Hi! My name is Brian. I have this little
channel on YouTube where I have some videos about handling large neodymium magnets safely and
sometimes test their power just for the fun of it… I am often asked what neodymium magnet
would be good for a beginner who would like to try the power of neo-magnets
but has no experience with their power. In this video I’ll try to answer this
question based on my personal experience. I don’t believe there is such a thing as
a perfect beginner magnet that will suit you all but I’ll set up some guidelines
for what you should look for. First things first.
Why a neodymium magnet? Well, neodymium magnets are simply
the most powerful permanent magnets ever invented. Only electromagnets can be stronger so if you have had fun with weak
ferrite magnets you’ll most likely love neodymium magnets. However – with great
power comes great responsibility. A large neodymium magnet is
dangerous. The big ones can easily crush the bones in your
fingers beyond repair… For that reason the most important thing
to consider when buying a neo-magnet is size. Do not buy a large one as your first. Practice with smaller magnets and
scale up as you gain experience. Large neo-magnets are powerful and
expensive so buying one as a beginner is like taking your driving licence in a Ferrari. It could be fun but will most likely quickly
end up being very expensive and bloody. So how big is large in this context? It may be smaller than you think.
This is a 20 mm cubed neodymium magnet. It doesn’t look scary
but this is more than enough to give you a nasty bite. In an earlier video I showed how
this magnet can lift over 20 kg. Imagine having skin pinched between
the magnet and a solid metal bar… A 20 mm cube will easily
give you blood blisters or even bite skin off. It will
however not break your fingers but this magnet is the largest
I can recommend for a beginner. If you’re not a responsible adult
or don’t like pain you should start smaller. This magnet is more controllable but still large enough to do some weight lifting. A typical fridge magnet will not lift 8 kg. So to sum up about size: buy smaller than you think and train yourself before going large. The next guideline is about the shape of a nice beginner magnet. There are a lot of shapes to choose from but I’m only gonna show the most common.
Stay away from the more specialized shapes not shown. A beginner magnet should be
simple, cheap, easily available and easy to handle safely.
Here’s a common sphere magnet This is not recommended for a beginner.
They are more difficult to produce than most shapes making them more expensive.
The poles are just tiny dots on the surface so they don’t have impressive lifting
force. There’s simply not much magnet touching the material you want it to stick to. This also makes them self-destructive.
There’s a lot of force on a tiny area on the poles so the coating
will over time crack or wear off. The magnet will then corrode rather
fast so sphere magnets need special handling and storage. Not the easiest shape to handle. So how about a square magnet? It’s better since it has large pole surfaces
that are easy to spot with the naked eye. However it has sharp corners that will
bite you hard if your skin is trapped. This one is also very thin.
I don’t like thin magnets since all neodymium magnets are brittle.
They look, feel and even sound very solid
– like metal – but they are not! The shiny metal coating is very thin
and only there to prevent corrosion. The magnetic material inside the magnet
is a crystalline structure comparable to ceramic – like a dinner
plate – so neo-magnets will easily break, chip or even shatter if they are not
handled carefully. Always treat them like they were made of glass and never let thin or large
magnets fly together or you could have sharp shrapnel flying around… Here we have two disc magnets of roughly the same volume but I would
prefer the thick magnet to the left. It is mechanically stronger and
less prone to break in half. In practice it will also feel magnetically
stronger on small objects like a paperclip because there’s more magnet under
each point on the pole surface. Okay, so a cube magnet would
be a nice starter magnet? No… I do love cube magnets.
They are my personal favorites but they are not nice beginner magnets. They still have sharp corners that bite hard
and you can’t tell where the poles are with the naked eye. This can get you into trouble.
Here are two cube magnets put together. Watch what happens when I try to turn them around. Here it is in slow motion. Notice how
close I was to getting my skin pinched. It happens way faster than I can react. The problem was that they were
not put together pole to pole like shown here with the south pole marked
with blue. They were instead put together side to side like shown here. This should not be twisted but the
magnets come unmarked from the factory so a beginner may mess it up.
Not pleasant with 20 mm cubes like these. Therefore my recommendation goes to the
disc magnet as the best shape for a beginner. No sharp corners, poles are easy to spot and it is a very common shape with a
lot of sizes to choose from. Perfect! Next up is the grade of the magnet. I have made a whole video about grade so
I’m not gonna go into details about it here. But all you need to know is:
the higher number in grade the stronger the magnet.
The higher grades are more expensive but since a beginner should look for
small magnet I will recommend a medium to high grade. In smaller magnets a higher grade
does not add much to the price. The last guideline is about coating
and this is the least important. The standard for neodymium magnets is a
triple-layer coating of nickel-copper-nickel. This is good for a beginner magnet.
There are other more advanced options but you don’t need
them and other coatings limit the selection of magnets and often add to the price. For example you
can find some with a fourth layer of gold. It looks great but it doesn’t make
the magnet perform any better. So no need to go for the more specialized coatings. Alright that were my guidelines for choosing your first magnet.
But where can these magnets be bought? I haven’t heard of a dedicated shop
where you can walk in and pick up a selection of neodymium magnets off the shelves. It would also be a nightmare to handle.
I did however find a few neodymium magnets for sale in a physical shop in the section with whiteboards but
these offers are generally of low grades N35 or so to keep them as cheap
as possible. They can be an easy and fast solution if you just want
to give neo-magnets a try but if you want a large
selection and some strong grades you should search for dedicated webshops.
But then you run into another problem. The shipping is expensive for a single
magnet. They need to ship it as a package. They can’t just ship it in an envelope
because it may get stuck to something before arriving at your place. And webshops
have a minium value that you have to order. They simply lose money if your order is
only a single 50 cent magnet they have to spend time on handling and shipping. Fair enough. So for a beginner I can
recommend a sample selection of magnets which some webshops offer. Here are the best sets I found so far. Unlike other sample sets I’ve seen these
don’t just come randomly stacked in bubble wrap but in boxes with foam inserts.
I really like this organized solution. This is the set with tiny magnets.
A great collection but too small if you are
aiming for a lot of power. The medium set is more powerful and may be the best choice for most.
But… for the same price you can get the set with larger magnets.
This set includes some nice disc magnets and is highly recommended – just be
careful when removing the magnets. They are packed a little close and may
attract each other if you’re not aware when lifting a magnet out of the foam. Pull the magnet straight up
and away from the other magnets. Oh! By the way… This set is called the macho set and it is not for beginners. If you want me to I can
make a separate video about it. Alright it is time to end this video. I’ll fill the info box under this
video with links and more info. Hopefully this will all help you into the
world of neodymium magnets without too much pain. Feel free to ask questions if
you’re still in doubt. Bye for now.