Author Options:

Drilling rare earth magnets? Answered

Is it safe to drill holes in rare earth magnets? Is the dust toxic or anything like that? I have an idea for a project but it would require drilling holes in old hard drive magnets, but if it is going to make me ill or kill me I'll find another way to do it.



Best Answer 8 years ago

1)  RE magnets are effectively ceramic (or sintered power), so drilling through them is rather like drilling through bathroom tiles.  Use a small bit at first, slow speed, low or no pressure, etc.

2)  You should know the composition of your magnet (usually samarium cobalt, but there are others).  Then you can look up the MSDS for that material.  There are other MSDS sites online, which may have better interfaces than that one.  Google is also your friend.

Basic and obvious drilling safety rules apply here as anywhere else; these are for others, not RadBear (who obviously knows them already).

1) Wear eye protection.  Duh.
2) Wear a dust mask.  You can buy boxes of them at any hardware store, or get one from your doctor.
3) Clean up your mess.  Duh.
4) Don't do your drilling in the kitchen, or next to your lunch.  Duh.

Do give us an Instructable that uses magnetic-swarf.


I'll see what I can do. I'll just have to remember not eat it. :)

Most magnets are so hard, you won't be able to drill it anyway.

Or at least, you won't be able to do it without cracking the magnet.  Also, the heat generated by drilling may de-magnetize the magnet a bit.

If you need magnets with holes in the middle, you can buy them that way.

Ya beat me to it, Jeff; that was going to be my concern, and my suggestion. Woodworking supply houses are one good source for magnets with a mounting hole.