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touch latch/custom magnetic lock for walnut lockbox

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Forum topic by davidbenjamindix posted 1309 days ago 5244 views 2 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


1309 days ago

i build custom lockboxes (imagine a half-size blanket chest) that contain hidden drawers and complicated homemade neodymium magnetic locks. all of the locks are hidden, and it’s more of a puzzle trying to open them (similar to puzzle boxes). anyway, i don’t understand the inner-workings of a touch-latch. these are commonly called touch-latches, or push latches, or magnetic touch latches. they are often found on entertainment centers or cabinets that have glass doors. when you push the latch it, it moves from the extended position, and snaps back into place inside a spring-loaded core. when you push the latch again, the spring-mechanism releases, and the latch returns to the original extended position. can someone please explain what is inside the core that allows the latch to lock into place, and then returns? i imagine there’s some type of twisting involved, but im just not sure. i would like some instruction on this so i can build a homemade version, much larger with more length to the latch. thanks for your response!


15 replies so far

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Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1452 days


#1 posted 1309 days ago

Think retractable ball point pens. Same thing. Get out your biology 105 dissecting kit and peel back the hide…

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#2 posted 1309 days ago

thanks. i’ll give it a shot

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Loren

7258 posts in 2249 days


#3 posted 1309 days ago

You can get touche latches for cabinetmaking at a parts supplier –
but all the ones I’ve found have been kind of cheesy, plastic and
no good for finer work.

I’ve seen and experienced touch latches in antique writing desks
that worked okay – I think there was an article in Fine Wooodworking
some years ago about secret compartments and how to make the
mechanisms for them.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1455 days


#4 posted 1306 days ago

I’d be interested to see that article Loren, I don’t suppose there is any way for you to give an issue number?

I was recently thinking it’d be cool to figure out a way where a cabinet door is held closed with magnets, however when a pull is slid back out of the door, somehow the magnet configuration changes and the magnetic force changes and the door is pushed open. In my imagination, it would be similar to some newer car trunk latches where once you press a button the door is popped open a few inches.

David, do you have any photos or diagrams of some of these magnetic locks you’ve made?

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#5 posted 1306 days ago

i kinda have some photos of locks in the lockboxes, but not real up-close photos. i do have a facebook account, and almost all of my projects are on there. there is a solution Jack to your problem with the magnets. i got into experimental magnetism last year, (not much with electromagnets), but spent a WHOLE lot of time trying to develop a neodymium perpetual motion machine. i’ll draw up either tonight or tomorrow a solution for your question about the magnetic drawer. it’s EXACTLY the type of lock im installing on my current lockbox…i just need a better drawing of it. i’ll post it soon for you.

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#6 posted 1306 days ago

here’s a simple quick drawing i did of the magnetic lock. i use + and – when discussing the poles instead of N and S. it makes more sense to me. anyway, here’s the photo Jack. i hope it makes sense.
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m518/davidbenjamindix/th_lockdrawing1.jpg

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#7 posted 1306 days ago

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1452 days


#8 posted 1306 days ago

David, thank you for posting this thread. It is fascinating watching the minds twirl and the creativity ooze out.

The reversing-pole concept is wild. Never seen anything like it. And while I feel like I am in over my head, my imagination of that concept was not sliding but a magnet that pivoted 180o. Yours is much more elegant and simpler to boot.

For those following along for the sheer rubbernecking joy of it, a good source for this kind of hardware created from a euro point of view (one that I find valuable and creative) is Hafele.

Here is the result of my search for touch latch. Unfortunately there are some spurious results.

And here for magnetic latch:

Also there is the venerable Tot Lock which uses an accessory magnet to unlatch the mechanism. I know these three things are wide of the mark of where we are in this thread, I just wanted to make a few suggestions. When I am on this kind of quest I want as many even vaguely related devices in my hands to engage the kinesthetic learning part of my little brain.

End of time out! Now you guys keep going!!

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#9 posted 1306 days ago

thanks for posting the links Lee! very helpful. unfortunately i just started my own small business, and it’s got a slow start. i am VERY tight on my extra spending at the moment, so i won’t even spend $2.00 to buy a touch latch until the money starts flowing in on a regular basis. i did look into a couple of retractable ballpoint pens. THANK YOU! (for that recommendation). i only found the type that has the rotating mechanism. someone mentioned in another forum that there’s a click pen that uses a different mechanism, one that has a Y shape. i need to find one of those click pens. what i enjoy doing is taking a very complicated idea, and then simplifying it. that makes it easy to build, and easy to duplicate. i don’t mind taking extra time on a specific part of my projects, but i also like to successfully build something in the easiest and most efficient way possible. thank you so much for the ideas and suggestions. if you come up with more, please throw them out there. i love how mechanics work. some i probably will never understand, but i probably could have been a mechanical engineer. anyway, i love building stuff. it’s so fun and educational. that’s what i like about these forums…i find stuff that would have never thought of on my own, but can also display my ideas too.

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davidbenjamindix

12 posts in 1491 days


#10 posted 1306 days ago

btw i didn’t think of 180 degree rotating magnet. that idea will definitely be contemplated.

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Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1452 days


#11 posted 1306 days ago

Thanks for the kind words, David. I’m very much like you—I am fascinated with the mechanical and what ends up being related.

I have seen those Y pens, but I don’t think I have one.

This week I found in my bookcase a gem called, “The How and Why of Mechanical Movements.” It was from the 60s, the Popular Science Book Club. I remember reading it and finally grasping what a differential was and how it worked.

For several years I had neighbors at work who were in the vending business. Boy howdy you want to see mechanical stuff that’s beyond cool, get your head into one of those machines! But alas no magnetic catches as I recall.

Good luck on your business. Persevere, seek experts, imagine success every day.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1455 days


#12 posted 1306 days ago

That’s a great concept David. My ideal mechanism would be reversed by the pulling of a drawer/door pull. Maybe I can think of a way to translate that forwards/backwards movement into up/down. Alternatively, I may have a pull that is slightly rotated, you can imagine on a circle, a set of magents at the top, and another set offset by 30-45 degrees, in one position the poles match (attract) and the other they mismatch.

I don’t know if it will help you, but there are magnetic corners, that people use for welding, I believe. They’re triangular, and when you flip a switch, it holds itself to steel using magnetic force. Not sure how they work though. Here are some similar ones, although the ones I’ve used have a switch on the large face, these look like you may simply be moving the magnet into position.

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one1inamill

2 posts in 960 days


#13 posted 960 days ago

I see is an old dicussion I came accross this while looking for a lock to use on a hidden compartmen on a cabinet under a bed. it helped start my mind on the right direction. I am thinking of drawers on either side of a rasied panel attached to a drawer. the magnet picture above looks like it could work using two setup on either side of the back of the drawer and could be released by opening two of the drawers on either side of the center compartment. I will have to give it further thought. I might have to use three magnets to hold the drawer in place because of its weight. would be an excellent place to hide a small safe. all thought welcome.

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Claymation

161 posts in 1417 days


#14 posted 941 days ago

I’m looking for a latch that opens smoothly and quietly when it’s under tension. Any suggestions?

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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DS

2131 posts in 1022 days


#15 posted 941 days ago

It’s lots of bucks, but Blum has a servo drive system for thier Blumotion guides. Lot’s of Gee Whiz factor.
Never had a call for it, but it’s right out of Star Trek land.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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