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Tags: Hardware

Magnetic Fishing Rod

A while ago I made some ridiculously simple fishing rods for my toddlers to play with, basically some string tied to a drilled hole at the end of a piece of wooden dowel, and a laser cut MDF “hook” at the end. It was mostly about imagination play, and they’d dangle them off the balcony of their cubby house and pretend to catch fish. It was a huge success, and the kids used them heaps, but eventually outgrew the idea of it just being string on a stick and wanted something a bit more interactive. We’re not big on buying toys that we could make ourselves, and also love showing them that you can build your own stuff to a much higher quality than anything bought at the toy shop, so we came up with this magnetic fishing rod toy.

This entire project is using random bits I had lying around, so it has been designed to suit. For example, the bolt hole is sized to fit some random 43mm bolts I had leftover from another project, and the holes for the dowel are the same. You could very easily fill/widen any of the holes to suit other bolts or dowel that you have.


First I made a rough prototype, it was overly chunky and just done using basic shapes in Fusion to make sure it all worked and the kids enjoyed the idea.

Prototype Fishing Rod

Once we were happy with the general idea of it I refined the design, trimming it down and smoothing all the edges and giving the reel mount a nicer shape (purely for aesthetics). I also added a little channel so that you can tie the string to the wooden handle in between the 2 reel halves, so the reels themselves clamp on it and you don’t need to glue the string. This lets you replace it if you’ve snapped it or want a different colour later.

Final Fusion Model

3D Render 1

3D Render 1

Lastly, I grabbed a random fish model from thingiverse that my kids chose out and threw it in Tinkercad to remove the keyring part on the back.

Modifying the Fish Model

We printed a few out in different colours and glued washers to their mouths as an easy way for the magnetic hooks to attach.

Gluing Magnets to the Fish

… and we’re done.

Completed Magnetic Fishing Rods


Files to Print

  • MagneticFishingRod-ReelMount.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-ReelInner.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-ReelOuter.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-Hook.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-Guide.stl (x3)

Fish (or find any other model you like)

  • MagneticFishingRod-SmallFish.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-MediumFish.stl
  • MagneticFishingRod-LargeFish.stl


  • Print out all the pieces
  • Cut the dowel into sizes appropriate to your kids (it works for anything from 30cm to ~100cm)
  • Slip the handle piece of dowel into the Reel Inner print
  • Tie 1 end of the string around this handle piece, you’ll notice it slips down into a groove where the handle goes into the Reel Inner piece, and the knot + rest of the string can come out of the little channel cut
  • Slide the Reel Outer piece over the handle and press down tight
  • Now bolt the 2 reel pieces onto the Reel Mount and tight up as much as possible without causing friction on the spin of the reel
  • Slide the entire reel/mount contraption onto your rod piece of dowel
  • Slide on the Guide print pieces (I used 3, you can print more if your rod is longer)
  • I added a touch of hot glue to each piece on the dowel, just to stop them sliding around
  • Glue your neodymium magnet into the Hook piece using some super glue
  • Thread your string from the reel through all the Guide pieces, then on the end tie your hook