Magnetic Power
© Frank Ford, 5/20/02; Photos by FF

Look at this little pea. It's my smallest "rare earth" magnet, made of a neodymium alloy:

This thing is only 1/4" in diameter and 1/4" long, but it's a little brute.

Just as a demo, I stuck it on the end of a piece of steel and I'm using it to lift my claw hammer, which it does with power to spare:

Notice the background of these photos. It's my back yard, far from any steel objects. That's where I opened the package containing the really big magnet I used in the clamping article:

I'm not kidding here. Trying to cut the tape with my pocket knife turned out to be a risky bit of behavior, so I walked carefully away, set the knife down and unwound the tape by hand. And that was only the 1-1/2" magnet.

Here it is, out of its cage:

This 1-1/2 incher is way to strong for me to handle safely around steel tools, and it really wants to get together with the two incher I'm about to let out of its box. So I rewrap this one and prepare to get the big one out. You can see that bigger one in the clamping article.

So all of this is by way of a caution. If you get into these magnets, you'll have little accidents. I, for example, find it impossible to avoid having a pair of 3/4" diameter ones jump out of my hands when they are near each other. But magnets that size won't actually crush my fingers as these big ones can.

Enough said?

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