Tool Dots: Adhesive-backed rare-earth magnets for tool organization

Jeff sez, "We'd put tools into the tool drawer but they'd never come out. Other tool storage systems didn't suit us, so we created the Tool Dot. A tiny, powerful, magnetic tool holder that you stick to walls and other vertical surfaces to store tools in any arrangement you want."

I do a similar thing -- overlay little rare-earth magnets with Sugru and stick 'em to the wall. It's lumpier, but more colorful. Chacun son gout!

Tool Dot (Thanks, Jeff!)


  1. Yeah I need my tool, but I prefer that it doesn’t get covered in iron splinters. This will quickly turn against you. Hanging tools from nails is OK. Tool chests are OK. Magnets just attract all of the little filings and iron dust that you don’t want all over the tools.

  2. In the craft room at home we use magnetic knife racks, which are rare earth magnets arranged in a metal bar the same way. They are more stable, hold the same if not more weight, but do require fastening to the wall with screws.

    But it is a cool step up from the old peg board.

  3. I’ve been using hard drive magnets to hang my chef’s knives for years. What DON’T magnets improve?

  4. I was wondering how we were going to deal with the enormous surplus of rare earth elements.

  5. A single hard drive magnet placed inside a pouch on a work belt can hang a small demolition bar with ease. Larger magnets can even hold half crown staplers from the pouch, leaving your hands free while you climb a short ladder to staple some sheathing/siding/whatever in place. Make sure to tear open those old, failed hard-drives before you send them for recycling! Those magnets are useful!!

  6. This is also a nice source for magnets:

    We have a crap foundation in our basement that is being reinforced with steel i-beams. To cover the walls with cool posters and tapestries, we use a bunch of magnets. Then they aren’t sticking to the cinder block wall and they kind of hide the beams.

  7. These would be great for turning any “dumb” iPad2 case/cover into a smart one. The sensor is approx 2/3rds of the way up on the right bezel, and a single magnet should do the trick.

  8. Magnets, how do they work? Rather well, actually. I use a small magnet to hold the nail clippers to the inside of the metal drawer in the bathroom.

  9. I love how after 15 seconds you totally get the idea, but then it goes on for another 1.5 minutes.

    1. This video appears to be aimed at the same dribbling idiot demographic most of my primary and secondary school curriculum was devised for.

  10. I’m sure people will buy these. And then give up on them. There are 2 things that you need to sort your tools. Easy access and repeatable positioning. The magnet on the wall solves the first, but not the second. You need to ensure that the tool goes back to the same spot, and importantly, does not interfere with the other tools nearby. Randomly sticking tools to random magnet spots would keep them off your bench, but will drive you mad trying to find them.

    Sure, you could have an outline of the tool near the magnet that tells you “pliers go here and bindenroller torque wrench goes here” but then you will need to fiddle with it so it does not hit the other tools scrunched nearby. My tool wall is tight on space, so I’ve carefully organized things as close as practical. The nails I use to hold the tools also positions them…so they always go back to *exactly* in the right spot. (2″ stainless steel finishing nails, pre-drill the hole slightly undersize, tap in). I also agree with Toxonix… magnetized tools that aren’t normally magnetic are a pain in the ass.

    Obvious: Forget hanging your non-magnetic stuff with these.

  11. “Simply Place the Tool and Release”

    Ooooooh, right.

    “Need Your Tool? Grab it off the Wall”

    Aaaah. Off the wall. I get it now.

  12. Hopefully the adhesive used to stick the magnet to the wall can hold the same weight as the magnet can. I’ve found with some of the adhesive hooks that the adhesive or paint on the wall will usually fail and rip off before the hook does.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Seems like either that adhesive is going to be really prone to failure, or is on there for life.

  13. Prices on rare earth magnets have doubled or tripled over the last two quarters. Maybe enough so that it’s worth manufacturing them again in places that aren’t China.

  14. Here, Here, Sir Timquinn! I know that this is apropos of nothing, but this “recycle the magnets” thread reminded me of an old TV show. Why in the world Andy Griffith’s old DIY rocket ship show “Salvage 1” not on DVD? Actually, it would make a better movie than a lot of other old TV shows getting the green light, but that’s a whole other can of wormbots..

  15. All we need now, is paint that can stick to the wall with enough force to support the weight.

    Then, all we’ll need is gyprock sheet which uses lining paper that’s bonded to the gypsum more tightly than it is now.

    Then, all we’ll need is…

    /There’s a reason the pegboard works…

  16. timquinn: “Someone has to do a PhD on Boing Boing commenters. What a whack bunch of dudes.”

    Agreed! The Boing Boing team could themselves assemble a characteristically quirky and multifaceted survey on their commenters — covering everything from socioeconomics, cultural preferences, tech and other habits, soap use, lifetime number of disneyland visits, number of robots built, dietary preferences, number of novels read each year, prevalence of cat video viewing and more. Post it and publish it for fun number crunching and pattern searching.

  17. I do the same, just attaching the magnets to screws fitting the walls of the shed to the frame. No glue required.

  18. This could work if you usually bring the job to your tools, but I find I usually need to bring my tools to the job.

  19. “We’d put tools in the tool drawer but they’d never come out” , I think this tool needs a video on how drawers work.

  20. rare earth magnets on drywall screws hidden in the wall are a great way to hang posters and even fairly heavy objects. you have to scan for the screw head first because they only occur every 12 inches or so on the studs. (rare earth magnets also make for good stud finders in that they find the metal hardware in those studs)

  21. @wrybread and igpajo

    I am wondering about the adhesive too. It’s pretty humid where I live, and I have not had good luck with other adhesive hangers. I don’t mind if the magnets are there for life, I just don’t want my tools to come crashing down onto my work table.

    Though if the adhesives are good- I can think of quite a few uses for these!

  22. I use R E Magnets to hold shut our screen door. A little drop of super glue did the trick. I also used them to make a simple hinge like device for a metal box lid. Handy little devices – but I wouldn’t buy a set for this. Just use actual magnets.

    A little this fabric over the magnet will save your tools from scratching as well.

  23. Lurch, you’ve missed the obvious answer; get a Sharpie and draw the outline around the tool when it’s on the magnets. Same as you do when you’re using nails. Simples.
    Non-magnetic tools obviously will still need nails, but those tools could be restricted to one particular area at one end of the tool board, to keep everything neat and tidy.

  24. CountZero: A Sharpie outline is helpful at telling you *what* goes where, but it does not *position* it for you. You will manually (yeah, maybe I’m splitting hairs…) need to “line up” (waste your time fiddling) with your unbounded magnet held tool to make it line up to the outline. My wall ‘o nails forces the tool to go in *exactly* the right spot…every time. Even when I’m rushing. The outline (which I also have!) serves as a reminder only.

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