Floating Wheels
A Magnet Levitation Experiment

 

Floating wheels is among the most exciting magnet levitation attempts. The idea is making a wheel and axle that will float above a set of magnets and can rotate with no friction. This is a challenging experiment and interesting novelty that provides an attractive and exciting display.

Floating Wheel is very close to a 100% magnetic levitation constructed with static magnets.

Floating wheels is also known as a frictionless bearing because of the fact that moving parts are not directly touching each other.

Below is a list of materials plus step by step instructions for constructing the floating wheel.

For students ages 8 and above. Adult supervision and support is required. Keep away from younger children.
 

List of Materials

Materials you need for the construction of a floating wheels model are listed below. The same materials come in a kit from MiniScience.com. If you have purchased a kit, please verify the kit content to make sure that you have all the materials before you start. Wood glue and a piece of string are not included in the kit.

Quantity Description
1 7" x 1/2" x 1/2" Basswood
2 3 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2" Basswood
1 1 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2" Basswood
1 3/8"D x 4" pine or bass wood dowel
4 Ceramic Rectangular Magnet with hole
1 Ceramic Ring magnet with 3/8" hole
4 Flathead 3/4" Phillips screws
2 3/4" long eye screws
1 6" string / thread (Not included in kit)
1 Philips screw driver (Not included in kit)
1 Wood Glue/ White Glue (Not in the kit)

Instructions:

1. Prepare and verify all the materials as listed above.

2. Identify the same sides on all of the rectangular magnets and mark them accordingly. It does not make a difference whether you choose to mark the North or South side. Note that same sides repel each other. (pictured below shows one side of all rectangle magnets marked by a piece of sticker paper)

3. See the picture of completed floating wheels below so that you will have a good idea of what you will be making. Then see the drawings and mark your wood pieces accordingly so that you will know where you will make screw holes or where you will glue and connect the wood pieces.



4. Insert one screw in each screw location to create the screw holes precisely. Then remove the screws and save them for later.

You will later use the same screws and the same screw holes to connect the magnets to the short wood pieces. This will be easy because you have already created the screw holes.

Place your magnets at an angle so that they create a magnetic field to repel the circular magnets once complete. Then tighten the screws.

All magnets are mounted at the same direction. In other words all same poles are on one side.

5. Get the long 7” wood as your base and glue the two 3.5” wood pieces so they sit on top of your base in a cross direction. The first 3.5” wood should be glued at the very end of your base. The position of the other 3.5” wood can be determined by using the wood dowel (pictured below) or using the drawings above. Allow the glue to dry completely.

6. You will now use the same screws and the same screw holes to connect the magnets to the short wood pieces. This will be easy because you have already created the screw holes.

Place your magnets at an angle so that they create a magnetic field to repel the circular magnets once complete. Then tighten the screws.

All magnets are mounted at the same direction. In other words all same poles are on one side.

7. Place the two circular magnets at the ends of the wood dowel. Make sure to place them in the same magnetic direction so that they will repel when placed above the rectangular magnets.



8. Screw one eye screw to the correct side of the wood dowel (determine which way the dowel will be in order to repel the rectangular magnets)

9. Screw the other eye screw into the top of the 1.5” wood piece. Once the eye screw has been screwed into the 1.5” wood piece, you can glue it to the other end of the 7” wood base.

If you’re having a hard time screwing the eye screws in using your hands, use a screwdriver and regular screw to create a pilot hole first. When the hole is created it will be easy to screw the eye screw by hand.

10. Get a piece of string, the thinner and less visible the string, the better the effect will be. Tie the ends of the string to each of the eye screws. Since the string acts as a control, you can adjust the string by spinning it around the eye screw on the top of the 1.5” wood piece. This can be used to adjust the length and position the magnets so that they can remain in a constant state of levitation.

If you don't have this kit, you can order it now! It is available both as a single pack and class pack. Kit content may be different from the images shown in this page.


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