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Thread: HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems

  1. #1 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Well, I have heard of a hoverboard and have seen a few videos on ideas of how to make one. I have come up with a few problems and a few ways to improve old Ideas. Im still just a kid and want to learn more about this, so I may get a LOT wrong.

    Ok well, you see, I have seen some ideas of hoverboards that use leaf blowers. But what about magnets? Because dont opposites attract? And magnets that are the same will repel. I saw something that was talking about 4 50lb magnets that you stick to the bottom of a board and thats about... 200lb of lift, right? Well wouldnt that weigh you down? Also, they showed it with METAL underneath the board on the ground. Arnt magnets attracted to metal? Well, what if you had the same magnets underneath the board. Wouldnt they repel each other causing the board to float? Im not saying someone could stand on it, but wouldnt it be enough to have it float by itself? That just brings me back to the weight thing for the magnets. Is there a way to get it to where the magnets wouldnt weigh the board down so much or would that not matter because the magnets repel each other?

    As I said, please correct me on things and help me understand more! Im still just a kid!


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  3. #2 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    Its a good question Sara-Beara. Some electric rail trains use magnetic levitation so as to remain slightly above the rails and therefore reduce friction. I guess these use electromagnets.

    I like the idea of a magnetic skateboard though. People often set areas aside in various parks for skateboards that travel on a concrete surface. It would be cool to use an electromagnetically powered surface. I have read of people levitating metal objects with strong electromagnetic fields driven with alternating current (AC). In this case, the metals just need to be conductive (e.g. copper, aluminum) as the AC B field will induce and equal and opposite B field in the conductive material, causing a repulsion.

    It would be best to use superconducting material but room temperature superconductors are not yet available for such a project. However conventional materials could probably still be used.

    Perhaps some day Sara-Beara you may be the owner of such a magneto-hoverboard site. Perhaps a conventional board could be fitted with a metal under-plate and the job's done.

    It would probably be best to advise your guests to remove any electronic devices that might have their magnetic drives wiped by the fairly strong AC magnetic fields though


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    Actually, the trains are what got me thinking of this idea. Thank you for your comment. It has made me think of some other ways to make it work. I guess this will be a big trial and error experiment seeing what will make it work and not.
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  5. #4  
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    Oh yeah and as I said, Im still learning, so what exactly are conventional materials and AC magnetic fields? I understood everything except that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    Oh yeah and as I said, Im still learning, so what exactly are conventional materials and AC magnetic fields? I understood everything except that.
    By conventional materials, Vaedrah meant regular electromagnets instead of superconducting electromagnets. AC magnetic fields would be magnetic fields produced by alternating current in an electromagnet. Such ac currents would produce a magnetic field that alternates in direction so the polarity would change from north to south and back at the frequency of the magnetizing current.

    Here is a web site that explains the principles behind magnetic levitation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation
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  7. #6 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    Thanks Harold14370. One quote from Wikipedia;

    Oscillating electromagnetic fields

    A conductor can be levitated above an electromagnet (or vice versa) with an alternating current flowing through it. This causes any regular conductor to behave like a diamagnet, due to the eddy currents generated in the conductor.[3][4] Since the eddy currents create their own fields which oppose the magnetic field, the conductive object is repelled from the electromagnet.

    This effect requires non-ferromagnetic but highly conductive materials like aluminum or copper, as the ferromagnetic ones are also strongly attracted to the electromagnet (although at high frequencies the field can still be expelled) and tend to have a higher resistivity giving lower eddy currents.

    The effect can be used for stunts such as levitating a telephone book by concealing an aluminum plate within it.
    If Sara-Beara would like to experiment with levitation then I don't suggest playing with high mains voltages. However it may be possible to use a "wall adaptor" - these are often available up to 1 Amp RMS output rating.

    Perhaps you could use a steel nail or cluster of nails and wind wire around these to make an electromagnet. I guess you would need at least 100 turns or wire and possibly measure it's resistance beforehand. The maximum AC current [LaTeX ERROR: Compile failed] - it might be a good idea to set this maximum possible current to 1 amp or less so that the wall adapter doesn't burn out!

    Alternatively it may be possible to disassemble an unwanted mains - transformer and power its secondary winding from this source. If the laminated core is introduced as a "U" then this will also form an electromagnet. Warning though - that remaining primary winding will have high voltages on it and this can cause electrocution. Don't try this without a science teacher present!

    If you need more current, then one of those garden light transformers might be OK. These have outdoor protected mains input cord and output (for garden lighting). Models range in power from 60 VA (watts) to 350 VA.

    (The alternative (smaller, more efficient) "electronic transformers" operate at 50 kHz but don't have a pre-wired, electrically safe mains input connection so I don't recommend these.)

    ************************************************** ***************
    The Wikipedia article discusses levitation stability. In Sara-Beara's "Hoverboard" concept this would add some serious fun. The hoverboard rider would be able to stabilize the platform by shifting her or his weight. This potential "instability" might even add to maneuverability, just as some fighter jets are designed to be "unstable" without computer control as this helps them make fast turns etc.

