Magnetic Pad

Machine Shops and Limpet Mines

Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 2:48 PM


I shall leave the dial untouched!

I agree with your caution regarding the amount of exterior detail. It would be entirely possible to create a very realistic pile of indiscernible angles, girders, and pipes, like an open-sea oil platform. I'm afraid I have little artistic sensibility, and tend to equate utility with beauty.

Please place a halt on the level of detail at any point; I absolutely bow to your expertise and instincts. I love all the ladders, and will happily accept as many of them as you'd like to install, but I recognize that I'm not always the best judge of these things!

Talk to you later,


Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 3:38 PM


Another 'A-ha' moment occurred to me after I posted the last email.

This is an idea that does not directly affect the graphic of the cargo ship. But in thinking that the crew who do the external work would need tether points for safety lines it struck me that they needn't always tether a line to fixed railings or eye bolts. Instead, they might carry around a magnetic anchor in the form of a plate with an eye for the tether. This magnetic anchor would have a built-in power source. Simply slap it down anywhere on a hull plate or beam, engage the power and your tether line is firmly anchored so that you don't risk floating off into space should you lose your grip. Such a device would lessen, but not eliminate, the need for quite so many fixed anchoring points.

The same idea would serve as the anchor for a scoot. The scoot might have its own magnetic pads, but if the surface that one approaches is either too small or too uneven to allow for the built in pads to engage, then tossing out a magnetic tether anchor onto some metal surface would seem to be do-able.

I can't claim this as an original idea, but simply a repurposing of something I already know of in the form of small, portable drill presses with magnetic bases that workmen lock onto beams. The mag bases hold so strongly that there is no trouble at all boring fairly large holes in thick steel construction beams.

Another more nefarious use of magnetic holding was in some of the 'Limpet mines' that sailors attached onto enemy ships. There were similar devices intended for anti-tank use.

In metal shops, they use a very tiny version of a magnetic base to hold indicators when taking readings on a metal lathe or mill. Of course, these little things do not require power, but instead have a permanent magnet inside that can be rotated so as to allow the magnetic flux to flow through the base. Turn the switch, and the base is magnetic and holds to an iron or steel surface; flip it the other way and the magnetism disappears so that the base can be removed.

The list goes on and on...

- Ignatz