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Magnetizing Cemetery Fencing


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I wanted to use the cemetery fencing as terrain in wargames, and I wanted to be able to configure the fences any way I wanted, so I decided to try using magnets to hold the fencing together. I first had to decide on how to approach the problem. The straight sections were pretty simple... I could just drill into the ends and install magnets, with the polarity opposite on each end so they can be chained together. For the short sections with a flat on only one end I decided to do do half with one polarity and half with the other, so I would always have an option as to which to use. But for the columns, I had to think a bit. I didn't want to have magnets visible on the outside, and I couldn't figure out how to arrange the polarity so that it would maximize what arrangements would work. Finally I came up with the idea to simply install steel rods in the middle, and then they could attach to the straight sections with either polarity. The gate structure could also be done with steel rods. I measured things out and decided that 3/8" rod would work for the columns and for the inner posts of the gateway piece, and 1/4" rod for the outer portions of the gateway piece.

So here's what I used for this:
01materials.thumb.jpg.6e275d8f8357c82093233a1586e598f2.jpg
1mmx6mm neodymium magnets (lots)
3/8" steel rod
1/4" steel rod
 

Straight Sections

These were pretty straightforward, except there wasn't a lot of room for the 6mm magnets. I had to make sure the holes were accurately placed. I usually use 1/4" drills for the 6mm magnets but because this was really tight I decided to use a 6mm drill. When I need to be accurate, I usually start with a tiny hole and use a pin vise to get the hole centered right. I then drill larger and larger holes. This is because with the larger drill bits, the drill often catches in the plastic and draws itself in, potentially ruining the piece. It works much better if I only take out a little bit of plastic each time. So here is a shortened sequence of the hole drilled (I actually used 8 drills of increasing size for each hole).

 02-drilling01.thumb.jpg.f699045ace9a65151868f4c606ec369e.jpg

Here is how it looked inside after drilling it out:

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And then I glued in the magnets with super glue. I decided to use 8 magnets in each end which is probably overkill but these magnets were pretty cheap...


04-drilling03.thumb.jpg.2c084ffca2557f1da9a818c3195851c9.jpg

 

And here's how it looks from the end:

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Columns


Now the Columns were a little tricky. Here's what I finally ended up doing.

- I drilled down through the top with a 5/16" drill bit and went all the way through the bottom. This insures that the hole in the bottom is centered. I had to hold the column with pliers to keep from wrenching it out of my hand. I used leather to keep the jaws from marring the surface but cloth should work fine.

- I enlarged the hole in the base with a 3/8" drill bit. This was really tricky since as I said before, with large bits the drill tends to catch in the plastic and draw itself in so this must be done with care. What I ended up doing was to drill in just a little bit, then reverse the drill and repeat, doing this several times. This way the drill bit would only carve out small sections of plastic at a time, then when the drill was reversed that divot of plastic would break off. Then when it goes forward again, it would take out a new piece of plastic, etc. I have a cordless VSR drill that I use for this that has really good slow speed control. I wouldn't try to do this with a power drill that didn't have good slow speed control. I only needed to drill in about 1/2"-3/4" deep.

- I cut a 1/4" long piece of the 3/8" steel rod. I used a file to clean up the burrs, otherwise it would be much harder to get into the column.

- I forced the piece of steel in the hole in the bottom of the column. I had to inset the steel piece about 2mm to get the pieces to sit correctly. If the steel is in too far, the straight section will not sit evenly on the table. If it isn't inset far enough, then the column won't sit evenly on the table.
06-drilling05.jpg

Gateway

This also was a little tricky. I had to drill out through the bottom with a 1/4" drill and a 3/8" drill. Here's how it ends up looking:

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Again, I had to adjust the depth to get the straight sections to sit flat on the table. I didn't bother gluing the steel pieces in for the columns or the gateway since they were pretty tight fits. Here are all the pieces with steel installed:

10-steel01.thumb.jpg.eea3ef9ea4d53f2d7921f2b233241000.jpg

So now I can configure the fencing in many different ways, and it's resistant to accidental bumps. Here are a couple of configurations:

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I'm leaving the columns with open tops for now since someday we'll get cool new tops with Reaper 4.

I hope this is helpful!

Edited by igelkott
one photo was in wrong place
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