Build a levitating bed for under $1000

Many of us have had this exact thought and wondered if it was feasible. As it turns out, you can, in fact, just buy a bunch of magnets and make a levitating bed. Those magnets need to be extremely strong, so [mememetatata] used some rather large Neodymium magnets. This frame involved some careful planning since these magnets can actually be quite dangerous if not handled properly. [mememetatata] did manage to get everything spaced correctly and now has a bed that can levitate holding up to about 250 lbs. We really want to know what it feels like. That kind of thing seems as though it would be difficult to describe.

As usual, more information might be available in the reddit thread.

[thanks poisomike87]!

Comments

  1. DJCalarco says:

    Getting my drill…..

  2. snowdruid says:

    sounds cool for sure but i have to wonder what the health impact would be for long term exposure to suche strong magnetic fields….

    • cirrus says:

      As long as you don’t bring anything magnetic with you, I think you’ll be fine.

    • I hear that headphones use magnets, and you put those INSIDE YOUR HEAD!
      But seriously: if an MRI machine is safe, this is too :-)

      • deathventure says:

        A set of headphones doesn’t have anywhere near the magnetic field that a fist sized neodymium magnet does.

      • colecoman1982 says:

        I’m not saying that this bed is dangerous or even in the same category, but MRI machines can be INCREDIBLY dangerous.

        A while back, I can remember hearing a new story about a hospital just north of NYC (near where I was living at the time). Apparently, they had a kid undergoing MRI that was, understandably, weirder out by the experience and hysterical. One of the orderlies/nurses aids/something like that got the bright idea to bring the kid a bottle of oxygen to help calm them down.

        The problem is that MRI machines are MASSIVELY strong electromagnets (far stronger than the Neodymium magnets in this project) with the focus of the fields in the center where the patient is located. As soon as the hospital employee entered the room, the oxygen bottle was ripped out of his/her hand and flew at the child (located at the center of the machine) like a missile. It ended up killing the kid.

        After that, I remember hearing about a hospital out here in Chicago (where I’m living now) where one of the cleaning staff tried to use a buffing machine to buff the floor in the MRI room. Again, it ripped the entire buffing machine out of their hands and it flew into the machine. Thankfully, no one was in the machine at the time but it did cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the MRI machine.

        So, remember, MRI machines are REALLY, REALLY dangerous. If you have ANY magnetic metal in/on your body, or you see someone going into a MRI room with anything metal, get the fuck out of the way ASAP.

      • snowdruid says:

        afaik you dont spend 8 houres a day in an MRI. like i said im interested in long term. its like living below a powerline it wont harm you short term but long term…….

        • arachnidster says:

          Living below a powerline won’t hurt you in the long term, either. There’s plenty of research on the exposure of biological organisms to electromagnetic radiation; the upshot is that it has no effect – nor is there any plausible mechnism by which it would have a deleterious effect.

      • thebes42 says:

        That’s actually a really poor analogy.
        You spend a third of your life in a bed, roughly.
        The average person might spend 5 minutes in an MRI machine, maybe?

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      “No one ~really~ knows if magnetic medical bracelets work.”

      It’s as certain that magnetic “medical” bracelets don’t work as it is that they don’t repel tigers. It’s pseudoscience, invented out of whole cloth to make money.

    • nb109 says:

      You live every second of your life in a massive magnetic field. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_magnetic_field

  3. jetcityorange says:

    4 words: what’s the sex like?

    • Xyroze says:

      With a max weight limit of 250 lbs, I can’t imagine one could find too many couples who wouldn’t bottom out the bed from just sitting on it together, let alone the additional forces created by any movement what-so-ever.

