How to Get Level Magnets in Resin Casts

Fat Pony Magnet Production Line, Go-Go-Go!
Fat Pony Magnet Production Line, Go-Go-Go!

I’m doing another donation of Fat Pony magnets to the Big Orange Bash live model horse show this year… but this time I’m doing it right!

For values of right that include ‘producing a consistent magnet.’ These little guys are handmade, so they will never be exact duplicates, but right now the magnet placement is a little chaotic.

But I am nothing if not a MacGyver at heart, so I dug into the art supply hoard and came up with a solution! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Old Method

Old Method of Placing Magnets in Resin
Old Method of Placing Magnets in Resin

Before I created the magnet jig, the magnet placing process was to pour in a bottom layer of resin until it ‘looks right’, wait for it to harden, place the magnet, and then pour the second layer.

I got pretty good at getting the bottom layer to the point where the magnet would be flush or just poking out of the resin a bit. But making sure it came out flat in relation to the resin was hit or miss and the position within the Fat Animal wasn’t much better.

So… time to improve!

New Method Madness!

First Resin Magnet Placing Template Attempt
First Resin Magnet Placing Template Attempt

I am using molds that are identical in size, thanks to my Lego mold-making process, which I will post on later. So anything I came up with I knew I’d be able to reuse on the other Fat Animal magnets (and not just the ponies).

The luckiest part of the process was realising that two of the pony molds would fit inside a tongue depressor (aka Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks). (Who knew these things would be so handy?) I had originally planned on using the craft wood I use for the model horse fencing, so it was nice to build something on the cheap.

Elmers Glue and Resin Do Not Mix Well
Elmers Glue and Resin Do Not Mix Well

For the first attempt, I drew some line with a permanent marker and painted the back of the round magnets pink so I could transfer the locations to the stick. That let me line up things by eye to start with. After I got a working copy, I’ll add bumpers on each end to hold it in place.

I figured I could temporarily glue the magnets to the stick with rubber cement or Elmer’s white glue and then peel them off once the bottom resin was dry, but the glue was still tacky.

Second Resin Magnet Placing Template Attempt
Second Resin Magnet Placing Template Attempt

That idea actually worked! Sort of.

The magnets stuck in the resin well and I had no issues peeling them off the stick since the glue was still damp. So the magnets and the wood were happy… but the resin was not.

Where the Elmer’s glue had touched the resin, the resin never fully hardened. I ended up having to carve out that portion of the magnet and repour. Not funtimes.

Top of Resin Magnet Template Second Try
Top of Resin Magnet Template Second Try

So, glue is out… what could be more obvious to hold the magnets in place than more magnets?

I really should have thought of that first. *facepalm*

I ran a strip of flat magnet down the back of a new stick and clamped it down until the glue dried. The flat magnets come in coils are are a paint to keep flat without a little extra super glue. *gumps*

But once that was in place and a test run was done… it worked well enough to create some bumpers! These were thrown together by cutting up the first failed jig and using wood glue to combine them. They fit nice and snugly, so once they are in place they can’t get jostled while it dries.

Tiny Fat Pony Herd
And lo, the herd expands! ๐Ÿ˜€

Right now the jig keeps the magnets flush with the resin back (which makes for easy prepping), but I could easily add a small bumper to raise it up off the back so that the magnets stick out a little. I’m torn on which one looks nicer. *pokes magnets*

Now back to casting! ๐Ÿ˜€

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lois E McMahon

    Aren’t you clever!

    1. Martha Bechtel

      I blame all my crafty MacGyvering genes on you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Dad gets to claim anything model train related, lol)

      …Now we just have to get you up and crafting blogging as well! ๐Ÿ˜€

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