How to add magnets to a Wacom Bamboo stylus
The Maglus is awesome. Having magnets in a stylus makes a world of difference when you move around a lot and want a stylus that stays with the iPad 2 and doesn’t run off on its own. On top of that, the Maglus is decently priced and is a great stylus even without the magnetic feature.
But…. a lot of people already have a stylus. Buying a brand new one just for the magnets is not going to be worth it to a lot of people, especially if money is tight. If you have a Wacom Bamboo stylus though, adding magnets is cheap, easy, and doesn’t end up looking ridiculous. The key is that little removable pen clip that it has. It can easily support a couple of strong magnets without getting in the way when you use the stylus.
That’s exactly what I did with mine. The magnets came out of a knockoff Smart Cover that I had, but small magnets like these are pretty easy to get. In fact, you might not need to buy them at all if you have some old hard drives that you don’t need, as those ironically contain such magnets. Hardware stores often carry something similar as well, and there’s always the online option. The magnets shouldn’t set you back much either way. The other thing you need is some way to attach the magnets. I went with heat shrink tubing – rubber tubes that shrink when exposed to heat. They’re normally used for insulating wires, but work wonderfully for tasks like this. Unlike tape there’s no glue, meaning it won’t leave residue, and unlike using glue the magnets are guaranteed not to fall off because the heat shrink tube has shrink around both the magnets and clip and can only be cut away. Assembly is easy – just place the magnets on the Smart Cover to find a configuration that gives you the best connection (2-3mm apart seemed to be where mine wanted to be), snap on the pen clip, remove it (the magnets should stick to the clip), put on the heat shrink tube, and shrink the tube in place.
The resulting magnetic Wacom Bamboo stylus doesn’t sit as securely on the Smart Cover as the Maglus, but overall it isn’t bad. The heat shrink tubing should prevent any scratches, so you don’t have to worry about that. You could also attach the magnets onto the body of the stylus directly (something that would also make this work with other styli), but they might change the ergonomics of the stylus and make it less comfortable to hold. The pen clip is already out of the way, and so having magnets on it won’t interfere with normal operations. Also, using the heat shrink method on the main body of a stylus might make the whole tubing part move up and down the body of the stylus, whereas the pen clip has natural “stoppers” in both ends to prevent that.