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Can I drill or machine neodymium magnets?

Generally speaking, no. All neodymium magnets, while solid and hard, are also very brittle. The hardness of the neodymium nickel coating material is rated at RC46 on the Rockwell "C" scale, and this is harder than commercially available drills and tooling. As a result, these tools will heat up and become damaged if used on neodymium magnets.

Machining of neodymium magnets can be done, but should only be performed by experienced machinists familiar with the risk and safety issues involved. Normally, diamond tooling, EDM (Electrostatic Discharge Machines), and abrasives are the preferred methods for shaping neodymium magnet material.

It is important to remember, however, that the heat generated during machining can demagnetize the magnet and could cause it to catch fire – posing a safety risk.  The dry powder produced while machining is also very combustible and flammable and can create a very serious safety and health risk as well.


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