    It certainly sounds like a large scale implementation could be a central attraction at any fun park. Perhaps trying a few smaller scale experiments would be quite fascinating?

    When you get these ready to market Sara-Beara let us know - I want one!
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  8. #7 Re: HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    One piece of bad news: to my knowledge, it is impossible to make an object levitate freely in the air (or in vacuum) by fixed magnets alone. It will inevitably (*) do one of two things:

    - flip over, turning the opposite pole towards the supporting "ground" magnets and getting attracted instead of repulsed,
    or
    - slide off the magnetic cushion and fall.

    You need either a smartly controlled set of electromagnets, or some mechanical constraints. You can attach a magnet to the hinged lid of a box, then another magnet to the box itself - same poles facing each other - and the lid will stay partly open as if on an invisible spring. But you need the hinges to stop the "flying" magnet from flipping or sliding off.
    Note that the various levitating gadgets (pens, globes etc) always use a battery.

    Good luck with your experiments anyway,
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    (*) Ask somebody more versed in physics than me to explain why it must be so.
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  9. #8 Re: HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    slide off the magnetic cushion and fall
    No problem there - as this is like a skateboard. It's supposed to slide around.

    Fixed magnets though don't like getting clunked, it weakens them. Also their power fades if not attracting something, like an iron bar in storage. And they're heavy - no good for anything resembling skateboard play.



    I think for the application a kinetic solution would be better. A floor of holes, blasting air or water. You could use sensing of some kind to concentrate the flow under boards. Air will be very noisy, but water might go well at a waterpark.
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    Well what if you had a sort of track? And like, the edges of the board fold over a bit, and some magnets underneath board repel and attract to the track because some are the same and some are the opposite on the track and on the board? Would that work to keep it on a fixed track instead of just float freely?

    Oh and about the water, wouldnt it not be doing what the person riding it wanted? You couldnt turn it because the water underneath it wouldnt know, right? Wouldnt you just be sliding around?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    Oh and about the water, wouldnt it not be doing what the person riding it wanted? You couldnt turn it because the water underneath it wouldnt know, right? Wouldnt you just be sliding around?
    Yup, just like air hockey. The friction of your foot would keep the board oriented, the inertia of your body would guide direction of slide.


    A track as you described would work but may feel less recreational and more like commuting.


    Anywhere you have a purpose-built surface it is going to be far cheaper just to use polished concrete and quality wheel bearings. That's a smooth ride and practically frictionless.
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    Ohhh so you Could change the direction of the board?

    Well, I think I would prefer trying it with a track...since this would be my first time trying to make anything.

    Oh and are magnets attracted to copper? Do they stick to it or not?
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  13. #12 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Interesting comments. However concrete and wheel bearings has been done before; not very "space age". Perhaps young people inspired by "Futurama" and "Back to the Future" - with the actual hoverboard concept shown, would like the idea of skating on an invisible "force field" whilst "old hat" concrete and wheels would just be mundane?

    The air stream approach could possibly work but it might be annoying to have all that air ruffling your designer clothes. An invisible magnetic levitation system may well be the best answer. This could use magnets, and yes these may deteriorate with sharp impacts but then everything has a finite life in product design and it is not unreasonable to expect that the hoverboard could use a replaceable component. Further, these sharp impacts might be very infrequent, especially to a skilled hoverboard enthusiast.

    My guess is the the hoverboard rider would be able to make sharp turns by dropping one corner on to the surface. This frictional drag would allow a sharp change in direction. If the surface was made of metal with some form of "flint" coating, each turn could produce a shower of sparks. That would look really cool.

    Further, if AC electromagnets are used, the surface could be arranged to produce a traveling magnetic field, in the same way that AC motors do in their armature. This just requires the surface electromagnets to run with different phase delays, exactly the same way as in capacitor start motors or AC motors running on a 3 phase system.

    The rsult would be that the hoverboard rider would be accelerated continuously and would have to "fight" against this force by making repeated spark fired turns. Further, the phase control could be made adaptive and define ever changing "magnetic pathways". This would also be really cool as skilled hoverboard riders would excell in comparison to newbies.

    So in summary, I think Sara-Beara's idea is excellent and should be encouraged. Perhaps we will see Sara-Beara on a future "American Inventor" program? Using approaches that have been done before is unlikely to go anyware in a commercial sense, but the idea of a magnetically levitated hoverboard has an excellent prospect. Perhaps magnetic-hoverboarding could become a future Olympic sport?

    As always, it is up to us to use our imaginations to make new ideas work rather than simply siding with mundane convention. Never stop creating new ideas Sara-Beara
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    Permanent magnets attract iron e.g. common steel, which is cheaper than copper anyway. If you don't want to electrify the setup, then a lot of opposing pole permanent magnets will work BUT this will be quite expensive even for a small model board & track.

    If it's electromagnetic then you're buying copper wire and I hope you love knitting.
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    Yeah, everything wears down eventually right? I would probably make sharp turns, JUST for the sparks. I can almost most definately not give up on this idea. Hoverboarding as a sport would be pretty cool!


    The reason why I asked about copper is because if I were to make a track, I dont want the magnets to attract to the track. I want them to attract and repel to the other magnets. So if copper isnt magnetic, then, I could use it...right? Just an Idea.


