Horizontal Magnetic Levitation Experiments

Levitating chairs from the Jetsons still have a few years of becoming a commercial product though they are fun to think about. One such curious inventor, [Conor Patrick], took a deep dive into the world of maglev and came up with a plan to create a clock with levitating hands. He shares the first part of his journey to horizontal levitational control.

[Conor Patrick] bought an off-the-shelf levitation product that was capable of horizontal levitation. Upon dissecting it he found a large magnet, four electromagnet coils, and a hall effect sensor. These parts collectively form a closed-loop control to hold an object at a specific distance. He soon discovered that in fact, there were just two coils energized by H-bridges. His first attempt at replicating the circuit, he employed a breadboard which worked fine for a single axis model. Unfortunately, it did not work as expected with multiple coils.

After a few iteration and experiments with the PID control loop, he was able to remove unwanted sensor feedback as well as overshoot in control current. He finally moved to a Teensy with a digital PD loop. The system works, but only marginally. [Conor Patrick] is seeking help from the control loop experts out there and that is the essence of the OSHW world. The best part of this project is that it is a journey that involves solving one problem at a time. We hope to see some unique results in the future.

We have covered Acoustic Levitation in the past and the Levitating Clock on a similar beat. We’re certain a more refined approach is on the horizon since many of us are now looking at making one to experiment with on our workbench.

7 thoughts on “Horizontal Magnetic Levitation Experiments

  1. while my back likes the idea of magnetically levitating my chair, what would be the power requirements for this ? I’m going out on a limb here and guess it’s not very feasible..

    1. Gravity sucks. Remember that probe landing onto the comet? The comet’s gravity is like 1 / 60,000th of Earth’s gravity. If you weigh 80Kg/200lb here, you’d weigh 3 grams there. You could have the ultimate air mattress there in the form of computer fans, light beams and photocells. I guess the colonists would wear magnetic shoes or use a belt with computer fans to fly around like human blimps.

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