Coversational Magnet "Toy"


Introduction: Coversational Magnet "Toy"

A toy unlike any other (I think). You shake the ferrous metal shavings around the inside and watch as they slowly gather back around the magnetic areas. Then you repeat again when all the shavings have settled.

I made this toy before I made the lock, but forgot to post it up.

Materials needed:
1. Empty, clean spice container (tall clear plastic one)
2. Small magnets (not too strong, round ones would work the best)
3. Corn Syrup
4. Plastic Vial with a rubber cap.
5. Glue
6. About a tablespoon of ferrous metal shavings ( )

Warning: Do this in a well vented area. Glue has toxic fumes (That's what I've been told).

Video below: I used magnets that were too strong, so only a small amount broke away from the fields.

Step 1: The Only "Step"....

1. If you use a spice container with a pour/sift clip on lid, just pop that off.
2. Place the magnets inside the vial.
3. Take the rubber cap (from the vial) and glue it into the center of the spice container's cap.
4. While we let the glue dry, fill up the spice container about 85-90% with the corn syrup.
5. Add the ferrous shavings to the spice container's content (it'll sink in sort of a blob).
6. Place the vial on the rubber cap, make sure it's dry and secure. If it's not secure, use more glue around it.
7. Screw the lid onto the spice container. Shake up the container and you now have a "toy".

There's a video in the intro, but I used magnets that were too strong and only allow little amounts of shavings to let go (unless I use both hands to shake it). So in the video, only a few of the smaller sections came off and you can't even see them due to the quality of my camera up close. Anyhow, when you shake up the container you loosen up the shavings and capture several small air bubbles which all float around in slow motion. Looks cool to look at and watch.

Now all I need to do is (besides switching to weaker magnets) drill some holes into the cover and attach some LED's on the inside. Then waterproof around them to prevent leakage. I'm lacking LED's as of now, but I'll raid the basement in look for some later.



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    hey frenchcrawler I have gained enlightenment from you glorious Instructable and have decided to make my own version of this using a electromagnet and switch if it's good enough could I get your permission to post it the reason I ask is I got the idea from you and don't want to steal your thunder

    1 reply

    No need to ask, it's a different version and probably improved since you're able to turn the magnet on/off. Have fun with it :)

    Somewhere around here I think I've got some beach sand with a lot of magnetic stuff in it. Never had a reason to use it before. I'm going to try this. How about attaching the magnets to the outside of the bottle so you can pull them off, shake it up and put the magnets back on? And move them around.

    1 reply

    You could try it first and if you don't like the results you can always to it this way later.

    Let's over complicate things, get some plastic beads, glue some iron wire into the holes, they should all approx the same weight, now you can adjust your suspension medium so that the beads are neutrally bouyant.

    Thanks for the link, but I'm used to just using what I find lying around the house (or at yard sales and trash piles, of course I ask before taking anything). We have several old computers somewhere (probably at the bottom of the junk piles in the basement).

    Would be cool to do inside a used light bulb. Especially a larger one. I know that there is an instructable on hacking up the bulb in here somewhere.

    1 reply

    Here's what you're looking for:

    That would be sweet. You'd probably need more iron filings and a much longer vial to place the magnets in. If you were to do something like that, I'd suggest installing something like a drinking straw so you could blow air down under the filings to make them rise up (I wouldn't suggest shaking a glass light bulb hard in case it slips). This could also be used to create the small air bubbles that are suspended after shaking the syrup up.

    Great idea... This is on my list of things to do.

    Larry Niven "Legacy of Heorot", dude you stole this idea... Just kidding, however, if I remember correctly in that book an artist uses magnetic feilds to manipulate iron filings for artistic effect. Suggestion, replace the permanent magnets with electromagnets.

    1 reply

    You're reading my mind. I was just thinking about drilling a hole through the cap where I placed the vial and hooking up 3 small electromagnets to a small dowel or insulated wire so I'd be able to "twirl" the magnets around. But first I want to install some LED's in the cap... my lastest search for LED's has shown me none yet... I'll keep trying though (we have at least 6 old computers down there.....buried).