    Im still trying to learn about electromagnetics, please explain more to me.



    I will also be talking to my uncle about this. He is an engineer and I think he would probably be the best person to talk to this about...
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  16. #15 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    My guess is that the AC electromagnetic structure would use a layered ceramic/conductor structure. Coilcraft, for example, uses this technology to make inductors, also Minicircuits for microwave mixer baluns (cold fired ceramic). It is neither scientifically nor technically unreasonable to consider the practical manufacturing possibility of ceramic firing a complete magnetic skating rink for the purpose of magnetic-hoverboards.

    Electronics can be extremely cheap - Infineon has SMD mosfets that have on resistances lower than 0.008 Ohms for less than 50c for example. A hoverboard could be a "passive" device with conducting layers controlled or interrupted by these mosfet switches. This would the hover-boarder to control height as well. The AC field below would induce an opposite magnetic field in the hoverboard conductors and repel it. Controlling this current would then control the height. I am sure the rider could operate this by some foot pressure based mechanism. If magnets are used, then this possibility might not be as easy to implement.

    As for price - I am sure we are all aware of how very rich some people are. I wouldn't automatically assume that everyone is broke or intent on penny pinching their entertainment.
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    Ah, I see about the copper. Wood or plastic just as well.

    The track could be a rut, which repels the board both upward and away from the walls.
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  18. #17 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Yes Sara-Beara, talk to your uncle. Copper is an excellent choice and you are right on the money. Coper is not attracted to magnetic fields per se. However, if it has a current flowing through it, it will develop a magnetic field and behave just like a magnet. This current can be applied directly as in the case of an electromagnet power by a battery, or it can be "induced" from a nearby magnetic field that varies with time. This time variation is automatically created when AC currents are used. The result is that an AC magnetic field can repel an non magnetic conductor, potentially allowing levitation.

    Yes also, don't give up on your idea - it's one of the best I have heard in a very long time . :-D
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    Yes because, the sides of the board would go down a bit with magnets that both attract and repel each other. That way it would stay above the track and not run off it, right? It would stay at the same distance from the track and when it turns, the magnets on the board would still be attracting to the magnets on the track, so the sides of the board that are hanging over wouldnt hit the track, right? But now Im thinking of how to get it to move. Like, go forward. What if the front of the board was slightly going up, like on skateboards, and there were magnets on that that would still attract and repel, like on the bottom. Wouldnt the magnets keep searching for more to attract and make the board start moving? Or does it just not work that way?
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  20. #19  
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    Sarah-Beara

    You may want to reread my comment beginning

    Further, if AC electromagnets are used, the surface could be arranged to produce a traveling magnetic field, in the same way that AC motors do in their armature
    (it's a sad day when you have to quote yourself!). The magnetic-hoverboard would automatically "go forward" when placed above a traveling magnetic field. These fields are not difficult, technically, to arrange.

    I like the idea of tilting the board to control acceleration. This angle could be easily sensed (even with old mercury switches) and allow the hover-boarder to control the forward thrust. Possibly tilting the front up could be used to interrupt the flow of induced current and slow the board down, positioning it parallel could allow full acceleration.

    Also, the magnetic rink doesn't need to be constrained to a single track - it could be a large ceramic surface with electromagnets embedded underneath - i.e. the size of a typical concrete skating rink. It could also conceivably have bumps and troughs. A spark coating could be applied for each major event (i.e. replaceable). This would allow the hover-boarder to travel in any direction. The electromagnets underneath could be programmed to create "invisible magnetic tracks" that the hover-boarder would have to respond to. It certainly would be a lot of fun to play on or watch.
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    Oh sorry! I understand now. But what are AC Electromagnets? I dont really know a lot of things... because Im only in middle school. Plus, when I tried to search and find out, I couldnt find it. This stuff is just coming from my imagination and things I know naturally.
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  22. #21 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    You are a credit to your age Sarah-Beara. You may want to visit Wikipedia on the subject of electromagnets

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnet

    Wikipedia is an excellent resource for information on a wide range of topics. It is an equivalent Internet version of an encyclopedia. It has the advantage that anyone can write new chapters for its growth and that these entries are screen and edited to ensure accuracy and readability.

    Never loose that imagination Sarah-Beara.
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    Thanks. Oh wow, lots of words that I dont understand on the electromagnet.

    How small can electromangets be?
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  24. #23 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Science is chock-full of jargon - it needs new words to illustrate new concepts.

    Electromagnets can be as small or as large as you like, at least in practical requirements. You can make a one by winding insulated wire around a nail and connecting is end connections to a battery (after removing the end insulation). This would be a useful experiment to start with and demonstrate the principle of electromagnetism.

    When you chat about you ideas with your uncle, you may want to consider the future possibility of patenting your idea jointly. Patent applications require a patent attorney and this can be expensive. However you can apply for copyright and this could be free. In any case, registering your idea through some official channel could be beneficial later in life if you did want to turn your magnetic hoverboard idea into a commercial venture. Companies often encourage their employees to apply for patents and pay for the process. This can cost $10,000 or so per country and can require a couple of years. (my last one took 2 years and two patent attorneys!).

