Trying to tighten some screws to an above head material only to know that it’s falling repeatedly while you are lining up. Did we just mention one of the most frustrating situations that you can encounter while woodworking tasks?
But, what if the screwdriver can hold the screws? It will be really helpful and you will be able to complete the finishing in no time. To make your screwdriver hold the screws, you need to magnetize it.
A magnetized screwdriver is very handy, especially when you are working alone. If you are tightening some screws where your other hand cannot each, then it becomes very useful. Otherwise, you will drop the screw and finding it will be difficult.
It will be also helpful when you need to remove some screws from tight places. Apart from all that, it can also pick up any small metal components including the screws.
No need to spend extra money on a magnetized screwdriver or related bits, because you can make such a tool yourself without much trouble. However, there is one condition; you can only magnetize ferromagnetic materials.
So a driver’s shaft is only eligible for this power if it’s made of iron, cobalt, nickel, or any other similar element like ruthenium or gadolinium. It’s in your favour that most of the speciality screwdrivers are steel made, so you can easily magnetize them.
Because steel is the best-known ferromagnetic material. You cannot magnetize screwdrivers made of titanium or its alloys.
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How to Magnetize a Screwdriver or its Bits?
Put any of the screwdrivers in contact with a magnet and it will gain magnetic properties. You can use any magnet, but a strong work better. It’s the reason why we recommend Neodymium magnets that gives you the best results. You can purchase such a magnet from any of the hardware stores. Many screwdriver magnets are available especially to for this purpose.
- Clean the screwdriver or its bit using a dry cloth. For effective results, you can also try a thinner or lubricant fluid like WD-40.
- Hold the object and use the magnet to touch it once. If the object (screwdriver or bit) sticks with the magnet, means it’s a ferromagnetic material. If there is no attraction network these two, then forget about the project because you cannot magnetize the object.
- Move the magnet on the object’s external surface from base to top. Rotate the screw for 1/4 of its diameter and repeat the process. Continue doing the same until you cover the overall surface of the object from its base to top.
- Test the magnetic strength by picking a couple of metallic objects. If the attraction force is not strong according to the requirements. Repeat the previous steps. You can also demagnetize the object if and when necessary. Move the magnet over the object in the opposite direction, which is from top to bottom.
Alternative of Commercial Magnets
If you are not willing to order a new magnet online or visit the store, then you can also use the magnets in and around the house. Any of the magnets will work just fine, especially for DIY projects. Some places where you can look for a magnet.
- Decorative items stuck on your refrigerator door can do the trick. Hope that you have a strong magnet in one of the stickers because it will work better.
- Home theatres and other audio speakers come with an inbuilt permanent magnet. If you have any old speaker or you can access the internal parts of an active sound system, then rub the screwdriver with its magnet.
- Most of the bathroom and kitchen cabinets use magnetic latches. If you have such cabinets, then you can rub a screwdriver on one of these latches.
- Power tools like cordless drills generally come with a magnetic clip. You can use the same to magnetize any of the screwdrivers.
- Use a steel-alloy mix bit with a magnetic bit holder and it will remain magnetized for a long time. Even when you are not using it any of the magnetic holders. However, this attraction goes away after a few months, especially if you drop or hit it with a hammer. Once the bit loses its attraction, use it again with a magnetic holder or simply rub it with another magnet.
Other Ways to Magnetize The Screwdriver
Using a hammer: Hit a screwdriver often with a hammer and you will be able to align its atoms in the same direction to create a magnetic field. This takes time as compared to another method that we were discussing above. However, it’s good to know a method that’s useful when you cannot find a magnet around. In the same manner, when you hit a magnetized screwdriver with a hammer, its atom alignment changes and the magnetic properties vanish.
Using electricity: You might not believe, but it’s possible to magnetize a screwdriver shaft using electricity. Wrap the drive shaft with an insulating wired and connect it to a power outlet; it’s what you need to do. However, this method is only compatible with the alternate current.
AC is the only type that has flux (change in current flow and intensity), which can encourage magnetic traits in a shaft. If you want to try this method, then you need a step-down transformer that can safely convert the electric current from a power outlet and complete the magnetization.
We don’t recommend this method because it’s dangerous, especially if you connect the wires directly into a power outlet.
There is another way of using a 9V battery, which is safer but time taking. The battery is a direct current provider, wherein the charge has no change of direction or intensity. Means, no flux can generate a magnetic property. To add flux, you need a charging solenoid that you easily construct using a copper pipe (1/2 inch) and wrapping it with a wire.
Now, connect the wire with a 9V battery and start moving the screwdriver inside this pipe. The back and forth movement will generate the flux to produce magnetic properties. To get best results, wrap an insulated wire (16 to 22 AWG) around the pipe for 20 times.
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