Magnetic Toys

Gauss Gun

Similar device available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gauss Gun

Gauss Gun: acceleration of steel balls through magnetic potential energy and cascading collisions. Four neodymium magnets provide the potential energy that is converted into significant kinetic energy of the end steel ball. The initial configuration has two steel balls on one side of each magnet- an incoming ball on the opposite side accelerates and impacts each magnet in turn sending each loosely connected second ball off with greater speed. 

Feel Flux Loop

Available as a set, or individually (all come with the super powerful sphere magnet) here:

From feelflux.com: BUY NOW: Copper + Aluminum Feel Flux

Get some magnetic viewing film here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film 

Feel Flux Loop: original (copper) and the "Skill Flux" version (aluminum)- toys that use Lenz's Law to manipulate a very strong neodymium magnet. A changing magnetic field (such as that from a falling magnet) induces an electric current in the copper, which in turn produce an electromagnetic field (but of lesser strength) with opposing polarity. Interestingly the magnet falls a bit faster through the aluminum even though the walls are thicker- Al is only about 60% as conductive as Cu- so it takes more material to induce the needed magnetic field using aluminum. Interestingly the Al tube is about half the mass of the Cu one, even though it is larger in volume. Swipe to see the effect via magneview film which allows a visualization of the magnetic field- note that the field extends and is visible right through the thick copper.

Buda Ball

Only made by the Flyte team:

From Amazon: Buda Ball 

See also: The Story Clock

Buda Ball: a spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! Amazing magnetic levitation physics demonstrated with aesthetic design (and very clever engineering) by the flyte.se team- the only (non-superconducting) system I know of that can suspend in a horizontal direction as shown in this video. 


Eclipse Diamagnatic Sculpture

Click here to visit this amazing Etsy shop Element83 
Get a magnetic levitation sculpture here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Sculptures 

Eclipse diamagnetic levitation sculpture. Cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a golden spherical neodymium magnet levitates trapped in a tunnel within the metal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the sphere magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cube neodymium magnet sits above the tunnel and is adjusted to help lift the sphere magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these fields, any other magnet brought near will change the balance. 

 

Dipole Magnet and Iron Filings

Get these devices here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Cylinder

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer Cube 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer 

Dipole Magnet and Iron Filings: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. In these devices iron filings (in air, or mixed in oil) become dipole magnets and link end to end to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet within the center hollow tube. Simple yet functional magnetic field mapping devices.


Feel Flux

Get one here: 
From feelflux.com: BUY NOW Feel Flux 

Feel Flux: a toy utilizing Lenz's Law- a very strong neodymium magnet falls slowly down a copper tube as though passing through a viscous liquid. Moving magnetic fields produce electric currents in a conductor (such as copper). These currents then produce magnetic fields that have the opposite polarity to the initial field. So a falling magnet makes the copper tube briefly into an electromagnet that repels the magnet.

Rattlesnake Eggs

Get a set here! 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Buzzing Magnet Set 

Rattlesnake Eggs: polished barium- strontium ferrite ceramic magnets influence each other when many centimeters apart. Turn sound on--Wait for it! Sold as "buzzers" these magnets come together with multiple bounces creating a characteristic zipper sound. Most shops and online vendors incorrectly label these as hematite- a completely different substance that does not magnetize well. 

spYke Ferrofluid Display Cell

Check out the Etsy page of CZFerro: imaginative and quality ferrofluid display cells 
On Etsy: BUY NOW Magnetic Fluid Sculptures 

spYke Ferrofluid Display Cell: another spectacular display cell by czferro featuring a colloidal ferromagnetic liquid in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. The orange background highlights the curious spiking behavior of the black ferrofluid- a result of the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension between the liquids. 


Levitation Lamp 

Get this fun lamp here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Levitation Lamp

Levitation Lamp: tapping the floating spherical magnet turns this LED lamp off and on in this interesting design. The magnet floats a couple centimeters from the surface of the base when plugged in, and feels springy to the touch. Within the base is a control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity. 

Magswitch

The smallest Magswitch in this product line, yet it can lift 17 lbs! The Magjig 60: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magswitch 60 
From eBay: BUY NOW Magswitch 60 

Magswitch: switchable permanent magnet- a twist of a knob turns on a magnetic field strong enough to lift this 5.2 kilogram (11 pound) chunk of railroad rail. Magnetic fields, when combined, can be either additive or subtractive. This Magswitch model, the Magjig 60, works by aligning and counter-aligning two strong neodymium dipole magnets within a field channeling ferromagnetic casing.


Revolution

This vintage toy can sometimes be found on eBay. 
Quality models of the modern version of this physics toy are still available 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitator 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitator 

Revolution: vintage 2D magnetic levitation- permanent magnets can only produce static equilibrium along two dimensions- here a glass mirror constrains the third dimension, and makes for a nice bearing surface for rotation. This item was sold in the 1990s in mall shops such as Natural Wonders. 

Color Gradient Magnetic Film

Get this new technology here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

Color Gradient Magnetic Film: making the invisible visible and revealing the hidden beauty of the physics in our everyday world. The field structure of six magnetic objects can be seen here. Staring with a simple dipole neodymium in the center and going clockwise from the top left: fridge magnet with stripe pattern, magnetic rotor of a small motor, ring of poles of a stator for a stepper motor, vintage ferrous classroom “dipole”, and a coded interlocking neodymium magnet. Microscopic cavities in this thin film are filled with suspended magnetic nanoparticles that interact with magnetic fields producing different colors from orange (low field strength) to dark blue (high field strength).

Electric Motor

Get this easy to assemble kit here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Simplest Motor Kit 

Electric Motor: in its simplest form!- coil, magnet, and battery. The wire of the coil has an insulating coating- and this coating is carefully scrapped off one side on each end. When current passes through the coil it becomes an electromagnet and the permanent magnet repels it making it spin- as it turns the currents goes on and off depending if the copper posts are in contact with the bare wire (current on) or the still insulated wire (current off). I have motors with fewer parts- but they operate on more complex principles.


Tesla's Egg of Columbus

Get this amazing (and affordable) reproduction here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Tesla's Egg of Columbus
This version comes with a 35mm solid aluminum sphere. 

Get the aluminum phiTOP "egg"  here: BUY NOW phiTOP 

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: an aluminum ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. The base has no moving parts- instead special copper windings (very similar to Tesla’s original design) form four electromagnet coils on a circular steel core, and a special circuit supplies each with AC currents in such a way that a rotating magnetic field is created. This rotating magnetic field from the coils under the concave glass induces electric eddy currents to flow in the aluminum ellipsoid- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the ellipsoid to spin. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. 

 

 

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Micro Hoverboard

If you want to make one of these you will need: 
1) some pyrolytic graphite (which can easily be sliced and carved): 
From eBay: BUY NOW Pyrolytic Graphite 
2) some neodymium magnets: the racetrack magnets are a bit pricey though! 
From eBay: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Kit
3) shrink and print this image on medium weight paper, 
and 4) cut and assemble! 

Micro-Hoverboard: diamagnetic levitation technology- although Marty McFly would have to be three inches tall to ride this hoverboard. Made from printed paper and pyrolytic graphite with concentric circular neodymium magnet array. The magnetic rings alternate between north and south magnetic poles in just the right way to trap this special type of graphite. Pyrolytic graphite has strong diamagnetic properties such that it develops an opposite (but weak)magnetic field when in the presence of a magnetic field from another source. Swipe to see the graphite pieces levitating individually.