I took a physics class that focused on electromagnetism last fall. It got me really interested in electronics and their relationship to magnetism. This project came from that interest, and now I made this Instructable to show how to make a simple electromagnet housed in a highlighter.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The first step is to gather everything you'll need. I suggest a quick trip to Radio Shack. They have pretty much all the inside parts needed for this project.
-Enamel coated magnet wire
-Nail (or other small magnetic rod)
-Highlighter (of course)
-Hot glue gun
-Soldering iron and solder
-Sandpaper or a file
-Dremel or similar tool (optional)
Step 2: Taking Apart the Highlighter
In order to put an electromagnet inside of a highlighter, first the highlighter needs to be taken apart. To do this, use the pliers to grasp the back end of the highlighter, opposite the cap. Dump out the little plastic tube that contains the highlighter ink. Then, pull out the tip that goes inside the cap. Do whatever you want with the insides; they're not used in this project.
Next, the switch needs to be put into the end of the of the highlighter. Make a hole in the piece you just pulled off using either a Dremel or soldering gun. I suggest using a Dremel as melting plastic releases harmful fumes. Don't make the hole too big, because you want the switch to fit snugly into the hole. Then, jam the switch into the end so that you can easily press down the button with your finger. If it's not a tight fit, add a little hot glue to keep it in place.