    I am sure your uncle can make suggestions on this. One thing that is worth considering when patenting a new idea, or preparing for a future patent by adopting limited protection, is to gauge how well other people receive the idea. In general, the less interested people are, or the more dismissive, the better the idea probably is. Ideas employing substantial imagination and thought will exceed the appreciation of others whilst those that are well received will probably have very little unique content deserving a patent application.

    Of course, some ideas are just too plain wacky to consider - your idea is not.
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    Ohhh haha, then what I made in science class must have been an electromagnet!

    Well, the idea of hoverboarding has been around for a while, right? So some people would love to have it become a reailty, right?
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  26. #25 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Yes, as they say "there is nothing new under the sun". The earliest encounters Dr Who had with his evil cyborg friends; the "Daleks", in his early TV series showed them traveling over magnetic pathways, way back in the 1960's!

    Still, novelty exists also in the implementation as well as the overall concept :wink:
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    Another question: If they can make maglev trains, why cant they just scale it down to make it a board like my idea?
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  28. #27 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    It's a good question. In principle there is no reason why things can't be scaled down. However the main difference is where the power comes from. An electric/magnetic train supplies the energy required by its electromagnets. This could be obtained internally or from overhead electric cables. The rail could then be un-powered (passive). In other words, the arrangement is upside down compared to a magnetic hoverboard.

    A electromagnetic train could float on an energized track but it would waste a lot of energy to activate the entire length. It would be more efficient to just activate the area below the train. and not waste power to electrify the unused sections. This could be achieved with appropriate track sensors and control electronics and could well be a superior solution. Then the train could be "passive" and derive internal energy for lighting and passenger notebook computers etc directly from the part-energized track.

    A magnetic hover-board park would not need to worry so much about this as the power requirements would be far less and paid for by its customers. Also, many magnetic-hoverboarders could use the track at the same time; therefore a selective energizing approach may be counter-productive. The main reason for introducing selective "magnetic tracks" would be to magnify the fun appeal.
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    So hoverboards would take a lot less power than a train.


    Anyways. So, if there are...electromagnets under the surface of a hoverboard rink, there would be magnets on the bottom of the board, right? Well, what type of magnets? How would you get it to stay on the rink? Because whenever I hold some magnets together that are both facing the same, they push away from each other and when you let go, they just fall to the side. How do you keep that from happening with a board? Do using electromagnets make it stay or what? Because with a track, you wouldnt really have to worry about it sliding off, and when freely hoverboarding, wouldnt you?
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  30. #29 HoverBoard- Experiment Ideas and problems 
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    Yes, magnets will exhibit this instability. This is why it's best to use electromagnetic induction. The skateboard could use a conductive, non magnetic material such as copper or aluminum. The AC magnetic field with "induce" an AC current in the skateboard conductive under-plate and this will generate an opposite field that will resist the applied field, causing potential levitation. The field will need to be very strong but may be doable with conventional materials (i.e. not superconductor materials). This induction occurs in transformers and so is not an unknown phenomenon.

    The hoverboard stability requires control on the part of its rider; by shifting weight for example. However another principle comes to assist; the maximum induction, and hence levitation occurs when the hoverboard is parallel to the magnetically energized surface. Tilting the hoverboard reduces its "effective area" and the magnetic force will reduce. It will fall close to zero force if the hoverboard is placed on its edge.

    Further, the hoverboard could contain many smaller magnetic "loops" that could be electrically controlled. This control could be used to control "levitation force" applied to different sectors of the hoverboard depending on its orientations. A small microprocessor contained in the hoverboard "levitation plate" could contain all this circuitry. (A similar approach is used in electronic card readers - an "illuminating magnetic field is applied, suppling electrical energy to an embedded microprocessor IC. This IC, in turn, interrupts the flow of energy in its receiving "magnetic loop" antenna. The card reader detects the change of energy delivered. The IC "chops" its received energy in a binary 0,0,1,1,0,0,0,1,0,1,.... etc sequence corresponding to a unique code for identification purposes).

    So it seems that the design of a practical magnetic hoverboard has some technical issues to address, but nothing fundamentally impossible.

    As Dr Who's Daleks once remarked "every problem has a solution!"


    I really hope I haven't offended them with a mis-quote
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    Okay, I feel like im repeating things and asking questions to things you already answered, but you get no where if you dont ask questions, right?



    I understood only a little of what was said in your post. No offence, I just dont have that much knowledge yet....


    So, what if under the surface of the hoverboard rink were electromagnets that attracted the hoverboard to it, and also magnets next to the electromagnets that repelled the magnets on the board? Can electromagnets only attract things? Or can they repel them too? If they cant repel them, would you have regular magnets next to the electromagnets that repelled the magnets on the board while the electromagnets attracted the board keeping it in place, but the board is moving because of the current? And when you shifted your body, it would force the board to change dirrection to a different set of the electromagnets and still have it moving. Would it still go off the rink? I personally think that since they are both attracting and repelling the magnets, it will stay with the rink. Like on the board on one edge its North, south,north, south. Then on the other edge its south, north, south, north. Or something like that. I used to call it negative and positive. With the magnets I mean. Would that work? I have a few other ideas, but cant really explain them with words just yet....


