Wednesday 16 November 2016

Magnetic Drill Bit Organiser

I'm forever losing drill bits, particularly the smaller ones in my workshop. While it's very much a "first world problem", the delay it causes to a project's schedule can be a huge pain, so this project uses some magnets from old dismantled hard disk drives.

Be warned - these magnets are very strong - putting them near your bank cards or anything else that's sensitive to magnetic fields is probably a really bad idea.
The plan is to magnetise a steel bar with the old hard disk magnets, mount it to the wall near my drill press so that I can keep drill bits and other small metal objects nearby and secured, and hopefully not lose as many.

The build
I started with a pine slat reclaimed from an old bed frame.

I didn't have a specific size in mind for this project, but the steel I purchased came in 1 metre lengths, which seemed a bit much, so I halved it and decided to base it around a 500mm steel bar.

The wood was cut to 55cm (allowing a 2.5cm margin) each side of the steel for mounting holes.

I measured out where the steel would sit, and drilled out a 3 grooves in the wood equally along where the steel would sit (so that the steel would cover the grooves).

In order to make the hard disk magnets fit within the boundaries of the steels measurements, some parts had to be cut down, which I did by using a grinder disk.

In hindsight this might not have been the smartest move, as the magnets would get hot from the friction and heat affects the magnetism of metal, and so this might have altered the effectiveness of the magnets.

In reality though, there was not a noticeable difference in their strength before and after trimming them.

The magnets were screwed into the wood so that they would sit in the drilled grooves, but the magnets themselves would sit in contact with the steel bar.
A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

A slight groove is cut into the wood along the length of the steel bar, so that the bar will sit flush with the wood, and attach the bar to the wood with a bit of glue. The magnets will hold it in place while the glue sets.

The bar will be magnetized by the underlying magnets, although wiping the bar with another magnet can strengthen the field, it will always be strongest nearest to the magnets themselves.

Finally a bit of wood stain, mount it to the wall, and done.
A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

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