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How to Make a Floating Magnet

A floating magnet is a great way to demonstrate the principle that like magnetic poles repel each other. Although magnetic levitation is used in some incredibly high-tech applications such as maglev trains, the phenomenon itself is quite easy to demonstrate. All you need is a few ring magnets and a stand to keep them lined up.

Get two or more ring magnets. Alnico magnets are a great choice, since they are inexpensive and not too powerful. Neodymium magnets of any considerable size can easily crush fingers, so they should be used with caution.

Drill a hole with the same diameter of your dowel in your wooden base. Your dowel should be just a bit smaller in diameter than the inner hole in your ring magnet.

Put the dowel in the hole and secure it. A drop of wood glue should make a strong enough joint for this experiment.

Put one magnet on the base with the dowel sticking through it.

Put the other magnet onto the dowel with the opposite pole sticking up. For example, if the north pole is sticking up on the first magnet, the south pole should be sticking up on the second one. The top magnet will float.

Things You Will Need

  • Ring magnets
  • Wood base
  • Wood dowel
  • Drill
  • Wood glue

Tip

  • You can stack 3 or more magnets this way. Just make sure that a different pole is sticking up each time. For example, if the first magnet has the north pole facing up, the second should have south up, and the third, north up again.

Warning

  • If the magnets stick together, you have the wrong pole up on the top one. Pull the top one off, flip it over and put it back down.

About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.