The MagBroom (Prototype)

“This amazing, fabulous, incredibly versatile broom can be yours for just 5 equal payments of $19.95.  And if you buy in the next 10 minutes with your credit card, you get a second one for free!”

Yeah, whatever.

Back to reality, and here is another (prototype) jig I came up with ages ago for the MagJig.  Course I didn’t get around to building one at the time – was hoping MagSwitch would bring out a commercial one!  I did suggest it to them 😉

Anyway, it took a total of about 20 minutes to fabricate my own.  The idea of course, is for when you invariably drop a whole bunch of screws/washers/bolts/ferrous whatevers all over the floor, and need to pick them up, lost in the drifts of sawdust.

You can use a magnet if you wish, but scraping the findings off the bottom invariably leads to metal splinters.  And just sweeping it all up conventionally leads to a lot of wasted, frustrating times picking through the sawdust to find the small, elusive items.

My idea then was to use the switchable convenience of the MagJig, and its strong magnetism to make the job a breeze – or a clean sweep!

To start, I took a block of wood to carve into.  After cutting to length, I used a forstner bit to make the initial angled cut so the holesaw I needed had a good platform to bite into. (If I had the right size forstner bit I could have skipped that step).

Broom Handle Hole

Broom Handle Hole

Having the drill press laser made aligning the hole so much easier (and the pro drill press table’s clamping system).

Broom Body Cut

Broom Body Cut

This is the resulting broom body, with the broom handle hole tapped, and 2 forstner holes cut for the MagJigs.  I could have simply used a 19mm thick piece of timber, but instead this gave a much stronger joint for the handle.

The MagBroom

The MagBroom

I’ve also added a couple of wooden wheels to each side, so the magnets are held off the ground at a fixed height, relying on the strength of the MagJigs to pick up items, rather than having to actually contact them directly.  It also means I can roll the broom over the ground, picking up items without those items then causing problems – catching sawdust, getting knocked off the magnet etc.

Broom Head

Broom Head

The wheels provide approximately 5mm clearance.  There is no real reason for wooden wheels – they are from the toy wheel cutter, and just happened to be available, and the right price.  This is a prototype after all.

The Pickup

The Pickup

I gave it a test drive by throwing a few screw hooks on the floor into the sawdust.  A couple of passes with the MagBroom picked them all up without a hassle. I then placed the broom over the storage container, and turned the magnets off, allowing the parts to fall away.

This photo gives a better view of the wheels, and the end of the broom handle (which was sanded flush).  I chose 4 wheels rather than 2 so the whole bottom was kept level.  Not so critical when just using the 2 magnets, but I was (and may still intend) to add a full ferrous plate to the bottom of the broom.  The only problem was the plate I originally chose seemed to drop off the magnetic strength significantly.  Not sure why – either I know a lot less about magnetism than I thought, or the metal plate I chose was not the right material.  More research required.

Or perhaps not – like so many prototypes, if it works too well, it never gets beyond the prototype phase, as the jig then becomes version 1.0!

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