MAGNETS?

Yup.

I've always been intrigued by magnets, since I was young enough to smash up old broken stereo speakers and rip the ring/cylinder magnets out of the back. I've had a small collection of odd-jobs for a long time, occasionally making them into strange sculptures, or attempting to levitate them using the opposing poles.


Then recently I randomly stumbled across a couple of things: firstly, the Levitron - which is an anti-gravity magnetic spinning top. If operated correctly, it can spin in thin air for a couple of minutes or more, with no means of support besides opposing magnets.


The second thing was the advent of the kids toys Geomag and Magnetix. My partner got a pack of some crappy imitation from the pound shop, and I spent a few hours (and bought five more packs) trying to build a structure that could support a dangling tetrahedron. Problem was that because they were cheap, the magnets were weak, and often embedded the wrong way round, so building a structure of any strength was almost impossible.


A little time passed, and then one day on eBay I found a few sources of neodymium magnets. These little beasts are immensely powerful compared to the old speaker magnets - and they come in all shapes and sizes, including spheres, cubes, tubes, rods, discs, etc, etc. And they appeal to my purist side, because they generally only come in one colour (nickel), rather than all the gaudy rainbow colours of Geomag and others. In other words, they LOOK COOL.


Handily enough, one of the eBay traders, Dave (3711dave on eBay) lived about 20 minutes away, so I went and picked up my first set of these magnets. With that, I started building things. Getting another load of magnets in return for fixing Dave's PC brought me to a situation where I had enough tubes and ball bearings to start making what I'd attempted with the cheap crappy Geomag imitations - and more.


The fact that I have a natural leaning towards all things geometrical and symmetrical led me to start building polyhedra - frameworks of solid 3D shapes. Once started on that, a little Google searching opened up a whole new field of possibilities. I don't have enough tubes to make all of them (my eventual intention is to construct all of the major polyhedra - it may take a while, since some of them require 500+ struts), but the ones I can, I have.


And since they look cool, and I have some experience in building websites and a relatively good digicam, I thought I'd share them. I will add more to this page when I get round to obtaining more magnets (25mm tubes in particular) .




Notes:
- The magnets and ball bearings are silver. They look gold in some of these pictures, due to the brown of the table and backdrop.
- If you can't see anything at the top of this page (list of polyhedra), you need to get the latest Flash Player (8) from here. It's safe.
- I hate the wallpaper too, but it was here when we moved in and I can't be bothered re-decorating


Links:
Dave's magnet shop on eBay
Wikipedia's list of uniform polyhedra
Wikipedia's Archimedean Solids
Schani's Polyhedra in Supermag (found this a while after I started making them)
Paper polyhedra
Stella: Polyhedron Navigation Software (not tried it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site was created 2nd April 2006
by
Denvish
(aka Bob Warren)

My other sites:
Flash games
My Songs & Music
Newgrounds-related stuff