DIY Compact Portable Magnetic Laptop Shelf Build Instructions

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 (buy here).

NOTE these Neodymium Magnets are N52 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.

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
Laptop Shelf Magnets 1/2 & 3/4

First set the 1/16″ thick Block Magnets side by side alternating the poles. Then glue *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.

Magnetic_Laptop_Shelf_Build
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 would think but I learned an easy trick – How NOT To & How To .

  • 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.
    (*Edit 2020_09, I no longer recommend Low Strength 4 Magnet since learning and easy method to remove the stronger shelf video)
  • 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.
    (*Edit 2020_09, I now recommend High Strength 6 Top Magnets so the shelf can be used for heavier duty applications like holding hardware bins video)

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.
*Edit just use 6 Top Magnets, not this configuration.

Magnet_Bracket
3/4″ & 1/2″ Magnet Combo (no longer recommended)

*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 (video).

Magnetic_Utility_Shelf
Utility Shelf to Hold Milwaukee Organizer

I plan to do a weight test of each configuration. I may even do a giveaway with 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 magnets and brackets so the glue has a better surface to adhere to.

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
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 the metal 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 the glue 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

This Magnet is important!

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.

On later models I used two 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 1/32″ magnets (rather than one 1/2″x1/4″ as pictured) because they are stronger due to alternating poles.
Pictures coming soon, buy here.

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 (repair guys!) 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

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
Avoid this!

Super Shelf!

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
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 (*edit, not true, comes off with proper procedure).

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
How much will it hold?

6 Top Magnet version with electric tape covering.

Mag Shelf



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

4 Comments

  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

      Thanks,
      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: http://goo.gl/DDfVab

      Latest YouTube video: https://youtu.be/HyrhW_gnQEM

  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?

    Thanks,

    • 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.

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