Friday, 14 June 2013

Magentic bearings

Last night's BuildBrighton Open Evening was a pretty busy affair, and there were some pretty cool projects being worked on. We particularly liked James's Magnetic Bearings idea - especially since he's coupled it with solar panels, to generate the electricity to make a motor spin:

The entire assembly magically "floats" above an array of magnets, as current causes the coils beneath the solar panels to attract, then repel, against the magnets placed around them.
It's not 100% friction free, because the lead of the pencil (which is being used as a shaft) is rubbing against a CD placed at one end of the assembly. But graphite itself is often used as a lubricant in bearings, so it's probably about as friction-free as we could hope to get!

As mentioned in the earlier idea, Jason had the suggestion of hanging the motor from a pivot using another magnet, to see if this could further reduce any friction in the entire system. The result is below:

Quite what he has in mind for the project, no-one really knows (and if James does, he's doing a very good job of making it look like he doesn't). But it's using electronics, motors, solar panels and magnets - so it's already up to 11 on the cool scale!

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