Keyboard fridge magnets

Time for a fun quickie amidst the Jerry project!

Some time last summer, I spotted these necklaces in this one shop that were made from computer keyboard caps. As you can probably guess, the idea of a DIY-something-out-of-keyboard-caps has been brewing in my head ever since. Shortly after, I’ve had a magnet (pulled from a damaged 3,5″ harddisk) and some keyboard caps on my desk waiting to be turned into fridge magnets. Time to give this idea a spin!

The parts for the fridge magnets

The parts for the fridge magnets, guess what word they're going to form ;)

The magnet needed to be cut into smaller pieces, so I clamped it down to a vice and cut it into four roughly equal-sized bits using a metal saw. I’ve never cut a magnet before, so was somewhat surprised to see sparks flying immediately when the saw went in. Not sure what actually causes this, but as neither the reflective surface coating or the magnet itself didn’t seem to light up I figured it’s nothing to worry about.

As for the assembly, I first put a small dab of hot glue in the bottom of the cap. Then, I gently inserted the magnet on top of that and “levelled” the inside of the cap up with a bit more glue.

Dab of glue for the magnet

Dab of glue on the bottom..

..drop in the magnet..

Covering/sealing up the magnet with additional glue

..and fill up with glue.

Now what actually happened after this I was not fully prepared for. Whilst placing the caps on the table for the glue to settle, it turned out that the magnetic pull was much stronger than I had anticipated. So, as I placed the third magnet on the table too close to the second one (hot glue still not fully cooled down) they jumped together and pulled in the first one as well (neither fully cooled down)! A silly mess of hot glue and magnets on my desk, yay.

Glue mess!

A while or three was then spent cleaning up the mess.. The second try went far more better and eventually I had the completed keyboard magnets on my desk..:

Completed magnets

Above, the magnets are about as close you can put them (if not on a metallic surface) before they jump together.. Reckon they will carry quite a fair pile of paper on the fridge door :)

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3 responses to “Keyboard fridge magnets”

  1. arto says :

    As a side-note; one of my colleagues at work spotted these magnets on my desk. After I explained how they were made, he vaguely commented that cutting magnets might release some kind of a toxic dust.

    Now, I have no idea if this is true or whether it applies to all magnets or some of certain type. The miniscule amounts of dust I saw being released, seemed to pile up on the magnet halves (or burned with the sparks) from where they could be wiped off.

    Anyway, if you decide to do a similar project you should acknowledge the possible existence of this issue. Generally, cutting stuff with a hand saw doesn’t make the particles fly around as much as a power saw (or such) would, but I doubt that wearing a breathing mask hurts either ;)

    If you happen to know anything about this mysterious magnet dust or it’s health effects, do leave a comment or a fact-link!

  2. Heather S. says :

    I was researching how to do this project after reading about it today on lifehacker.com and found out that magnets can indeed release a toxin from the dust. I was actually reading about the neodymium magnets so I don’t know if the same info applies to the kind of magnet you were using.

    • arto says :

      Good to have the dust toxin confirmed at least on some level! Care to share any online sources?

      Considering how easily the ones I have chipped, I’m guessing they were neodymium (rare earth) magnets.

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