Magnetic Toys

Magnetic Fidget Physics

I got this fun device here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Haptic Magnet Toys

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Magnetic Fidget Physics: iron rich ball bearings temporarily become dipole magnets and repel each other- and when manipulated they keep their distance. In this design the ball bearings snap into place above one of the seven neodymium magnets embedded within the 3D printed disk.

Chaotic Decision Pendulum

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From Amazon: BUY NOW: Chaotic Decision-Aider Pendulum

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Chaotic Decision Maker Pendulum: adding magnetic forces to gravity gives this comical pointing pendulum chaotic motion- not random, but very sensitive to slight differences in initial launch conditions. Each “choice” has a dipole magnet underneath which attracts a magnet in the hand and locks the pointer into place, but only after enough kinetic has been dissipated, and until that final state is obtained the motion is chaotic. Fun physics behind this novelty gag gift.


Gyro-Carousel

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

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gyro-Carousel Globe Tops

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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).

 

Color Gradient Magnetic Viewing Film

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From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

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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.


Electromagnetic Levitation Module 

Get a similar inexpensive simple module here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Mag Lev Kit

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Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this bare bones engineered control system uses an adjustable electromagnet (the copper coil) and a Hall effect magnetic field sensor (embedded in the center of the the coil) to levitate a neodymium magnet and keep it from falling. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, all powered by a 12 power supply. Once trapped the magnet can also rotate, creating a nice way to display a small piece of kinetic illusion art hanging from a chain. A no frills design that shows the fairly simple circuit and components of such a levitation feedback system. 

Levitating Inq Lamp

Get (or give!) a Curiosity Box subscription here: JOIN NOW: The Curiosity Box

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Levitating Inq Lamp: Inq (the curious orange octopus) hangs illuminated and suspended by magnetic forces. I modified this lamp to incorporate the squish version of the @thecuriositybox mascot with a powerful neodymium magnet on top and a smaller magnet embedded with in Inq’s head- when the octopus is floating the bottom cord engages the light switch. 

In Defiance of Gravity

Neodymium magnets will produce the largest gap when suspending a nail or other iron rich objects.
Please use exterme caution when handling these magnets. 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Super Magnet

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In Defiance of Gravity: a 3 oz plumb bob in suspension between a chain and a powerful neodymium magnet. Ferromagnetic attraction over a distance of many millimeters, and a reminder of the presence of the typically invisible electromagnetic forces all around us. Sculpture: oak, stainless steel chain and hardware, neodymium super magnet, standard plumb bob tool. Iron filings in oil align and chain together to reveal the magnetic field lines of the equilibrium configuration.


Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant

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

From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants

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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. 

Butterfly Mendocino Motor

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From engineDIY: BUY NOW Solar Levitating Motor

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Butterfly Mendocino Motor: an elegant version of this motor with only two photovoltaic cells mounted with care to ensure precision balance. This motor will spin quietly to high RPMs on any sunlit windowsill. In this model each of the two photovoltaic solar cells is connected to a coil of copper wire under the opposing solar cell. When the rotor is lit from above the top solar cell provides electric current to the coil in the bottom position which becomes a temporary electromagnet that pushes against the two mounted rectangular permanent magnets propelling the rotor to rotate. As the rotor turns, the coil that moves into the bottom position is likewise energized by the solar cell currently at the top- one can say the light commutates this motor. 2D magnetic levitation is provided by permanent magnets where an acrylic plate constrains the third dimension, and makes for a nice bearing surface for minimal friction. Invented in the 1960s by Daryl Chapin of Bell Labs and popularized by Larry Springs of Mendocino CA

Bismuth Maglev Rod

Get this amazing and affordable science sculptue here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bismuth Maglev Rod

Click here to see other diamagnetic toys and scuptures

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Bismuth Maglev Rod: Small magnets are trapped, suspended and floating, within the notch of a rod cast from the diamagnetic metal bismuth. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the small floating magnet supplies the external field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though, so a powerful neodymium magnet sits above the gap on the top of the rod, and its height is adjusted to help lift the small magnet against gravity. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon of Element83.


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 

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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. 

 

 

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

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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. 


Newton's Spindle

This unique toy only available here:

From safetynailer.com: BUY NOW: Newton's Spindle

Follow this link for a regular Newton's Yo-Yo

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Newton’s Spindle: an interesting innovation- a quiet clacker (lol!) which uses neodymium magnets as the swinging weights. The weights still collide but without making physical contact via magnetic repulsion, yet the exchange of momentum is just like that of a regular Newton’s yo-yo, one weight comes to rest while the other obtains all the momentum. Newton’s 3rd Law states that action force equals opposite reaction force- here the red and blue weights (embedded magnets) are equal in mass, so the forces of each collision provide accelerations that are equal and opposite such that the deceleration of the incoming mass is equal to the acceleration of the outgoing mass and the masses trade places leaving one always at rest. 

Magnetic Suspsension Sculpture

This DIY magneits sculpture can be assemebled with these parts.  Bring a magnet into a craft shop to find some necklace chain that is non-magnetic. 
From Amazon/eBay: BUY NOW: Quilting HoopNeodyumium Sphere Magnets

Magnetic Flux Gyroscope art and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Tabletop Magnetic Kinetic Art

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Magnetic Suspension Sculpture: two neodymium magnets on chains suspended by their mutual magnetic attraction in this prototype kinetic sculpture (swipe to see scaled fine jewelry version by foxtailjewelry). These powerful magnets hold the chains taut with about a 2cm gap. Made from a quilting hoop where the magnets connect under their own force to steel nails soldered on to non-magnetic chain.

Magnetic Poles & Fields

Get a set here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer set 

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Viewing Magnetic Poles: visualizing the invisible- tiny iron filings suspended in viscous oil gracefully chain up to reveal the presence of magnetic field lines. Can you determine how the magnetic polls are configured by the structure of the field lines? Here three configurations, initially hidden behind white foam board, create the beautiful mappings of the fields.