DIY Compact Portable Magnetic Laptop Shelf Build Instructions

Step 4

Add Anti-Slip Coating to 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)

Electric tape, Plasti Dip or maybe even a paint or nail polish will work to add some friction or grip. The magnets are slick and will just slide down some metal surfaces when the shelf is loaded with anything reasonably heavy.

I want some level of impact buffer so the magnets don’t shatter over time due to the repeated impact of mounting. I also want to easily be able to wipe off metal debris should any get on the magnets.

Electric Tape (easiest & most effective)

Using 1.5″ wide electric tape is easier and faster than applying Plasti Dip and has just the right amount of friction. It adds a level of friction but will still slide down if overloaded rather than detach and fall. I would much rather the shelf just slide down than fall off.

Laptop_Shelf_Magnets
Magnets covered with Electric Tape

On some of the boards with 6 top magnets, I added two layers of tape to add a little more impact cushion and make the magnetic attraction a little weaker. Every little bit of space between the magnets and metal surface weakens the attraction. Remember 6 top magnets is pretty strong and was hard to remove before I learned a trick (video).

Apply a Spray Coating (PlastiDip not recommended)

Applying Plasti Dip is more time consuming and it offers too much friction. The shelf is less likely to slide down when overloaded and will detach and fall.

Magnetic_Laptop_Shelf_Build
Spraying Plasti Dip on magnets

I scuffed the surface of the magnets with sandpaper before applying the Plasti Dip. The Plasti Dip works but is not ideal because it will eventually wear and peel off and will have to be reapplied.

Magnetic_Laptop_Shelf_Build
Spraying Plasti Dip on magnets


We don’t really need a rubber coating, it just needs to be something less slick than the magnets and offer some level of friction.

The electric tape is not perfect and can wrinkle if you try to adjust the shelf once mounted (Fabian!) but at least it’s easy to replace.

I think there is probably a better paint option out there and would like to hear some alternative ideas from viewers.

Edit 2020_10, I used Rust-Oleum metal paint and it works well enough but does chip and peel off with use and will need reapplication. I am sure there is probably a better coating for this application but until I find one, electric tape is the easiest and most effective option I have tried.

Material Kit

Plano ProLatch 23650-52 Stowaway Organizer with various Bolts, Magnets & 1.5″ wide Electric Tap. Notice the blue door blocker magnets. Those have saved my a$$ on many an occasion and I carry at least 2 in my pocket. More on those Here.

DIY_Laptop_Shelf_Material
Laptop Shelf Material


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Next Page for Options & Variations


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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