SMBs

Add a new trick to your favorite tool: Magnetize it!

My new job has me doing a lot more in-house repairs than I have ever done before. As a result, I have been fleshing out my toolbox. This week I recommend to you my latest discovery. I think you will find it an "attractive" addition to your workbench.

My new job has me doing a lot more in-house repairs than I have ever done before. As a result, I have been fleshing out my toolbox. This week I recommend to you my latest discovery. I think you will find it an "attractive" addition to your workbench.

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I've always thought of myself as a user support tech, first and foremost. Deep down, my true calling is relating to people and helping them use technology to accomplish their goals. Lately though, I have been getting my hands dirty a lot more often.

We do a ton of our own repairs at my new job. We fix machines in-house that I would have sent out when I was working at my last gig. Our service center is certified, so we can use manufacturer direct parts to make sure we get our computers up and running again as quickly as possible. So while I have a long history with basic computer service, I am doing more complicated repairs now than I have ever done before. There is a big difference between upgrading a desktop hard drive and swapping the logic board in a notebook.

As my repairs have gotten more complicated, so has my toolbox. I may have gotten by with a simple multi-bit driver in the past, but working with finer and more specialized components requires more specialized tools. I have recently expanded my collection to include some nice precision screwdrivers. Not one of those cheap sets you can find at the dime store, either, but a collection of high-quality tools that are easy to turn and perfectly sized for working with the screws found in common electronics. My only complaint about my screwdrivers has been that they aren't magnetized. The cheap driver I used to use has spoiled me by having magnetic bits. While that driver is too large and unwieldy to be of any use when working with laptop components, being able to affix screws to its tip and have the magnet hold them in place was a luxury I had gotten used to. Thankfully, I've learned that I can have my cake and eat it, too!

Another tech on our staff showed me that I could use a Tool Magnetizer to put a magnetic field on any steel tool I have, and I immediately knew I had to get a magnetizer of my own. There are a number of different types and form factors but Wiha made the one I have, and it will magnetize and demagnetize any steel tool that it can fit around.

One thing that's great about magnetizing your own tools is that you can add only a slight field, so you can be sure the tool becomes no more magnetic than you need. You can also use the demagnetizer to completely remove any polarity from your tools when you're working with really sensitive components. I've found that being able to add…(he says in a big booming voice) THE POWER OF MAGNETISM…to any tool I own has let me be more selective about the tools I carry. For example, I've finally been able to get rid of the cheap wire grasper I was holding on to, because now I can turn any one of my steel tools into a magnetic retriever.

All right, it won't save the world or anything like that, but a tool magnetizer is an inexpensive wonder that helps me use my tools more effectively. Give one a try; you might find it does the same for you.

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