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  • Magnetized

    Just got a steal of a deal on a new set of descent screwdrivers. The problem (for me) is that they are not magnetized. I've tried the cheapo magnetizing gizmo from HF that failed. It just did not produce a strong enough field like in my old set-if any. I've read that by running a magnet over the piece will produce magnetic field. Has anyone tried this (before i go out and buy a magnet). Does magnet size matter? Do magnetized sets under go a specific manufacturing process to give them the amount of magnetic field only attained by that type of processing?

  • #2
    Yes a magnet will work the stronger the better, the reason the cheapos don't work all the often is most tools are plated and they are just not strong enough. In our shop we use the mag rings out of lawn mowers they also make a handy holder. You can also make an electro magnet out of a field coil that will work well.


    • #3
      Thanks Tex, I'll look for a pretty hefty magnet. I saw some at HF that have various weights they can handle, 150lbs and up,pretty cheap. Hopefully It'll do the job.


      • #4
        This can be dangerous so I hesitate o post it but many years ago I was shown a way to magnetize a screwdriver blade using a car battery. Here's what you do.

        First, be sure there are no leaks on the battery and you are working in a well ventilated area where hydrogen fumes from the battery can not accumulate, cause if they do........ KA-BOOM!

        OK, get yourself a piece of #12 insulated wire about 3 or 4 feet long.

        Starting about a foot from the end of the wire, wrap the wire tightly around the screwdriver blade, ensuring that you do not overlap previous wraps. You want to wind the wire so it looks like a spring when you are done. Your wire wrapping should end an inch or two from the blade tip, it's not critical but you should have about 50% of the blade wrapped with wire.

        Now slide the wire to center it on the blade between the handle and tip, maintaining the tight wrapping around the blade.

        Now for the scary part with the car battery where you could get hurt or even killed (if you die trying this, don't say I didn't warn you).

        Connect one end of the wire firmly to the positive battery post.

        Holding the other (free) end with a pair of insulated pliers and maybe wearing a welding glove AND (required) a FULL FACE shield with safety glasses or splash goggles to guard against battery acid in the face (safety glasses alone will not cut it for this risky operation).

        Momentarily touch the free end to the other battery post. There WILL be an arc at this battery post because you are placing a dead short across the battery terminals which will cause the battery to discharge at its full capacity (up to the point where the wires melts) which will be in the range of 600 AMPs of more! This is why you only momentarily touch the free end to the battery. Beware that this 'free' wire end can or may become welded to the battery post due to the high amperage which will melt some of the wire and can cause it to weld itself to the battery post. You only need to hold the wire on the post for a second, then remove it and be ready to remove it forcefully if it welds itself to the post. It is a good idea to have the fixed end of the wire secured in such a way that a tug will release it from the battery breaking the circuit, don't clamp it in such a way that you need tools to remove it. A spring clamp of some type might be a good choice.

        After you remove the wire from the first zap wait a few seconds, maybe half a minute. This is to let the wire cool which is woefully undersized for the current it is carrying. If the wire is still sound (insulation is intact/not melted) and cool then hit it again for another 1 second or less zap.

        That should be enough to do even a prybar sized screwdriver. I did this as I said many years (over 20) ago and those screwdrivers are still magnetized.

        DON'T magnetize all your drivers, you will be sorry. There are times when this can be a PITA or you forget and use the magnetized driver on some computer or other electronic equipment and end up doing more damage thanks to your magnetic driver.

        I would really not recommend this today, there are other ways to magnetize tools. They may take more effort but are many times safer, so as they say in the commercials...

        "Don't Try This At Home!"
        Last edited by Bob D.; 11-01-2006, 07:27 AM.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


        1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


        • #5
          Thanks Bob, I'm not sure I'll try this (scary as hell) but its damn cool!


          • #6

            don't you remember what happened to "plumber and the moles"

            we still havn't heard from him since the electricians ran him off

            can't wait to try it on a battery i have at the shop

            hopefully you put enough disclaimers so as not to get the electricians upset.


            ps. where have you been hiding the last few weeks?

            another reminder to all, i'm off to costa rica friday. don't come looking for me for a week
            phoebe it is


            • #7
              Hey Rick,

              I was working 7-13s on a shutdown the past month, then was off to FLA to do some work on my Mom's place and visit for a few days.

              I never get over all the building going on in Florida each time I am there, it never stops.
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



              1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


              • #8
                Not saying I recommend the procedure, either, but to make it safer, put battery jumper cables (securely clamped on the posts) or use old battery cables to distance yourself from the battery. This will get you further from the hydrogen gas, (and an exploding battery should Murphy strike) and the ends of the cables will not be lead, so there is less chance of melting/welding to it.
                Practicing at practical wood working


                • #9
                  Sounds quite dangerous to me and I don't think the results will be worth the risk you are taking. As described, there simply isn't enough resistance in the wire to keep the battery from shorting, with risk of either exploding or destroying the battery and wire; especially if the "short" is more than momentary.

                  May I respectfully suggest you do some further reading to understand the process of making a permanent magnet. I did two quick searches on Google and found these articles. The first is rather simple and the second more scientific. These "picks" were done quickly and I'm sure a more thorough review might provide either safer alternatives or at least a better understanding of the process and challenge.

                  Search for "magnetizing tools"


                  Search for "magnetizing"


                  I hope this helps or at least cautions,