Powerful and compact youll find a wide range of uses for these handy magnets in your projects and shop accessories

To take full advantage of disk magnets, you'll want to add matching cups, washers, and thin, seif-adheslve friction pads.

Magnets seem to "attract" young and old alike. You can't help playing with them. And that's just as true, and maybe even more so, for the set of rare-earth magnets you see in the photo above.

RARE-IARTH MAGNETS. Don't let the size or the name fool you. These magnets are incredibly strong. And despite the name, they aren't all that rare and they don't come straight out of the earth.

THE MAKING OF A MAGNET. Instead, a rare-earth magnet is a man-made mix of iron, boron, and one of the rare-earth elements (usually neo-dymium) from the periodic chart, hence their name. This mix starts out as a powder and is then placed under intense pressure in a mold.

After sintering (heating in a vacuum), the material is allowed to cool. Then it's ground or sliced into a variety of shapes — from disks and rods, to squares and spheres — and typically coated with nickel plating.

Finally, exposing the blank to a very powerful magnetic field creates the magnet — with one big advantage. Unlike many other magnets, the magnetism of a rare-earth magnet won't degrade or lose strength over time.




USING RARE-EARTH MAGNETS. Since these magnets are so strong, I use them around the shop in a number of ways. (I find the disk and rod styles the most useful.)

In many cases, you can make handy shop accessories (box at bottom of opposite page) by using epoxy to glue a disk magnet into a

Mounting block

Friction o ad

Friction o ad

Mounting block

Washer mounts to surface or in —counterbore

Washer mounts to surface or in —counterbore

The too! standoff shown here features two magnets to keep a chuck (or other needed accessories out of the way, but still easy to grab.

This magnetic belt clip keeps your measuring tape securely in place so it's always at hand. Simply "pop" it off when you need to use it.

Vise Pads. Magnets embedded in these wood jaw faces allow you to install and remove them in a snap any time you need to make a change.

Door Catch. The rare-earth magnet and cup in this shop-made door catch keeps the cabinet door closed and perfectly flush with the frame.

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