Introduction: FERRO SPIKES

About: Fab Lab Irbid is a small-scale workshop for personal digital fabrication, equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools and various materials, with the aim to make almost anything.

Ferrofluids are "colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid (usually an organic solvent or water) .Each tiny particle is thoroughly coated with a surfactant to inhibit clumping.

This project is a work of art, in continuous development and exploration. Composed mainly of a chamber containing some Ferrofluids.Pre-specified spots on this fluid`s surface are set into motion by a Bluetooth connected remote controller which sends signals activating an electromagnet that moves with the fluid.

The control over the fluid motion is minimal, leaving the fluid a space for randomness in motion, and much space for art to be witnessed!

  • This project is done by : Shefa jabber
  • For more information visit her website: Shefa jaber

Step 1: Making the Electromagnets

Since the electromagnets were the main active components of the project, and because of the big effect on the fluid motion it was important for me to understand how they work.

So I decided to make them from scratch on my own.I first tried with a wire wrapped around a screw. This was a proof of concept before I decide on the exact specifications that I need.

The main factors that affect the strength of an electromagnet are:

  1. Number of turns on the coil of wire around the core.
  2. Strength of the current applied.
  3. The material of the coil

Step 2: Design and Manufacturing

I first started with drawing a 3d model of my wanted design so that I later would fabricate all the necessary parts one by one:I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Functionally, the main part was a holder for the electromagnets which were 6 piece.

Here was also a base for the whole device, a container for the fluids, and some other bits and pieces that will be shown

There was also a base for the whole device, a container for the fluids, and some other bits and pieces that will be shown next.The CAD modeling was done using Fusion.

  • 2D Design & Laser cutting

Used AutoCAD software, made a circular plate with holes to carry the electromagnets beneath the fluid container.

I decided to use 4mm thickness wood.

Sitting for Plywood 4.00 mm thickness is :

  1. Power = 100%

  2. Frequency = 50000.

  3. speed = 0.35.

  • 3D Printing

The part that carried most of the components and gave a good aesthetic look was a half sphere ,printed from PLA plastic. I decided to use Ultimaker +2.

  1. Material: PLA
  2. Nozzel :0.4 mm
  3. Layer height : 0.3mm
  4. Wall thickness : 0.8mm
  5. Print speed : 60 m/s
  6. Travel speed: 120 mm/s
  • CNC

Cut wooden holders, converted the 3D parts into 2D to cut them using the Shopbot CNC machine using the following settings:

The tool we used is the 1/4" endmill.

  1. Spindle speed : 1400 r.p.m
  2. Feed rate: 3.00 inch/sec
  3. Plung rate: 0.5 inch/sec
  • Molding and Casting

The material which I used is Mold Star 30.

Main feature for this material is :

  1. Mold Star silicones cure to soft, strong rubbers which are tear resistant and exhibit very low long term shrinkage.
  2. Temperature : (73°F/23°C). Warmer temperatures will drastically reduce working time and cure time.
  3. Curing Time: must be allowed to cure for 6 hours at room temperature (73°F/23°C) before demolding.

Mae a hollow box and placed the wooden holders in their place, then poured the mixture in place and let it cure for 24 hours.

Step 3: Electronics Design & Production

To design the board, the software which I will be using for this is Eagle.

The components of the FERRO SPIKES board are:

  1. ATmega328/P x1

  2. Capacitor 22 pF x2

  3. Capacitor 1 uF x1

  4. Capacitor 10 uF x1

  5. Capacitor 100 nF x1

  6. Crystal (16 MHz) x1

  7. Resistor 499 ohm x2

  8. Pinhead x3

  9. FTDI header x1

  10. AVRISPSMD x1

  11. voltage regulators x2

Step 4: Networking and Communications

I used HC-05 Bluetooth to control the electromagnet.

I used an Android Application called Arduino Bluetooth Control to communicate between the Bluetooth and the ferro spikes.

The Ferro Spikes code is attached.