better control.

Just remember to go slow and keep the chuck tight.

Get a magnet from an old hard rive . They are super strong & are made of steel so they should be more readily drillable vs ceramic magnets

BTW Radio Shack (I think) carries magnets will holes already in the middle.

*Good idea!

*Not always so.
There are some ceramic magnets that are bright metal plated.

they arent made of steel, they are coated in nickel. strong as hell in the magnetic department but very brittle.

I second the link to K&J magnetics, I have used them in the past and the service and prices are the best I have come across on the net.

I have to ask : Why is your cat waiting ?

Yes, and how did he communicate to you his desire that you drill a hole in a magnet?

Does he design his own toys?

I have 8 magnets on my desk right now that all have holes in the middle. I have 14 magnets without holes. I might bring one home and see if the Dremel would work. I’ll report back later this evening, or tomorrow at least.

I’d love to hear more about drilling through the glass wine bottles though. I have had a certain project in mind for a while but it required drilling through a glass bottle.


I was in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on vacation with my wife a few years ago and we wandered into what could most charitably be described as a hippie incense shop. In addition to hand-dipped incense, they sold incense holders that consisted of wine bottles with lotsof holes in them. THe incense stick was stuck into the cork and then the assmbly inserted into the wine bottle.

Okay, enough back story. I asked how they drilled the holes in the bottles and was told that they used a glass cutting drill bit under running water, worked slowly, and broke at least as many bottles as not. I haven’t tried this myself, but have kept it in the back of my mind for future reference if the need arises.

I’ve heard of people drilling through glass (without or with minimal breakage) by chucking a piece of carbon steel tubing into a drill press, putting valve lapping compound onto the glass and using light pressure to gring the hole. I don’t see why this wouldn’t work for a magnet.

I’d also bed the magnet in some sort of putty so that it doesn’t break when the bit grabs it.

A ceramic tile drill bit might do the job - again keep it cool with oil emulsion or water, as not only does heat blunt the cutting edge of the tool, it also demagnetizes magnets.

I’d perhaps use a blob of epoxy glue to attach a string.

I put holes in glass bottles quite frequently and hardly break any anymore what i do is fill the bottle with water then with a diamond tip bit and my drimel on med speed and using no pressure just the weight of the tool i let gravitey do the work