Magnetic Levitating Train
Introduction: In magnets like poles
repel. In other words N poles repel N poles and S poles repel S poles. The
abilities of magnets to repel each other has provided the idea of making
levitating trains. Levitating trains do not make a loud noise as regular
trains do. They can also travel faster due to lower friction between the
train and the rails.
Magnetic trains do not need wheels. They
just need a magnetic rail on the ground and a like magnetic rail on the
To construct a model of magnetic levitating
train you will need the following materials.
Included in your kit:
- 2 long hi-force Magnetic Strips (for the
- 2 short hi-force Magnetic Strips (for
- 2 plastic Guide Rails
- Wood Block 5" x 1 1/2" x
3/4" for the car
Additional materials you need:
- Wood board or heavy cardboard 3" x
28" or larger. This will be the ground for your train.
- Clear adhesive tape
- Foam board or construction paper for
making a decorative train
- Wood glue or Elmer glue to connect the
foam parts (optional)
- A ruler stick
- This instruction page
Procedure Quick Reference:
- Peal the plastic film from the
back of 5" long magnet strips and connect them on one side of
the 5" x 1 1/2" wood block. This will be the train car. As
you see in the picture in the right, the strips are aligned to the
edges of the wood block and are 1/2" apart.
- Peal the plastic film from the back of
24" long magnetic strips and mount them parallel to each
other, exactly 1/2" apart, on a long wooden board or rigid
- Mount the clear plastic angles on
the sides of the long magnetic strips to form a protective wall so
the levitating car will not move off rail. There must be a very
small gap between the car and the walls so the car can move
method the angle brackets are installed towards outside. In other
words the horizontal surface of the brackets are away from the rails.
This methods allows you to adjust the position of side rails later.
The angle brackets can be secured using masking tape, clear adhesive
tape, or small screws.
described in the detail procedure below is suggesting the brackets to
be mounted towards inside. You choose which method you want to use.
- Draw 2 parallel lines 24"
long and 1/4" apart as the guideline for mounting
plastic rails (angle brackets). Number these lines as line 1 and
- draw 2 more parallel lines
1/8" outside the first two lines. These 2 new lines will be used
as the guideline for the magnet strips. We name these new lines ,
line A and line B.
Place one of the angle brackets on the board
and align its edge to the line number 1. At this time the flat section of
the angle bracket will cover the line A and the wall section of that will
stay on the left of line A. Use tape to secure it at this position.
Place the other plastic angle bracket on the
board and align its edge to the line number 2. At this time the flat
section of the angle bracket will cover the line B and the wall section of
that will stay on the right of line B. Use tape to secure it at that
- Place your train car between the
rails and make sure that it can move freely and the space between
the walls and train is as small as possible.
- Peal the plastic film from the back of
24" long magnetic strips and mount them on the flat section
of angle brackets. One must be aligned to line A and the other
must be aligned to line B. In this way two magnetic strips will be
exactly 1/2" apart.
- Place the rail board on a flat
horizontal surface and then place the train car over the rail. It
must float and the side brackets must protect it so it does not go
Further adjustments and alignments:
If the magnets are very strong you may need
to make your train heavier by adding weights or loads. You may also use the
super strong neodymium magnet to modify the strength of your plastic magnet
strips. Please be cautious in doing this because imbalance in the strength
of magnet strips can potentially disable your train.
|To increase the strength
of plastic magnet, place the neodymium magnet on the magnet strip so
that it will be attracted, then rub the magnet all over the surface of
both rails on the ground.
To reduce the strength of magnet, hover
the neodymium magnet above the magnet strip so that it will be
repelled by the plastic magnet, then move it along the rail.
To be more precise in this procedure, you
must first identify the N and S of your plastic magnets and your neodymium
magnet. You may use a compass to identify the poles. The south pole of the
compass needle is the one that shows the north and attracts to the N pole of
magnets. Also the North pole of a compass needle stays towards the south
pole and attracts toward the S pole of magnets.
To increase the strength of plastic magnet,
rub its surface with the opposite pole of the neodymium magnet. To reduce
its strength, hover the like pole of the neodymium magnet above its
Note: Super strong
Neodymium magnet is also able to reverse the poles of a plastic magnet. For
example if the surface of plastic magnet is N, you can rub that surface with
the N pole of neo magnet in order to change it to S.
Make a decorative train using Styrofoam or
construction paper and mount it over your wooden train base. A decorative
structure makes your train more attractive for your science project
You can glue or tape any decorative
train car above your wooden train.
|If you cut the foam to
exact size of your wooden train, you will not need to use tape or
glue. The model can sit right on the top of the wooden train and hold
|The wooden train or the
decorative train above that may be equipped with ejecting magnets so
they can smoothly eject at the end of the rail.
Ejecting magnets are usually
rectangle magnets or small disk magnets that may be screwed or taped
to both ends of a train.
To make these work, matching magnets
must be mounted at the end of each rail in a way that they repel the
|The magnets at the end of
the rail must be fully aligned with the train magnets so they can repel
the train when it gets to the end of line.
End of line magnets may be mounted on
another wood block or a small cardboard or plastic box.
Picture in the right shows an end of
line magnet mounted on a wooden block that is hold in place using
|The above instructions are
based on the materials included in the magnet levitation science set
of MiniScience.com. If you don't have these materials yet, you may use
the following link to order them.
Magnet levitation Science Set Part#KITML