The Handyman's Lifeline

That's how you save small screws from the dust bag nirvana
Author: Guy Birrer, Switzerland
Do you know a handyman who has not dropped a tiny, microscopic screw, and lost it to a colorfully patterned oriental rug? If the screw is magnetic, you have a real chance of finding it again with a large magnet if you're willing to crawl around the floor looking. But often, despite your efforts, the screw is never found.
Only when you hear it clattering along the neck of your vacuum cleaner are you painfully reminded of the missing screw, now hopelessly lost in the Nirvana of your vacuum cleaner sack.
But wait - there is still hope! If you attach a magnet somewhere along the tube of your vacuum cleaner, there is a good chance that you'll be able to save that tiny screw at the last minute. You don't necessarily need a death magnet. After all, you're not planning to vacuum up the iron reinforcements in your cement floor! A smaller magnet does the job just as well, for instance a cube magnet W-12-N.

Tips

  • Hold the magnet in place with tape
  • One of the two magnetic poles should face down onto the tube (i.e. perpendicular to the direction of air flow) so that the screw is attrachted with maximum strength to the magnet. Rod-shaped magnets are less convenient simply because they are more difficult to attach to the tube, but in general any magnet that is strong enough will do the trick.
  • If you want to be absolutely sure that the screw will be caught, attach several magnets to the tube. These should be placed lengthwise, however, to ensure that the magnet fields do not neutralize each other. Obviously you want the screw to be undeniably attrachted to one of the magnetic poles.
  • Run the vacuum cleaner at minimum power.

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