DIY Magnetic Desk Toy
In case you missed it, a new product is on the market — a desk toy that uses the power of magnets to defy gravity. While this might sound revolutionary, or like magic, this toy is replicating an age-old physics trick showcasing Lenz’s law and eddy currents.
How Does the Toy Work?
We covered Lenz’s law and eddy currents in detail in a previous blog post, which you can read about here. The Skill Flux Scientific Desk Toy uses an aluminum tube and a sphere magnet to give anti-gravity effects. When you drop the sphere into the tubing, you’ll notice that the ball pushes through slower than you would anticipate.
Essentially, when you drop the magnet down the tube, the magnet’s magnetic field placed next to a non-magnetic metal will induce an electric field (a voltage difference) in the metal. This subsequently generates a magnetic field with an opposite orientation. Metals don’t like having electric or magnetic fields inside of them, so they’ll try to cancel out the difference in electric potential by moving electrons around — a.k.a. Lenz’s law. So, the magnetic field induced in the metal will attract the falling magnet, creating the resistance that you see.
Creating Your Own Magnetic Toy
The company suggests stacking multiple fluxes for a more dramatic effect or to play a game of catch with yourself or a friend, but that could get expensive quickly! If you don’t want to spend the money, you can create a DIY version using Apex Magnets with this tutorial.
We used a ½” x ⅛” x ⅛” bar magnet and a copper tube in our original experiment, but you can switch this out for a neodymium sphere and an aluminum tube if you want a closer replica to the Skill Flux toy. Essentially, you’ll take a copper tube of your desired length and drop the magnet down in it. Yes, it’s that easy.
Find More DIYs and Magnet Hacks With Apex Magnets
If you liked this magnetic DIY, then we have some good news for you — check out our full magnets for crafts or fix it with magnets sections of the blog for more activities and creative ways you can use magnets. As always, we’re here to help answer any questions you may have about magnets. Just give us a call or email us!