Lighted Grabber Tool?

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I need to retrieve a small pair of pliers from a space (about the volume and size of a 1-gallon milk container) into which I can only partially see, and which has only an opening at the top of about 2" by 3". Using a flashlight I can see only a part of the space in which I need to search. I have tried the flexible grabbers used by auto mechanics to retrieve small nuts and bolts, but it does not have a sufficient grasp when I have been able to get close to the pair of pliers. I have also tried a similar magnetic tool used by auto mechanics, but the pair of pliers are too heavy for it. The pair of pliers are now out of sight, but perhaps with better light inside the space it might be seen.
The cost of the pair of pliers is trivial, but it must be retrieved before adjacent machinery is used because of the risk of major damage to the equipment. The equipment cannot be picked up and turned over to allow the pliers to fall out.
Ideally I'd like something similar to what I believe laproscopic surgeons use - something that goes into a small opening, has a light and viewing mechanism and the ability to grasp something and pull it to the opening - and all for less than $5. :-)
Well, I'm at the end of my wits about retrieving this, so I'm seeking ideas here about tools/methods that might be available to do what I need to do.
Any insight appreciated.
--
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CWLee
"I appreciate those who walk out from the edges with
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If you were to Super glue a small rare earth magnet to the end of a rod, or stick, it would have enough 'stickum' to lift the pliers, provided that they weigh less than about 5 lbs.
Do you have a junk 'Hard Drive'? they have powerful magnets in them.
Hope this helps.
Lewis.
*************
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Good idea! No surplus hard drives available; where might one buy a "small rare earth magnet"?
Of course I still need a small light source that could be inserted into the space.
Thanks for the help.
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CWLee wrote:

tp://www.sciplus.com/searchCat.cfm?scategory=MAG&terms=magnets or use a magnet out of an old speaker. One of the small high compliance types are very strong. One of the strongest magnets I have came out of an old dot matrix printer. I have used it to do exactly what you are trying to do. I really didn't need to see the tool the magnet found it just fine. It's holding the calender to the fridge right now. Takes a firm grip to pull it off. Richard
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On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 17:10:08 -0800, "CWLee"

I'm not there, but I trhink any lamp with a 100 W bulb held next to your face will illiuminate the hole, at least what you can see in the hole, better than any small light source. 100W bulb and a dental mirror will let you see more, and illuminate whatever you are looking at. if there is enough light adn it's not all painted black inside,then there will be light bouncing around so you'll get a view of everytyhing when you move the dental mirror.
I also don't think you have to see everything to just pan the magnet around the hole and you'll hear and feel when it catches something.
I save the magnets from sound speakers that can't be fixed, and other sources I can't remember.
I've rarely had luck with super glue though, and I would use 5 or 30 minute epoxee.
Your space is probably not big enough for a big speaker magnet, but I one time used one to pull a 4 foot piece of rebar out of 20 foot deep drain at Union Station in Baltimore. That weighed a lot more than your pliers. Unfortunately, I was searching for my keys, not the rebar.

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On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 17:10:08 -0800, "CWLee"

Magnets -- rare earth http://www.leevalley.com/hardware/page.aspx?c=2&pB348&cat=3,42363
http://sciplus.com/category.cfm?category 7
Grabber -- 10lb capacity -- may be strong enough to carry LEDs http://sciplus.com/category.cfm?category 7
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CWLee wrote:

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/jsearch/product.jsp?pn1890 should work. Also you could try a stronger magnet or a vacuum. A trained mouse?
Good luck
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Thanks. I have already tried that tool (both links are to the same type device.)

Will seek a stronger magnet, as another response suggested. Vacuum has some possibilities too. Both of those depend on being able to see inside, which means a better light source.
Thanks again.
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On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 17:08:16 -0800, "CWLee"

I don't understand the vacuum suggestion. In the typical airplane disaster movie, there is a hole in the fuselage, and the wind keeps sucking stewardesses out of the hole for the next 10 minutes, until they all tie themselves to the fire hose.
But in reality, I think those right next to the hole are sucked out in the first couple seconds, and after that, the air pressure is low in the airplane, but there is no more wind except I guess just adjoining the hole.
By vacuum, do you two mean wind, coming in through holes in the mechanism on the other side? If you actually mean vacuum, why would a vacuum that builds up gradually** move the pliers? **Unlike a lowpressure that happens suddently when I hole breaks in an airplane.

