Many custom applications require anchoring a magnet to a stationary surface.
However, using a glue stick or regular tube of glue won’t produce the type of solid bond required to maintain your magnet’s stability.
There is actually a very specific process to affix your magnet with glue while avoiding any loss of magnetic strength. Here’s how:
Ready the surface
These general tips ring true whenever you have to use adhesive to pair a magnet and a foreign surface.
1. Ensure all surfaces are clean and dry.
Clean the surface of both the magnet and the area you’re gluing it to. If the area is greasy then use a degreasing agent to remove grease or oil and then clean the area so that the degreasing agent is removed completely. Allow the surfaces to dry.
- Tip: Alcohol or common cleaners are not strong enough to clean and degrease. You need the surface completely clean, and that requires an industrial strength degreaser.?
2. Rough up metallic surfaces
Regardless of your adhesive, if you’re gluing your magnet to metal then both surfaces need some texture, otherwise they won’t adhere. Add texture to the surface of the magnet and the surface of the object you’re gluing the magnet to by roughing it up with sandpaper. A textured surface creates better bonds.
Give the surface enough texture to feel with your fingers. Too fine and the bond won’t take (and it’ll be hard to clean the dust from the surface before you apply the glue.
To scuff the surface, sandpaper is the best at around 40 to 80 grit.
Don’t forget to clean the magnet and the metal object you’re gluing it to afterwards to remove the dust (dust will impair the bond between surfaces).
3. Let the surfaces dry
Once cleaned, ensure that the surface areas are completely dry before you glue them
- Tip: To check if the surface is prepped properly, do the water test: A surface is properly prepped if it gets wet, but the water does not bead up.
Before You Glue
Read and follow these tips before you start the adhesive process:
- Avoid placing your magnets near metals they are attracted to while they’re drying.
- Never use a hot glue gun on your magnets. The extreme heat can actually reduce or completely eliminate the magnetic force.
Choosing the right adhesive
Most adhesives are purpose-built. For example, wood glue works much better creating bonds between two wood surfaces than it does plastic surfaces. Before you choose your adhesive, make sure it is suitable for the material you want to pair the magnet with.
Generally speaking, a two-part epoxy glue works best when affixing to:
Considerations for fabric
Fabric is the most difficult material to glue a magnet to. A two-part epoxy glue will work in some cases, but most of the time you will have to test out a few adhesive options.
Occasionally a simple application of white glue produces a strong bond. Another alternative that sometimes works well is a fast-setting superglue.
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