Are you a metal detectorist? Have you perfected the art of metal detecting? Do you feel let down by the unit you are using to metal detect? Are you aware that you can make your own metal detector? Do you know how to make a metal detector? Well, all these questions will be answered in this step by step guide on how to make a homemade metal detector. You’ll have access to knowledge that most people can only wish for if you read this guide keenly and carefully. This information is already available but here’s a simpler and easier version of everything you’ve read and seen.
The science behind a metal detector is really simple and anyone can understand it given a few learning tips and specific information. Our guide today is going to explain the simplest of sciences behind most metal detectors. Hopefully at the end of this article, you’ll be able to build your own metal detector that will work just as perfectly as the other units that are littered in the market and cost a few hundred dollars. There’s always an argument that metal detectors—especially the ones for beginners—are affordable and anyone can get themselves one. However, if you can make your own unit, buying one will definitely look really expensive.
Because building your own metal detector can be both fun and educational,—you can create a custom unit tailored towards your needs or just make beach bums jealous of your new device– you need to make sure you understand the composition of a metal detector unit—any for that matter. To give you a little heads up on what makes a metal detector, here’s some important general information.
- Metal detectors use the principle of magnetism. A metal detector using a coil will generate a magnetic field and direct it towards the ground. another circuitry within the detector will pick up the magnetic field and respond with a steady tone that’s audible through a speaker. Pay attention!
- When you sweep your metal detector’s search head or coil over the ground and it happens to come into close contact with a metal object, (actually it’s the magnetic field that comes into contact with a metal object) the tone changes pitch to inform you that you have found something and that you need to start digging.
- A metal detector’s sensitivity depends on its search coil size.
- There are three different types of metal detectors. You need to figure out which metal detector is perfect for you and which will be perfect for your metal detector building project.
- A Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detector is commonly used and will find just about any relic or treasure metal hidden beneath the ground. Pulse Induction (PI) metal detectors are rarely used and can find treasure hidden deep underground. They are used by Gold prospectors and beachcombers. Beat Frequency Oscillation (BFO) metal detectors detects metals that fall within the range of its pulse. Budget minded folks, beginners as well as intermediates will go for these units. A radio or calculator detector only detects close by metals but it’s still perfect. It’s cheap to assemble and can be a quick school science project but may not be as fancy as the other—we are actually going to make these.
- All metal detectors—no matter the method used—have the same build.
- Metal detector parts that you can expect include a control box which has pretty much the composition of a metal detector. From the control knobs, the speaker, batteries, and the microprocessor. The shaft which connects the control box to the search coil. You can use a broom stick for your project. The search coil, also known as the loop or search head is the part that actually senses the metal. A stabilizer or sometimes known as the ground balance. It doesn’t exist for all units but it actually keeps the metal detector intact as you sweep back and forth. Our little project here might not have this part.
So, there is just some basic information that is going to be very helpful when you are making your homemade metal detector. We are going to make the simplest of metal detectors that are going to work for you. You can record a video when you are done and share. You can head over to the beach and showcase it to your friends and boast of your expertise.
How to make a metal detector with a phone
Did you know that you can turn your phone into a metal detector? How? You are just about to find out. You may need your phone to function as a detector in some agent instances. For instance, when you lose a certain pin that’s too small to be discovered with the naked eye, a phone metal detector may come in handy. You can totally turn your phone into a metal detector using an app built specifically to make use of the magnetic sensors in your device. Take note that this can work for both an android gadget or iPhone, just make sure everything is working fine and your phone’s magnetic fields are not worn out.
The app makes use of the built-in magnetic sensors in your device and measures that magnetic field value. If the app functions well, it can be used to find electrical wires in walls or even iron pipes that may be lying deep into the ground. To use the app, you simply need to open it from your phone and begin moving it around. You’ll notice the magnetic field level start to fluctuate constantly and then you know it’s working. The accuracy of its operation depends entirely on the quality of the inbuilt sensors in your device. Note that if you use the app very close to electronic equipment like TVs and PCs, it may affect the accuracy and even the general functioning of the app. Next let’s look at how to make a calculator metal detector.
How to make a metal detector with a calculator
You can make a metal detector from a calculator. It’s a small DIY project and only requires a few items that shouldn’t be a problem to find—nothing fancy but it should be able to work. So, you’ll need a calculator and a radio—AM radio. Also, find a broomstick or something similar that will work as the shaft. You may actually also need a tape.
