DIY Compact Portable Magnetic Laptop Shelf Build Instructions

Step 2

Mount Folding Brackets to Board

Page 1: Overview & Step 1: Drill Holes
Page 2: Step 2: Mount Brackets
Page 3: Step 3: Glue Magnets
Page 4: Step 4: Add Anti-Slip
Page 5: Options & Variations
Page 6: Photos of Shelf in Use (IUEC)
Page 7: Read More, FAQ, Recipient List

To mount the folding brackets to the board I both mechanically fasten and glue them. Are both necessary? No. Glue alone won’t holdup over time. Mechanically fastening with bolts will but I chose to do both as a middle finger to all the half a$$, corner cutting BS we deal with daily.

First thread the M4 bolts into the the board. Test fit the bracket over the bolts then remove to apply glue. Apply a thick coat of Flexible Contact Adhesive (I use Gorilla Glue or Loctite Glue) in the recess of the folding bracket to fill the void, along the edges of the bracket and on the board down the center line of the bolts hitting the bolts so the glue acts as thread locker.
Gorilla Glue Clear Grip:
Loctite Clear Silicone:

Glueing folding hinges to board
Adding glue to folding hinges

Note, a notch was cut into the Mainstay board. We will discuss that shortly.

Adding glue to folding hinges

Once glue is applied, set the folding bracket onto the bolts and snuggly fasten with M4 nuts. Don’t over tighten because the folding bracket has a recess in the center and over tightening will draw the board inward some causing it to curve and smiley face your board. Ask me how I know.

Make sure the bolt is flush with the top of nut or only protrudes a little. If anymore than pictured below, the folding bracket won’t quite close all the way. Remember this is an ultra low profile folding bracket. If you can’t purchase the correct size, cut, grind or file the bolt down as needed. This is why I wasn’t able to use nylon insert lock nuts (aircraft nuts), they were too tall.

There is not much room between the nut head and the recess in the bracket to fit a conventional nut driver. I just ground down a cheap 7mm nut driver to make the walls thinner. My precision Wiha electronics nut driver set only went up to 6mm.

Make sure bolts don’t protrude too far

Once the glue sets up, it will solid fill the recess void in the center of the folding bracket making for a more rigid overall build. It’s best to use a flexible glue though as the board will flex some in use and when you remove the shelf from a metal surface.

Optional Notching Edges
If you use a board that is flat on both sides (Faberware Basics) or place the recessed side up and flat side down on the Mainstay, you won’t have to route or cut a notch in the edge for the folding bracket.

I wanted to try several variations of this laptop shelf, so I notched some Mainstay Boards to compare flat top vs recessed top vs Faberware flat/flat. I just used a router which was quick and easy.

I found that I prefer the recessed top for the option to hold material that could roll off including hardware, pens, flashlight etc. so I don’t recommend doing this step, just put the flat side down / recessed side up on the Mainstay boards.

If you don’t want a recessed top, I recommend the Faberware Board.
Mainstay/Dexas Board:
Farberware Basics Board:

Routed edge for Flat Top Models
Routed edge for Flat Top Models
Routed edge for Flat Top Models

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Next Page for Step 3: Glue Magnets

Page 1: Overview & Step 1: Drill Holes
Page 2: Step 2: Mount Brackets
Page 3: Step 3: Glue Magnets
Page 4: Step 4: Add Anti-Slip
Page 5: Options & Variations
Page 6: Photos of Shelf in Use (IUEC)
Page 7: Read More, FAQ, Recipient List

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


  1. Alex on January 4, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Hey Kevin, how is version 3 coming along? I can’t imagine what your plans are for making it “thinner, lighter and more compact.” I’ve been a lurker for a while as I was going to make my own invention just as you have done, but you have done a ton of the trial and error as well research into making your shelf.

