Captain America’s Mighty Shield With 7200N Of Powerful Electromagnets!

At Hackaday, sometimes we nerd out a bit too hard over comic book movies. With Captain America: Civil War in theaters, I knew I had to do a project dedicated to the movie — so I made a ridiculously over powered electromagnet bracer. The hope? To attract a Captain America replica shield from short distances.

electromagnet bracerI had the idea for this project a while ago after watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.

If you’re not familiar, it appears Captain America gets a suit upgrade (presumably from Stark himself) that features some pretty awesome embedded electromagnets allowing him to call his shield back to him from afar.

Now unfortunately, electromagnets aren’t that strong and I knew I wouldn’t be able to achieve quite the same effect as good ol’ CGI — but I’d be darned not to try! 

I originally planned on making our own electromagnets using microwave oven transformers, similar to [Colin Furze’s] electromagnet boots, but ended up purchasing some industrial ones instead. At 12V they’re rated for 1200N, capable of lifting approximately 120kg. Using two, that’s 240kg — more than enough, right?


I needed more power. We crossed our fingers for engineering safety factors and slowly ramped up the voltage all the way to 72V.

Hypothetically at that voltage the current flowing through the coils will produce ~7,200N of force. Together that’s around 1,470kg (or ~3200lbs) of hypothetical load capacity.

The electromagnets are definitely not rated for constant duty at that power level though. They start to heat up pretty quick at that voltage! We had a few accidents during testing…

But the advantage is… you could potentially pick up a small car with these! Assuming the metal on it is thick enough for the magnetic fields to fully penetrate that is. So naturally we tested it by holding a truck back on a slight incline.


But the real question is how far away can it actually attract the shield from?

We installed a metal plate onto the replica shield and started testing the system. IMG_20160513_131225480Sadly, it can only pick up the shield from about 3-5″ away.

Not overly exciting. That’s because the electromagnetic field drops off by the inverse square of the distance — while it might produce 7,200N at the surface, the field is pretty much gone after a foot.

So unfortunately, we can’t make the shield come back to us from any reasonable distance — but we do have a ridiculously powerful arm-mounted-electromagnet — and that just spells out FUN.

From there, it was time to suit up and put this electromagnet gauntlet — and the shield — through their paces.

Let’s break some stuff with Captain America’s Mighty Shield, and answer the question — Does the Captain America Electromagnet Shield Actually Work?

57 thoughts on “Captain America’s Mighty Shield With 7200N Of Powerful Electromagnets!

    1. It entertained a few million people so no… I don’t think it is useless. And from the cost of the project stand point… it’ll pay itself back and then some from the ad revenue alone.

        1. 0:45 the slab has a big line down the middle, i’m assuming the larger stacks were therefore pre cut or scored to aid breaking
          concrete slabs aren’t that hard to break, its possible they weren’t modified at all but taking 3 blows to break the wood at the beginning and then first time with the shield was not really believable, i think the first failed blows were deliberately weak to make it look harder than it actually was

          1. The patio slabs have a brick work pattern on them, so yes there is a slight groove across the surface. Not modified though. I don’t understand how you think that’s fake though… I’m hitting it with a sharp metal object not unlike an axe, and to be frank, I was surprised I failed on the stack of five. If I practiced more I probably could have done it, but at $3/tile from home depot I didn’t feel like destroying that many.

            As for the wood… Go ahead, try chopping a 2×4 with an axe — it’s really not that easy. You can chop a log in half because you’re splitting it down the grain. Hitting a 2×4 on the short edge? Not that easy. Not to mention the quality of 2×4’s varies huge — you might be able to break some with a single hit, some, maybe not.

    0005 kg OF POWERFUL ELECTROMAGNETS that can lift 730kg!

    Captain America’s mighty shield can lift ~7200 apples using powerful electromagnets!
    Captain America IS Johnny Appleseed! With electromagnets!
    7200 easy ways to keep 7200 angry doctors away! Electromagnetically!


    1. Yes, you have just described the hack. I don’t usually see people hanging from electromagnets they’ve built as a wearable arm brace. This is a hack. We make stuff too and it’s fun to celebrate that. If this was someone who doesn’t write for Hackaday we’d be covering it and I suspect you wouldn’t be complaining about it.

    2. Sorry, but seems to me, You should be the one to be Ashamed.
      The man uses his Mind to create, you’re one of the downfalls of imaginative genious.
      keep your negative unimaginative desire to be shown ABC’s to yourself.
      just sayin

  2. The only problem is, no one is *really* a genetically modified
    Captain America. This reminds me of the poser “Batman” in
    “The Dark Knight”, that the Joker caught, and subsequently took
    the mask off the poser – only to reveal a crying wimp of a man.
    Who was not trained, not physically fit, or had the resources of
    the “real” Batman (ie. Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne).

    So all these “super hero” posers are pretty lame…. yeah, it’s
    great cosplay, but as happened at a Highlander convention I
    was once at, no one is the “real” thing (this particular HL con,
    2 fools were going at it with live katana’s, drew blood, cops
    called, both their azzes got hauled away – and if one of them
    *had* stabbed the other in the heart with a katana, no doubt
    he’d be in prison, with a sheet covering the other person on
    the way to the morgue).

    1. Heh. It’s not on the road but if it’s in my driveway bylaw can give me a ticket for having an unused vehicle on my property (it’s a stupid rule), so throwing a commercial plate on it might make people not look at it twice.

    1. Yea, and that guy next door who bought “A New Hope” on VHS for $100 so it wouldn’t have any of the new Lucas edits in it is going to be in for a real surprise!

  3. A little disappointed that the shield is not from titanium alloy… could easily reach NIJ IIIA ballistic protection (most pistol calibers with FMJ ammo) and still be light enough to throw around…
    Seeing it dent from arrows…meh…

    Also, why not use electro-permanent magnets?

    1. The hack wasn’t the shield — we had someone make it for us who specializes in replicas. Electropernament magnets would of been cool, but it would have been difficult to automate the toggle mechanism effectively to the same degree as a switch for the electro-magnets instead =)

      1. You can buy enough Chinese-cloned Arduinos and high-power logic level MOSFETs to be buried alive in them and you tell me automation would be difficult? Come now…

    2. 1) If made of Ti6AL-4V, the shield would need to be at least 13/64 inch think to stop a 9×19 Parabellum round, making it’s weight 13 pounds heavier than it is now. It made of Ti-2 alloy, it would only need to be 0.18 inch thick, but would weigh 15 pounds more than it does now.
      2) It would not stick to the electromagnet if made of titanium alloy. Titanium is weakly para-magnetic.

  4. Just so people know for design purposes, magnetic fields drop off more quickly than inverse square.

    If it is a simple dipole, like a bar magnet or a straight coil around a straight core, it is inverse cube.

    The magnets he had, the magnetic field was radial from the center to the edge of the front face of the magnetic. That drops off even more quickly (in a more complicated way).

    If you need to grab something from 10 meters away, then webslingers, midichlorians, or CGI will be more effective.

    1. …well, either one of those, or a GPS-driven quadcopter under the shield (which by the way would make for an AWESOME “long-throw” flying shield – anyone? anyone? …Furze?)… ;)

  5. I want to see this with more/smaller electromagnets and maybe some Neodymium magnets embedded in the shield to increase range of attraction? May just have to do some experimenting now….

  6. Is that a hockey knee/shin guard you used for padding?
    Also, did you just use one battery wired to a single magnet for the back magnet on the jacket?
    I’m interested in building a shield of my own.
    I’m 14 by the way… Just throwing that out there

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