    Also about that quote...its kind of an odd coincidence, because my quote I like to say is, "There is a Solution to every Problem, but there are problems that come with the solution."

    Kind of different than the other quote, but similar in the first part.
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    Picture the rink's repulsion as a slippery invisible bump rising out of the ground when energized. Now, your board would most likely have a permanent magnet in it, like another invisible bump projecting down, so the board levitates... but quickly totters off the bump. OK three magnets in the board: now it doesn't totter much (if balanced, like a three legged stool) but the board still "rolls" off. We need more bumps! Try twenty, in the board and just under it: now the board stays flat, levitated. But when you go to move the board you feel the bumps as the board resists then slips forward to the next position where bumps align. That's called "cogging", and it wastes energy i.e. a board will slow down to stuttering halt due to cogging. We need thousands of bumps! Millions to do a whole rink. The aim here is to generate a nearly uniform field. You can think of this like fine cloth vs. net.

    Why I said hope you like knitting. The field is generated by windings of copper wire. Obviously the "guts" (embedded in concrete as Vaedrah suggested) the guts will be a dense sort of copper fabric, intricate in just the same way knitted sweaters are intricate.

    Here is the winding of a smallish electric motor:


    If you just want a freestyle rink then no need to complicate things with tracks or any magnetic attraction anywhere.
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  33. #32  
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    you get no where if you dont ask questions, right?
    Exactly so! Answers have little meaning in the absence of a question. Answers are often incorrect whereas questions escape such judgment.

    In some ways I think I prefer your definition of and for "north" and "south". These last definitions are based on the geological properties of the earth relative to its magnetic polarity and such a relationship could change with time.

    I suggest you have a discussion with your science teacher Sarah-Beara and perhaps some additional experiments in electromagnetism could be arranged to support your interest in this area. There may be some additional reference books that could be identified for you. If your school, or future school(s) have science competitions, perhaps you could enter one of these with a small scale model. Even if this just showed movement (without levitation), i.e. using sliding magnets or magnetic material over a smooth surface, the concept would be communicated. Entering such a competition could be a lot of fun. (especially if you had plastic Dalek's riding a "hoverboard" - many people in the audience would probably remember these creations.

    However I think you are still struggling with some of the concepts of "magnetic induction". This is not surprising as the subject is somewhat advanced for your age. You are doing an excellent job getting your head around the concepts as they are.

    An electromagnet is the same as a standard magnet except that it requires an external source of power to turn it on or off. This is an advantage and a disadvantage depending on the application. The question is how this energy is delivered to the electromagnet?

    The energy can be delivered directly from a battery connected to the winding of the electromagnet (as in your science class). It can also be delivered externally from another changing magnetic field. The hoverboard plate will "intercept" the AC magnetic field of the skating rink electromagnets (going north, off, south, off, north, etc) and cause an electric current to circulate internally. This current will, in turn, create its own magnetic field. According to "Lenz's Law" this will oppose the applied field. Consequently, the conducting, but otherwise non magnetic, (copper) plate will be repelled.

    So, given this, you don't need permanent magnets anywhere. The skating rink could have electromagnets buried under its surface. The hoverboard would intercept the AC magnetic field of the rink and generate its own new magnetic field by induction. This effect could then be sufficient for levitation.

    "There is a Solution to every Problem, but there are problems that come with the solution."
    A good saying. Even if you solve the technical issues, some people will complain about the dangers of strong magnetic fields - would these be responsible for headaches, disorientation, social maladjustment, cancer etc? It's a bit like the "old woman who swallowed a fly", and then a cat to catch the fly....

    But I am sure this isn't news to visitors here!

    BTW - fantastic picture Pong!
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    So, what if under the surface of the hoverboard rink were electromagnets that attracted the hoverboard to it, and also magnets next to the electromagnets that repelled the magnets on the board? Can electromagnets only attract things? Or can they repel them too?
    At any point in time, an electromagnet is just like a magnet. It will attract common steel (aka iron), and may attract or repel other magnets (electro or not) depending on which side each of them is facing.

    The reason we keep talking about electromagnets is that they can be turned on or off, or made to be stronger or weaker, or switched from having the north pole on, say, the upper end and south on bottom to the other way round (reversed). All of this just by controlling the electric current.

    Your rink or track will need a sophisticated and fast-reacting control system to attract or repel the hoverboard the right way, in the right direction, with the right amount of force, at any moment. It will have to be dynamic. No arrangement of fixed magnets will do what you want to do. Electomagnets with a constant current are no better than fixed ones; the whole point using electro is control.

    Think of a Segway. If you just made a platform and handle out of a plank and broomstick and attached two wheels to its sides, standing on it and not falling off would be very difficult. It took two electric motors and a lot of engineering to give it the amazing stability it has. In fact, balancing an upside-down pendulum (which a Segway is!) is a classic problem which professors use to torture electronics students.

