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10 Tips to Design with Magnets

An extensive review of tips and examples to use when designing a new product with magnets and make use of all their properties without their drawbacks. Other alternatives to magnets will also be listed.

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Magnet Design Benefits

example of a speed game

example of steal protection

example of  tile opening

Magnet Theory and Selection

No big physics here, but basic facts that should be known when selecting a magnet in a product design

  • attraction force & distance
  • shape: 
  • duration:
  • price
  • resistance:
    • against shock: very brittle
    • against corrosion: good if the outer layer is coated and perfectly intact. Can be very poor if the magnet touches another metal (often the case!) and creates some galvanic corrosion with humidity

Magnet Drawbacks

  • costly if big or if made to order in small volumes
  • not super eco-friendly (rare metals, mix of metals, hard to separate intact when recycling)
  • fragile
  • force decreasing over time (depending on conditions)
  • heavy (metal on the two sides)

Magnet Alternatives

The “specs” of the magnet function to be replaced:

can attach or fix temporary another part, without any additional tool

(the “through walls” or “from a close distance” is not an option here, which only the magnet permits)

 ProsCons
velcro
  • thin
  • not extreme temperature, but at least the ones of magnet
  • cost-effective, simple, and reliable within its retaining force
  • no visually a “lean” & modern design…
  • needs large surface

metal clips

 hard to design user and visually friendly

plastic clips

cheap (if high volume to amortize the mold invest)

  • expensive if low production volume
  • more space

latches / strap in

 takes space

sticky paste or other temporary glues

 would you reliably design with that?

 

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