The first step would be to turn the radio’s AM setting to the highest band. The radio should not be tuned to a station and above all ensure that you can clearly and steadily hear the radio’s static tone. You should then turn on your calculator and position it back to back with the radio until you achieve a dull tone. This might take one or two minutes as you try and get the dull tone but shouldn’t take too long. Sometime you may need to place the two devices at a certain angle to achieve the dull tone. Make sure you also get the distance between the two devices right otherwise you’ll not get a steady tone.
After achieving the steady tone from positioning the tow gadgets appropriately, tape them together at that particular angle (try and be as accurate as possible here). However sometimes the position that achieves the dull tone as required may be too awkward to be taped together. In this case, you may need to mount the two devices on a board in that same position. This is actually the search head—you’ve just made the search head or the coil.
After successfully getting the search head to the correct required position, you can now use your metal detector. It’s basically ready to be used and will work perfectly. Oh! Wait! Not just yet. You need to get something that will work as a shaft to your already constructed metal detector search head. You can use a broomstick as I mention earlier and get ready to test your metal detector. You can simply use a spoon to know if your detector is working or not. You’ll notice that once you start moving the detector close to the spoon, there is a beeping sound. It gets even louder—the beeping—as you get closer and closer to the spoon. That means that you just succeeded in making a homemade metal detector.
How to make a metal detector with a radio
As we have seen, it’s already very easy to make a budget friendly metal detector that you can take with you to the beach and start hunting for some metals and coins. The method explained above just told you how to make a radio metal detector. And as you have seen, it’s not really a tough thing to do. It’s basically a cup of tea and very pocket-friendly. Now, to make a radio metal detector you have to also use a calculator. Many people always ask if they need to use a calculator with a beep sound in order to get the detector working. The answer is that you can use any calculator and the unit will work just fine. The already completed detector doesn’t need the calculator’s beep but rather the magnetic fields running within it. So, basically you need the two gadgets together in order to make a radio metal detector. Make sure you follow each step to the latter. Next we will look at how to make a metal detector coil that actually works.
How to make a metal detector coil
A metal detector’s search coil is basically its operational unit. Without it there is no metal detector and there’s definitely no metal hunting. With the coil or otherwise known as the search head or the loop you can hover the unit over the ground to discover the metals that are hidden beneath. There’s a principle that created the search coil for all metal detectors. However, that principle can also be simplified to make an easy to use and simple metal detector.
Now, there are basically three ways that you can make yourself a metal detector search coil that works. Depending on what kind of metal detector you want to build. You can use any of these three methods to construct your metal detector search head. All these methods should work for their respective types of metal detectors.
The first method that’s going to show you how to make a coil for metal detector is the VLF detector method. In this method you need to construct a coil that works with the VLF metal detector. To specifically construct the coil,—assuming that you have successfully taken care of both the control box and the shaft—use a plywood. From the plywood, cut two circular rings of different sizes. The first ring should be the size of a dinner plate while the other can be size of a smaller saucer—just make sure one ring can fit within the other. Cut small sticks of wood from any good wood source that you may have. Use these small sticks to bridge a gap between the small and the big rings—make sure the small ring fits within the larger ring (repetition but very crucial). Using a 0.25 enameled copper wire, wind 10 turns on the outside ring and repeat the process on the inner ring. Your coil is complete you can now attach it to your shaft.
The second method comes in handy when you are making a BFO metal detector. Stick to detail and have the right materials. Materials needed to construct this type of metal detector coil include 3mm plywood, and a .25mm enameled copper wire.
Cut three circles from the plywood. Tow of these should be 16cm in diameter while one should be 15cm in diameter. Place all the circles together with the 15cm circle at the centre and use wood glue to make a sandwich of the three circles. Use the enameled copper wire to wind 10 turns around the groove on the edge of the sandwich. Your search coil for a BFO metal detector should be ready to use.
The third and final stage is through the use of a radio and a calculator. This is the simplest of the three methods as it doesn’t involve too many stages and the hands-on activities are not too detailed for a lay man. You can use all these methods with respect to their methods or metal detector types.
So now you know how to make a metal detector for yourself and use it to hunt for metals or treasures hidden within the earth’s bosom. Hopefully it will now be easy to have one for you and one for your child and you can also use the skills acquired here to teach them how to make a metal detector for kids. The projects are really simple and will not cost you any amount close to what you can use to purchase even the cheapest of metal detecting units. You can surprise your friends with this and show them how awesome you are. If you loved this method and you are successful in building your own metal detector, then you can upload a video to show your success.