Thursday, November 27, 2014

Forceful Fridge Magnets

Lee Valley has a nice 50-piece sampler of rare-earth magnets; I've posted about it before.

The eight 1/4" diameter x 1/4" long rod magnets in the sampler make great fridge magnets, but their small size makes them difficult to manipulate -- it's not easy to get a grip on them to pull them off the fridge once they're on. Here's a way to add a 'handle' to the magnets.

Take a common 3/16" thick, 1/4"-20 hex nut, and bore out its threads to 1/4" diameter about one-third to half-way through.[1]

Set a magnet into the nut's bore, and apply CA adhesive to the interface from the back, so the runny adhesive can wick in and secure the two pieces together.

You end up with a strong little fridge magnet that's substantial enough to be easily manipulated. Here's a view of one holding an entire calendar to the nose of my vise.

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The magnets are just as good at more orthodox tasks like 'pinning' notes to any ferrous metal surface.

I keep a lot of notes on my progress on various projects in the workshop, and the magnets work fine on overhead HVAC ducts, like so.

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Addendum -- FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

The sampler also has 3/8" and 1/2" diameter disc magnets, and those can be adapted in a similar fashion to the 1/4" rod magnets; use 3/8" and 1/2" hex nuts, but bore the nuts very shallowly. Here's a view of the whole lineup of 'handle'-fitted magnets.

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[1] Boring out a nut's threads is best done on a drill press, with the aid of a drill press vise, like so.

It's also helpful to employ the drill press's depth stop, so the boring depth is positively limited. If you don't use the depth stop, the operation can easily get away from you and go too deep.

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