    Good luck. With your engineering uncle by your side, you just might be on your way to creating a device that will rival the Segway in fun value and market success.
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    Ah I understand now about the magnets. An electromagnet uses electricity and a regular magnet does not. So electromagnets can be stronger than regular magnets.

    Pong, what do you mean by freestyle rink? Isnt that what we were talking about? Also, What happens when you get to the edge of the rink and the electromagnets stop? Wouldnt you just roll to the side? I thought of that happening, so what if you still have some magnets that keep going after the edge of the rink? Wouldnt that make it to where you wouldnt fall to the side?


    I have tried talking to science teacher. I havnet told him exactly what I was doing, just that I needed some reference books on a few things. He said he would try to find some. Plus I may be going to the library to see if they have anything I could use. I dont really think our schools have science competitions...Maybe the high school does, but Im not in high school yet, so I wouldnt know. And yes, I am struggling a little bit, but as I talk more about it, I start to understand more. It just starts to fit in together on how things work as I learn more. Also, Instead of copper, does aluminum work? Just wondering.

    So the hoverboard wouldnt have any magnets on it. Just the underplate?

    I think I will be calling my Uncle soon to talk to him about all of this. I just need to find out his number from my mother. Though I would prefer talking Face to face, I dont think he could meet me.
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  36. #35 Hoverboard 
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    Leszek has reiterated good advice - electrogmagnets offer a lot of flexibility but also Pong's suggestions with permanent magnets are also applicable. Perhaps a hybrid approach would be sensible?

    I am certain your science teacher and your uncle will go out their way to help you with your project Sarah-Bearah. They will probably be very curious about your ambitions and may be able to better assist you with such a vision in mind.

    Also, aluminum will work; it's lighter than copper (but compared to the rider this wouldn't matter!) but copper is a much better conductor for electricity. Losses, caused by resistance will reduce induced currents that circulate in the hoverplate and reduce the magnetic repulusion force. The lost energy will be converted to heat - so I guess you might get a really hot hoverboard!

    Silver is slightly better than copper for loss (also not magnetic) but is expensive of course. Some people use silver to coat copper with a thin layer though. AC currents tend to flow through the surface of conductors, especially at higher frequencies (see "skin depth" in Wikipedia for example). The use of a thin silver coating makes for a good compromise. However, at 50/60 AC the skin depth is fairly large, however there is no reason why higher frequency AC couldn't be used. Higher frequencies would allow smaller electromagnets to be used.
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    Remember the repulsion happens when you have two fields in opposition. So the board itself must produce a field. This could be done with electricity but then you'd have extension cords or a very heavy battery... no good. A plain steel board would respond to magnetic field alright but it can only be attracted regardless of how the field is oriented. So I assume at least the board side of this setup will employ permanent magnets, possibly rare earth magnets which are much stronger than the common iron type.

    Your invention is somewhat like an electric motor, and you'll probably use just the same materials as in motors but arranged differently. Most electric motors are arranged as two rings, one inside the other and almost touching. Each ring produces magnetic fields. By opposing and attracting in some funky sequence, these fields create torque between the two rings. You can imagine the fields mating like invisible cog teeth. Now, a maglev train is like that except the rings have been unrolled into long ribbons... still they produce opposing fields and by shifting a field (remember it's bumpy like saw-teeth) in one direction the train is pushed/pulled along. But I think you want your boards to freely travel on a plane, not just a line. So, unroll the line to cover an area, like a rink. That's what I meant by freestyle. Then a board can float in any direction.

    Of course you could add humps and traps and ruts to the rink field, electronically, or even set the whole rink field in motion (e.g. east, or clockwise) that boarders must strive against. Sounds like more fun than coasting along a fixed line, like a train.

    When you get to the edge of the rink (the field) you either slide off onto ordinary floor or you hit a wall that's been placed to keep boards on the field.
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  38. #37  
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    I think the approach could be to induce the electric currents into the hoverboard plate from the external AC magnetic field Pong. If this approach can be made to work then permanent magnets would not be needed. The induced currents (as occurs in a transformer primary winding to secondary winding - the metal plate is effectively the secondary winding of 1 turn, shorted) automatically creates a repulsing magnetic field.
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    Hybrid Approach?

    They probably would. Honestly, Im kind of afraid of what their reactions would be when I tell them what Im trying to do. Well, not really afraid...more like, nervous.

    When I was first thinking about hoverboards, copper and aluminum came to mind a lot, so I guess that means that those would be the best choices. Copper more than aluminum though.

    Silver? Well, I am sort of on a budget.....I guess Ill just see what works best once I talk to my uncle and get his Ideas. He probably knows best since he is an engineer that works mainly on things that are electric or mechanical things....or at least my mother says so.


    Well, we couldnt use steel anyways, considering magnets stick to it, right? I was looking at rare earth magnets before I knew about electromagnets.


    I remember watching a video about the maglev train. And the rings unrolled into a long ribbon type of thing that was on the track. It talked about all of that. So if a rink had one that was huge and rolled out, a board would be able to move freely? And since a maglev train is on a track it moves only straight?


