Introduction: Magnetic Axe Prank

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Leaving your car parked on the street is an exercise in civic trust (or Civic trust, ha!). After you've locked up your ride and head off to work, you assume that your vehicle will be there when you get back and in the exact same condition it was when you left it. Out of sight out of mind, right? I mean...nobody would actually take an axe and slam it through the hood of a car, would they?

Well, April Fool's is a bad time to assume anything. And, seeing as some people are protective over their cars more than most other things makes it a perfect target to prank. By modifying an axe and using powerful magnets you can create a simple but effective prop that looks like someone has sunk an axe into your friends' car. The perfect revenge-prank!

This prank does not damage your victim's ride and will alarm the prankee and passer-by's alike. 
Enough talk, let's prank!

Step 1: Tools + Materials

  • horizontal bandsaw*
  • sanding wheel*
  • scissors
  • chop saw
  • adjustable clamps
  • large axe
  • neodymium magnets
  • scrap neoprene
  • scrap 2x4" wood
I used the horizontal bandsaw and grinding wheel at TechShop SF.

Step 2: Cut Axe Blade

To cut the axe blade I used the horizontal bandsaw, this tool is a good choice for cutting as it goes slow and the axe can be clamped in place. It's important that the cutting process is slow as the axe is made from tool steel, a very hard metal. Scrap 2x4" lumber was used to hold the axe in place while cutting.

I started by chopping some scrap 2x4" lumber with a 30° angle. This lumber will act as a brace while the axe is clamped in the horizontal bandsaw as the axe is of an irregular shape and did not fit into the bandsaw clamp at the angle I wanted to cut. 

Using an indelible marker I marked where I wanted my cut to be. Then, using the scrap wood I clamped the axe into the horizontal bandsaw and began cutting.

When using the horizontal bandsaw to cut tool steel it is important that the saw be set on the slowest setting with a very slow drop. Tool steel is very hard and it will take some time for the saw to make its way through the axe. For my project the saw took about 30 minutes to cut through the axe blade. Always err on the side of caution and go slow, ensuring plenty of lubricant for the saw blade while cutting. Read more about horizontal bandsaw use here.

Step 3: Grind Flat

The horizontal bandsaw cuts fairly straight, but can cut at an odd angle if your metal moves during the cut. I sanded my cut flat with a circular sander.

I had originally thought to inset each magnet into the face of the axe head, but found that arranging the axe under the drill press was awkward and caused the drill to deflect. As such, insetting the magnets was abandoned. 

Step 4: Neoprene Protection

To protect the car form scratches (either from the metal axe or the magnets) I used a small swatch of neoprene, cut to the exact size of the axe face. Any padded fabric will do, but make sure it's thin enough to allow the magnets to get a firm grip on whatever you are sticking your prank axe to.

My neoprene was 3mm.

Step 5: Find Your Target and Hide!

All that's left is to place your neodynium magnets on the axe face and you're ready to prank!

Using the neoprene cushion place the axe on your victim's car hood, roof, trunk or door. Then, sit back and watch as your friend (and onlookers) gawk at what looks like the worst case of revenge!
After your prank has been executed you can all have a good laugh when you remove the axe and show your friend there is no damage done!

Have fun!

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