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Magnet solution

Hello All,

I designed a small piece (@ 1-inch) that I can only describe as
looking like the tip of an asparagus spear. Created in wax, this is
2 separate pieces that join together to make a perfect fit and has a
very fluid appearance. One of the pieces has a small “ball” inside
that was designed to create a very tight fit that “snaps” when
closed. The 2 pieces join nicely but it’s not staying together.
Someone suggested that I put a small magnet inside so that the
pieces stay together. Apparently Apple uses one of these magnets on
their new powerbook. This was designed to be my signature piece and I
am very happy with the design so i don’t want to give up. Does anyone
have any ideas? I can send a photo if anyone needs to see it to
offer me a solution.

Thank you. Dana

I think we all need a bit more specificity. What sort of piece is
this? Ring, brooch, necklace, pendant, earrings… What does the
snapping together have to do with anything? Is it just to avoid
soldering, or is it some sort of catch?

If you’re thinking of a magnetic catch you’ll want to use rare earth
magnets, also known as neodymium magnets. K&J Magnetics carries a
wide variety and sells in all quantities, so you can buy a few in
different sizes to see what works best.

As to why your ball catch doesn’t hold, cast metal is not especially
elastic. Once it has been stretched by pushing the ball in it will
not regain its original shape to capture the ball. Also, because of
the metal’s shrinkage on cooling you’re not likely to get a close
enough fit right out of the mold anyway. For these kind of catches to
work the tolerances must be very close and it’s best to cast over-
and under-size and then file or machine to fit. But really you want
the catch parts to be worked metal, not cast.

My 2c

If you want to try magnets, get rare earth magnets. I get mine here:

United Nuclear

Thank you for your 2C–much appreciated. Especially the part about
using metal that has been worked rather than cast for the ball. The
piece is designed as a pendant which also serves as the catch which
is why it cannot be soldered. The magnet is my last resort to
"saving" this piece as I have sought the advice of several
professional jewelers and all have said the piece needs to be
redesigned. A computer specialist/graphic designer suggested the
magnet so I hope it works. Thanks again for your interest & advice.

I order small magnets from Amazing Magnets. They have a large
variety of sizes, the prices are reasonable, they ship quickly and
even the smaller ones are strong.


Perhaps I missed something, but it seems to me that the part of the
piece that needs to be worked metal is the socket the ball snaps
into. This is where you need the metal to be a bit springy from work
hardening. Otherwise it will just move when you push the ball in, and
that is that.

Ben Brauchler

dana - you can order custom magnets - which you may need in future
if it’s your signature design - find a manufacturer and describe what
you need. manufacturers can usually stamp out the size and shape you
want and also clue you in to the anti-social behavior of magnets:
they have to be mated in one position only and will flip into that
position every time regardless of where you want them. i had magnets
made to my dimensions and configuration by a company i found online

good luck -

people, there’s a solution to every problem, just make sure it’s the
correct one.

Thanks for your advice. May I ask how you set the magnets? I have a
tiny space so not enough room in there fir a bezel of any sort.

Tx again