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  1. #1
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    Dec 2003

    D.I.Y. glass cleaning magnet !!

    Hi Everyone,
    thought I'd share my experience with trying to make my own cleaning magnet for my new tank.

    well, it all started with trying the usual mag floats. the 3/4" glass i have needs a stronger magnet then I could find for cheap. ( I did find what they call the "shark" which does up to 1" but at a cost of ~240$. ) LOL

    so.. I started thinking about how i could easily do this for alot cheaper. took some of my magnets apart to figure out how they were doing theirs.

    I started by purchasing what I thought was super strong magnets on ebay, 1/4" x 1" disks of N48 on eBay. product arrived, started working on a handle for it and a little clear acrylic box. the wooden handle on the left with the little curves on it was to match my hand and it did perfectly. I used oak and a wood bit to empty the underside where the magnets went in and used a bolt on each magnet to hold them in place ( those magnets had a hole in the middle ) so it was convenient to bolt on.
    It worked, but not on 3/4" glass.. on my starphire tank ( ~1/4" ) and smaller tanks it worked great.. on the big tank, as soon as I'd move it, it would float back to the surface.. ( useless for my tank ).

    So, read some more on magnets, discovered that magnet shape does make a hell of a difference, usually, the more compact it is, the stronger it is, so spheres, cubes and cylinders are better. holes in the middle kill the strength alot.

    so I decided to order 1" cylinders with no holes. so (1"x1") of N48. the specs indicated ~97lbs of power compared to 18 on my previous magnets.

    now, i wasn't happy with the acrylic box i had made, it wasn't pretty and was alot of work for nothing. I ended up picking up a circuit box used in project electronics ( active components in ottawa ). I then encountered another problem, I couldn't get the magnets to stay inside the box without hitting my fingers or each other. Warning, these magnets can hurt pretty bad!!!
    so I first tried an acrylic jig like a half moon on each side connected with pieces of more acrylic in the middle, didn't work. So i ended up with a piece of 1" pine inside the box with half moons cut out to fit the magnets on each ends. sealed the magnet with aquarium silicone.

    then i had to do the handle part. next trouble: make a handle to hold SAFELY 2x 1" cylinder magnets. I came up with the design on the right. Drilled two holes using those hole saws that empty the middle of the hole at the same time so it makes a nice flush hole. I used the 1" hole. it was soo tight when i put the magnets in, no way to get them out unless i drill from the other side and push them out. the handle is made of oak, two layers of 3/4" giving me 1-1/2" total. I used carpenters glue and some grip vices and left it to dry for a full day. then drew by hand a pattern i liked and cut away. sanded down the rough edges and inserted magnets, stained it dark oak using gel/varnish stuff.

    now, I had to add a rubbing pad on the magnets so they would scrape properly the glass without damaging it. Looking at my old magnets, why re-invent the wheel !.. so I picked up velcro at Rona, they sell a large one about 2.5" wide by a few feet long. used the soft part on both sides of the magnet... I tried the hard ( hook side ) on the inside of the tank, tried patterns, tried more, less, stripes.. etc.. the soft part actually works better!

    so, after all this,.. I have a full working magnet. only problem is, the magnet is a bit too heavy so it doesn't float much. I will install a buoy on it and simply pick it up once I'm done. I don't want to leave this thing in the way all the time. its unsightly

    and tada.. clean glass!
    1st magnet was alot more diy, cost ~36$ including wood, magnets and acrylic, oak..etc
    2nd magnet was a little more, cost ~53$ ( plastic box, magnets, silicone, oak, stain, )

    but it was a fun little project. !!

  2. #2
    ijo is offline
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    May 2011
    Thats a very kewl DIY project!!! $53 compared to 240 is a pretty big savings!!!


  3. #3
    Senior Member BIGGUNSAR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    love it.

    DIY'ers are natural inventors.
    90 gal tank
    200 gal power fussion skimmer

    1 firefish, 1 wrasse, 1 juvi yellow tang, 1 watchman gobi
    70 pounds free Live sand,200 pounds free Live rock
    1 power heads,

  4. #4
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    he he thanks guys,
    reflecting back on my last design... next one, i'll drill a small pilot hole right through where the magnets sit to properly gauge & to try and get as close to the edge of the wood as possible. also, trying to get different grades of velcro so i loose even less traction. ( the current one is too thick ). The further they are apart the more power they loose.

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