INTRO- This Project is for High School students primarily in Physics class and General Science. The project utilizes magnets that are interactive and  subtly move in seemingly unpreditcable ways . The student will understand basics of magnetism and will apply this knowledge and analyze the motion of the whales.Additionally, he will be able to learn to use basic shop equipment  such as drill press,saws,wire cutters, safe use of glue and paint and safe handling of high strength magnets.Finally he can be creative and suspend the whales in positions that will be of a novel dancing [swimming?]  activity.


Materials list- See the drawing of materials.

The stand was made from scrap wood.Any type will do since all you are making is a scafold to suspend the Ocras .

We used some wood dowels here since we had them from another project.Also they can be cut to any length.1/4 dia.x 12 in..
To mount them on a stick we used a piece of wood and drilled two holes  and 6-32 machine screws 1 in. lg. to hold the rods.You can  create your own suspension if you have materials  available.A large card-board box can be used with rods inserted at the top.

The base an be 1/4 in.  ply wood to which is mounted an upright rod  about 8 in. high. This can be any length you like after experimenting around  with heights. .
Clips-any strong clips with a flat jaws to grab the string. Can also use  your own creative way to attach .
Orca whales- See picture of Singing Magnets. two type sizes were purchased at a local Dollar store. or see Noveltyinc.com,Greenfield,IN.  They come as a pair.
    1.5 and 2.5 inches long  are available. The 2.5 in. .magnets are of different higher magnetic strength so they will interact in surprising ways with the small babies.Be alert to their snappy action.They can come together at high speed and can pinch the fingers.

Mounts- The whales,painted on the bottom with white model paint . are mounted using small paper clips formed as shown. then glued.   Keep them well separated so they wont attract and smear the drying glue.E6000 or Goop glue is used in a well ventilated area. Dry time is about 1 hour. Attachment  at top of wire can be a closed loop.
Tails- black  plastic or electrical tape. 1/2 in  x 1.5 in long and formed around the body. We used glass re-enforced tape .Spot glue.
String- We broke out our fishing  equipment and found some spools of .01  nylon string. Stretch string also works here as it gives the whale vertical movement as well as horizontal movements. We had two of them with stretch-string as purchased in a Micheals Art and  Craft store. Price about $2.00 for 15 feet of .5mm. size to 1mm. size. You will notice a different  activity with these size.
Paint- White paint. for the belly and eyes.Ventilated area is used for Model builders paints.We used water based paint also.
Sharpy pen- used to preform the wire loop .Body diameter slightly smaller than the Orca magnets.


ASSEMBLY- pliers, snips,are used to form the paperclips around the body of the Pen. Then remove it and slide it  over the Orca. magnet and center it. Spot some glue  on the top side. The  end of the wire is formed into a small hook to attach  the string.

Tape- form it around one end. cut out some of it to look like a tail. May need to spot glue the top side.

Orcas- We used 3 small ones  and 2 large ones. They are purchased in pairs for a dollar in a dollar store. Carefully pull them apart and dont let them pinch your finger..
Paint- We used white correction fluid.and a Q-tip if needed.Hobby paint is best.

Rod center support- We went overboard and made a hub  from a piece of wood. See diagram Not critical on size.
Clamps- Any will do but must have flat  lips.Dollar stores and Home Depot has several sizes,low cost ones.You may tie them on the top rods also but this will prevent you from  adjusting them later at various heights.


We used experimentally placed Orcas at different  heights.The best placement  was about 6 inches from each other. They can be  of different heights too.  If too close to each other they will attract each other  in a flash and hold for dear life. So be careful.
     We placed the 'mothers' large ones  at the left and right sides.Then the babies at the other ends and center.
Playing-When all are suspended  they will interact playfully. Let them stay for about 5 minute to settle down then with a finger just flick one's nose slightly. You will see tremendous activity all of a sudden from all 5 Orcas moving in every direction and rotating.  They will continue their actions for up to 20 minutes. This activity is caused by magnetic field interactions over a distance. Impressive.

Have fun. We enclosed ours in a cardboard box and some old calender pictures of waves. Very Impressive to watch.

Note- Magnets should not be used around tots, but these are rather large  ,Be careful.

Step 4: About Permanent Magnets

Basic information about magnets.

Permanent magnets- They are made  of materials  such as iron, cobalt, nickel, and other metallic elements. These materials can develop a high , permanent  North -South polar field inside the material when subjected to an external origination magnetic field.   A magnetized configuration in this case the Orca piece  can have a north pole and a south pole at the ends or opposite sides.
    Opposing poles attract each other. the closer together the greater the attraction force.  Conversely, the reverse happens  between identical [N to N  or S to S poles].  The N pole of one Orca will oppose the N-pole of a nearby Orca.
     On handling- Two magnetic parts will try to attract or repel each other depending on their orientation to each other. Keep them separated at least 4 inches apart or they will lighting quick attract each other. In that case slide the two pieces apart. since direct pull  may be too difficult due to the high attraction forces between their N- and S poles..
Also- when storing them keep them as pairs or multi-pairs together. This will capture the magnet fields and  prevent them from grabbing other iron  parts in the immediate area. Do not hit or drop these high magnetic strength parts as they can lose their magnetism due to their crystalline sintering  manufacturing method.
Magnets will magnetize iron or steel tools, etc. if contacted by them so keep tools away if you can't stand the small residual magnetism  on the tool.This  small amount  will eventually die out.

Use of a Compass- To see the magnetic field field direction and intensity use a small floating needle compass. Here we used an automobile direction finder magnet that  responds to the field in the center of our display. Holding and moving it by hand you can see where the N and S poles are  and  direction of the magnetic fields and interactions from the various Orcas.

 When all whales are still, after about 15 minutes undisturbed, touch one whale slightly  and rotate it. Note the quick response from  all the group. They all interact. Next try spinning  the center one once. Note the violent  motions from the rest. Why? They all individually react to the ever changing area field as the Poles of the Orcas change. This non-uniform field can be altered by raising or lowering the whales a few inches. Don't let them get too close  though. they really attract each other.
Outside magnets also will alter this field. So experiment and have fun doing so.

About This Instructable




Bio: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.
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