    • AllThatJazz says:

      As far as overloading the weight limit on the bed goes, judging by the clever use of the floor as overflow closet space, I’d say the builder was single and will probably never get the opportunity to test it…

    • donnie darko says:

      probably bouncy

    • harviecz says:

      I’ve heard that magnetic field can be used to protect plasma or antimatter in reactors and suppercoliders, but didn’t known that it can be used to protect oneself from sex too :-D

      No offense, it’s awesome anyway.

      except the effect on blood iron, which can be probably shielded like better headphones does…

      I am looking forward for shielded version suitable for couple :-)

      • Ken says:

        Ferromagnetism is not an atomic property – it is a property of crystaline materials. Hemoglobin is not ferromagnetic despite the four iron atoms it contains. It is either paramagnetic (weakly attracted to magnets) or diamagnetic (weakly repelled) depending on its oxygenation state.

        Turbulence and brownian motion make any effect of magnetic fields like this on blood unlikely.

        Also not that living creatures including frogs and grasshoppers have been diamagnetically levitated in far stronger magnetic fields with no apparent residual effects.

    • daqq says:

      Given the weight limitation I’m guessing it’s pretty much do-it-yourself.

  4. andar_b says:

    Just never bring your wallet into the bedroom.

  5. poisomike87 says:

    or fall asleep with your laptop on the bed, unless you have an ssd.

    btw you misspelled my username. however its cool, would have liked to live more in the 80s!

  6. HackTheGibson says:

    A few things:
    1. Could the wires be run under the bed so I don’t trip every morning. So still 4 wires, just to opposing corners to keep the drift limited? Dont see why not, but wanted to see if I am missing something.

    2. Havent dealt much with magnets before, is there something he could line the bottom of the bed with to prevent the force of the magnets from coming through the bottom so you wont have to worry about problems mentioned above such as laptop or credit card issues?

  7. burzmali says:

    Can’t stay that I’d get the best sleep laying on a bed that would happily flip over and crush me if given the chance.

  8. andar_b says:

    Now, someone do it with Quantum Locking. >:)

  9. taboracek says:

    Certainly, one can’t sleep with gun under a pillow:)

  10. asdf says:

    Sign reads:

    “NO FAT CHICKS”

    That’s what I had above my hovercraft bed in college. It’s cool though because I’m a fat chick. My girlfriend didn’t like it though.

  11. filespace says:

    Wondering where to get neodymium mags that damn big

  12. Imbroglio says:

    What is the risk that the bed part could flip over?

  13. filespace says:

    Found them…

    KJ Magnetics.com

    Price ea. Qty
    $173.09 1-1

    Volume Pricing
    DZ0X0

    3″ dia. x 1″ thick
    Grade N42 – Nickel Plated
    Axially Magnetized
    (Ground Shipping Only)

    Price: $173.09

    Qty:

  14. Enjay says:

    Don’t know about you but I’ve got a lot of iron in my blood and, even though circulation is slowed during sleep, that much iron moving through a superstrong magnetic field? On the plus side you may not need a heated underblanket.

  15. Mike says:

    I wonder how different this is in terms of how sleeping feels when compared with springs or elastic suspension given the same F=kx relationship.

  16. nic says:

    Ha ha love the “As usual, more information might be available in the reddit thread.”

    If you go to Reddit looking for technical information,
    You’re going to have a bad time.

  17. fartface says:

    Far better and more comfortable to sleep on a water bladder.

  18. Kris Lee says:

    So this is about 113 kg.

  19. Giles says:

    I really wonder about the health implications. We know that magnets can influence cells (especially if metallic nanoparticles are present) but we don’t have any evidence of the implications of long term exposure to such strong magnetic fields.

    No one ~really~ knows if magnetic medical bracelets work.

    Yes, MRI scanners are safe (for the short periods of use that we have scientific data for) and yes, earphones are safe from a magnetic point of view because they’re relatively weak. But this would be long-term exposure to strong fields.

    On the plus side, cool build.

    • lwatcdr says:

      Go get a compass the earth is a magnet.
      Not to mention those snake oil magnetic things they sell that cure everything.

      • deathventure says:

        you’re not taking into account the sense of scale. Even though the Earth is a giant magnet, the field itself extends outward. We don’t know the effect if we stay in a heavily concentrated field on our small scale level. We won’t even really know the effects it actually has on astronauts.

    • arachnidster says:

      “No one ~really~ knows if magnetic medical bracelets work.”

