Acoustic Levitator Case




Posted in TechnologyArduino

Introduction: Acoustic Levitator Case

About: I am young hobbyist and I like arduino and other electronics platforms.

Acoustic levitator from Asier Marzo is a very popular thing here on instructables. I build it, it was working but I noticed couple of issues. For example:

  1. The 3D printed space between bowls is a bit fragile.
  2. The levitator can't stand on its own because of its curvature.
  3. All the electronics are fragile and a bit ugly.

So I built this case. It does couple of things like:

  1. Serves as a stand.
  2. Hides all the electronics.
  3. Iluminates levitated objects.
  4. Changes the voltage going into driver which is important when levitating liquids.
  5. Shows input and output voltage.

If you look at the second image you can notice that many changes have been made to the original model.

Step 1: Parts List

You will need these components:

1) acoustic levitator

2) LM2577 variable step-up converter

3) 10K ohm precise potentiometer

4) 2x toggle switch

5) 2x white LEDs

6) 2x UV LEDs

7) Acrylic, MDF or other material what are you going to cut it from

Step 2: Tool List

These tools might be handy:

1) laser cutter (I used GCC SLS 80)

2) soldering iron

3) hot glue gun

4) acumlator drill

5) screwdriver set

6) drill bit set

7) cable stripper

8) multimeter

9) marker

Step 3: Cutting Pieces

Why did I choose laser cut case instead of 3D printed one? The answer is simple. It's faster to make, cheaper, and the final case will be very robust.

The thing to do now is to choose material you're gonna cut it from. Wood or MDF is elegant and cheap, and acrylic is futuristic and if you add see throught acrylic you're gonna see all the electronics inside. I chose acrylic.

I designed this case in Corel. If you don't have acces to a laser cutter (as me) there are many local services, that you can give this file to, and they will cut it to you for affordable price. All needed files are included in this step.

Note: This case was drawn for 3mm thick material. Make sure that you have this thickness.

Step 4: Getting Pieces Together

You have all pieces alreday cut, they all fit, so now you can build the case. Imagine that the case is a prism and the C shape is base. Now with a little 3D imagination sense I'm sure that you can build it.

Step 5: Adding Levitator Core

Now if you have built the basic case shape, you can add the levitator core. The case is designed that way, that it fits the curvature of levitator. Just insert the levitator between two holes of case, and glue it in place.

Step 6: Adding Electronics

The levitator is glued in, so now it's the right time to connect all necessary electronics. The best option is to glue driver in the middle part, so wires from top and bottom bowls don't have to be so long and you have to put bunch of other stuff in the bottom part of the case. Wires from driver will then go to arduino nano, which will be in bottom part of case. Very important thing to do is to add a jumper between D10 and D11 of arduino nano.

The DC barrel connector will be also in the middle part. At first, energy from it will go right into driver, but later, it will go to li-ion battery charger module and the driver will be powered from li-ion battery. That means that levitator will work even away from outlet.

I also added a switch at the front control panel. One pin of switch is connected to + of DC barrel and the other to 12V input of driver. This will be necessary when it will be powered from li-ion battery.

Step 7: Adding Ilumination

In general the particles that can levitate are small. And small things are hard too see. So I think that LED ilumination is a good idea. I just drilled two 3mm holes in plastic at the top and bottom of levitator. Then I glued both LEDs in place and connected them to 3.3V output of arduino nano.

One cool idea is to paint particless that'll levitate with UV highlighter and glue UV LEDs instead of the classic ones. I added both normal and UV ilumination. I also added switch, so I can switch between UV and normal. The best place to place the UV LEDs is in the gap between control panel and the rest of the case.

If you want just normal ilumination, just connect both white LEDs to GND and 3.3V outputs of arduino nano. If you want both normal and UV, follow included scheme. More info about mounting UV LEDs is in step 10.

I uploaded some pictures for comparison of UV and LED. All these pictures were shooted at absolute darkness (no ambient light). As you can see, normal LEDs iluminate the whole device, while UV LEDs highlight the particle itself (and that's super cool at night).

