HOW TO – Extract magnets from plastic toys

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Windell writes – “As Marty McFly says, “You don’t just walk into a store and buy plutonium.” Actually, all I was after was neodymium, but the principle still applies. I needed a pile of rare earth magnets in a hurry. Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets are cheap, extremely strong, and surprisingly ubiquitous. Despite this, most corner drugstores do not carry sets of rare-earth magnets, and it can be hard to get them unless you have a few days to wait for a package. It turns out that you can get NdFeB magnets at the corner drugstore, and they’re cheap. You just have to extract them from the toys that they come in. “Link.

8 thoughts on “HOW TO – Extract magnets from plastic toys

  1. I’ve extracted my fair share of magnets from this sort of toy – and my favorite method looks to be a bit easier than this – the plastic they are made of is rather soft, but there is really nothing but friction or a tight fit keeping the magnets in there. So, I bought a large pair of wire cutters from walmart, and one squeeze at the base of where the magnets end will deform the plastic enough for the magnets to come out, if you have another freed magnet right there to pull it out… I liberated a whole pack of these things like this in about the same amount of time it took him to soak them, and with a bit less mess… so thought I’d throw it out there.

    Still have most of them waiting for a project though, need to find a magnet worthy project…

    -Johthe

  2. Great ideas guys! Just recently I was looking for some of these magnets for a simple project of mine. I wanted to attach them to some dry-erase markers, so I could stick the markers to the metal frame of my whiteboard on wheels (it doesn’t have a tray). I’m hitting the toy store today at lunch!

  3. You can get Neodymium magnets at Lee Valley if there is one near you. United Nuclear has R40 magnets if you need something really strong, but they can erase hard drives from 5 feet away so be careful.

  4. Johthe: I started out removing them mechanically, but I kept breaking them one way or another– some shattered, some cracked, and many just had their coating scratched. (A neo magnet with a scratched coating gets icky very soon.) If you’ve found a reliable way to remove them mechanically, that’s great!

    Ian12: I’ve listed some other good places to buy magnets here.

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