      Yes we do. There’s absolutely no evidence of efficacy of these devices; nor is there any plausible mechanism of action. They’re not medicine, they’re woo.

      Likewise, there’s been a lot of study on exposure of mammals to strong magnetic fields; the upshot is that they have no measurable effect.

      • Hank Armstrong says:

        There’s one huge effect…. levitation.

      • deathventure says:

        Can you provide some links for these studies. Were they long term tests under constant fields or short tests daily? Once again, it leads to a lack of understanding of anything from long term affects. Most studies you’ll see are only using tests that include short scheduled amounts in a field.

      • thebes42 says:

        In the case of a medical claim, perhaps we should expect documentation that there is an effect from a company selling a device.

        BUT, claiming that there is NO effect because there is no such evidence is a logical fallacy.

        If you wish to claim that there is “no measurable effect” to show alleged safety, then I should expect that you would back that up with documentation as it is you making the claim.

        Basically, absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. Where is your direct evidence of absence?

        • arachnidster says:

          I claim that paperclips cause cancer, then, and presumably it’s now your job to provide evidence that they don’t. If you view that claim with skepticism – and you should – you need to explain why the burden of evidence is on _me_ when I claim paperclips cause cancer, but not on you when you claim unspecified negative effects from exposure to magnetic fields.

          The key thing to assessing any claim in the absence without evidence is prior plausibility. Is it worth investigating a possible paperclip cancer link? Probably not, because it’s implausible, and there’s no mechanism of action that lines up with what we know about causative agents for cancer.

          Magnets are slightly more plausible, but not much. There’s no particular reason to expect a static magnetic field to have a measurable impact on an animal, and no known mechanism of action, so I can fairly safely dismiss claims that they’re dangerous – until such point as someone provides evidence to the contrary.

  20. Alex M says:

    Suggestion to make the base not stupidly large:
    See diagram: http://i.imgur.com/yuLL7.png

    • Andy says:

      That redesign would allow the bed to flip over.

    • n0lkk says:

      The same arrangement come to mind for me, when I seen the trip hazard. To get either cable arrangement attached I believe the magnetic support has to be collapsed, and that would it difficult to install the alternate cable arrangement. I can think of work arounds, but what’s a fun novelty bed becomes a real pain in the ass every time it needs to be moved.

  21. localroger says:

    Better suggestion to make base not stupidly large: Use two strong posts on the base threaded through holes with three vertically oriented guide roller bearings on the bed. Make the posts about twice as tall as the normal float distance, and cap them to prevent flipover. You only need two to constrain the bed, and they can be on the same side. This will provide a more natural float than either the TFA or suggested cable arrangement.

  22. Bonetti says:

    Actually Stationary magnetic fields are not that bad. Alternating filed are way worst and the distance is way more important then size since 1/d², that distance squared greatly reduce the field. A simple magnet isolation shield would do the trick but would require some calculation and a unknown investment thought.

    Wouldn’t be better to try a lot of small magnets? Safer to build, more uniform levitation and less concentrated field.

    The “Alemx M” suggestion looks great, but 4 pairs at each side would be ideal to prevent “twists”.

  23. Hirudinea says:

    If one of the holding cables snaps during the night does the bed flip you over?

  24. echodelta says:

    I want zones of levitation not the single stiff board, a flexible frame perhaps. Next step: It seems we never grow up, study shows big increase in effective sleep with a ROCKING bed! Why toss and turn, just let the bed do it for you! Modulate coils or just use mechanical means to the magnets rock this bed.
    Seriously we all spend time there, the crash-pad needs hacked into the 2000’s. Japan has hi-tech toilets, the bed is boring and needs upgraded.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Nice, I expect that the “beefed up” version for couples would need double the number of magnets at least.

    One thing I noticed was that normal ie “regular” beds have the annoying squeaky squeaky problem even if they are memory whatever.
    This might actually be quieter with movement, even if you are Casanova it would take a lot of uhm, downwards force to overcome the magnets and generate any sort of noise.
    Just the thing to avoid Asbos methinks.

