Adaptive surface microstructures are used extensively in nature to control various surface properties such as wettability, adhesion, self-cleaning, drag reduction, etc. Regulation of these properties can be achieved with the appropriate employment of a multitude of smart materials, whose characteristics/response can be controlled by noncontact stimuli, e.g., light, heat, or magnetic field. One of the very promising magneto-regulable smart materials are magnetoactive elastomers (MAEs). They are comprised of a compliant polymer matrix with embedded micrometer-sized ferromagnetic particles. The particles interact with each other and a magnetic field. This results in remarkable tunability of the physical properties of MAEs. This paper reports a fast, resilient, and tailored method for direct surface micromachining of MAEs that enables micro-structuring without mechanical contact between the tool and the material, bypassing the usual constraints of conventional fabrication methods. It is shown that it is possible to fabricate a large variety of different microstructure geometries whose precision is limited predominantly by the size of magnetic particles. Lamellar structures with a high aspect ratio (up to 6:1) oriented either perpendicularly to the surface, can be strongly bent by applying magnetic fields in the range of 0–250 mT.

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