Introduction: Make a Basic Electromagnet

Electromagnets are very useful tools. They have the ability to gain a magnetic field with the introduction of current and to lose it once the current ceases. We will be building a very simple one that works with these principles. It is also a very cheap project, I had everything needed to make it lying around my house.


Update 1/27:
I added a better video, it isn't great, but it is an improvement.

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this project we will need:

One large nail
Around 5 feet of 16 gauge wire.
One D cell battery
Some electrical tape (optional)

All of this can be bought at a hardware store for under $4.

Tools:
Wire stripper
Pliers

Step 2: Start Wrapping!

Start wrapping your wire tightly around your nail. If you need to compress the coils, just pust the wire against the head of the nail. Keep in mind that the tighter the coils are, the stronger the magnet will be.

Step 3: The Finished Product and Video

So now we have our magnet finished. Lets take it and test it out!

**WARNING**
This will get very hot if you leave the battery connected for to long. Please be careful! I am not responsible for you if you are burnt.

Step 4: Connect Your Battery

Now we will get power into this. Strip both ends of the wire and connect them to your battery. I used electrical tape to hold down my battery, but you don't need to.

Comments

author
SamH13 made it!(author)2015-07-15

Did you know your image is being used in ads? I attached it here for you.

7-15-2015 10-11-07 AM.jpg
author
sacred made it!(author)2017-03-07

I just saw this in an ad, haven't thought about this article for years! It's pretty weird seeing your content out there like that.

author
Im_a_person29 made it!(author)2017-01-19

i just had to do this because im at school #imbored

author
Im_a_person29 made it!(author)2017-01-19

idk again

author
nathanwide made it!(author)2016-05-04

here's another ad that used your image, this one makes even less sense, and i don't think anyone thought this through, but here you go, have fun

15533418016203182082.jpg
author
hamo5 made it!(author)2015-09-18

This is so cool i am 10 and i made one myself.

:-]

EPIC

author
schoolviji made it!(author)2015-03-18

author
electronicz made it!(author)2012-04-12

Is it possible to direct the electromagnetic field. If so how?

author
chalky made it!(author)2008-01-26

hey that's pretty cool!!! so technically the more voltage the stronger the magnet??

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-01-27

And the more turns on the coil and the closer together they are as well. That's why commercial transformers (in wall-warts and the like) use very thin enamelled wire, because the enamel is thinner than PVC insulation, so the wires can be crammed closer together.

author
alsports2000 made it!(author)2011-07-12

Greetings wiseman: I've read that overheating is a common problem when using electromagnets, is there a way to keep them cool or just turn it on and off when they get too hot???. Thanks. AL.

author
LiftAndLove made it!(author)2011-12-19

i bet u can make a card board ice holder that u can hot glue or something to the side. maybe the side that is next to the batteries/device should be 3-5 peices of paper. if so, put the ice in a bag.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2011-07-12

Fan blowing over a heat-sink? Turn the power down?

author
alsports2000 made it!(author)2011-07-14

Greetings Kiteman: Just a quick question, how are the wires on both ends of the battery supposed to be secured???. Does it matter if they are taped or do they need to be secured in another manner????.. Thanks. AL.

author
alsports2000 made it!(author)2011-07-08

Kiteman: Would using an earth magnet instead of a nail to make an electromagnet be a good idea??. I know from what I've read here that dealing with the overheating of an electromagnet is a problem but please give me your advise. Thank you wiseman. AL.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2011-07-08

Not for making an electromagnet, no, mainly because you can't switch a rare-earth magnet off.

author
alsports2000 made it!(author)2011-07-08

Why didn't I think of that?? You don't have to answer that wiseman and thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. AL.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2011-07-08

Any time.

author
chriskarr made it!(author)2008-11-29

But, Kiteman, I thought it was the amperage that induces magnetism, and not the voltage. That's why, even though the voltage is high, a wall transformer that puts out 10kV DC and 23mA won't have the same effect as a car battery that can put out 20(?) amps at twelve volts.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-11-30

Any electric wire carrying current has an associated magnetic field per unit length. You only notice it when you coil the wire to concentrate the field. The more coils, the greater the length of wire is gathered into the magnet. The greater the length of wire, the more field is concentrated in the magnet.

author
chriskarr made it!(author)2008-11-30

Well, then why is it that these coil-gun makers use capacitors (which up the amperage, not the voltage) to increase the shot-length of their guns?

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-11-30

When did I say it was only the number of turns that affected the strength?

Read my first reply above - "And the more turns on the coil and the closer together they are as well."

The three main variables are power (current x voltage), number of turns and the closeness of the turns in the coil. The diameter of the coil will also affect things, but not so much.

author
chriskarr made it!(author)2008-11-30

I took your saying "Any electric wire carrying current has an associated magnetic field per unit length" as a completely literal statement and understood what you were saying as any electric wire carrying current has an associated magnetic field (regardless of voltage/amperage) per unit length." and I didn't understand why you'd be saying that, especially with the obvious knowledge I've seen you display in the past. Excuse me for my misconception.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-11-30

Ah! Confusion sorted.

author
chalky made it!(author)2008-11-30

- .... .- -. -.- | .... . .- ...- . -. ... | ..-. --- .-. | - .... .- - | .-.. --- .-..

