Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tic Mag Toe v1.0

Hey guys!

As some of you know over the summer I became super interested in Magnetic Levitation. I started reading/learning about it and got super excited. I bought a maglev kit from Guy Marsden and it was super cool to see it levitate a pen.

Currently I am working on my own design using a switching mode converter and some analog feedback. Fun fact: it turns out that my Master's Thesis is going to be on modeling and control of Magnetic Bearings!

The previous examples I have mentioned are examples of active magnetic levitation, where a controller regulates the position of an object via feedback. Another kind of MagLev that exists is passive maglev which requires no active feedback. Turns out you can build a stable maglev system with no active control using Diamagnetic materials.

Diamagnetism is the property some materials have to repel magnetic fields. It is normally not a very strong effect but it is enough to make sheets of Pyrolytic Graphite levitate over strong neodymium magnets. My graduate advisor and I have been trying to think of uses of diamagnetism however given the forces involved are so low that we have not found any "real world" uses! I started to try and think of non-industrial non-real world uses and I thought it would be awesome to build a chess or checkers board with pieces made of pyrolytic graphite that levitate over the board. However given that the rare earth magnets are so expensive I decided to go with making a TicTacToe board first. I call this new creation Tic Mag Toe (im very proud of this name jajajaj...). I built a prototype this weekend:
tic mag toe v1.0
Getting the magnet in the checkerboard configuration was a little tricky cause they are crazy strong. We also had the world's first tic-mag-toe match:

I won it and became the undefeated world champion of Tic-Mag-Toe! However 10 minutes later Harry beat me twice... thus losing my glorious title to Canada.

My next step is to encase the magnet board into a nice laser cut frame and figure out a way to make nicer playing pieces. Then when I get enough money I'll go for the checkers board and maybe the chess board! For those of you wondering I got the supplies from the best source for strong magnets I could find online!

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