Metal detecting is so much fun! There’s the enjoyment of wandering about the countryside or the beach, and the thrill when it beeps to signify buried treasure!
But how to make a simple metal detector for kids if you can’t afford to splash out – or aren’t sure that the treasure hunting phase will last? We are here to show you how!
How Do You Make A Homemade Metal Detector?
Making your own metal detector is actually easier than you might imagine. You will need some basic electrical knowledge, and a few bits of equipment – but it can definitely be done!
You will need:
- 9V battery, cable, switch and wires
- Copper wire (100m, 0.2mm)
- Strong tape
- Wood glue
- Soldering iron and soldering wire
- Sharp knife, compass and ruler
- Hot glue
You will need a schematic diagram (try this one in this useful article) to help you work out how the circuits are supposed to go.
Once you have sorted out the circuitry, you will need something to house it, and to hold your detector.
You can easily make this out of cardboard, following the basic template of a metal detector – just remember to make it small enough for little hands to hold!
If you are a dab hand at woodwork you can make a wooden case for it, but strong sturdy cardboard will work just as well.
This simple little metal detector probably won’t be as accurate as one that you can buy, but it’s a great introduction for kids – without having to fork out!
If you like a more visual instruction, check out this video which should take you through all the steps, and even make this version more sturdy:
How Do You Make A Metal Detector With A Radio And A Calculator?
Yes, you read that right! It is perfectly possible to make a metal detector using these two common little devices:
- Take an old AM or AM/FM radio, set the frequency as far right as it will go, then turn up the volume until you hear the static.
- Turn on an old calculator, and pace it back to back with the radio. Move these things around until the static note changes to a constant sound.
- Once you have them in the right position, tape the calculator and radio together using strong tape such as Gaffer or Duct tape.
- Keeping both devices turned on, move them near a source of metal to test what noise it makes.
- The closer you get to the metal, the faster the beeping will be. This is because the calculator’s circuit board sends out a signal which bounces off the metal and is transmitted by the radio.
And it really is this simple! It won’t be spectacularly accurate, but it will pick up traces of metal around the place and will be fun for kids to experiment with.
Can Kids Go Metal Detecting?
The answer to this is a resounding YES! There are a great many benefits to taking your kids out metal detecting:
- They get out in the fresh air. Many children these days spend a lot of time indoors, watching screens or playing video games. Metal detecting will take them outdoors, in nature and the fresh air.
- It is great fun! Suitable for almost all ages, metal detecting is a really fun thing to do with your little ones.
- It can encourage learning. If you make your metal detector together, your children will learn a lot of useful skills such as engineering and building.
- Encourages family time. Obviously you are not going to send your kids off by themselves to look for treasure, so it’s a great opportunity to spend time together as a family.
- You might stumble on treasure. This is the dream of all metal detectorists. To find a trove of gold is the ambition – and it may just happen for you!
- Kids can learn about nature. While you’re out with your metal detector, it is a great time to point out different plants and wildlife types that they may not have otherwise seen.
Where Can I Use My Metal Detector In The UK?
Obviously, most of the UK is absolutely fine to wander about in, and there are very few restrictions on common land if you want to take your metal detector.
However, you need to take care if you are venturing on private land – not only will a farmer not be pleased about trespassing, but if you find any treasure then it obviously belongs to the landowner.
There are a few places that are generally considered better places to use your metal detector than others – particularly if you are using it as a way to get your kids outdoors rather than actually hoping to stumble upon buried treasure!
- Your own garden. This is perfect to get kids started out in this awesome hobby – you could even hide a few coins or pieces of “treasure” for them to find.
- Woodland. This is generally open to public access, and can be a surprising place to find interesting things that only a metal detector can find.
- Beaches. Although these are one of the most common detecting sites, they are also filled with people day in and day out, so chances are you might find something that has been dropped.
- Parks. Many people visit parks, so therefore lots of things get dropped! Some of these may be finds of interest.
- Fields. As long as you check permissions before you go, metal detecting in your locality can be a really rewarding and fun day out.
Metal detecting is great. It is fun, addictive, outdoors and will get your kids away from their screens and out into nature.
Plus, you never know – there may be the possibility of stumbling upon a treasure horde and becoming incredibly rich!