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A flexible magnet is a type of magnet that is bendable and can be cut into a variety of shapes. These magnets are not as durable as heavy, solid magnets, but they offer a lightweight alternative that can be used in factories, schools, homes and businesses. With an ability to be twisted, bent and punched, there are as many uses for flexible magnets as there are shapes of magnets.
A flexible magnet is formed in two distinct ways, depending on how the magnet is intended to be cut. The first step in all magnet formation is to create a compound of dry metallic powders and liquids. Extrusion is the preferred method for creating a thin strip of flexible magnets and involves squeezing the compound into an appropriate mold to cool. Calendering is the appropriate way to create flexible magnetic sheets and is done by squeezing the compound between rollers several times until the sheet reaches its desired thickness. By using these two different techniques, magnet producers can create an unlimited range of magnets.
These sheets and strips are easily converted to a variety of die-cut and custom shapes. Flexible magnet makers normally have a set catalog of magnet die-cut shapes available for production that can be made quickly and easily. Some of the more popular styles of die cuts are squares, circles, triangles, a telephone, a house, a van and a rectangle with an oval cut from the middle to imitate a photo frame. Many magnet forgers also allow for custom jobs that are limited only by the blueprint maker's imagination. These can range from individual numbers and letters to entire business names, mascots and more.
After a flexible magnet is formed, it often is given a message on the non-magnetic side. These are not painted on, but rather a thin sheet of weatherproof laminate is applied. This can carry a variety of colors and messages for the magnet.
One of the biggest uses for a flexible magnet is a refrigerator advertisement or message. These magnets are cut into a variety of shapes but generally are no larger than a business card. Another popular use of flexible magnets are bumper sticker-sized strips that affix to factory machinery. These carry safety warnings and can be easily removed, and they are more useful than repeatedly painting the same message on the equipment. Interchangeable toolbox labels also are popular uses for flexible magnets because they allow the box to be rearranged any number of times without needing new labels.