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Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/01/2008 9:54 AM

Howdy,

Problem: Nails and metal debris scattered around yard.

Pluses-relatively flat and dirt.

Minus- about 10,000sq ft.

Over the wet season had a burn pile with lumber and such, afterwards the kid were going to "pick-up the remains" never did, rode ATV's and dirt bikes in/through/and around pile. Now I have to get all of the nails out the area for parking.

I was thinking An electro magnet powered by my ATV battery, or larger power supply if necessary, but I can't find anything wide enough to make and, yes, I am cheap and dont want to buy a forklift or walk behind jobsite model.

PS I think it would be fun to make because, electricity is cool.

Thanks for the help in advance

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#1

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 10:29 AM

Interesting problem...

The size of the cost and effort involved in building an electromagnet setup that would do what you are after would be rather large. Though I can envision some interesting contraptions.

Perhaps I would...

1) Go to a "Radio Shack", now called "Circuit City" in my part of the world, and purchase a metal detector, one of those cheap ones they sell for beach treasure hunters.

2) I would then place a stake in the ground where the centre of the burn pile used to be. One would only have to walk in expanding circles out from the center searching with the metal detector for the left over nails and such.

3) Give the metal detector to the kid, or on subsequent attempts, to one of the other kids (if there was more then one), so they could recover the metal.

4) Create a reward system such as, for every dozen nails or screws they recover, they get to... well you decide what would be appropriate in your particular case.

If this had of been me as a kid... the "reward" would have been the "removal of one of my old man's boots from the output portal of my digestive tract". Ohh how times have changed. Fort the better... I wonder?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 12:54 PM

I would do that, however they are between 19 and 26 years old and came over with friends and spun "donuts" in the yard and were just a bunch of hooligans. Now I have to clean the mess for the little woman, because they will never get around to it.

Also, I don't want my llamas or horses getting stuck by something. the lot is about 40ftx300ft. That is why I thought I could just drive around the lot< with a beer in hand of course> and pick up everything in a grid pattern.

Thanks for the input though.

PS you wouldn't want a 19 or 26 year old unemployed male would you.

HA ha hah

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#11
In reply to #2

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/02/2008 8:13 AM

The Marine Corps will happily accept your 19 to 26 year old unemployed males and teach them some discipline and respect along the way.

I would suggest a permanant magnet designed specificaly for this purpose can be found on the net and at many local hardware stores fairly cheaply. You will find this far cheaper than buying a couple miles of copper wire.

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#3

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 1:45 PM

Then... I would think about...

1) Purchasing a carbon steel lawn rake, such as the one in the picture.

2) Wrap wire around the sections between the tines to magnetize the whole head.

3) Bring the wires up the handle and connect them to a bunch a batteries in a back pack and see what happens.

I'm still thinking on your "driving around with a pint" concept.

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#4

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 2:36 PM

You are going to need a lot of copper wire to make what you want to do. You will need someone to weld suitable soft iron bar stock into a tee or maybe a grid with a vertical part around which you will spend weeks wrapping the wire, and likely have to put wheels on the contraption so it will follow you around as you sip your suds. That represents a lot of work and a lot of money that could have been better used to buy even more libations. Lowes and Home Depot have magnets already mounted on wheels just for this purpose. You might be able to rent one or borrow one from a roofing contractor. They are about $50,00 +/- a few suds.

CHEERS TMF

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#5

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electromagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 2:40 PM

If you can find a scrap railroad iron about as long as an ATV is wide and use it as the core for an electromagnet. Rap your copper wire around the sides (not the top and bottom) to make the long flat end the would set on the ground one of the poles. Hang the magnet on the front of your ATV as close to the ground as you can get it (maybe even touching the ground) and drive around nice and slow across the yard. When you find a nail or something with the magnet just pull it off and continue. This way you could be cheap AND lazy. It would take several rounds of copper wire to make the magnet strong enough to really grab the nails but its should look cool when your done. I've never made a magnet THIS large so I can't promise how well it would work. I made a smaller one as a kid using a car battery, a 6 inch iron shaft and few hundred rounds of copper wire. It was fairly strong as long you got the metal close to the magnet.

Good Luck

James

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#6

Re: WANTED-Cheap, nail/metal picking electomagnet for yard clearing

07/01/2008 2:41 PM

Use a steel rod about 1/4" -1/2" Dia x length about the width of ATV foot pegs (from one to the other). Wrap about 12 ga wire around the rod along it's length the arc the wire ends across 12v battery terminals. The rod will become magnetized.

