Intro: $1 Electrostatic Levitation Toy (Video)
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This is a curious effect I've been experimenting with over the last week, and I've finally decided to make a how-to-make video about it.
This effect is REAL. It's called Van Der Graaf levitation. It's been around for awhile now, you can even buy a commercial toy version of this device. However, the commercial one uses batteries and costs about $30...
Basically, it's a statically charged PVC pipe that can levitate some thin mylar plastic. It's an awesome effect, and so cheap to make. It would make a head turning Christmas gift for sure! (did I mention how cheap it is to make !??!?!!?!)
What you need:
14'' 3/4'' diam PVC pipe ($0.75)
Fuzzy fabric. Get a scrap of fleece at a fabric store. Fake fur works the best, hands down.
Mylar film (negligible cost). You can find mylar at any store that has a good selection of tissue paper. I got a lifetime worth of it at Michaels Craft store for $2. The mylar on mylar balloons should work also. There's another video out there that shows you how to make this, and he uses christmas tree tinsel. Personally, I think tinsel is a pain to deal with on account of it being so thin and easily tangled.
NOTE: This thing a lot more fun than it looks. Try it for yourself!