Magnetic Toys

Ferrofluid Interactive Lava Lamp

Available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Lava Lamp

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

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

Magnetic Tip Spinning Top

Available from my friends at Grand Illusions Ltd.: 
From Grand Illusions: BUY NOW Magnetic Top with Spiral & Snake 

Also on Etsy: BUY NOW: Magnetic Top with Spiral

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

Magnetic Tip Spinning Top: the top stays on the perimeter of the steel plate spiral- but since the top is more massive, the spiral moves with curious motion. This kinetic art toy takes advantage of Newton's 3rd law and rotational kinetic energy.

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

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

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.


Magnetic Suspension Lamp

Available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Magnetic Suspension Lamp 

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

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! 

Buda Ball

Only made by the Flyte team:

From Art of Play: Buda Ball

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

Buda Ball: my favorite powered levitation device- and the only system I know of that will suspend in a horizontal direction as seen in this video. 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 (I assume) 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! 

Tesla's Egg of Columbus Replica

Get an amazing reproduction here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Tesla's Egg of Columbus

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

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

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus Replica: an egg of brass mysteriously spins and stands upright in this museum quality replica 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 metallic brass egg. These currents within the conducting metal of the egg then create their own magnetic field, which by Lenz’s law oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the egg to spin. Finally, the oblong egg stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. Flipping the switch reverses the rotation direction induced by the coils.


Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal)

This new demonstration transparent model is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Transparent Perpetual Simulator

Get the original here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine (reccomended seller: William Le of BackToNatureDecor)

The magnetic viewing film can be purchased here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

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

Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal): a follow up post using magnetic viewing film and slow motion to actually see the magnetic pulse that accelerates the ball. The sensor conveniently has a red LED indicator which flashes, and then we see the appearance of the magnetic field pulse as the circuit discharges the capacitors through the coil. The original version of this device was expertly crafted to make the base look like a block of wood (see post from November), but here we see a battery, a coil, a set of large capacitors, and a blue sensor unit along with circuit boards. Pretty sophisticated stuff- and a great reminder that when someone claims a perpetual motion device the question to ask is “where’s the battery hidden?”

Induced Current Spin-Up

This great little lab stirrer (which I modified to have a transparent top) can be used in many investigations and demonstrations: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer 

Inexpensive concave lenses make great spinning platforms- get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Lens Spin Station 

Get a PhiTOP in aluminum here (will work nicely in this demo):
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW PhiTOP

Copper version avaiable here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Copper PhiTOP

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

Induced Current Spin-Up: copper is not magnetic, but magnets can interact with conductors. Here spinning magnets in the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the solid copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which opposes the magnets underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP and this unique means of using Lenz’s Law to spin it up. This top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave lens keeps the top from wandering off of magnetic stirrer

Pickagram Puzzle

Get this well made puzzle here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: PIckagram Puzzle

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

Pickagram: an innovative update on the classic Tangram puzzle- magnets added! With pieces that cling together with a satisfying snap, the 2D puzzle formations become 3D abstract sculptures that can stand on their own. From the mind of designer and architect Gilryong Song, with inspiration from the golden ratio in its proportions and angles.


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

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

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.

Magnaprobe and Magnetic Veiwing Film

Get this inexpensive tool here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Magnetic Field Probe

The magnetic viewing film can be purchased here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

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

Magnaprobe: visualizing the invisible- a small bar magnet on a gimbal mount demonstrates magnetic field direction for points in space around a magnetized object. Red indicates the north pole and blue the south pole of the Magnaprobe dipole- the red end is attracted to any other magnet’s south pole like a 3D compass. Magnetic viewing film reveals a cross section of the magnetic field where colors correspond to intensity, but can’t show the direction of the field like the magnaprobe device can. Together these devices give us insights about the existence of magnetic fields that our five senses cannot detect.

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 

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

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. 

 


Ferromagnetic Interaction

Here is the NdFeB neodymium magnet used in this video:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Disk Magnet

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

Please use extreme caution when handeling strong magnets like this one. Small nails, paperclips, staples and other houlshold object made with iron will interact interestingly with the magnetic field. 

Ferromagnetic Interaction: iron rich nails temporarily become dipole magnets in the presence of an intense magnetic field from a large neodymium super magnet. Here the neodymium disk magnet is set with its north pole pointing up, so the point of each nail becomes a south pole (repelling each other) and the head of each a north pole. Imbued with these temporary induced fields, the nails will try to align themselves with the neodymium dipole’s field like compass needles, and the nails will interact with each other in interesting ways.

Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture 2.0

Get this affordable sculpture here:

From Mr.Sci Science Factory: BUY NOW: KInetic Magnetic Sculpture

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Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture 2.0: Steel circles are suspended by a magnet (black disk) and held down to the base by a thin thread. The tops of the steel hoops, being ferromagnetic, become a north pole in the presence of the south pole end of the black magnet, so they are attracted to the black magnet, but repel each other. Produced by Funtime Gifts Europe Ltd. this is a new and affordable version of a vintage sculpture made by Rathcon Inc. in 1970.


Levitating Golden Snitch

Get this device here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Golden Snitch

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

Levitating Golden Snitch: Harry Potter magic simulated by the real magic of physics. Well- the wings don’t move, but it does float above the base. Magnets are involved of course- a control system in the base, powered by AA batteries, uses adjustable electromagnets and a Hall effect magnetic field sensor to levitate the snitch, and it’s pretty stable too. 

Magnetic Chaotic Pendulum

Click here for similar magneitc pendulums you can buy. 

Get the magnetic viewing file here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

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

Magnetic Chaotic Pendulum: this beautifully designed “perpetual pendulum” has been in my collection since 1990. The ufo shaped bob has a magnet embedded in it and the base has a battery and simple coil circuit that gives the bob a tiny push each time it swings through the center. An array of 5 permanent magnets are also hidden in the wood base (wait for reveal with magnetic viewing film) and these magnets produce the chaotic motion- not random, but very sensitive to slight differences in initial launch conditions. A clever design feature connects the pendulum to the top mount with yet another magnet, and this sharp contact point greatly reduces friction such that a fresh 9V battery in the base will keep the pendulum in motion for a couple months. 

BagleGen: Toroidal Plasma Generator 

More info here:

From TeslaCoilPro: Learn More: BagleGen and other Plasma Art

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Toroidal Plasma Generator: an intricate dance of high intensity/high frequency electric and magnetic fields produce a ring of glowing plasma within a glass sphere containing noble gasses at low pressure. This BagleGen device is the latest in high tech kinetic art by creator Zerg Dragonymous of @teslacoilpro. What most amazes me here is how these very complex fields can be produced by circuit of only a few components- the main structure in the base is a cooling fan with a huge heat sink attached to a MOSFET transistor that sits centered below the induction coil. An amazing device for the serious hobbyist!