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-11-30

Show-off!

author
chalky made it!(author)2008-12-01

I thought,seen as though i started off the confusing debate on electro magnetism it would be appropriate for me to end it with more confusion lol:) ps/ did you manage to decipher my cryptic Morse code message Kiteman?

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-12-02

Good grief, how old do people think I am??

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2009-03-15

Old? Many of the licenses for short wave radio still require the knowledge of M.C. and at a certain speed (send / receive). or did I just miss the entire context of the discussion?

author
chalky made it!(author)2009-03-15

lol no it started straying off topic a long time a go so i just thrown in some morse code for more confusion lol:)

author
Derin made it!(author)2009-06-09

_ _ _ _ _ . _ . . . . . _ . _ . _ _ _ _ . . . _ . _ . _ _ _ _ . . . . _ . . _ . _ . . _ . . . . . . . . . _ _ . _ . . . . . . _ _ . . . . _ _ . _ _ . . _ _ . _ _ . _ _ . _ _ _ . _ . . . _ . _ . . . _ . _ . . _ . . . . _ _ . _ _ . _ . . _ _ . _ . _ _ _ _ _ . . . _ . _ . . _ . . . . _ _ . _ . . . _ . _ . . _ . . . . _ _ . _ . . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . _ _ _ . _ . . . _ _ _ _ _ . _ . _ . _ . _ _ _ _ _ _ . _ . . . . _ . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . _ _ . _ . . . . _ _ . . . . . _ _ . . . . _ . . . . _ . . . . _ . _ _ _ . _ . _ . . . . . . . . . _ _ . . . . . . . . _ _ _ . . EXPLANATION: you dont need explanations

author
vela.u made it!(author)2011-01-27

)))))))))))))))))))))))))(((((((((((((((((((((((((||||||||||||||||||||||||\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ \ \ \\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ bad
this i s d worst info on electro magnet i hav seen till now

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2011-01-28

really ?

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2009-03-15

Oh I know, I just wondered where Kiteman got old from, since a lot of Ham operators still use it and it is still required in some instances (although it is fading fairly fast).

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2009-03-15

Morse code is no longer an "official" system for sending messages, though - military and commercial radio operators don't need to learn it, and naval officers don't get forced to learn it to "flash" messages ship-to-ship.

author
NachoMahma made it!(author)2009-03-15

. I'm rather surprised. Seems like it makes an effective low-tech solution in a lot of emergency situations. Good exercise for the mind. &c;, &c.; . It's tradition dammit! If you're going to call yourself a ham, you need to be able to pound a key. ;)

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2009-03-15

Have the Ham licenses changed since I checked into them a year or so ago?

author
chalky made it!(author)2009-03-15

CQ CQ CQ DX PJ2/K8ND lol:)

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2009-03-15

I have tried multiple times....and I seem to have a mental block in that area...I could learn German, and some Hebrew, but Morse code just wouldn't take :-)

author
Lithium+Rain made it!(author)2008-12-02

Well, when I was a newbie, I thought you were around 65-70ish, not going to lie. :D

Sorry.

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-12-02

I was chatting to a colleague who draws comics - I mentioned that I was re-reading Watchmen after a gap of over twenty years, and had he ever read it?

He coughed, and pointed out that he is twenty three...

author
Lithium+Rain made it!(author)2008-12-02

XD Hmmm, I wonder if you ever forget my age when speaking to me... :D

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-12-02

Usually - it's easy to do when I've never seen what you look like.

author
Lithium+Rain made it!(author)2008-12-02

Maybe, when I do my makeup ible, perhaps...

author
Kiteman made it!(author)2008-12-02

I thought you were going to use ~~decapitated corpse~~ plastic dummy?

author
Lithium+Rain made it!(author)2008-12-02

>Cracks up<

It's a good idea, but I can't find one free, and my natural lovely face being so much cheaper (free, to be exact), I am considering it...

author
chalky made it!(author)2008-12-02

Everybody knows kiteman is as old as his tongue and a little older than his teeth:)

author
Mario1 made it!(author)2008-12-02

THANKHEAVENSFORTHATLOL i decoded it :)

author
Mario1 made it!(author)2008-12-02

.. / .- -- / - .... . / -... . ... -

author
chalky made it!(author)2008-12-02

-.-- --- ..- | -.-. . .-. - .- .. -. .-.. -.-- | .- .-. . | -- -.-- | ..-. .-. .. . -. -..

About This Instructable

64,046views

51favorites

License:

More by sacred:How to Multiply Your Spider PlantsMake a Basic ElectromagnetHow to Build an Optical Theremin
Add instructable to: