Print A Sacrificial Magnet Square

Here’s your quick and dirty hack for the day. Sometimes you just need something that will work for what you’re trying to do, and you don’t want to go through the motions of doing what’s prescribed. When this happens, it’s a cheap, disposable tool that fits the bill. No, we’re not talking about Harbor Freight—we mean those need-driven tools you make yourself that get the job done without fuss. If you’re really lucky, you can use them a couple of times before they break.

This is one of those tools. [Jake’s Workshop] wanted to be able to quickly tack a corner weld without getting out the clamps, so he thought, why not print some magnet squares? [Jake] hollowed out the triangle to save filament, but this also gives it a nice advantage over store-bought magnet squares: instead of grasping and pulling it off,  you can hook your finger through it and then hang it on the pegboard for next time.

[Jake] got lucky with the pocket sizes and was able to press fit the magnets in place, but it would be worth it to add a drop of CA glue to help with strain. He seems to have forgotten to upload the files for his various styles, but a hollow triangle with chamfers and magnet pockets should be easy enough to replicate in OpenSCAD or  SolidWorks, which he used in the video below.

There’s something special about a cheap tool you make yourself. Even though you know it won’t last forever, it’s just more meaningful than some cheap, rage-inducing tchotchke or assemblage from a place where the air is ~85% offgasses. We love necessity-driven self-built tools around here so much that we gave them their own Hacklet.

15 thoughts on “Print A Sacrificial Magnet Square

  1. You could probably tack and square all of those joints without a magnet faster than you can design and print a plastic square (not including print time that requires no operator input)

    1. Yeah, sadly the real value for a 3D printed welding fixture would be for something that isn’t already easily done (say a multi-angle tube convergence in a vehicle motor mount).

  2. Store-bought magnet squares are also about $1.5 to $2 each though through vendors like Alibaba or Harbor Freight and that is one of the very rare things you might even passingly consider buying anything from them. Plus, those will actually last more than a few times.

    Maybe I am just cynical but this seems like doing more work than necessary and also paying more in time and money unless you really value a custom made magnet square that much or have a specific need for one that is made from plastic or has to be a specific size or something otherwise unique.

    1. Yes, but you have to also go to the store or order them – these square should print quite fast. Depends on if you already have a bag of magnets tho.
      If you live far enough from a store this might actually be faster than going there and buying them considering the 3d model is really trivial to do in say OpenSCAD or IceSL.

    1. +1 For odd angles, this would be great. Otherwise if you’re doing standard 90 degree welds all the time, just invest in the harbor freight magnets that’ll last more than a few welds.

  3. We call this “reach around your ass to get your elbow”.
    It seems many people go above and beyond to justify using their 3D printers.

    This little hack has been around for some time, but since someone uses a 3D printer, its on hack a day.
    Maybe change the name to 1001 uses for a 3D printers and pi?

    1. “Maybe change the name to 1001 uses for a 3D printers and pi?”

      A bit extreme but you do have a point. Perhaps it’s time for a temporary (or otherwise) moratorium on articles where the sole ‘innovation’ is the use of one or more 3D printed parts.

  4. Who has a welder and not a welding square?

    Personally I don’t have a welder, but for other reasons I still have two welding squares…
    So if one owns a welder. Then why wouldn’t one have at least a handful of these, maybe even at a few other angles too.
    To be honest, I don’t even see it as that hard to make one that one could change the angle on to almost any arbitrary value.
    Otherwise there is also the method of figuring out an angle through three measurements of length, followed by some trigonometry.

    In the end, 3D printing one of these seems wasteful. Unless one needs an odd angle like 57 degrees.

  5. Ond brags if having a welder. One brags about having a printer. One does not brag about having a welding square. But this fwllow did not brag about having a welder nor a printer, but in making a humble square… which after aquiring a welder and sticks or wire and a printer and filament, no doubt he could not afford a square. Yet bragged about having both a welder and printer wirhout doing so. Rather clever. ???? And.. In Safety Yellow!!! Hey, how many times have I RE-bought a $3 tool as my other 3 were misplaced!?! And THEY were Safety Orange! LMAO! “So let’s keep dancinggg…!” Happy New Year!

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