Introduction: Magnetic Floor/Yard Cleaner

Have you ever dropped a nail or screw on the floor and not be able to find where it went too until it ends up stuck in your shoe, or worse, your foot? This will help to quickly fix that. Usually the answer is to grab a magnet, get down on the old prayer bones, and sweep around until you hear the tell tale "click", and then it might not be the nail/screw you dropped this time, but the one you dropped and couldn't find a week ago.

My idea makes this process a whole lot faster and easier, and is very simple to make. No Major tools involved in it's construction. Most materials you may have on hand already.

For this instructable, I am only going to make a 2 magnet cleaner simply because I am running low on parts. I will also have to improvise on some steps for the same reason, and also in one step because some of my drill bits seem to have walked off.

Of course, my camera died a week ago, so all i can add to this in the way of pictures are sketches to demonstrate what I am talking about at the time. Also, this is my first "ible", so please try and bear with me.

UPDATE: I have borrowed a friends camera, so have added photos along with the sketches.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

The materials needed are:

1 - Broom Handle

6 to 8 Magnets from scrapped microwaves

1 - 2x4 or 2 - 1x4's 18 to 24 inches long

Steel rod about 6 to 8 inches longer than your 1x4's and the same diameter as your wheels hubs(I would not suggest threaded rod as this will tend to eat up your wheel hubs)

2 - lawn mower wheels

2 - clamps (either hose clamps or pipe clamps as pictured above small enough to clamp tightly onto your steel rod.

4 - washers to fit onto the steel rod

screws 1-1/4 inch long (I normally use drywall screws) maybe 10 or 12 of them


Depending on the wheels used, make sure that the 2x4 isn't too thick. measure on the wheel from the edge of the hole in the hub to the edge of the wheel. You will want about 1 and 1/2 inch from the 2x4 to the ground. If you don't have enough clearance, just use a 1x4 instead.

Step 2: Tools

This is the "massive" list of tools required for this construction:

Drill and drill bits and spade bit. (Mine seems to have walked away, so will have to improvise)



clamps (1 for each magnet, or glue 1 magnet for each clamp you have at a time))

Wow, now my fingers are cramped up from typing that list. ;D

Step 3: Construction

Depending on how many of the microwave magnets you have will determine how wide your main base will be, as you can see from the sketch above.

Now you need to determine your length of the 2x4 (or 1x4) depending on how many magnets you have. I have used 3 inches per magnet as a basic rule of thumb and it has worked out about right. So 6 magnets would work out as 18 inches long, 8 magnets as 24 inches. As I only have 2 left, mine will be fairly short, but no less effective. I have cut my board to 10 inches long just to make things easier to photograph, but the only piece in decent shape i had was only 3 inches wide. We can make this work though.

If using 1x4's, you will want to glue them together to make an equivalent of a 2x4. Or if using just a single 1x4, cut a block as wide as your main board and about 3 inches in length. Clamp this block to a scrap piece of wood like in the 2nd picture above and drill through with a drill bit the size of your steel rod. Make sure it leaves an open channel along the face of the block. This will add a little extra support to your axle as well as to your handle. Put your steel rod through the opening you just drilled out. Glue the block to the face of the 1x4 and centered lengthwise. I usually add a couple of screws in this step to secure the block a bit more. Also add a couple screws to the steel rod to help hold it in place like shown in the 3rd picture..

Next, you want to find the center point between the 2 ends of the board and mark it near the back edge of the block, maybe 3/4 or 1 inch from the edge. Drill a hole at about a 45 degree angle into the board with the drill pointing towards the center of the board. This will be used to attach the handle like in the 6th picture.. Do not drill all the way through, you will want to stop just shy of breaking through the back side of the board. If using a single 1x4, the hole will go through the block you added.

Flip the board over and spread glue generously over one entire surface of one of the magnets. Place the magnet near one end of the board and clamp it down securely. I used gorilla glue, but i would think most types of glue would work here. You want to keep the magnets about 1 inch apart as you mount them. I figured the spacing between the magnets as about 1 inch, and glued every other magnet into place. Once dry, Install the rest of the magnets between the first set, being sure to clamp them well to make sure they don't move on you.

Add one washer to each end of the axle, put on your wheels, another washer then your clamps to hold them on. Here is where my material list is getting difficult. Instead of a steel rod, I had to use a piece cut from a plastic hanger, which happened to be the perfect size for my wheels. Instead of clamping, I just heated the excess sticking out from the hub with my handy dandy all purpose heating device (lighter) and bent it over to hold the wheel on. Not a great idea for a permanent mount, but works well enough to be able to show how this works. WARNING: Melted or softened plastic is very hot. If you try this, do not touch the softened plastic with your bare fingers, you WILL get burned.

All that's left now is to glue your broom handle into the hole you drilled in the top side, run a screw or nail into the edge of the 2x4 to go through the end of the broom handle and let it all dry.

Step 4: Conclusion

Once dry it is just about ready to use. To keep the little metal shavings and stuff from clogging up the magnets, I covered them all with blue painters tape from wheel to wheel and several rows wide. You want the entire magnets on the bottom of the board well covered. When clogged with metal particles and what not, just strip all the tape off at one time over a garbage can. Then just reapply new painters tape and you are ready to go again.

Now just run this over either your shop floor or around your driveway and yard to pick up any nails, screws or other dangerous small metal objects and enjoy a metal free walking area.

One tip, don't try to hurry with this. Just walk at a normal, casual pace and it will pick up just about everything ferrous it comes across.

I have included a video to demonstrate how well it works. As you'll see in the video, it helps when you actually run this over the item to be picked up. :D

I would love to see how yours turns out. If you have any suggestions, improvements or modifications please feel free to let me know.

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