Maglev Train Diorama

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Standards

(G6-8) Transportation vehicles are made up of subsystems, such as structural, propulsion, suspension, guidance, control, and support, that must function together for a system to work effectively. (L 9-12) Transportation services and methods have led to a population that is regularly on the move.

This instructable was made to line up with the Standards for Technological Literacy.

You ever wonder how a maglev train works? Well wonder no more as the model that we’re about to show you demystifies the technology in question. This model, something that both middle school and high school students can easily replicate, will raise discussion of standards 18G and 18L that fall under transportation. 18G states, “Transportation vehicles are made up of subsystems, such as structural, propulsion, suspension, guidance, control, and support, that must function together for a system to work effectively”, and 18L states, “Transportation services and methods have led to a population that is regularly on the move”.

Middle school students would focus discussion more around the magnetic levitation technology and identifying what subsystems go into making the train operable, i.e. special rails required for the train’s movement, building a structure that can support the load/speed and so on and so forth. As for high school students, discussion would be more focused on how other countries are using this technology for more efficient public transportation over long distances as well as the nuances of what political prerequisites the country in question requires to even consider a maglev train.

NOTE: The assumption is that this instructable is being conducted in a school setting so the cost of the 3D printer is not included. Pricing of materials will be discussed in step 2.

Plus it’s pretty cool to see stuff that doesn’t normally float, float!

Step 1: Prep

Download and print the STL files:

Train: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3255078

Track (x4): https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3255092

End track (x1): https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3255531

OR design your own train and tracks using 3D software such as Tinkercad or SolidWorks.

Step 2: Materials

Gather materials:

  • Semi-strong circle magnets (x9) (if using our models, find magnets at 1.2 inch diameter)
  • PLA Filament (any color)
  • Sandpaper (80-60 grit)
  • Super glue
  • (Optional) Powdered graphite

Tools needed:

  • 3D printer
  • Small wire cutters

Optional Landscape:

  • Cardboard or styrofoam board
  • Paint

We bought 3 sets of utility hooks from Target and those came out to be approximately $20, the cardboard was free; in total, around $20 for this instructable. Other magnets can be found for less so the price range for this project is anywhere from $10 to $30.

Step 3: Print the Files

Remove the prints from the 3D printer. Using the wire cutters, carefully remove the supports from all prints.

Step 4: Assembly

Use the super glue to attach the magnets to the underside of the train, and on top of the tracks. Superglue the rest of the tracks together.

Step 5: (Optional) Decoration

Decorate the surroundings of your train by creating a landscape for it to rest on; glue the bottom of the tracks to the landscape as needed.

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