The Iron Sphere

The Iron Sphere

In this installment of Dip It, Peter revisited magnetizing iron filings and permanently suspending them in resin, but this time he turned it into a sphere!  

Not satisfied with the run of the mill neodymium magnet, Peter looked North and South across vast fields to finally find a suitable attractive body for this project.  He settled on one that was a mere 135 lbs! 

Of magnetic lifting force that is!  In the past, Peter has had dealings with magnets of this strength and wanted to pass along a warning that they are not for the faint hearted and could cause bodily injury around a primarily metal shop as it is ripped from your mortal hands.

 Magneto would certainly approve. 

Placing the magnet beneath a cup while sprinkling the iron particles inside resulted in a nice bloom effect.

Figuring out how to pour resin into the cup without disrupting the suspended filings required some impromptu tactical fluid dynamics.

It turned out that carefully planning one’s workflow in regards to using powerful magnets in the shop was tricky.  Peter devised a wooden structure to hopefully keep the magnet away from the walls of the pressure pot while lowering the project down into the vessel. 

After some time in the pressure pot, it came out bubble free! 

Now came time to pop the mass of resin and iron into the lathe to work it into shape.

Using various Easy Wood Tools tools he tooled away tactically till came time to test templates. 

Using just a piece of cardboard with the desired shape as reference, Peter gradually saw the orb take form. 

Drawing reference lines on the sphere also helped to maintain symmetrical uniformity. 

The aftermath of such an intense turning session looked reminiscent of a scene from Ferrous Bueller’s Day Off! 

Clutched within the grasp of a special chucking system designed specifically for spheres, the orb is ready for final shaping, sanding and polishing.  Due to the opposing hardnesses of the iron and the resin, typical hand tools reached the point where they were no longer effective and actually can make things worse.  To combat this issue, Peter resorted to just sandpapers to give the ball it’s shape as they can provide a more even pressure. 

No resin turning project would be complete without a round of MicroMesh pads to get it to that shine!

What a fantastic result to such a potentially polarizing process!  Even Wooly Willy himself would likely want one!