The Bessey line of Welding Magnets offers ease of use, durability and a surprisingly low cost!
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Bessey Welding Magnets

Self-Sticking Helping Hands

Text and Photos by Tom Hintz

Posted – 1-7-2011

Holding two pieces of metal in position for fitting or welding can be very simple or very hard, often within the same project. Bessey Welding Magnets put simple magnetism to work making even the very hard situations very easy. Being able to hold pieces at the proper angle with very fast, repeatable setups can make you more accurate and more productive. Regardless if you are a professional welder or a home-based hobbyist, Bessey Welding Magnets can make your welding life easier and your projects better though more accuracy.

The Basics

Each Bessey Welding Magnet has a powerful magnetic disk sandwiched between two steel plates that actually have the angles machined into them. The magnet itself is set back from the edge of the plates so that it can be placed on round materials and develop a strong and stable magnetic grip on the parts.

In most cases the plates have pre-drilled holes at one or more corners that can be used to hang the Bessey Welding Magnets up when not in use, attaching them to shop-made jigs or even joining two or more of them for special jobs. You will notice that when Bessey designed their Welding Magnets they focused on functionality and quality first and pure visual later. The Bessey Welding Magnets do have a clear, good-looking label on one side but that ends the frills list. The functionality goes on and on.

Magnetic Squares

The Bessey Magnetic Squares hold the stock (left) at the exact angle needed so your hands are free to tack the piece in place. The magnets themselves (right) are set into the surrounding plates to make them easier to use and to sit on rounded material firmly.
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The large BDMS-1 (left) handles surprisingly large jobs with ease. The handle for removing it is not just a luxury!
The "Chunky" Magnetic Square (right) may be smaller but it also has remarkable magnetic power and the handle that helps get it free from the metal!
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While it might seem that making a 90-degree corner would be a simple task you soon realize the difficulty when trying to use conventional clamps to do it. In many cases even good Angle Clamps are not practical for the job. The Bessey Magnetic Squares can be just the answer you are looking for. While many of the Bessey Magnetic Squares do accommodate 90-degree corners they also incorporate a 45-degrees side that is also frequently needed.

The Bessey Magnetic Squares are available in several models and sizes. The most basic is the WMS line that ranges from the WMS-1 that is 3-3/4” by 4-3/8” and ¾” and develops 66-lbs of magnetic force to the WMS-3 that is 3-3/8” by 3-3/8” by 5/8” with 48-lbs of magnetic force and the WMS-5 that is 3-3/4” by 4-3/8” by3/4” but develops a stout 112-lbs of magnetic force!

The Bessey Magnetic Squares are also easy on the tool-buying budget. The WMS-1 has a street price of $10.99, the WMS-3 $10.30 and the WMS-5 $17.50. (1-5-2011)
The CMS-1 “Chunky” Magnetic Square is 3-3/4” by 4-3/8” by 1-5/8” that gives it a wide stance on flat surfaces or the ability to settle firmly on large diameter round stock well. The CMS-1 has 100-lbs of magnetic force and features a T-Handle that lets you get a good grip to pull it free from the metal. Despite its power the CMS-1 sells for a trim $26.99. (1-5-2011)

The BDMS-1 “Big Daddy” Magnetic Square is 8” by 8” by 1-5/8” and also has 100-lbs of magnetic force. The larger size of the “Big Daddy” makes it very useful in a wide range of larger projects where the pieces are both larger and heavier. In addition to the stronger magnetic capacity the longer sides help the “Big Daddy” get a firm grip on your project pieces. Another nice factor is being able to add the “Big Daddy” Magnetic Square to your shop for just $62.99. (Street price, 1-5-2011)

 

Double Magnetic Square

The Double Magnetic Square (left) has a pivot at its center that makes it super versatile., You can place anon-standard piece, like the 88-degree piece shown here (right) and build a tempora4ry jig on the bottom of the Do7uble magnetic Square to replicate this angle as many times as is needed.
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When you have a job that requires an angle other than the 45, 90, 22.5 “normal” angles the WMS-4 shines. The WMS-4 is essentially two square-type magnets, each with 90 and 45-degree surfaces but are joined at a single pivot. That means that you can set the WMS-4 up for virtually any angle. Making a simple surface jig to hold the WMS-4 at the required angle lets you assemble multiple pieces by simply placing them onto the magnetic surfaces for welding or applying other fasteners.

The flexibility of the WMS-4 is definitely an asset for the shop but its ability to handle odd angles quickly increases its value considerably. Add a street price of just $13.98 (1-4-2011) and the Bessey WMS-4 goes from a good to an exceptional value.

 

Multi-Angle Magnetic Square

The Multi-Angle Magnetic Square has many of the most common angles built in to extend its versatility even more.
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The WMS-6 Multi-Angle Magnetic Square offers the widest range of preset angles. The Multi-Angle Magnetic Square covers most common angles - 30, 45 60, 75 and 90-degrees. All are defined in the edges of the precisely formed plates surrounding the tough 35-lb-pull magnet. Making the Multi-Angle Magnetic Square even more handy is its 4 by 2-1/2 by 1/2”-size that works with a huge array of projects and sizes.

