Introduction: Acoustic Levitator
Use acoustic waves to hold in mid-air samples such as water, ants or tiny electric components. This technology has been previously restricted to a couple of research labs but now you can make it at your home.
If you want more background and details you can check our Open Access papers:
- More details and supplementary information about this levitator
- How Acoustic Tractor Beams Work
- Acoustic Delay Lines for Compact Tractor beams
Do not forget to watch the attached video.
If you want to build other devices coming directly from the research lab subscribe or get in touch: Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/asiermarzo
Step 1: Gather the Components
We present a list of the necessary components. I have tried to place links for different countries. However, the same parts can be found all around the world, some useful websites are http://www.findchips.com/ http://www.dx.com/ http://www.findchips.com/ http://www.lightinthebox.com/ http://www.findchips.com/
- 72x 10mm 40kHz transducers. Manorshi provides MSO-P1040H07T at a very good price, minimum order is 500 but they will ship with less at a higher price. Also Ningbo has good ones FBULS1007P-T
- 1x 3D-printed TinyLev support. (STL file provided in Step 2)
- 1x Arduino Nano (US UK)
- 1x L298N Dual Motor Drive Board (US UK)
- 1x 130x90mm sheet (wood or acrylic) for the base of the driver board.
- 1x power switch
- DC adaptor variable between 7V and 12V
- DC female connector
- Jumper wires
- 12AWG black and red wire
- 24AWG black and red wire
- 24AWG exposed wire
- Some Expanded Polystyrene beads to levitate (between 1mm and 3mm diameter)
- An acoustically transparent material: A metallic grid, very thin fabric or teabag paper.
- 3D printer -> you can use an online service
- Oscilloscope with two probes -> you can get one for less than 50£ http://amzn.eu/5ey6ty2
- Soldering Iron, Tin and Flux.
- Hot-glue gun
- Cable Peeler
- Screwdriver and Pliers.
Step 2: 3D Print the Base
3D print the STL file included in this step. We used a 0.4mm nozzle and brim but no support. It should be possible to print it in one piece.
Step 3: Clean the Base
You may need to use a file to clean the edges around the levitator and clean the sockets. A Dremel will do the job faster. You may also want to drill a hole in the centre of each side, this will allow to insert a camera, a needle or evacuate liquids.
Step 4: Mark Polarity
The transducers have polarity and it is important to glue them in the base oriented with the same polarity. Do not trust the marks made by the manufacturer, they are not reliable at all. The easiest way is to connect a transducer to an oscilloscope and poke the inside with a thin wire. If the spike goes up, mark the leg connected to the positive part of the probe. If the spike goes down, mark the leg connected to ground. You can use two stripes of copper to make this process faster. After all, you will need to mark 72 transducers.
Step 5: Glue the Transducers
Apply a little bit of hot glue on the side of the socket (if you apply glue near the holes for the legs, the legs will be covered in glue when you push the transducers through), push the transducer in and apply some pressure with your fingers to make it lay as flat as possible in the socket.
It is very important that all the marked legs are pointing towards the centre of the device (where the hole is).
Step 6: Wire the Transducers
Wrap the exposed wire in six concentric rings around the legs of the transducers.
Step 7: Solder
Solder the pins to the wires.
Step 8: Prepare 4 Long Wires
Now, we need to make the wires that connect the transducers to the driver board.
2 red wires and 2 black wires. They need to be around 1 meter. In one side there is only the tip exposed. On the other side there are 3 segments exposed, in the video it is shown how this can be done.
The side with 3 segments will go into the transducers rings and the side with only the tip will go into the driver board.
Step 9: Solder Long Wires
Solder the long wires to the transducers. The side with the 3 segments exposed goes into the transducers, one segment for each ring. Each side of the levitator has a black and a red wire. You can use flux and tweezers to facilitate the soldering. Tin the other sides of the wires (the side that only has the tip exposed)
Step 10: Solder Arduino Headers
Solder the headers of the Arduino, backwards if possible.
Step 11: Program the Arduino
Upload the code provided in this step into the Arduino Nano.
Step 12: Glue Arduino and Driver
Glue the Arduino Nano and the Driver into the base. It is important to use the positions and orientations of the figures.
Step 13: Create the DC Supply
You will need to solder the DC female connector to the Switch and leave two wires prepared to supply power to the driver board.
Step 14: Glue DC and Wiring
Glue the DC connector and the switch.
Connect the red wire from the supply into the 12V input of the driver.
Connect the ground from the supply into the middle connector of the driver, also insert a male-female jumper there.
Insert a male-female jumper into the 5V input of the Driver.
Connect the male-female jumpers that we connected to the driver into ground and 5V of the Arduino.
Connect 4 female jumpers from the Arduino (A0,A1,A2,A3) into the inputs of the driver (IN1,IN2,IN3,IN4).
Connect a female-male jumper into ground of the Arduino, this jumper can be connected to D2, D3 or D4 to move the particles up, down or reset them to their original position.
Step 15: Test the Driver
When powered (always between 6V and 12V) the output signals of the driver (IN1&IN2 or IN3&IN4) should output a 40kHz square wave of twice the voltage provided to the circuit.
Step 16: Test for Shortcuts
Test that there are no shortcuts between the red and black wires of the levitator.
Step 17: Test the Transducers
Connect the levitator to the driver board and switch it on (always provide between 6V and 12V). For testing, 6V will be enough.
You will need two probes with transducers connected (pay attention to connect the marked leg into the positive part of the probe).
Transducers of the same array (side) should be in phase.
You can correct mistakes by cutting the exposed wire and bridging with wires.
Step 18: Test Optimum Resonance
Connecting the wires as shown in the right should provide optimum performance and minimum power consumption. Otherwise, swap the red and black wire.
Step 19: Secure the Wires and Glue the Legs
Apply some hot-glue to glue the wires to the levitator for mechanical support.
You can now glue the legs.
Step 20: Levitating Solids
Provide up to 10V. You can use a tweezer to place the particles. Also a metallic grid or thin fabric (acoustically transparent) will be useful since the particles can be placed there and then introduced into the levitator.
Step 21: Levitating Liquids
It is necessary to adjust the voltage to the type of liquid. Too high and the droplets will pop, too low and they will fall. For water around 9V is enough and for alcohol around 8V.
It is important to place a thin fabric on the bottom to absorb falling droplets, they can damage the transducers.
Place a particle to have a guidance of where to inject the droplets.
A syringe with a bent needle and the tip removed is the best option.
Step 22: BIGLev (optional Device)
If you want a more powerful levitator you can use the 16mm transducers. The process is exactly the same but you will need to 3d-print the levitator base in 2 part and glue them together (one half is attached in this step). This levitator can take up to 20V in the driver board (40Vpp) and levitate solids of up to 6g/cm3 but it is not as easy to use for liquids.
- 72x 16mm 40kHz transducers. Manorshi provides MSO-A1640H10
Step 23: Mid-Lev (Optional Device)
If you want to use 16mm diameter transducers but BIGLev is too big, you can use MidLev. It uses 16mm diameter transducers but it will fit most of the printers.