Make a Temporary Magnet


Introduction: Make a Temporary Magnet

I learned this from my dad when I was a little kid, but I searched instructables and found that no one has posted it, so here it is. I'm actually kind of shocked that no one has posted this yet.

I'd like to apologize for my last instructable to those of you saw it before I deleted it. Also to Tetranitrate, I'm sorry for posting an instructable similiar to yours and thank you for not "blowing up" over it, instead you chose to tell me how to create the iodine crystals. I admit that I forgot to search to see if there were any such instructable already made and was so proud of how well I had written it, that I immediately posted it.

Now onto this instructable. You can turn metal (as long as it is attracted to magnets) into a magnet for a temporary time. This is a neat little trick you can do at home or any other place. Teach your kids how to do this, so then they might be interested to learn more and may even some day grow up to become a mad scientist. This is also fun to try and see how strong you can make the temporary magnet. Hey, you could even use this in a science fair.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials...and Start Stroking

This technique is called stroking as I found out: (Look under: Magnetization of materials)

What you'll need is: a magnet, the object you wish to magnetize (I used a fork), and something to test it out with like small nails.

I used an old 6x8 speaker's magnet to do this, but you can use a fridge magnet all the same.

There is a movie below, but it is a large size so may take a while to download (depending upon your connection).

1. Pick up the object you wish to magnetize and hold it out length ways.
2. Pick up your magnet (unless you do it like me, then position your magnet in front of you) and put it on or under the object.
3. Now either move the obect back and forth like I did, or move the magnet. Do this quickly (works best if you do it for a while).
4. Now take your now magnetized object and try to pick up the nails (or whatever small metal object you have). If you did it correctly, you should have at least some attraction between the objects now.

Have fun and try different objects to magnetize to see which makes the best.

OK, now there's another video below. Mrmath was kind enough to point out that stroking is supposed to go in one direction. I'm not sure if it makes the temporary magnet stronger or not, but check the video out and express your opinions (Hard for me to say which is better, since I varied my speeds and times from each trial).



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    20 Discussions

    I found it useful. thx

    I was taught that it works better when you rub it in one direction over and over instead of back and forth. Obviously your method works. That's just what I heard.

    3 replies

    According to Wikipedia, you're right. I've always done it this way though, and it has worked well enough to pick up the two nails (and that was only "stroked" for like 10 seconds). Perhaps if I were to only stroke it in one direction the magnetized object would be stronger. I'll have to go try this, I'll update later on the results. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Without going into to much detail, it is the electrons that create the magnetism with their "Spin". SO If you move the magnet from the top to the bottom of your fork - the electrons will face towards the magnet, if you then move the magnet back, they will move back the opposite way, you will get magnetism both ways but they are contradicting movements. It is like over inflating your car tire, then letting just too much air out and repeating. If you keep "Stroking" it in one way, the electrons will - near enough - all point the same way.

    Interesting idea. What I would like to know is how to turn a metal object in to a permanent magnet.

    As far as I know there are only two ways: melt it down and reform it in a magnetic field use a magnetising device I don't know much about this one. I did use one once as a teachers aide so I at least know they exist.

    Is there any way you can get the magnetized fork of other object to become un-magnetized? I have done this (unintentionally) to some of the tools I use and I am wondering how you remove this.

    1 reply

    okay to get rid of temporary magnetic properties one thing you can do is hit it really hard against something and its magnetic properties will be lost

    A question! If you where to heat a nail until it is red hot then placed it near a magnet would the nail become magnetic?

    1 reply

    When iron reaches a certain temperature, it loses magnetic properties (not even attracted to magnets). When it drops back below this point, magnetic properties return. I have a horseshoe magnet from an old hand-crank phone that is weak. I plan to see if heating it to non-magnetic in my forge then slowly cooling it with neodymium magnets attached to see if this will strengthen it noticeably (magnetically realigning the iron molecules).

    Don't worry what anybody else says It may be well known but your "instructable" that you have posted helped with my homeorks and im 13

    1 reply

    I'm appreciated :) I wasn't really worrying, but felt that I should point out that there are other instructables that show simple things that some people may have learned while others may not have. Thanks though for your comment :)

    Hey man dont worry about it. You didnt have to delete it, there have been a ton of posts simmilar to mine, and I have done a few posts similar to others. If your excited to post something, but find out that its been done before, just include things that werent in the other one. This is instructables, it should be a friendly environment, yet so many people out there will get mad for no reason. We are all here to help each other and give advice on how to make cool things.

    2 replies

    When building stuff, there are lots of correct ways to get to the same place. So while you shouldn't copy and paste someone else's Instructable, posting a project that is similar or even uses the same techniques is totally ok. The community can definitely benefit from seeing two experts do the same thing.

    I'd like to emphasis how you said "expert." As many know, the community really does not like when a project is done twice with a lack of respect for what has already been done (particular when it comes to amateur pyrotechnics etc.)....