Toy Car with Magnetic Suspension Wheels: Simple block car with clever wheel design. Small neodymium magnets embedded in the block lock on to steel balls, which raise the vehicle and become free to rotate providing the wheels for this simple toy.
Available for under $100 US:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp
From eBay: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp
Magnetic Suspension Lamp: not only does this lamp defy gravity, the LEDs in the bulb are powered through wireless induction (no batteries needed). This kind of levitation uses a control system with an adjustable electromagnet in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allows for fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. If this lamp design is unplugged (or the power goes off) the bulb assembly does not fall, but instead snaps onto the upper armature via strong permanent magnets embedded within. Amazing physics demonstrated by clever engineering!
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.
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bismuth Maglev Rod
Bismuth Diamagnetic Trap Levitation: neodymium cube magnet trapped between two pieces of strongly diamagnetic bismuth crystal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so two large ceramic magnets are placed on each side and adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Swipe to see a vertical trap based on the same physics. More amazing creations by Ernie McElhannon.
Working vintage magnetos can be found on eBay for reasonable prices:
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Bar Magneto Generators
Lots of digital oscilloscopes on eBay as well:
From eBay: BUY NOW Tektronix digital oscilloscope
Vintage Telephone Magneto: a functioning antique 5 bar telephone magneto generator- made in 1910! As indicated by the neon bulb voltage divider- with sufficient cranking speed this generator can create a significant AC voltage using the characteristic horseshoe shaped magnets (bars) to provide the induction field. The AC current is of a low frequency as indicated by the flickering bulbs. A digital storage oscilloscope allows us to view the AC waveform output of this vintage magneto generator (swipe for demo). Note that although the output voltage is periodic, it is far from the ideal AC sine wave that we learn about (like those off the mains into our homes). Faraday’s Law describes the produced current in a moving coil of copper near a magnetic field, but it takes careful engineering of the coil and field to produce a sinusoidal AC output. The scope shows an impressive peak voltage of more than 350V- note that in 1910 only 40% of US homes had electricity so these generators were used to ring telephone bells up to 20 miles away!
This physics toy top is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mystery Spinning Top
From eBay: BUY NOW Mystery Spinning Top
The amazing green magnetic viewing film is also available:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewing Film
Here is the 1974 patent showing the very simple circuit of this device. The spinning dipole (the top itself) induces a current in one of the coils, and this current is fed to the base of the transistor turning the electromagnet on when the top is near.
"Top Secret": this top will stay spinning for more than a week- because it is actually a motor! The top is a dipole magnet (as revealed by Magneview film) and the base has an electromagnet that gives the dipole a push when the top comes near the center. An ingeniously simple circuit consisting of only a battery, a coil, and a transistor, is activated when the spinning magnet nears the coil turning on the electromagnet to give a boost to the spin of the magnetic top.
Currenty funding thier 3rd innovative design campaign now:
From KickStarter: Pledge Now: HoverPen 3.0
The HoverPen 3.0: A sleek and weighty writing pen defying gravity- at an elegant angle- trapped by a magnetic field via precision engineered placement of neodymium magnets in a space age base design.
Bismuth levitation available here:
From Etsy- Element 83: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures
featuring amazing Bismuth Crystals, Jewelry, and Maglev Kinetic Art
Circa 1981, Physicists transmute Bismuth to Gold: Particle accelerators make possible the ancient alchemist’s dream—but at a steep cost
The Alchemist: cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a neodymium cube magnet levitates trapped between the hands of the ancient scholar. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a cylindrical neodymium magnet hangs above the figure and is adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Although alchemists never succeeded in transmuting lead to gold, in 1981 physicists used the particle accelerator at Berkeley to shoot Carbon nuclei at thin foils of Bismuth- the resulting collisions did produced a tiny amount of Gold atoms! So modern nuclear physics, applied to the element Bismuth, finally accomplished the aspirations of the alchemists. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.
Neodymium magnets will produce the largest gap when suspending a nail.
Please use exterme caution when handling these magnets.
