Creating a hidden magnetic gate latch need not be a costly or a difficult job. There are several ways you can create a hidden locking mechanism on a garden gate, including different ways of using magnets.
Peter, from Cambridgeshire recently emailed our technical experts in search of a little advice and inspiration. Peter explained that he was in the process of creating a gate to keep his cats out of a section of his garden. Peter had considered cup, magnet and steel disc systems but was looking for a more cost effective solution.
Peter had heard that using countersunk magnets with opposite poles on their countersunk faces could be a solution but had a few questions. With a little extra guidance from our technical experts, Peter was able to find the perfect magnets.
Peter asked if the magnets he was going to purchase needed to be touching. This is a very common question and the answer is no they don’t, strong magnets like neodymium countersunk magnets are powerful enough to attract each other through an air gap, although the bigger the gap the weaker the attraction. Strong magnets will continue to be effective even through a gap of several millimeters. However, if you anticipate there being a gap between two magnets you may need to use larger magnets.
Peter was also concerned about the possibility of the magnets constantly coming into contact with each other and damaging them. Peter was right to be concerned as strong magnets are made from neodymium, which is a brittle material and prone to corrosion when not coated or protected. However, this can be easily solved by using magnets with a rubber coating, which will also protect the magnets from the elements.
After consulting our technical experts Peter chose to use two countersunk, rubber-coated neodymium magnets with opposing polarity, one with a north countersunk face and one with a south countersunk face.
After Peter had installed his magnetic latch he got in touch and sent us these lovely photos.
Peter said: “Thanks for your help with this. I went for the rubber-coated magnets you suggested and it works really well. You have to give the gate a tug to open it, but not so much that it feels like an effort, and the magnetic attraction is enough to pull the gate closed if it’s up to about ½ a foot ajar.”
How to create a hidden magnetic latch:
1) Purchase one rubber-coated neodymium magnet with a north countersunk face and one with a south countersunk face of the appropriate size. You can get 27mm diameter and 40mm diameter varieties from first4magnets.com
2) Fix one of the magnets to a piece of fencing to match your gate and fix the magnet to it using a brass or stainless steel screw. This is important to prevent the screw drawing any of the magnetism.
3) Fix this piece of wood to the frame of your gate so that the magnet is facing the inside of your gate.
4) Fix the other magnet to the inside of your gate in the appropriate position so that it meets the magnet attached to the gate frame.
5) The magnets will now attract each other, keeping your gate closed.