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#7

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 12:13 AM

Check Harbor Freight. They have a push sweep magnetic pickup with wheels that you can push over an area to pickup ferrous material. It has a sheet metal cover that you pull to dump what you have picked up. Sells in the $30 to $40 region.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electromagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 8:08 AM

I have one of those. Mine does not have wheels though. The wheels would be nice for plain dirt or concrete. I opted for no wheels so I could get down into the grass better. A few years back I purchased a home. The previous owner knocked down an old garage to lower the taxes. The result was a lot of nails in the driveway. I retrieved a very large coffee can of old nails from the gravel drive with the little magnet. I friend of mine borrowed it when he tore off his old garage roof to clean up the yard. It did not work out very well. The grass would get caught between the magnet and the nails. When you lifted the magnet the grass would pop off the nail. If the magnet was stronger it would have worked much better. There are larger versions of these. They are advertised hanging from truck bumpers, forklifts, and bobcats to clean up job sites. You might check into renting one if you do not wish to purchase.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/NTESearch?storeId=6970&N=0&Ntk=All&Ntt=magnet&Nty=1&D=magnet&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Dx=mode+matchallpartial

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#8

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 1:45 AM

Next time the "boys" are over, get them to do it!! Why should you bear the pain.

A simple reward system is VERY useful. Like when they go inside for a drink, jack up the car and remove the tyres. They get them back when you can safely walk barefoot anywhere on the decontaminated area. (Motivation for them to do the task.)

Let them also know that every nail that is found after they claim to have finished will be judiciously placed so as to cause future punctures in their tyres. (Motivation to do the job correctly.)

Who knows, they might invent something themselves and learn a lesson at the same time.

By the way, the magnet idea will not be succesful if there is grass. Some nails will already be tangled into the grass and will not pick up. The metal detector would be the only reliable way.

Alternatively, skim the whole surface 1/2 inch into undisturbed material and use the material as fill where the metal will not be of concern.

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#16
In reply to #8

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 12:47 PM

When the "boys" have been over and thrown ciagarette butts in the yard, I would leave them on the drivers seat of their YUKON, but my better half said that was childish. I thought about dragging them around the yard naked, until they picked up all the nails, one way or another. But, alas, that idea was shot down too.

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#10

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electromagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 8:12 AM

Just in case you decide to go the ready-made route, this place has every flavor of "sweeping" magnet you could imagine!

http://www.bluestreakequipment.com/

With the price of copper these days, you may find that a permanent magnet solution is going to be cheaper. Good luck with your "treasure" hunting!

Tom D.

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#12

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 8:37 AM

Do you know any roofers? Many of them use a 2 wheeled magnet to sweep up afterwards and they might rent/loan you the use for a day. I suspect it's the Harbor Freight unit mentioned by a Guest (register and I'll give you a "Good Answer").

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#13

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electromagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 9:14 AM

Go to a junk yard or a place that repairs automobile air conditioners and see if they will let you get some of the old clutches that are on the bad compressors. These have a very strong 12 volt DC donut electro-magnet that makes the clutch engage. Wire 6 or so to a piece of wood or metal (metal is better because they will stick to it making the whole thing a magnet when energized) and attach a couple of cheap wheels to each end so the magnets/metal runs about 1/2" above the ground. Figure out a simple way to attach to your 4 wheeler and "wah lah" you have what you seek. I did this before but made it a little more sturdier than doing as cheap as possible and it works very well.

pipewelder

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#14

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 10:21 AM

Dings Magnetics group makes a number of different models for just this sort of application.

http://www.dingsmagnets.com/products/permanent-magnetic-sweepers/index.asp

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#15

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 10:53 AM

Maybe a couple of these:

For sale at Harbor Freight for 14.99. Get a couple attach them to the mower and WaLa!! ride with beer in had and let them do the work for you.

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#17

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 12:55 PM

hey all, thanks for the ideas, As for putting the "boy" in the military, sounds great but they both have asthma, I say suck it up and grow up. I like the AC clutch idea, I will try that this week end and let you guys know how it goes. I had one of the 2 wheeled roll arounds worked great, I just thought this sounded like moore fun. Maybe if I make it strong enough. I could drive the opposite rotation as the earth, have time run back wards and solve all the problems of the world.

1. Nails in their tires before they even leave the garage

2. cheaper gas prices

3. And I miss the 80's music....not

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 4:31 PM

I was just in home depot yesterday, they had magnets over a foot wide (above the steel and aluminum strips). Put a few of those together and you could cover a large area by hand.

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#19

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/02/2008 10:21 PM

Here is another idea for you...

  • Go to a sign shop. There you can purchase rolls of magnetic material they use to make fridge magnets.
  • Buy a 4' x 4' piece, or some similar size.
  • Glue it to a hunk of plywood.
  • Place 1" or 2" wheels on all four corners so that the plywood sits a 1/2" to 1" off of the ground.
  • Attach a rope to the front corners.
  • Pull it around the lawn on your lawn tractor with that pint, we were talking about, in one hand.

Rick...

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#20

Re: Wanted: Cheap, Nail / Metal-Picking Electomagnet for Yard Clearing

07/10/2008 10:23 AM

Can't readily find a cost for these:-

http://www.livoniamagnetics.com/magnetic_sweepers.htm

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