    I came up with the same idea a year ago when I saw a shelf like it mounted with screws in a PLC console and I told the tech I was working with that it would be awesome to mount one of those with strong magnets and have it moveable around all of our different work areas and sites… they just shrugged and I stayed busy with work as I was the FNG. Finally with a little more down time and days of research several months ago, I saw that you had the same drive as I for a product/project like the one you have created. Anyhow, great work thus far on your personal project, I hope to order the materials soon so that I can have a couple of shelves lying around in my laptop bags/work truck.

    • Kevin Gittemeier on January 4, 2021 at 8:13 pm

      Version 3 won’t start for a while as I have other projects to complete first.
      Version 1 took me nearly 20 years to complete when I found the half started project while cleaning my basement and finally finished it. Version 2 had been in my head for years but took that long to find the proper hinges.

      The key to Version 2 is the low profile hinges and the magnet configuration. I will explain the science behind the magnet config in a future update but its important to do the magnets exactly as I have, alternating the poles.

      I have one model that uses 1/32″ thick magnets and holds very strong. Yes 1/32″ paper thin magnets. The key is the alternating poles.

      I will update this post in the future with more info but time is very limited and I make little to no money off these posts (1-3% off amazon links) so its hard to justify the time.

      Good luck and remember you can help support this website and YouTube channel by Subscribing, hitting Like & Commenting on videos.
      Help us get to 100k Youtube Subscribers:

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  2. Mohsen on March 14, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Hello Kevin,
    Fantastic Idea and thanks for sharing with everyone. My question is about the magnet. Does the magnet can damage hard hard drive or any other parts on the laptop? How strong the magnet should be to effect and damage the hard drive?


    • Kevin Gittemeier on March 14, 2021 at 11:51 am

      Thanks, and good question.
      Anything is possible but practically, no. Remember powerful magnets are in hard drives but fields are shunted. Just don’t store the laptop shelf magnet side touching the laptop (likely would still be fine but just to be on safe side). Store it cutting board side towards laptop. I will make an edit fully explaining the magnetic shielding, concerns etc later today but it’s important to use the magnets I specify and alternate poles.

      I’ll post my edit as a reply here as well.

  3. Kevin on February 15, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Dude. Can I please just buy a version two from you ? Email me please.

    I do fire alarm programming a lot and am always struggling with my tablet. This is amazing but I want it to be top quality and you seem to have all the small bugs worked out beautifully. If so let me know

    • Kevin Gittemeier on February 19, 2022 at 11:32 am

      Sure for enough money but once you add my price + shipping cost you may just want to build your own for around $50 in material.

      I would be willing to sell some of the versions I already have built for $150 + shipping. I have no idea what shipping would cost but if you are interested I will find out. The remaining models are listed on page 6 towards the bottom:

      I understand the struggle! Having a portable shelf can be a life saver.

  4. Mohamad on June 14, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Hey Kevin,

    Have you ever tried this with a wooden board? I don’t see any draw backs.

    • Kevin Gittemeier on June 14, 2022 at 7:58 pm

      I have not.
      I like to use these cutting boards because they are light weight, inexpensive, durable, readily available and most of all suite the task perfectly.
      A wooden board would look very nice and work well but not ideal for a hard use application in the field like I use mine. I have thought about making a nice wooden one just as an example though and posting video and pics.
      Keep a lookout on my YouTube channel:

  5. Aaron on June 23, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Do you have another source for hinges that you like? As I type this, Amazon only has one of the 8″ brackets of the type you recommend in stock.

    Or even an alternate hinge?

    • Kevin Gittemeier on June 23, 2022 at 10:17 pm

      I have no acceptable alternate (I have tried many) and I have not been able to find that hinge anywhere else. Keep in mind that they are sold in pairs so that “1” in stock will allow you to make a shelf. They come in and out of stock often so keep checking if you want more.

      When I see them in stock I buy several bc more and more co-workers keep wanting to buy shelves from me rather than build it.

      Also note that I just added a page 7 with more info. More pics and info coming soon about “Pro Version”.

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