Step 8: Electronics - Volume II

At first, you need to desolder the original 10K trimmer from LM2577 and replace it with precise 10K potentiometer. Also adding a potentiometer knob is a good idea.

Connect + pole of the DC barrel to IN+ of LM2577 and connect - from the DC barrel to IN- of LM2577. Then connect OUT+ and OUT- from LM2577 to 12V and GND of L298N.

Step 9: Add Control Panel

When there are so many electronics to control in this device, I think that adding a control panel is a good thing. These are the things that you can control from this panel:

1) turn the device ON or OF

2) switch between white LED and UV LED ilumination

3) control and check voltage going into driver (this is important when levitated object are not symetric and stable)

So, I just drilled three holes for two switches and for potentiometer and glued LM2577 in place. Hole for voltage display is laser cut. Then I glued UV LEDs. It's important to aim UV LEDs precisely (It's a beam more that a light).

Step 10: Acoustic Levitator Version 2.0

Conratulations! You're done! No more building. Enjoy your device.

Step 11: Organise Your Particles

This isn't necessary, but I think that it's good to mention it. There are so many types of things that you can levitate. But the basic are: styrofoam, water and alcohol. You also need some tools like tweezers and syringe. So I took some small boxes from mints, added some labels, put it in a bigger box so particles for levitating would be organised.

Step 12: Other Experiments

When I was playing with levitator, I discovered some fun experiments (other than levitation).

So, the first experiment is that people are not supposed to hear levitator (because it's frequency is 40khz). Some people hear very high frequency when close to the levitator, but that is just the acoustic waves bouncing off other objects. But this group of people is very small (1 of 10, mostly children). But if you put some objects into the acoustic field, they resonate and that causes emiting of much lower frequency. Everyone hears this frequency. Aluminium foil has the strongest resonating effect from what I tried.

The second experiment is fire extinguisher. The acoustic pressure field is strong enough to blow a candle. So you simply light a candle, put it into levitator, turn the levitator on and watch. The candle should be blown out in a short time.

Warning: Always put candle into turned on levitator (so you minimize the time in levitator) otherwise you risk damaging transducers.

Step 13: Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading this whole instructable all the way to this point.

I think that acoustic levitator is a realy cool thing. It's interesting and educative physics experiment. Big thanks to Asier Marzo that he did share instructions for acoustic levitator. It's fun and educative.

I added elegant look to this futuristic device. I hope that some of you reading this will make some nice cases. Enjoy!



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    Hi, I am building this for my acoustic levitator and I love how it looks. I was wondering if you have the file for the small rectangle that goes in between the top of the holder and the top part of where the actual levitator goes though, as I can't find it in the files you offer. Thank you for your time and resources.

    1 reply

    Sure. It should be in the files offer by now. The file name is small part.pdf.


    At 40 KHz this is within the hearing range of cats and dogs. I didn't
    see that the SPL of the device was stated. I would be careful with this
    device if one has pets in the house.

    Maybe the frequency could be raised to 100KHz.

    1 reply

    I agree that the frequency is within hearing range of pets but the acoustic waves are pretty much trapped inside of the levitator. We have cats home and even when I turn it on next to them, they don't respond. And even if they did, you can just put them in the other room.

    Thanks to ThingEngineer we know that even slightest changes of the frequency can drasticly lower the power of the levitator. It teoreticly could work at 100khz but it would mean completely redesining whole device, so basically starting from scratch.

    "Over all the design seems to be dead on perfect for creating the most trapping strength as is. Even a slight modification in distance by stretching or squeezing the two halves apart or together results in a drastic drop in visible acoustic pressure levels. I also experimented with slightly above and below 40KHz with the same result." ThingEngineer

    Thanks. I made multiple designs from multiple materials and ended up with this one. And, you were right that chunks of wood don't look so good as the same chunks of acrylic. There are just two things to keep in mind when using acrylic.

    1) You can't drill in it because it may break. You have to laser cut all holes.

    2) Acrylic can be scratched.


    One can get drill bits made for plastic. They work very nicely on acrylic.

    Awesome. It's so cool to see projects that build on previous projects, like this. Very nicely done!!

    1 reply

    Thanks. I'm glad to hear that.

    It look great. Thanks for sharing.