Many tech developers, including Elon Musk, are working on magnetic hyperloop trains. These mass-transit vehicles would be capable of traveling at unseen speeds and totally revolutionize the way many people commute and travel.

While we can’t really provide instructions for building your own hyperloop transit system, we’re certainly able to help you make your own miniature version! Using only a few materials, you can make a magnetic coil train. It’s a perfect way to demonstrate how these hyperloop systems work. Or, at the very least, keep you entertained for hours!

What You’ll Need

  • Copper Wire (18 gauge works best)
  • 1 AAA Battery
  • 1 AA Battery
  • 4 to 8 Small Neodymium Disc Magnets (the more magnets, the faster your train will be!)
  • Wire Cutters

 

Step 1

Take an even number of magnets and place them on both terminals of the AAA battery. The battery is essentially your engine, providing electricity to make the train run. Make sure that the poles of each set are opposite or your train won’t run!

Step 2

Create your track by taking the copper wire and tightly coiling it around the AA battery. By using a larger battery, you’ll ensure you have enough room for the “train.” This part might take a little while, but it’s definitely worth it! You can make the track as long as you’d like. Most wire comes in spools of 25 ft. or more, so the sky’s the limit.

Step 3

All Aboard—it’s time to test your train! Insert the magnets and AAA battery into one end of your copper wire track. If nothing happens, try reversing the train. The polarity of the train and the copper wire need to match in order to propel the train.

Here’s a video of the completed project in action!

Why Does it Work?

Essentially, you’re creating an electrical current within the copper wire. This electrical current, in turn, creates a magnetic field which propels your train. You’ll probably notice the AAA battery drains pretty quickly, especially if you use more magnets. It’s a good idea to keep a bunch of extras on hand.

This is a great, simple experiment for teachers, parents, or anyone interested in the complex world of magnetism to experience it firsthand. Want more simple magnetic DIYs? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. You'll also receive valuable coupons for Apex Magnets products.