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Super Magnet
Magnetic Defiance of Gravity: a nail suspended 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. Make your own with a paperclip, string, and a refrigerator magnet- or get a neodymium magnet and see how massive an object you can suspend in air.
Get this demonstation here:
From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Electric Generator
Generator Teaching Demo: The electrical energy that comes to your home is produced by some device somewhere moving a coil of wire next to a magnet to produce an electric current (known as Faraday’s law of induction). This tabletop demonstration uses a crank and belt drive to spin the coil between the north and south poles. The ends of the coil are attached to the two smooth metal pieces on the shaft (the commutator) that makes contact with the output wires and connects to the lightbulb. Maximum current is produced when the axis of the coil is at a right angle to the magnetic field- so the current comes in a series of pulses and the bulb flashes on and off. Physics of energy transfer: mechanical kinetic energy→ electrical energy→ light energy.
Get (or give!) a Curiosity Box subscription here: JOIN NOW: The Curiosity Box
I love VSauce!
The famous YouTube team puts together 4 boxes of "brain food" each year with fantastic and surprising stuff in each- and a great way to start a science toy collection!
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.
Magnetic Cube: a twisty Rubik’s Cube puzzle made from 27 dice and 108 neodymium magnets. This cube includes the scrambled states and solutions of the original 3x3 Rubik’s Cube but is held together only by magnets! The magnets, in this special configuration, lock the dice together with a satisfying click upon rotation. This beautiful cube was produced by Owen Lillywhite of magneticcube.com and is based on a gfixler design posted on instructables.
This magnetic version fo Newton's cradle is no longer in production, but somtimes found on ebay:
From eBay: Search NOW: Magnetic Newon's Cradle
Magnetic Newton's Cradle: the famous collision demonstration reimagined with opposing magnets as the pendulum weights- shown here in two modes of operation. Initially the collision pattern looks similar to the traditional colliding spheres version but quickly goes chaotic- the magnetic field of each weight interacts with all the other magnets simultaneously making the system nonlinear. A 1990s desk toy by Fascinations- sadly no longer in production.
Get some magnetic viewing film here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film
Magneview Flim: making the invisible visible and revealing the hidden physics of our everyday world. Microscopic cavities in this green film are filled with oil and tiny flakes of Nickel metal- like compass needles, the flakes align with the magnetic fields revealing the complexity of the north and south pole domains of these magnets. Two of the disk magnets have multiple north and south poles and look like gears with teeth- these are rotors from small motors.
Simiar diamagnetic levitation kits are available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Kit
Diamagnetic Racetrack: thin pyrolytic graphite sheets levitate above powerful magnets. A set of five concentric neodymium magnets, alternating N-S-N-S-N comprise the racetrack and form the trapping field. Diamagnetic substances develop temporary repulsive magnetic fields only when they are in the presence of a magnetic field from some other source. Graphite of this sort is the most diamagnetic substance known.
Get these 99.9% pure element Bi 83 cubes here:
From Luciteria: BUY NOW: Bismuth Element Cube
See my video of other pure element cubes by Luciteria Science
Bismuth Diamagnetic Levitation: Element 83 (bismuth) is the most diamagnetic of the elements*. Here a small neodymium magnet is made to float between two 99% pure bismuth 10mm cubes which are held in precise configuration by friction with the parallel walls of the acrylic assembly I made. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the tiny cube magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cylindrical neodymium magnet sits above the cubes and is adjusted to help lift the tiny cube magnet against gravity. *except for a special form of carbon known as pyrolytic graphite.
These tops will work with a paperclip too:
From eBay: BUY NOW Magnetic Tipped Top
Here is a very nice version:
From Grand Illusions Ltd: BUY NOW: Magnetic Tipped Top
Paperclip Magnetic Top: the magnetic tipped top attaches to the perimeter of the paperclip- but since the top has much more mass, the paperclip is put into curious motion due to Newton's 3rd law and the top's rotational inertia. This transparent version allows full view of the moving clip. Patented in 1946 under the name Hoy-Poy Top, this antique kinetic art toy made it into my collection as a gift from the folks at @shirepostmint- thanks!