Tip & How-To about Measuring Tools & Sensors

DYI Stud Finder

If you don't have the cash to shell out for a new stud finder, or just don't feel like heading to the store for a single item, try this little trick instead. Get a strong magnet, the stronger the better, and gently run it over the wall you want to find the studs in. Your magnet will be attracted to the metal screws, showing you right where your studs are. If you have a weak magnet, then tie it on a string and hold it by that. You'll see the reaction rather then feel it. If your using an old neodymium magnet from a scavenged hard drive, you'll feel the very obvious tug whenever it reaches something metal.

A little searching showed I'm not the first person to think of this, but it's not a trick that's been broadcast very much. Most of the time a search for "finding a stud without a stud finder" will get you results that tell you to tap the wall and listen for the echo. That trick doesn't work with all walls, or even all studs. So next time, grab a magnet.

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Need to hang a shelf to a wall with metal studs?

In order to support any true weight (like books) you will need to use wood blocking between the metal studs. Measure space between the studs, cut blocks to fit and mount at location where brackets will be.

For lighter weight applications, you can use an expansion anchor (but not the cheep little plastic ones that are often provided). A common name for this anchor would be a "molly anchor" and they are available at all hardware stores in a variety of capacities.


Sep 14, 2009 | Measuring Tools & Sensors

2 Answers

i was attempting to replace my thermostat adn i broke both stems to the thermostat HELP!!!!!!!!!!

That's because of corrosion. It happens!

The broken studs have to be cut, or ground down flush, with the thermostat housing. Then a center punch is used to make a deep dimple, in the center of the broken stud.

Next use a small drill bit to make a pilot hole.
Two times smaller than the stud. (Bolt)
Use caution, as you don't want the drill bit to walk off to one side. Keep the drill level, and vertical.

Now come back with a larger drill bit, but one that is smaller than the stud/bolt, and will stay away from the threads. Try to drill at least one-half inch in depth. Use an Easy Out, bolt extractor.

If it feels as though the Easy Out bolt extractor, is being forced too much, and you think there is a possibility of it breaking, STOP!
Use a drill bit that is large enough, to drill a hole that will not touch the threads. Then work a small chisel along the outside edges of the bolt 'Shell', and work that thin shell to the inside. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to try to extract the shell out. One piece at a time.

(After you have drilled the center of a stud, or bolt, out to where the threads are, there is a thin metal shell left behind)

Jun 12, 2009 | 1991 Chevrolet Caprice

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