Hackaday Prize Entry: What The Flux

Electromagnetism is the most difficult thing teach. Why is electromagnetism hard to teach? Well, when you’re asking a ‘why’ question (obligatory Richard Feynman video)

[Adam Smallcomb] might not be able to explain electromagnetism with perfect clarity, but he does have an idea to give students a hands-on feel for electrons and magnets. He’s building an Electromagnetic Teaching Aid that turns 30 gauge wire, springs, Lego, and bits of metal into a toolset for understanding magnets, solenoids, current, and magnetic fields.

The devices explained via [Adam]’s toolkit include a DC motor, stepper motor, speaker, solenoid, relay, transformer, microphone, and generator. That’s not to say [Adam] is building all these devices – a DC motor is just a generator in reverse, a relay is a solenoid with more electrical connections, and everything in this toolkit is basically just wire and magnets.

So far, [Adam] has a bunch of interesting applications for magnets, wire, and Lego including a DIY stepper motor and a nifty little tool that measures magnetic flux with a Hall effect sensor. Will it teach schoolkids electromagnetism? Very few things could, but at least this little toolkit will allow students to intuit electromagnetism a little better.

9 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: What The Flux

    1. Excellent book still. Among the best explanations of what these tools MEAN, rather than the mechanics of how to do them. I degreed from a respectable school, but I am pretty sure that few of my peers, and few of my instructors, really understood the physical meaning of these tools, curl in particular.

  1. Great job on the stepper!
    I really like this prize entry; I can really see this inspiring ‘the kids’.
    I’m really looking forward to seeing the commutator design. Aluminum foill? Copper wire wraped through the holes of “the disc with 6 holes”?

    IO page bookmarked. :)

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