After reading Paul’s article
Building With Magnets, I thought to
myself 'Hmmm - that seems like a good idea. No, wait - a great idea!
I’m gonna get me a big piece of steel and use magnets.' At the time I
was working at our workshops, and decided to find an “off-cut” of 6mm thick
steel to use as a building board.
After asking around, I was told that any steel thicker
than 3 mm was stored outdoors and so was likely to be covered in surface
rust, and therefore require considerable “cleaning up”, i.e. sanding or
machining to get the surface anywhere near usable. The other
difficulty, I decided, was going to be the weight of the thing. At
7,800 kg/cubic metre, a piece of steel 1,800 mm x 900 mm x 6 mm was going to
tip the scales at 76 kg — way too much for my poor frail body to carry.
Not sure of what to do next, it was time to consult with the professionals.
After talking to the shop carpenter and sheet-metal
guru, I decided that the way to go was to use a 2mm steel sheet mounted on
an MDF (medium density fibreboard) base 18 mm thick. Once again I
asked around for an off-cut of steel, and was given a piece 2,400 mm x 560
mm x 2 mm thick.
It was a little narrower than what I had hoped for, but
beggars can’t be choosers. I then went to the local hardware store and
picked up a piece of MDF 1,800 mm x 600 mm x 18 mm thick. After
bringing this back to the workshop, I headed for the paint shop to have the