The multiple angles built into this magnet give the fabricator lots of options without carrying around a bunch of magnets. The relatively small size gives Multi-Angle Magnetic Square versatility bolstered by its strong magnet that gives it plenty of holding power. The common street price of just $6.50 each (1-5-2011) makes the Multi-Angle magnetic Square an exceptionally useful value for any metal shop.

 

WMS-7 Arrowhead Magnetic Square

The Arrowhead Magnetic Square can be used on a flat surface or on a square edge. Stand it on one of the 45-degree surfaces and you have a perfect 90-degree angle also.
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Though its shape may appear to be a bit frivolous there is method behind the not-so-goofy engineering of the Arrowhead Magnetic Square. The 45-degree sides that make up the familiar arrowhead shape have obvious utility in any metal shop. However, the stepped 90-degree cutouts that flank the bottom make it possible to place the Arrowhead Magnetic Square on the edge of a square piece and precisely fit components at 45-degrees. Of course, standing the Arrowhead Magnetic Square on one of the 45-degree sides produces a relatively large surface 90-degrees to the other 45-degree side.

The overall size of 4-3/4” by 3-1/4” by ½” lets you use the Arrowhead Magnetic Square in more spaces and situations. The street price of just $8.95 (1-5-2011) and 41-lbs of magnetic pull make using the Arrowhead Magnetic Square easy, accurate and economical.

 

Magnetic Ground Clamps

The Magnetic Ground Clamps can be a lifesaver when you need to weld on a large surface that does not have a good place for your grounding clamp.
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It would be nice if all welding jobs came with a convenient place to connect the ground clamp but that just is not the real world. Frequently welders have to tack a bolt or piece of scrap to the job, often having to hold or clamp their ground clamp in place until they can attach it to the temporary weld-on lug. Then when the job is done that lug would have to be ground off while hoping to avoid creating more finishing work in the process. The Bessey Magnetic Ground Clamps can be a safe, simple solution.

The Magnetic Ground Clamps are available in two models. Both are 3-1/2”- long with a 2”-diameter magnet housing. Both models also generate 55-lbs of magnetic clamping force. The difference is in the contact plunger within the magnets that actually make the electrical contact. The MGC-1 version has a brass plunger that is rated for use with welders up to 250-amps of power. The MGC-2 model has a slightly larger copper plunger that can handle up to 800-amps.

Both models have a contact arm for attaching your welders’ ground clamp. The arms are about 5”-long by ¾”-wide and 1/8”-thick. The arms swivel 360-degrees making it easy to position them best for the job.

Both Magnetic Ground Clamps do require a small bare metal spot to make good contact but that is a small thing to ask when it eliminates trying to weld a ground connection to the project without causing damage. The Magnetic Ground Clamps are very easy to use and quick in their application and removal. Another factor is the low street price for these time/labor-savers. The MGC -1 sells for $18.20 (1.5.2011) while the MGC-2 costs about $22.30 (1-5-2011). Both models of the Magnetic Ground Clamps are very well made and will continue to save time and effort longer than many of us will last making them a very good value.

 

In the Shop

Using the Bessey Magnetic Squares is as easy as it sounds. As long as you are working with magnetic-capable metal you just set the magnet where you need it and pull it off when you are done. Unless you are very careless the Bessey Magnetic Squares do not cause any damage that requires repair later.

 

Video Tour

Holding stock at known angles is a good thing and certainly makes life easier in the metal shop. However, I found another use that makes me a better fabricator. We often have to grind or trim the end of a piece so that it fits onto another at a specific angle. With the Bessey Magnetic Squares you can instantly return the piece being fit to its place at exactly the right angle so you can remove metal from the right places to perfect the fit. Doing this by hand is at best a guessing affair that takes way longer than necessary. The Bessey Magnetic Squares really make this process easier and lets you get a very close fit all the way around to make welding that much easier as well.

A word of caution when using any magnetic device along with nearly all welding processes. It runs out that exposing magnets to long periods of the high levels of heat that can be generated by welding can compromise the magnets. Excessive heat excites the molecular structure of almost any material but in the case of magnets, it can disrupt the magnetic field. The safest thing to do is to use the Bessey Magnetic Squares (any magnet really) for setting the joint up and tacking the pieces in place. Then remove the magnets and do the complete welding.

Conclusions

The Bessey Magnetic Squares in all of their forms are very well made as we expect from Bessey. Their usefulness in home-based hobbyist or full-on pro metalworking shops is without question. These handy tools can make you look better because you are working smarter and more accurately. The surprisingly low price for these tools just ads to the attraction. Once you get a few of the Bessey Magnetic Squares in your shop you will see what I am talking about.

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