How to Make Stainless Steel Magnetic

Written by kasandra rose
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How to Make Stainless Steel Magnetic
Many common items are made of stainless steel. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Only some stainless steel is magnetic and can be magnetised. The composition of stainless steel varies, and any stainless steel with nickel in it is difficult to magnetise, although cold-rolling it, stretching it or stressing it in other ways does increase its magnetic potential. Series 200 and 400 stainless steel do not have nickel, are naturally magnetic and can be magnetised. Using simple methods of magnetising metal produces only a temporary magnet. To permanently magnetise something, you need a large alternating-current magnetic coil, which is not generally available in most homes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Insulated wire
  • Wire stripper
  • Insulated needle-nose pliers
  • 400 series stainless-steel item
  • 12-volt dry-cell battery
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Strip 1 inch from both ends of your insulated wire, using the wire stripper.

  2. 2

    Wrap the insulated wire around the stainless-steel object multiple times without overlapping the wires; form a coil around it. Leave enough wire to easily reach your battery.

  3. 3

    Place the object to be magnetised on an insulated surface, such as wood, rubber or cement. Don't hold the object while magnetising it.

  4. 4

    Connect one end of the wire to the positive terminal of your battery. Depending on the battery type, you will wrap the bare wire around the terminal and screw down the connecting cap.

  5. 5

    Put on your safety glasses. Hold the other end of the wire with the insulated needle-nose pliers. Brush the bare end of the wire against the negative terminal of the battery. The battery will spark when you do this. Repeat this action three to six times.

  6. 6

    Disconnect the wiring from the positive terminal of the battery. Unwrap the wire from around your stainless-steel object. It is now temporarily magnetised.

Tips and warnings

  • To magnetise larger pieces of stainless steel, touch the negative terminal of the battery with a bare wire more times.

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