How to Build a Super Magnet

Written by jason thompson
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How to Build a Super Magnet
You can make your own super magnets strong enough for use in a generator. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Super strong magnets can be very expensive. If you are trying to make your own electric generator, or even just performing hobbyist magnetic experiments, you need strong magnets. The price involved in finding enough strong magnets for your purposes can be prohibitive. You can make super strong magnets of your own at home, however, with very little effort and no special training.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 6 neodymium magnets
  • 1 bar of magnetic metal (neodymium is best, followed by mumetal or iron, then steel, then nickel)
  • Marker
  • Charcoal
  • Charcoal grill
  • Lighter
  • 5 gallon bucket of water or fire extinguisher
  • Propane- or mapp-fuelled torch
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Tongs
  • Fireproof surface, such as cement, rock or sandu

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a neodymium magnet in each hand, keeping your fingers closed around them. Bring your hands next to each other and feel what the magnets do. If they are trying to attract each other, then flip one of them over. Once they are trying to repel each other, make a dot on each of the repelling faces with the marker.

  2. 2

    Pick up one of the magnets with the dot in one hand. Keep the dot face up. Pick up an unmarked magnet and mark the face that repels itself from the dotted magnet face. Repeat this until all the magnets have a dot on one side.

  3. 3

    Stick the dotted side of one magnet to the un-dotted side of another. Magnetic attraction will hold them securely in place. Stick the dotted side against the un-dotted side of this pair, giving you three magnets held together. Set this unit aside, away from the other magnets or metal objects. Repeat this process with the other three.

  4. 4

    Put charcoal in the grill and light it. Place the water bucket or fire extinguisher close to hand in the event of an emergency.

  5. 5

    Put on your safety gloves and goggles. Put the metal bar onto the grill and allow it to heat up. Light the torch and heat the metal with it until it glows red hot.

  6. 6

    Pick up the hot metal with the tongs. Pick up one of the magnet unites with the other hand. Stick it, dotted end first, onto one side of the metal bar.

  7. 7

    Stick the other unit of magnets onto the other side of the metal bar, un-dotted end first.

  8. 8

    Place the whole assembly of magnets and metal onto the fireproof surface. Allow it to cool to air temperature. Once cool, the metal in the centre will have become a super strong magnet. Remove the other magnets from it by sliding them sideways.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the grill and torch in accordance with safety instructions. Be careful handling neodymium magnets and do not let them too near metal or other magnets. They are strong enough to crush your fingers.

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