Why Build a Magnetic Levitation Device?
Wacko Sales Pitch
Want to amaze and impress your friends?
Can something be held in mid-air with nothing touching it?
Do flying saucers use electrogravitics?
How does a maglev vehicle work?
Need a super accurate force/weight measurement?
Want to measure small changes in gravity?
Who says gravity cannot be beaten?
Want to see a simple coil levitate a steel ball in a magnetic field?
As long as you're building a coilgun, and have: magnet wire, power supply, breadboard, voltmeter, resistors and capacitors, switches, hookup wire, and other miscellaneous parts, why not?!
Maglev for Science Fair
I started this project with my 2nd grade son for a science project. The science fair was on March 16th, 1999, at an elementary school in Washington state. This was a fair, not a competition, where the emphasis is on having fun. Most sane parents would not design a closed-loop feedback control system with a second-grader, but as it turned out we didn't enter the project in the fair after all. It didn't work quite well enough, and the coil would overheat after a few minutes.
The benefits of doing this project were many, but not where I expected. I somehow expected to relate some ideas about electronic design. In reality the benefits were probably of more lasting effect. I worked together with my 7-year old and we had a great time. This was a chance for him to cut boards with a saw, drill holes, handle a screwdriver, measure and mark with a square, cut wires, and plug in chips and resistors. We handled parts, learned their names and looked at their symbols in schematics.
Some other things we accomplished were:
Okay, enough yackity marketing material, let's get on with the technical details you really want.
Last Update 2008-06-08
©1998-2017 Barry Hansen