    It takes me a couple of tries to understand this all. I have to re-read everything a couple of times, but I sort of understand....
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  40. #39  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    I think the approach could be to induce the electric currents into the hoverboard plate from the external AC magnetic field Pong.
    :? There's the first disagreement in this otherwise constructive thread. I'm afraid that won't work. As far as I know, any arrangement of passive windings or whatever won't work that way. Maybe you're thinking of the levitated frog. Well, copper's only slightly better than the frog's water, and you'd need a crazy strong field to raise a human... anyway that cramps style on an also levitating board. How would you constrain such a field to just the board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    So if a rink had (a cluster of electromagnetic coils) that was huge and rolled out, a board would be able to move freely? And since a maglev train is on a track it moves only straight?
    That's about it. The rink's arrangement of coils would possibly look something like honeycomb or square grid I guess. I think that if the boards contained wireless transmitters they could activate the field just where needed, so you don't waste a lot of electricity on those areas where nobody is. Electronics are great for that.
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  41. #40  
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    Yes Pong the thread has been constructive and its purpose is educational. I suggest you and others may wish to visit Wikipedia on the subject of magnetic levitation at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magneti...FEddy_currents

    a quote from this educational resource,

    Oscillating electromagnetic fields

    A conductor can be levitated above an electromagnet (or vice versa) with an alternating current flowing through it. This causes any regular conductor to behave like a diamagnet, due to the eddy currents generated in the conductor.[3][4] Since the eddy currents create their own fields which oppose the magnetic field, the conductive object is repelled from the electromagnet.

    This effect requires non-ferromagnetic but highly conductive materials like aluminium or copper, as the ferromagnetic ones are also strongly attracted to the electromagnet (although at high frequencies the field can still be expelled) and tend to have a higher resistivity giving lower eddy currents.

    The effect can be used for stunts such as levitating a telephone book by concealing an aluminium plate within it
    There is of course nothing wrong with considering alternative approaches but it appears that passive levitation is not unknown amongst people. I am sure the Internet has many references on the subject and in more detail.
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  42. #41  
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    Yup, the levitating frog. Levitating people is possible too... whether or not that method's feasible, is Sarah-Beara's call.

    So, given an electromagnetic floor in any case, we have these options for the board:

    1) conductive board, requiring fantastic power for induced field
    2) permanent magnet board, requiring substantial power
    3) electromagnetic board, requiring an extension cord
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  43. #42  
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    Levitating....frog?


    Well, apparently a board with an extention cord wont be any good....
    What exactly is substantial power? I tried looking it up, but nothing came up.
    And a conductive board would be one with the copper plate, right?
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  44. #43 Hoverboard 
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    I think Pong may have entered the thread a bit later Sarah-Beara and may not be fully aware of your situation. The "levitating frog" was in reference to an example demonstration that had been claimed; water molecules in the "frog", from memory, had been able to produce an adequate repulsive force to levitate the animal.

    However it is unlikely that you will be able to go out tomorrow and build a million dollar skating rink (or please prove me wrong!). However, in another 20 years or so you may be in such a position to do so. Never stop learning and I am sure that high school, later on, will provide opportunities for you to attend science fairs on this and other topics. Some charitable organizations also offers funds for these. Certainly, don't pass any opportunity for University education down later on again. You will need a strong background in physics, chemistry and mathematics to initiate a real world project.

    The principles are of course more important than the final implementation so I suggest you consider as many approaches as you are interested in. Also, new materials are developed all the time and in, say, another 20 years, room temperature superconductors may well be a household item. In other words, don't let the material restrictions of today cloud your imagination of tomorrow.

    Finally, I must thank you for providing an extremely interesting topic for a thread Sarah Beara . Don't stop with one idea, where there is one there will be another and another....
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    Oh, ok.

    As much as I wish, I dont think I would be able to go and build a skating rink haha. Maybe a mini one...like...Realllly mini. But not full size. Nooo way full size.

    I am kind of at the point where I am not really sure what I want to do. I am interested in graphic design, animation, and art. And then im also interested in architecture and engineering...
    Someone told me it was hard for a girl to become an engineer, is this true?

    Personally, I thought no one would even consider reading my thread at first. But, I have been proven wrong!
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  46. #45  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    Someone told me it was hard for a girl to become an engineer, is this true?
    Sarah,

    I think it's harder for the simple reason that girls don't often grow up building things or tinkering with mechanical and electrical stuff the same way that boys do.

    The ones who do develop an interest, and who do well at it, will find plenty of employers who would love to have a woman engineer.
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  47. #46  
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    Oh really? I have been taking things apart to find out how they work and to see whats inside or how things connect for as long as I can remember......
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    Excellent, then you would probably enjoy engineering.

    Do many of your girl friends share your interest?
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  49. #48  
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    Ah.....No they dont haha. They are more into...fashion designing and being magazine editors for fashion magazines....
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  50. #49  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    I have been taking things apart to find out how they work and to see whats inside or how things connect for as long as I can remember......
    Then you are a geek. Join the club. :-D


    As for the hoverboard, I was thinking you could build a small model. Probably just with permanent magnets and cardboard. Even so many magnets are expensive though. Anyway they're a hoot to play with and the model might adapt to some tabletop game... you'll get new ideas for sure, with materials in hand.
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    Haha. sureeeeee...


