How to magnetise a screwdriver

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If you are trying to fix a screw in a hard to reach place or are working with small, fiddly screws a magnetised screwdriver can save you lots of time. Most new, high-end screwdrivers are supplied already magnetised, but sometimes they can lose their magnetism. There are a number of ways you can use magnets to remagnetise a screwdriver, or magnetise one that was never magnetised in the first place.

Here’s our two top tips:

1) Use a ring magnet

19.1mm diameter N42 neodymium ring magnet

Screwdrivers are available in many different thicknesses, with different heads. This method will work with tools up to 9.5mm thick. To give your screwdriver super magnetic powers, simply slip the 19.1mm diameter neodymium ring magnet down the metal blade of the screwdriver and hold it in place with a clip, piece of tack or tape or even just your hand. The magnetism from the ring magnet passes down the blade, to the head making it great at picking up screws and holding them steady while you fix them in place.

With this method your screwdriver will be able to hold several screws at once while ever the ring is on the screwdriver.

 

2) Slide a magnet along the screwdriver blade

Man holding a screwdriver in left hand and magnetising the blade using a strong magnet in his right hand.

Our second tip is to place a fairly large cylindrical neodymium magnet on the screwdriver blade (starting halfway towards the end for large screwdrivers) and slide the magnet along to the very end in one smooth movement and repeat. Don’t rub the magnet up and down as this will magnetise it then demagnetise it. The best results are achieved by making sure the steel is clean and free of any residue, sliding the magnet in one direction only.

This process aligns the electrons in some of the atoms within the steel. These atoms generate their own very weak magnetism so when a group of atoms are aligned they behave like a tiny, tiny magnet. The more electrons aligned, the stronger the magnetism. A tool magnetised in this way will not maintain its power indefinitely but will keep it for some time. Banging and knocking the magnetised screwdriver will cause it to slowly lose its magnetism. However, once you own a strong neodymium magnet you can repeat this trick over and over!

 

Other tools you can magnetise

Steel magnetised spanner holding several small nutsIt’s not just screwdrivers that can be magnetised to make your DIY easier. Here’s a few more items we tried:

  • Spanners
  • Wrench
  • Drill bits
  • Multi-tool

About Matt Newby

Matt Newby is part of a group of people that have a passion for magnets and their endless possibilities. As part of the marketing team at first4magnets.com Matt's aim is to create great magnet-related technical content and help people understand how magnets can be used.

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