Levitating VINCENT




Introduction: Levitating VINCENT

I saw Kludge77's levitating Tardis and realized I had to try the same thing. Kludge77 did a great job of taking a step-by-step of how to use a magnetic field to keep an object suspended, so I will not detract from his work. I'll just summarize. However, essentially, you take two powerful magnets and separate them slowly using a eye screw and chain or, in my case, fishing line. For each turn of the eye screw you take the magnets apart, but the field remains strong enough to keep the object suspended. I was amazed at how strong the field was and how it locked VINCENT into place, even when turning him sideways and upside down.

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Step 1: Thingiverse

I first needed a cool object to suspend. I had recently downloaded the STL file for VINCENT, the robot from Disney's The Black Hole. I used my 3D printer to print him off.

Step 2: Base Paint

I had a bunch of silver paint from a prior project so I used it for the base paint.

Step 3: Details

The STL file actually has an incorrect portion of Vincent. His head is not a full dome on top, but is flat. However, for ease of handling, I painted the entire head and individual sections. I thought about using some LEDs for his laser cannons, but I had printed the figure too small and I decided I would do a large one later.

Step 4: Structure

I used some wood and created a gallow looking structure. I did not like the way the wood looked, so I used my 3D printer and created some plastic sleeves. I'm relatively new to the 3D printer world, so it was a good excuse to try and design and build the sleeves in123Design. Hey, I'm starting simple with rectangles and squares.

Step 5: A Little Black Paint

A little black paint to cover everything up. We are talking about the Black Hole after all.

Step 6: Cutting Off His Head

I used a band saw and cut off the top of VINCENT's head. Not simply because it's more movie accurate, but because I needed a flat place to put the first of two sets of magnets. I use neodymium magnets with built in screw holes I purchased off eBay. I used two eye screws, one in the base and one underneath VINCENT. I then used a flat neodymium magnet and screwed it to the bottom of the top base of the structure. After I stuck VINCENT to the magnet, is used fishing line to wire up between the eye screws. At first I tried just one thread, but it was not strong enough and continued to break. So I upped the threads. They are more visible, but still not as bad as solid chain.

Step 7: Screw Him Down

I then screwed each eye screw tighter and tighter into its respective hole. This caused VINCENT to create a gap between the magnets, but the field was still strong enough to hold him in place.

Step 8: He Floats

In the end, I got a good 1 1/4 inch gap between the magnets which you can see in the photos. I'm still amazed at how strong the field is because you can turn him upside down, side ways, whatever and he stays firmly in place. A really cool use of magnets.

Special thanks to kludge77 for coming up with this one.

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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You should try to make it a true levitation by putting a magnet at the base and adjust it so he's suspended between the two magnets. It doesn't even need to be magnets attached to Vincent, it could just be steel washers and use your magnet from the top of his head at the bottom with another washer attached to the bottom of him. You just have to get the spacing right so he is suspended between the two magnets. Then he would truly be free floating.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You need an electromagnet for that -- since the magnetic pull gets weaker the farther away it is, the slightest movement will cause the object to go closer towards one magnet or the other, then it will snap to that magnet.

    If you have an electromagnet and distance sensor, then you can rig up a floating thing, but you need to have a feed-forward feedback loop to stabilize it. Looks like I found my next instructable!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Next to R2D2, h's always been one of my favorite sci-fi robots. But I cannot take all the credit as the STL author did a fantastic job of building him for 3D printing.