Mini Magnetic PCB Vises




About: Electromechanical Engineer, Product Designer, Maker. I love to make prototypes and teach others in the process. I graduated from UCF and spent two years working at NASA.

In this instructable, I will show you how to make super simple and cheap magnetic pcb vises that are very useful for holding the circuit boards for your projects.

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Step 1: Bill of Materials

1. Standoffs for glass and acrylic signage

2. Neodymium Magnets

3. Laser Cut Plastic Washers(See attached dxf if you want to make them) You can just buy regular plastic washers and cut them.

4. Rubber End Caps

5. Rubber ESD Mat

6. Steel Sheet

7. CA Glue

8. Sandpaper

9. Isopropyl Alcohol

10. Lint Free Wipes

Step 2: Cut Rubber Washers in Half

Cut the rubber washers included with the glass standoffs in half.

Step 3: Sanding and Cleaning

Use gloves to sand one side of the magnets and the bottom side of the glass standoffs and then clean with isopropyl alcohol. I used lint free wipes to wipe the magnets. The gloves will keep the oils off the parts and will help ensure a strong glue bond. It also keeps the glue off your hands.

Step 4: Glue the Magnets to the Standoffs

Glue the rough side of the magnet that you sanded to the bottom side of the glass standoff.

Step 5: Glue the Half Rubber Washers to the Plastic Washer

Glue the half rubber washers to one side of half of your plastic washers. Two plastic washers per vise are needed but only one of washers need the rubber to act a fulcrum. Without the fulcrum, the pcb will want to slip out of the vise. If you want to hold larger pcbs, then you can use a larger fulcrum.

Step 6: Assembly

To assemble the vises, take one plastic washer with the rubber glued to it and one plain plastic washer and screw the glass standoff together.

Step 7: Place Steel Sheet Under a Rubber ESD Mat.

Place a steel sheet under a rubber ESD mat on your workbench. If you do not own an ESD mat, you can just use a small steel sheet and use the rubber end caps to protect the magnets from chipping.

Step 8: Other Uses

You could make a pcb bulletin board to hold pcbs you want to use for future projects. Let me know in the comments below what other uses you can come up with.

Having a steel surface on your workbench comes with other benefits. I've already glued magnets to other things around my lab.

Step 9: The End

Thank you for taking the time to read my instructable. If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, leave me a comment below.

Until next time,

Anthony (Proto G)

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9 Discussions


11 months ago

Instead of buying 1/2" end caps buy 3/4" end caps ... these fit snugly on the base of the standoffs. Drop a magnet into the cap then push the standoff in and you get a magnet vice with no glue required. I work directly on a stainless steel plate and the magnetic strength is perfect. I expect if you use an ESD mat the extra distance might mean you have to drop two magnets into the cap for each vice (i.e buy an extra 20 magnets for $10).


1 year ago

I like the concept a lot but your presentation needs work. Why did you feel you needed to speed up the videos 5x? It would be much clearer to show in real time how one support was made. Again, I like the idea!

1 reply

1 year ago

That is a very cool idea! Well documented and clearly explained. Very well done.


1 year ago

Great idea, and Im going to make a class set. FYI the dxf file seems to be corrupt or something. Ive tried it on three different cad programs, and a laser cutter, it didnt work at all.



1 year ago

That's a fantastic idea