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a child's hand.
[you harvard guys keep us on our toes! :) ]
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wrote:

Get some white, high brightness leds (Radio Shack?) and tape them to your shaft. Feed it power down a wire so you don't need to stick the batteries down there.
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wrote:

Sounds like a good idea.
Do you think not suggesting this will get me into Harvard? :)
Havent thought through the details, but an electromagnet wrapped around an iron shaft might be alot stronger than a permananent magnet small enough to get in the hole.
The winding could remain outside the hole. I'm not sure how well flexible steels would transmit magnetism down the shaft, but testing might not take long.
Perhaps the magnet on a spring that the OP already has could be used, I think that spring will transmit magnetism, but direct current would have to be used, I think, and one direction would work with and make stronger the magnet that is already there, adn the other direction would oppose it. I haven't tried reinforcing an existing magnet with a winding, but I sort of think it wouldl work.
Put the spring or the metal rod in a vinyl tube, because it will be attracted to the metal opening and the tube will making pushing, pulling, and rotating easier.
Think about whether there are other parts that might be removed unintentionally. Probably arent';
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borrow this guy's shop vac at this thread: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_frm/thread/41347194982920ac?hl=en
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Sounds more like a home work assignment. If it is that important then the cost should be irrelevant!
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SQLit wrote:

Thought about magnet? There are small and STRONG ones out there. Tony
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lying to us and wasting our time? If so, I hope you fail the course. If it's not that it will be something else. What goes around comes around.
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After a dozen or so constructive responses to my query it is discouraging to hear from someone who suspects the worst in people. I have not been lying to anyone, but whether others have wasted their time or not remains to be seen. My request and situation are genuine.
Yes, I'm a student. I've been a student of one sort or another for most of my 72 years, including those at Harvard. I continue to learn, whether it is when formally enrolled, lecturing to my students, or just reading newsgroups. The $5 reference, followed by a smiley symbol, :-) , was intended to suggest that I knew it was an unrealistic expectation to obtain such a medical instrument for my purposes.
I continue to appreciate the useful replies to my post.
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On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 19:48:11 -0800, "CWLee"

I saw that the first time through, but forgot it when the other poster suggested you were in school.
Not lately but I've spent a lot of time on alt.english.usage, where students frequently write in trying to get us to do their homework. Sometimes they are straightforward about it, and it's depressing that they think it is ok to do so. Other times they ask without saying why or make up a phony story to justify their questions. That's even more depressing.
Sorry.

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i got a similar problem, re: a brass faucet adaptor that slipped/fell into the drain... can't see it... small retriever won't work... i posted my question and got an *excellent* reply that im anxious to try out as soon as the ice melts... do a shop-vac attachment to grap onto to lost item it sounds very encouraging...
best of luck, btw, brass isn't magnetic...
:> Hey OP, are you a student who's been :> lying to us and wasting our time? If so, I hope you fail: the course. :> If it's not that it will be something else. What goes: around comes :> around. : After a dozen or so constructive responses to my query it is : discouraging to hear from someone who suspects the worst in : people. I have not been lying to anyone, but whether others : have wasted their time or not remains to be seen. My : request and situation are genuine.
: Yes, I'm a student. I've been a student of one sort or : another for most of my 72 years, including those at Harvard. : I continue to learn, whether it is when formally enrolled, : lecturing to my students, or just reading newsgroups. The : $5 reference, followed by a smiley symbol, :-) , was : intended to suggest that I knew it was an unrealistic : expectation to obtain such a medical instrument for my : purposes.
: I continue to appreciate the useful replies to my post.
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A brass-wire noose fed through a tube, and a rod. use the rod to stir around the space until you push the pliers to where you can see them, then poke the pliers with the stick until some portion lifts enough to slip the noose on.
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