Magnets attract to a steel surface, but they don’t exert a lateral or sideways magnetic force. Only friction prevents your fridge magnets from sliding down to the floor.
With that in mind, we’ve introduced a series of rubber coated mounting magnets made especially for hanging stuff on walls. Currently available in three sizes, they can be mounted with common screws or hardware.
If there's limited friction between a magnet and what it's sticking to, a magnet can often slide down on a vertical surface like a wall or refrigerator door. The rubber coating on these magnets really helps solve that problem! We've discussed the importance of friction in past articles:
Our advice has usually been cautious and a bit technical, since it's hard to predict how a magnet might slide on a surface. Of course, if you’re just trying to hang a picture frame, you might not want to chat endlessly with our engineers about friction coefficients. They’re apt to, if you let them! You really just need a solution that works. So: Rubber Mounting Magnets.
These magnets are made with a thin steel plate that has two strong neodymium magnets attached. With a mounting hole in the middle, the whole thing has a rubbery material molded around it for a high-friction surface. These magnets are made for vertical wall applications!
Their construction makes it easy to mount with a screw, and provides a lot of magnetic force for the amount of magnet material used.
If you're hanging a thick wooden frame, one or more of these magnets can be screwed directly to the back of a frame using common wood screws. Wood screws available from the local hardware or home improvement store work well.
What if your frame is thin? Or made of metal? What if you can’t drive a screw into the back of it?
The simple hole in these magnets allows all sorts of solutions using commonly available hardware. With a little creativity, you could find all sorts of ways to use these magnets.
To mount a picture frame that already has some kind of hanging feature on the back, a nut and screw can be assembled onto the magnet. A picture frame can be hung on the screw just as you would hang it on a screw in the wall.
What screws did we use? These should be available at your local hardware or home improvement store:
Pan Head Machine Screw
|RMB-B-X0||#4-40 x 3/8"||#4-40|
|RMB-B-X8||#6-32 x 1/2"||#6-32|
|RMB-B-Y0||#8-32 x 1/2"||#8-32|
A word of caution: When stuck to a sturdy steel door, we found these magnets quite difficult to remove by hand! They're thin, so it's hard to get a good grip on them. We had to grab the screw with a pliers to get them off!
As with any magnet, the amount of weight you can hang with it depends on what you’re sticking it to and how you use it.
The Pull Force numbers we list describe the force required to pull a single magnet straight away from a big, thick steel plate. While that’s a great measure of strength, it’s not the same thing as how much the magnet can hold to your steel front door.
To get some decent estimates, we stuck each of these magnets onto a few vertical surfaces. We applied the force to pull down, attempting to slide the magnet down the face of the vertical surface. The results are less than the official pull force to a big steel plate, but provide a more realistic estimate when used on a wall.
These are tests we tried ourselves on surfaces we had available here. As they say, your results may vary. We noticed differences depending on which steel door we tried it on!
|Surface||1" RMB-B-X0||1 1/2" RMB-B-X8||2" RMB-B-Y0|
|Thick (1") steel plate||11.2 lb||17.2 lb||24.0 lb|
|Steel Door, Painted||7.8 lb||12.2 lb||15.6 lb|
|Refrigerator (painted steel)||4.0 lb||5.0 lb||6.2 lb|
|Filing Cabinet||7.4 lb||10.6 lb||15.2 lb|
Of course, magnets can help hang up more than just picture frames. In a previous holiday season, we recommended our WPH-LG Magnetic Hooks to hang a wreath to a steel door in our Christmas Wreaths article. They work great! Many of us are pulling them out again this holiday season.
Naturally, we wondered how these new magnets would work. While they don’t have a built in hook, adding some screws to attach the wreath worked quite well. We still like those plastic hooks for wreaths, but this could be another solution.
Thanks again to the wonderful folks at Wreaths of Maine for another beauty!
Over the years, many customers have asked us about magnets to hang blinds on a steel door. It’s a great idea, especially when you don’t want to make permanent holes in a door.
It can be a tough challenge to pick the right magnets. The weight of the blinds plus the force you pull down on the string can tend to rotate the magnets away from the door. As described in our Leverage & Friction article, it's easy to rotate magnets away from the surface, even with powerful magnets. This is especially true if the blinds stick out from the door a lot. The challenge is finding magnets that will hold well enough without being dangerously powerful.
We knew we just had to give these great magnets a try. We attached three of the large, 2” RMB-B-Y0 magnets to the back of some cheap blinds we had lying around. We attached the magnets with screws.
We were pleasantly surprised at how well they work. They even stayed in place when tugging on the string! It’s possible to slide them down a bit with a hard enough tug, but we didn’t find it unreasonable.
In the videos and images below, we describe how magnets and a AA battery running through a coil of copper wire makes a train!
Magnets can reach through walls! You may know this from performing a simple magnetic magic trick at the kitchen table. You can make a magnet sitting on top of the table move around by manipulating a magnet underneath the table. It’s a great trick that never fails to fascinate.
Engineers use this same principle to design a magnetic coupling. These devices use magnets to spin a shaft, where magnets reach across a gap to transmit torque or force. To demonstrate, we’ve made a simple boat that uses a magnetic coupling to transmit power through the hull of a boat. The power source comes from a motor inside the boat, driving magnets to spin a propeller on the outside – all without drilling a hole in the hull of the boat!
Magnets and sunlight makes things float and spin, again!
Some time ago, we had a great time making a two-part series describing a Mendocino motor. It’s a simple demonstration motor that spins, powered by sunlight. Made with magnets, insulated wire and a few solar panels, it’s a really cool project.
Over the course of explaining and demonstrating how it works, we created a rough prototype to demonstrate the pieces. It wasn’t pretty, but worked well enough to show the concepts. Since then, we’ve been asked about how to build a prettier one, and what magnets should be used.
Here’s our second try at it!
In our last article, we discussed a few ways neodymium magnets could be used as magnetic latches or closures for cabinet doors. We ended that one with a teaser about how neodymium magnets might be used to re-magnetize an old closure with a ceramic magnet to be as strong as it was when new. Let’s do it!