OpenForge Tools: Magnetic Clamps

by devonjones, published

OpenForge Tools: Magnetic Clamps by devonjones May 5, 2017
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These magnetic clamps are designed so that you can glue perfect 90 degree angles. Since we so regularly need to glue parts in our hobby, I designed these after seeing them used on Terranscapes.

In order to ensure the resulting part is strong, it needs to be tuned to your specific printer. The reason is, we want the wall thickness to be an exact multiplier of the nozzle so that it creates a really strong wall. I strongly recommend you customize your prints if your nozzle is any size other then 0.4mm (which is my printer's nozzle, and thus the size on all the stls).

With stronger magnets you will probably want 3 walls of thickness, but with weaker ones you will do fine with 2. I've included a bunch of videos below testing the clamps at various strengths, and the original review that gave me the idea.

OpenForge is now a patron supported project. I use the resources that my patrons give me in order to get the resources to let me create more sophisticated tiles with a greater level of detail. Please, support me, and I’ll deliver an ongoing stream of awesome gaming terrain. You can find more about OpenForge and Masterwork Tools at our:


Deciding on magnets

With an N42 1"x1/8"x1/8" magnet we are getting a bit over 2 lbs. At $0.74/piece, you can make this clamp for $2.96. These are a bit weak (but can still work) with tiles, but would be wonderful with thin strips of wood, or smaller parts like the docks construction kit pieces.

With an N42 1"x1/8"x1/4" magnet we are getting a bit over 2 lbs. At $1.26/piece, you can make this clamp for $5.04. I recommend this set for most tiles. They are strong and will hold the tile while you glue.

With an N42 1"x1/4"x1/4" magnet we can get a bit over 5 lbs. At $2.14/piece, you can make this clamp for $8.56. These monsters are great, but on normal tiles, they are so strong they repel each other so it makes them a little harder to use on something 2 inches x 2 inches like most tiles.

If you want to go even stronger, you can get N52 for $2.75/piece for $11/clamp. I estimate these should give about 6.25 lbs of clamping force.

Thing is, testing these with my tiles, I think even the cheapest option is still useful, but the stronger ones are even better. And if what you want to glue is thin wood, the lighter touch is probably preferable. I personally made two of each strength.

How I Designed This

Demo of the clamps with a tudor tile

Testing N42 1 inch x 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch

Testing N42 1 inch x 1/8 inch x 1/4 inch

Testing N42 1 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch

Review of similar clamps on Terranscapes that gave me the idea.

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Anyone have a good supplier that doesn't charge 150$ for shipping to Europe? I can usually get my magnets through eBay/aliexpress, but finding these exact sizes proved difficult.

The project is a customizer, in mm, so you can customize a set for any size you can easily purchase.

I would suggest at least 20-25 mm long because you want to ensure a reasonably long surface area.

also worth noting, it accounts for the need to have some extra space around the magnet, so just input the actual size of the magnet.

Allright thanks, I'll see if I can figure it out. Sorta new to this :P