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 Can you grind down a magnet?
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Doug Cook

Posted - 2005 October 08 :  6:32:22 PM  Show Profile
I'm working on my Unitrack switching layout, and I ordered a couple of Kadee 321 magnets to try. They appear to be about 1/32" higher than the height of the rails. Can magnets be easily ground down by a tool & die guy? I would rather grind the magnets than my new Unitrack. Thanks.

It is a shame stupidity isn't painful...

Country: USA | Posts: 77


Posted - 2005 October 08 :  6:55:55 PM  Show Profile
I dont know how easy it would be, but keep in mind that the mass of the magnet has alot to do with its power. Size matters with them. I would worry about losing power and the ability of the magnet to perform its uncoupling duties when removing material.

How about mounting them beneath the track and adding some mass to them. I believe model railroader had a small article about adding mass and power to a kadee uncoupling magnet. I think that might be a good way to go. That, and the magnets would be perfectly hidden.

Modeling the BNSF, MRL, KCS, TFM, UP and more....

Supporting model purchase at a time.

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Posted - 2005 October 08 :  7:23:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit astrosa's Homepage
I'm sure the magnets could be ground, but probably not that easily as they tend to be rather hard forms of iron.

I believe that if you check the correct height for Kadee-type couplers, you'll find that there is enough clearance above the railheads assuming your coupler trip pins are adjusted properly. It doesn't look great having the magnet atop the ties, but then again having an under-the-track uncoupler is about the only thing that does.

Alex Stroshane
Amtrak Prototype & Model

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Posted - 2005 October 09 :  09:18:01 AM  Show Profile
Kadee instructions cover how to mount the magnet at the correct depth. They have a jig to hold the magnet in place while the glue or whatever sets. If you have thin rail (like code 70 or whatever, it is recommended to mill away the ties to the correct depth. Since they will be under the magnet it is not visible. I know of at least one case where the ties were cut away between the rails and the magnet shimmed up the the correct height.

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Posted - 2005 October 09 :  10:07:35 AM  Show Profile
If you do decide to grind them down, make sure you keep them cool. If they get too hot, they won'd be magnets anymore as the heat could cause the individual magnetic domains to realign and point in random directions.

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Posted - 2005 October 09 :  10:51:10 AM  Show Profile
Originally posted by astrosa

I'm sure the magnets could be ground, but probably not that easily as they tend to be rather hard forms of iron.

Kadee uses a ceramic material. I'm not sure if it is grindable.

Ashburn, VA

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Don Gibson

Posted - 2005 October 09 :  9:43:23 PM  Show Profile
REMOVE ties,then shim if necessary. KD doesn't know what track you're using.

Don Gibson
                       I I__()____||__| |||||
                          ((((|__|----------|  |  ||||||||||
                     //---O O O O--OO oo oo

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Posted - 2005 October 10 :  10:00:52 AM  Show Profile
If you are going to grind the magnet, do it away from the track, if use a file, keep the file away. The filings are still magnetic and can get on to the car couplers and into the engines gearing, etc.

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Posted - 2005 October 10 :  11:15:02 AM  Show Profile
Kadee uses ceramic material on the 321. We grind similar magnets all the time where I work. The tip about keeping it cool is one you need to follow.

Dave Ware
Currently kitbashing phase IIe SD35 and phase IIc GP40 models. Upon completion, I will invoke Dabney’s Law. Rob, consider yourself on notice!
Modeling M&K Junction on the B&O/Chessie System in the late 70's in HO scale.

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Posted - 2005 October 10 :  11:19:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nelson's Homepage
When i put magnets on my layout, I bought rectangular ceramic magnets and put them in the cork and then covered them with ballast, plenty strong enough for me. I have had runaway cars stop at the magnet because of the strength of the magnets

See my layout under construction at:

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