Magnetic Chip Picker
© Frank Ford 2009; Photos by FF                                                           Please click the small photos for a better look.

Well, here's another one, just for fun.

I got the idea it would be cool to have a self-cleaning remote chip collector, and on one fated trip to the hardware store, I came home with this grabber claw:

Now, to convert it to magnetic pickup use.


The heart of the unit would be the magnet, so I started making a little pot to hold a 5/8" diameter cylindrical neodymium magnet. First I made a little steel can by drilling and finishing the hole to a flat bottom with an end mill:


I parted off the piece:


Reversing my "can" in the collet I drilled and tapped the end:


Back the other way around, I used a boring bar to enlarge the hole diameter:


I wanted a nice loose fit for a copper sleeve - in this case a regular copper pipe cap:


I soft-soldered the cap in the hole, end up:


And sliced the end off by facing on the lathe


Here's my little pot now, steel bottom and sides, lined with copper


The magnet was a loose fit, and it jumped inside, bedding down solidly on the steel bottom. I added some cyanoacrylate to keep it there:


After another quick facing on the lathe, I have a neat little pot magnet, with one pole facing out, and the other wrapping around for extra strengthy grabbing power:


I made up an aluminum housing for the magnet and its retracting mechanism, but didn't take detailed photos for the rest of the project.

For the end cap, I parted off a very thin section of aluminum:


Then I drilled and bored a cylinder, tapped and countersunk holes for screws:


Here's the completed cylinder, with its 1/32" thick aluminum end, and the heads of the flat head screws cut off in a facing operation on the lathe:


I made up a brass adapter to connect the aluminum cylinder to the grabber handle, and disassembled the grabber claw to salvage its spring and rod to screw into the end of my pot magnet:


My magnetic chip picker reaches into tight areas easily:


It holds a fair wad of steel swarf for easy releasing over the trash barrel:


Ok, so I don't really use this thing all that often, but there are some projects I find myself compelled to do "just because."



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