A metal detector is an instrument that uses electrical power to detects the presence of metals in its surrounding. You can make a metal detector for kids at home using readily available things.
In this piece, I will teach you how to make a metal detector for kids and why your children should go treasure hunting.
Things You Will Need
Here is the list of the items you will need to make a metal detector for your child:
- Duct tape
- A small calculator
- A small portable radio with FM and AM band
- Working batteries
Things to Note
Below are some of the things that you should note before you start making the metal detector for your child.
- The calculator and radio should be battery-powered.
- Ensure that you make the metal detector with your kids. They can learn how sound waves and radio signals work.
- Take the necessary precaution measures like wearing gloves and goggles.
Making a metal detector is a simple process that involves following these simple steps:
1. Turn the Radio on
Switch the portable radio to the AM frequency or band and turn it on. Let your kids play with the tuner or dials, examine the radio, and see how it works.
2. Explain the FM and AM Frequencies
Let the children know that the radio has two bands: FM and AM. Explain that AM stands for ‘Amplitude Modulation’ while FM stands for ‘Frequency Modulation.’
The AM band is a signal that combines radio frequencies and audio to produce a sound signal. It is prone to signal blocking and interference since it uses radio and audio.
It is that shortcoming that makes it the perfect frequency for detecting metals and not so great for playing music.
3. Turn the Dial to the Right
Turn it to the right to find static frequencies with no music. Then, increase the volume to your desired level.
4. Hold the Radio and Calculator Together
Hold the two gadgets together and ensure they touch each other. Align the battery chambers in the two devices, so they face each other.
Turn on your calculator. Note that you should have placed the batteries in their respective compartments.
5. Listen for a Sound
The next step is to move your homemade metal detector near a metal object. You should hear a sound or a beep if the radio and calculator are aligned correctly.
If you do not hear the beep, adjust the calculator until you hear the sound. Move away from the metallic object, and the sound will stop.
Tape the radio and the calculator together in that position using the duct tape.
How Does the Homemade Metal Detector Works?
At this point, you might not have the best metal detector for kids, but you have an essential gadget. Your children might still have lots of questions about the homemade metal detector.
It is an opportunity to learn about metal detectors, and you can start by asking your kids the following questions:
- Which materials can make metal detectors to react?
- Which materials do they not generate a reaction?
- Why would a homemade device not work if the frequency is not static or was playing music?
The gadget works because the circuit board of the small calculator produces undetectable radio frequencies. These frequencies hit the metallic object and bounce off to the AM band of your radio, where they are collected and amplified.
That is the sound you hear when you get near a metallic object. It would be impossible to listen to the signal if the radio is playing music because the music might be too loud.
Assembling Ready-Made Metal Detector Kit
You can opt to construct a ready-made metal detector kit if you do not have the radio and calculator to make your device. Here you should follow these steps:
1. Assemble the Hardware
The first thing is to collect the hardware you need to make a metal detector for your kid. There are quality kits you can find on the market today with all the required pieces.
Some provide a shaft and coil. Others only come with a control box. Get the kit that meets your need and assemble all the pieces following the brand’s instruction.
If you buy a kit with only the circuit box, you will need to improvise the additional pieces like the coil and shaft.
2. Solder the Circuits
You need to solder the control box to complete the other circuits. Get a soldering iron or gun to do this task.
You can seek help if you do not know how to solder the circuits.
3. Test Your Metal Detector
You can now test the device by placing metals on the ground and passing it over them. It is time to look for treasures.
Why Go Treasure Hunting/Metal Detecting?
Why do people search for metal? Why is it so exciting? As someone who hunts metal, I can inform you that there are hundreds of reasons why you should look for treasures.
One thing you should note is there is no one reason why people go treasure hunting. I have only looked at the common goals.
- Many people look for treasures to experience the thrill of holding something historical in their hands. Most of these metals remain buried for years, and having that chance to own them can be exciting.
- Some individuals like to collect coins. They can include the new wheat pennies and the colonial silver coins.
- Another reason is the adventure of being outdoor and active. Metal detecting is a form of workout where you move from place to place, locating treasures.
- You can also gain financially by selling your objects, such as silver, gold, and other metals.
Most people, even kids, can go treasure hunting for the first three reasons. There are very few hunters that look for metal for financial gains.
These items offer more sentimental value compared to getting a few dollars.
You can make a metal detector using items found at home, which are radio, calculator, and duct tape. The market also offers ready-made kits that you can use to make your device.