Step 3

Glue Magnets to Folding Brackets

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)

From totalElement I received 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/16″ and 1/2″ x 3/4″ x 1/16″ Super Strong N52 Neodymium Block Magnets.

NOTE these Neodymium Magnets are N48 which is very strong. If you use a lower grade, you may need more magnets than I am using. I recommend buying from a reputable source like totalElement because ebay and amazon sellers often advertise a stronger grade than they sell.

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Laptop Shelf Magnets 1/2 & 3/4

First set the 1/16″ thick Block Magnets side by side alternating the poles. Then glue 4-6 magnets at the top of the bracket and 2 magnets at the bottom of the bracket. Use impact resistant super glue. Impact resistant because when you mount the shelf to a metal surface, it will impact hard because of the strong magnetic attraction.

For demonstration I used a Magnetic Pole Detector and marked the poles with colored Sharpie markers but that is not necessary. If the edges of the magnets stick together the poles are opposites. If the edges repel each other, the poles are identical.

It’s important to alternate the poles as that strengthens the attraction to metal while having all the poles facing the same direction weakens the attraction to metal. In layman’s terms, if all the poles face the same way, the fields fight one another. If the poles alternate, the fields work in conjunction with one another.

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Alternating Magnet Poles

How Many Magnets?

The bottom only needs two 1/2″ x 1/2″ magnets side by side because all the pulling force is at the top. The bottom magnets are only to to keep the bracket flush to the mounting surface and to add anti-slip friction so the shelf doesn’t just slide down.

The number of magnets on top will depend on use and personal preference. The more magnets you add the more difficult the laptop shelf is to remove. It’s more difficult to remove than you think but I have a trick.

  • Qty (4) 1/2″ x 1/2″ Magnets: Low Strength, easy to remove, ok for laptops & most application but can be knocked off if not careful.
  • Qty (6) 1/2″ x 1/2″ Magnets: High Strength, difficult to remove but won’t get knocked off. If overloaded, will just slide down the surface.

Best Compromise for General Use
Qty (2) 1/2″ x 1/2″ Magnets & Qty (2) 1/2″ x 3/4″ Magnets: Medium Strength, does everything I could reasonably expect and not too difficult to remove from metal surface. Won’t get knocked off, it will just slide down the surface if overloaded unless you act like a repair guy and drop bricks on the end of it.

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3/4″ & 1/2″ Magnet Combo

EDIT 2020-09-02, Stronger may be Better

This fully loaded Milwaukee Organizer is supported by the 3/4″ & 1/2″ compromise magnet combo but can be knocked off if pressing down on the end of the organizer. I had not planned to use the Magnetic Utility Shelf in this manner when I designed it but found it helpful today 2020-09-02. For this application I recommend using (6) 1/2″ magnets on top for added strength.

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Utility Shelf to Hold Milwaukee Organizer

I plan to do a weight test of each configuration. I may even do a giveaway and the person guessing closest to any, gets one free.


The easiest way I have found to apply the magnets is to:

– Layout the magnets with poles alternated
– Apply a strip of electric tape to magnets and flip over laying the tape down, magnets facing up
– Apply impact resistant super glue to the magnets
– Apply magnets to the bracket by by holding the tape ends, not the magnets.

This will keep you from glueing your fingers.
The magnets are attracted to the bracket and will hold in place while the glue sets. If not aligned properly, you typically have a second to slide and align the entire block of magnets. Once the glue sets, apply an additional bead of glue around the edges of the magnets for added strength.

I recommend scuffing the magnet and bracket so the glue has a better surface to adhere to.

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Allowing Magnet Glue to dry


You might ask, “Will the magnets come loose from the bracket and stay on the metal surface?” They might over time but keep in mind the magnet is equally attracted to bracket as well and has the added strength of glue (2 against 1). Just make sure the glue is thin so the magnet is as close to the bracket as possible for increased magnetic attraction and also impact resistant so it won’t crack and fail over time.

Regardless, if a magnet were to fail, it will do so when removing the shelf after use and you can just glue it back on. Ask me how I know.

Lock Closed Magnet

I found that with folding brackets closed, they can spring open on you with the slightest bump. This is incredibly annoying so I added a paper thin 1/32″ thick 1/2″ x 1/4″ magnet to hold the bracket closed. You can use one of the larger 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/16″ magnets if you want to but I recommend getting these 1/32″ super thin magnets.

These are so thin that when the bracket is closed the extra 1/32″ in almost unnoticeable. Just be careful not to slam the bracket closed as hard as you can or you may shatter the magnet.

Shatter Potential

Be sure not to allow the magnets to collide or they will shatter. That is why I starting using tape to apply the magnets. When holding the ends of the tape firmly to apply the magnetic to the bracket, they won’t fold over onto themselves shattering in the process.
Remember, buy more magnets than you think you need! They are cheaper in bulk and you can also find a use for extras as seen Here

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Avoid this!

Super Shelf!

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How much will it hold?

Well, that’s a bit much!
How many pounds will this one hold?
Never mind that once its mounted, it’s not coming off.

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How much will it hold?



Next Page for Step 4: Add Anti-Slip


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)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

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