Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Electrical Plate

Some of you may have seen this design before.  It isn't anything new.  But it is easy to build and it makes a great example of creativity.  Before we begin, let's look at what materials you'll need.

  • Electrical Wall Plate
  • 2 magnets
  • Metal Epoxy
  • Small baggie
  • Logsheet
Most of the materials can be found in a hardware store.  However, most magnets you would find in a hardware store are larger and thicker than what is best to use.  For my magnets, I rely on Grainger due to the variety of different styles and sizes.  The only problem is that they usually require an account for most products they sell, especially magnets.  They are considered hazardous materials.

When you go to buy the wall plate, make sure that whatever you buy is the style of a wall cover with two holes for the screws.  For hiding outdoors, the metal variety will blend in better than plastic.  For magnets, I used a nickel plated, neodymium magnet that is .375 mm wide and .100 mm thick.  For a glue, I used a Metal Epoxy to better grip the metal between the two objects.  It is also fast drying and holds up to weather a lot better than normal super glue.  You will need a small baggie for this design.  Look in the bead section of any arts & crafts department/store to find cheap bags (50-100 for less than $2.00).

Here is an example of the Wall Plate alongside the magnets.  Notice one magnet covering the left hole.

With this image, you can easily see how everything will fit together. The magnets cover the holes on the backside of the plate.  All you need to do is glue them down.

Metal Epoxy works by mixing two substances.  One is a hardener and one is a resin.  This typically comes in a special container that looks like two syringes fused together.  Make sure you have a disposable container handy and something small and disposable for mixing the materials.  Open the container and carefully squeeze a small amount of both materials into the disposable container.  One of the materials will move rather slow.  I used my mixer to scrape the glob off the tip of the syringe.

Once you have the two materials in your container, you only have about five minutes to work before it becomes hardened enough that you can't easily apply it.  Quickly mix them until they have a uniform color and consistancy (about 30 seconds of stirring should be minimum).  Then, carefully begin applying the epoxy.  Use a little bit on the front side of the hole to seal that up, evening it flat with the rest of the plate.  Apply more to the back side, this time to the gap between the magnet and the plate.  Apply it a big thicker so that it can drip fully into the gap.  Apply it around the entire magnet and once you feel satisfied, you're done.

Here is what it should look like on the backside when you are done:

Now I recommend that you only do one magnet at a time. In the amount of time it takes to mix and apply the epoxy to one magnet, the rest of the epoxy will have dried out too much for easy application to the second magnet.  Once you are completely finished preparing the cache, allow at least one hours before handling it.  For the best strength, allow a full 24 hours before use.

This cache, as you might already be able to tell, works best in locations where an electrical face plate would seem likely (and not dangerous to the cacher who goes after it).  Since the epoxy dries a different color, you might look into a metal looking spray paint to blend the in the front side.  If placing this in a location with a different color than the face paint, definitely consider spray paint.

Once you have the location picked out, place a logsheet into one of the small baggies and place the baggie between the two magnets on the backside.  You will have to rely on the object you are attaching too to hold the baggie in place with the above design.  However, you can always consider modifying the design to hold the baggie into place.

A rather simple design, but also a devious design.  Even experienced cachers can overlook this one at first.  So find a good spot to hide it and enjoy the logs.


PS: Watch your fingers handling the wall plate.  The edges are sharp.  I accidentally cut my thumb while trying to clean off some excess epoxy because I didn't have a good grip.