Magnetic Toys

Electromagnetic Levitation Module

Get this kit here (comes complete as shown in my video):
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Magnetic Levitation Module

The featured sculture is by Bathsheba Grossman, affordable and beautiful math art available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Soliton Sculpture

Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this engineered control system uses adjustable electromagnets (four copper coils) and and two Hall effect magnetic field sensors (held firm embedded in white silicone) to levitate an 5cm diameter neodymium magnet platform about 3 cm in mid-air. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, and is powered by a standard USB connection. The platform also rotates, perfect for showcasing one of my metal 3D printed mathematical sculptures by Bathsheba Grossman.

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. 


Cosmic Eye Rheoscopic Display

A KickStarter campaign for resonably priced interactive art: 

From KS: Pledge NOW: Cosmic Eye

Cosmic Eye Rheoscopic Device: visualizing the invisible- where suspended microscopic flat crystals reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the suspended microscopic particles are slightly ferromagnetic and will align with any external magnetic field that is brought near the device. A small magnet within allows interesting interactions as well. From creator and artist Robert Spillner.

 

Spring/Latch Polymagnets

Avilable here: 
From Polymagnet.com: BUY NOW 
Spring/Latch Pair Demo 


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

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Magnetic Viewing Film 

Spring Latch Polymagnets: this pair of coded magnets attract but don’t touch in a state of stable equilibrium at a distance of 1/2 cm- but if one magnet is turned a half twist they latch together. Magnetic viewing film reveals the specific and complex arrangement of N and S poles that allow for this set to act like a spring or a latch (although only if constrained to an axis along their centers). 

Color Gradient Magnetic Viewing 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. 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). Here three “fridge magnets” and a coded neodymium magnet show surprising field complexity when placed under this film.


Self-Propelled Homopolar Motor on Aluminum Foil Racetrack

I used neodymium disk magnets, small end = 1/2" diameter, Large end = 3/4" diameter. 
From eBay: BUY NOW Disk Magnets for Simple Motor 

Foil Runner Motor assembly diagram: 
Self-Propelled Homopolar Motor on Aluminum Foil Racetrack: A favorite DIY physics toy where disk shaped neodymium magnets supply the static magnetic field for this motor and become the wheels of a very simple vehicle with an AAA battery as the energy source. As soon as both ends make contact with the conducting aluminium foil an electric current will flow which in turn induces a magnetic field underneath the battery assembly. This induced field will then interact with the neodymium magnets on each end causing them to spin- a wonderful example of a motor with minimal components. The racetrack is a cardboard circle from a pizza box covered in kitchen foil.

Spriranetics Magnetic Rotor Toy

This produce was sold in the 1990s. The famous Whee-Lo type toys are still available- some light up: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Magnetic Rotor Toys

Vintage Whee-Lo toys on eBay- play with a piece of history! 
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Whee-Lo 

Spiranetics Kinetic Toy: a rotor rolls while magnetically connected to a helical track in this toy sold by The Nature Company in the 1990s. The clever geometry allows two modes of operation- swipe to see mode 2. With the right timing, the rotor speed can be ramped up by just rotating the helix in place- or to get it to higher rotation speeds the helix can come out of the base as demonstrated. This device is a fancy version of the Whee-Lo type toys (swipe twice to see vintage 1970 version) with physics of angular momentum, magnets, and combinations of rotational and translational kinetic energy. 


Iron Filing Field Detector

This device and similar ones available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Demonstrator Kits 

Iron Filing Field Detector: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole bar magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. Here the iron filings become dipole magnets and link up and align like tiny compass needles to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet underneath. Viscous silicone oil temporarily keeps the iron particles suspended yet allows for rotation and repositioning under the influence of the magnetic field.

Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant

Magnetic Flux Pendants and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:

From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants

Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant: two neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended by their mutual magnetic attraction. This kinetic art necklace design is from a new line of physics inspired jewelry- a collaboration with designer and artist Betsy Yates of @foxtailjewelry who so masterfully brought this concept to life and is currently featuring @physicsfun inspired pendants in her gallery and store. 

Vertical Mendocino Motor

Get this device for a great price here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Vertical Mendocino Motor

Vertical Mendocino Motor: each face of solar cell is connected to a coil of copper wire. Spins fast and quite in a sunny window. As the rotor turns each solar cell takes a turn in the brightest light, which provides electric current to one of the coils which becomes a temporary electromagnet that pushes against the permanent magnet configuration in the center- propelling the rotor to rotate. The rotor assembly is nicely symmetric and balances on a sharp point for minimal friction. Invented in the 1960s by Daryl Chapin of Bell Labs and popularized by Larry Springs of Mendocino CA 


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.

Golden Ferrofluid

Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Gold Ferrofluid Cell 

Golden Ferrofluid: colloidal ferromagnetic liquid in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. I'm still investigating the gold coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid- both trade secrets it seems. The gold color appears to be a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid.

Gyro-Carousel

Get this unique toy and amny other whimsical spinnign tops from this store:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gyro-Carousel Globe Tops

Gyro-Carousel: two terrestrial globe spin tops of the same mass hang balanced on the ends of a beam such that their rotational motion is allowed to transfer to the system as a whole. The tops are set to spin as usual, but here small neodymium magnets are embedded in the tops of their stems which allows them to connect and hang from metal pins in the beam. The angular momentum of each top is slowly transferred to the rotation of the system by the slight force of friction acting at the attachment point on the beam produced by the stem of the spinning top. Studies show that approximately 1% of the original rotational kinetic energy of the tops is transferred to the rotating beam, not much- but enough to produce this interesting effect. A design by physicist Christian Ucke and a product of KreiselArt (Ulrich Büker).

 


Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells

Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Motion Ferrofluid Sculpture 

Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells: spectacular metallic blue, gold, and black display cells by czferro - colloidal ferromagnetic liquids in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. The gold and blue coloring appears to be from a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid. Still exploring the details of the coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid - both trade secrets it seems. 

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. 

Ferrofluid Interactive Lava Lamp

Available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Lava Lamp

Ferrofluid Interactive Lava Lamp: special ferrofluid infused wax allows manipulation of the blobs of “lava” with a weak magnet, adding an interactive element to the already mesmerizing physics of convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, and immiscible liquids. Love the atomic rocket theme on this updated version of the 1960s classic physics toy. 

More here: Ferrofluid Interactive Sculptures