  26. n0lkk says:

    Basically the magnets function as legs to support the platform that supports the actual mattress that supports the body. I can’t imagine the experience of being on this bed being any different than being on a bed with wobbly bedposts. I wonder if a design with tapered sides with the magnets arranged similarly so the mattress platform fit into the base like a plug >>, could eliminate the trip hazard cables. While cables may still be needed they could be shorter, and keep the bed relatively easy to reassemble after transport, though I believe it would still be a more than two person task. I like the project. However being a 6′ 3″ wide load, a queen bed fit’s me better than a full sized bed. All in all meaning more weight means more magnets, and more cost.

  27. Steve says:

    I can just see the bed flipping over and a gigantic SPLAT that follows

    • nobeerihave says:

      I got the same mental image, but I doubt that its a realistic issue. Even if it somehow was able to flip, its mentioned that it can support up to 250 lbs, that’s would be with the magnets as close together as they can get. Assuming you’re under the bed when/if it flips, the weight bearing down upon you would be far less. Watch your fingers and toes though when you crawl out from under it.

  28. zmathue says:

    Why not put walls along the edge of the top of the bed and then make the base identical to the top but slightly smaller, place top on bottom like a box and the top should be larger so there isn’t a pinching hazard. It should be able to hold more weight because the magnets should be placed directly over each other.

    Yeah the sides will be in contact constantly but it is still levitated by magnets.

    123456

  29. brad says:

    I’d love to try this, except I’m 6’2″, 275 lbs. Looks like I could get the same experience by sleeping on a piece of plywood on the floor.

  30. bazinga says:

    And not a single fuck was given in that bed

  31. NewCommentor1283 says:

    hoverboard? no its my bed! lol i love it!

    but i’d be worried about possible intereaction between heavy metal poisning and the intense magnetic field.

    could a buildup of metal in a liver and kidneys rip out of your liver shredding it ???

    • No One says:

      If you’ve got enough metal in you for this to affect it you’re dead anyway.

      Personally, I’d be more worried about a stupid pet swallowing something metal and getting killed by the huge magnets.

  32. therian says:

    “bed that can levitate holding up to about 250 lbs”
    forever alone

  33. twdarkflame says:

    Now subdivide it, so rather then one large hovering bock you have many seperate hovering strips.

    I think it would be more comfortable as each strip would conform to your backs pressure seperately.

  34. Pinky's Brain says:

    You know … this bed isn’t nearly dangerous enough, someone should do it with electrostatic force :)

  35. Bubba Gump says:

    If it made sense and lawyers wouldn’t get chubbies over the potential lawsuits (think of all the medication lawsuit commercials you see now) a corporate lawyer for select comfort or a memory foam bed would have green lighted a patent and production by now.

    Hmm…how about combining compressed air AND a waterbed?

  36. j0z0r says:

    So… What if you were sleeping in this and the polarity of the earth shifted? I mean, prolly nothing. But maybe it would flip over and crush you..? Or rocket you out the ceiling?

  37. J_Fry says:

    Thought it would have been cheaper to fill a waterbed up with helium ;-)

  38. DomesticArt says:

    They’ve gone about this all wrong. What it’d needed to be was a skate board with about that many magnets on in. Build it along a vert ramp and BAM! You’re Michale J. Fox. Well… before the shakes. Poor bastard

  39. Ariakan says:

    Electro magnetic is cheapest I think.

  40. xshawk says:

    Very little danger of “Flip Over” as those magnets would not push one side high enough to flip…
    That being said I’m thinking what is MUCH more likely is that if the magnets get far enough out of line, the sides of the magnets will attract instead of repel, then either one side of the bed will drop suddenly with the other still up (rough guess 10-15degree angle) or it will happen on both sides and it will hit base flat just shifted over 4-6 inches… and I wouldn’t want the job of separating them.
    +1-Indyaner … the cable and eye clinking/creaking would likely get annoying

  41. travis says:

    it will fuck up your phone big timee

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