Circular Linear Motor Becomes A Micro Motor Raceway

Over on Hackaday.io we have a lot of people playing around with the possibilities presented by cheap printed circuit boards. Whether that means making a quadcopter from fiberglass or a speaker from etched copper, we’ve seen just about everything. Now, finally, we have a miniature magnetic racetrack. It’s an ant highway, or a linear motor wrapped around into a circle. Or a tiny-scale model railroad. Either way it’s very, very cool.

The ant highway comes from [bobricius], one of the many makers tinkering around with coils and traces. This time he’s built a ten centimeter square board that is, effectively, a linear motor. It’s a three-phase motor made out of PCB coils, with a small magnetic ‘car’ that’s pushed forward. These coils are controlled by an ATtiny10 and a trio of MOSFETs. Wrap that linear motor into a circle and you have a neat little circular track that’s the smallest model car raceway you’ve ever seen.

As with all of [bobricius]’ circuit boards, this one demands a video, and that’s available below. This is an interesting bit of technology, and it’s more than just a raceway for tiny magnetic cars. This could be the beginnings of an analog clock with a digital heart, or the start of the smallest model train layout you’ve ever seen. There’s impressive work being done with PCB motors now that printed circuit boards are so cheap, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

A quick Hackaday search will reveal [bobricius] as a prolific source of projects whose work we’ve featured multiple times. Favorites include a brushless PCB motor, and an FR4 cell phone.

19 thoughts on “Circular Linear Motor Becomes A Micro Motor Raceway

  1. Remember when videos/TV didn’t change the picture with a flash? ….when informational programs didn’t throw in “Time is running out. Will they make it in time?” When video was stationary long enough to actually study the view?

    1. I rarely complain about video quality, but this one is just horrible. After several seconds I tried to seek the video past this shitty “intro”, but no luck.

      1. The patents on that one expire in 9 years… the other patent that expires in 2030 is probably easily overturned with prior art for the one patent it literally just says that the coils attract the cars from each end and this increases stability but every maglev since forever does that, the other one is rather novel in how it shows the design of the coil in the PCB is laid out that one is quite neat.

        I might get my grandpaw a little set for christmas… and maybe make my own tracks once the patents expire.

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