For anyone who wants to make sure they are prepared for a survival situation in the open, a compass is one of the most important elements. This navigational tool is very old, but at the same time, stills the best aid for anyone looking to find their way around in unknown terrain. Use of a compass is particularly important for orientation in the wilderness or even rural areas, where there are no clear landmarks that can be used for navigation.
The same is true for finding a way in the nighttime. Fortunately, a compass works by using the magnetic field of the planet, so it works perfectly well in any of these situations. At the same time, anyone who is a part of the prepping community should fully understand how a compass works. Not only that, but they should also be able to create one with nothing more than regular household items. To assure this, here is the ultimate guide on how to make a homemade compass.
The Principle of Magnetism
Humanity has been aware of magnetism for many thousands of years. It is the force that allows two magnets to either push away from each other or be pulled together. This force is generated by certain types of metal that have this inherent ability. The same metals are also scattered through the Earth’s crust and core, providing the entire planet with a weak but constant magnetic field. In this field, a magnetized needle will always point towards a certain direction. This principle was used when the first compass was constructed between 1000 and 1100 A.D. Since then, the design has been steadily improved until it reached the present form a few centuries ago. Today, the modern compasses are virtually the same as those centuries-old models.
Creating a DIY Compass
To create a homemade compass, a survivalist or a prepping-minded individual needs a sewing needle made out of metal, a regular natural magnet of any kind, a cork, pair of pliers, knife or scissors, a wide bowl and some water. First, the magnet should be rubbed against the needle for five minutes or more, always following the same directing. Once the needle is magnetized, the cork should be cut in a way to create a small disk-like shape. This disk should be about one-quarter inch thick. With the disk on its side, the needle should be carefully pushed through it using the pliers.
The needle should stick out equally on both sides of the cork disk. After the needle part is completed, the bowl should be filled with water and the disk placed inside of it. Then, the person operating the compass should place the disk so that it floats in the middle of the bowl. There, the needle will always take the position those points in the same direction. This direction is the general north-south axis. The needle should return to the same position even when the bowl is moved. The setup is as effective in navigation as any other mass-produced compass.
With this simple set of instruction, anyone will be able to create a working compass in a short period of time with readily available tools and supplies. In an emergency situation, this ability can be indispensable.