    I have been thinking about a small model. About the magnets, its more of Where can I find some....Cause I have look tons of places!
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  52. #51  
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    Mail order or magnetic tinker-toy kit.
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  53. #52  
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    I know...but I meant store....like, so that I could see the magnets before I bought them..

    Me+Things bought online= bad idea

    We dont go well together haha....
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  54. #53  
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    As a suggestion, you could possibly buy a small electric motor from dick smith etc for a $ or so and "take it apart". It will possibly have two shaped magnetics inside its casing. Making up a small scale model would definitely be appropriate and moving pieces of metal or magnetic material on a surface could be kind of neat. A row of electromagnets connected to switches and a battery might let you do that. Perhaps you could have an AC power source (previous post) and then try to levitate tin foil? This would make a useful demonstrator for magnetism and its principles. Your uncle and science teacher could advise on this and would probably be fascinated to contribute in such a fashion.

    I guess you could smash the motor magnets into smaller fragments (probably ceramic) for such a project - the pieces won't suddenly loose all their magnetic charm. Then you could glue them to a model hoverboard (perhaps made from cut out paper or cardboard) to demonstrate the "hoverboard" concept.

    I agree with Harold14370 also, employment, these days, has strict rules against discrimination. Employers generally prefer people with talent, application and imagination when it comes to problem solving.
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  55. #54  
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    Here's a mail order site with good pictures and thorough info on the products.

    I know what you mean about checking things out in person. Why I guess you really need first hand experience with these. Toy stores!
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  56. #55  
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    Thanks. Ill possibly try it.


    Thanks for the link.


    Also, Thank you everyone for explaining things to me in this forum! You all have really helped me with my Idea!
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  57. #56  
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    Another source of cheap and strong magnets is from the wreckage of old radios, TVs etc - anything that has loudspeakers. You will typically find a ring magnet in the base of a loudspeaker, and a coil inside the ring. The coil can be useful in building an electromagnet if you are lucky to find one whose wire has not been broken.

    Good luck with your project and please let us know what results you got; I'm really eager to know.
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  58. #57  
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    Okay thanks!

    Thanks and I will! I have talked to my uncle, but he was in a hurry, so I didnt get to telling him what I was doing, only that I had some questions....
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  59. #58  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah-Beara
    Thanks and I will! I have talked to my uncle, but he was in a hurry, so I didnt get to telling him what I was doing, only that I had some questions....
    So you haven't told him anything he didn't already know

    This is just friendly humour, Sarah-Beara. Whatever you do, don't stop asking questions; they are the sign of the mind's healthy appetite. And any uncle's delight (I know, I am an uncle myself). Good for you.
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    Well, he knows im up to something haha.

    Thanks
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  61. #60 Hey sara 
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    Well. I'm on the issue as well regarding this levitation thingy... Got only 3 things in mind. Anti-Graviton machine, A very light yet easy to manipulate gas that could levitate you, or this >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:D...levitation.jpg keep it up. Maybe you'll get it send me some ok?
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  62. #61 minimodel 
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    I actually made a small hover broad model out of a wooden board & a platforum made of styraphom I got a lot of my magnets from places like home depot & lowes the small circlure magnets weren't strong enoff so I used the big square magnets. It's a lot of work and my model had some pros & cons but it was pretty interesting. Post your results if it's not to much, but do you research first!! trust me. :-D
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  63. #62 my hoverboard idea 
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    Hello you guys and gals try anything. Did you buy any magnets or try anything? I read through the whole thread because I was thinking about exactly the same thing! It's true that electromagnets could be made more powerful than permanent magnets (for the same size of metal), but then over-heating and powering might become problematic. Diamagnetic levitation of aluminium or copper or copper wire is also not feasible I think, because many dozens of Amps are required just to lift a 200g wire. I have a different idea. Actually I think sara-beara had the most similar idea. Use permanent Neodymium (or Neodymium-Iron-___, what are they?) magnets on both the rink and the bottom of the board and just foot power for accelerating (to keep it simple). When your foot is standing on the rink you can turn and do what you want. To stop the board flipping over you simply have the magnets (the rink and the board magnets) in Halbach arrays exactly like the Maglev trains have. Simple fridge magnets are in a Halbach array. A Halbach array is a bunch of magnets stuck together in a certain way to make all the magnetic field go out one side of the magnet. That is why a fridge magnet sticks to the fridge and nothing happens at the backside of the magnet. I want to buy some small magnets just to try it. Permanent magnets are very powerful and I can't see why it wouldn't work. I know many magnetics equations but I don't know how to combine them to figure out how much height you would get!!! Even if the height is only a centimeter then it could still be fun. I'm not sure how other magnetic effects might affect this setup though. I don't know how electromagnetic braking comes into play. At least it would be a lot simpler without electromagnets and is still something that has never been done as far as I know. Good luck. This website shows you the Halbach array... http://www.fastransitinc.com/halbach.html#. It's hard to see the arrowheads but the upper Halbach array has the centre one pointing down and the lower has the centre one pointing up. The ones next to the centre will point the same way and the outer ones point opposite ways.
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