A surface micromachined micromagnetic actuator is provided with a flap capable of achieving large deflections above 100 microns using magnetic force as the actuating force. The flap is coupled by one or more beams to a substrate and is cantilevered over the substrate. A Permalloy layer or a magnetic coil is disposed on the flap such that when the flap is placed in a magnetic field, it can be caused to selectively interact and rotate out of the plane of the magnetic actuator. The cantilevered flap is released from the underlying substrate by etching out an underlying sacrificial layer disposed between the flap and the substrate. The etched out and now cantilevered flap is magnetically actuated to maintain it out of contact with the substrate while the just etched device is dried in order to obtain high release yields.