Project Design Review | Peter

First Impression 

I decided upon a Space Age and Futuristic aesthetic while focusing on trying to highlight the levitation aspect of the motor. I want to try and replicate the large curvature of the SR-71 Blackbird and F-16 fighter planes, as they are two of the most iconic futuristic designs.

SR-71 Blackbird
F-16 Fighter Jet

I hope to make the base of the motor out of hard wood to hide the magnets on the base, so that it’s not apparent how it is levitating. In order to make a wooden base happen, it will take a some playing around in the shop to figure out how much wood work is capable from a beginner. As for the motor itself, I will most likely end up with a 3D printed case made out of PLA plastic, as it can be printed mostly hollow and as a result will weight next to nothing.


Inspirations and Purpose

My initial inspiration for the main project came from a burning desire for the project to somehow be useful. After spending a week or two thinking about what useful thing I could make, I realized that I was too caught up in the functionality of the piece rather than the aesthetic of the piece. So I went back to the drawing board with the simple requirement of finding something cool to make. Needless to say, I had much better luck with this approach. My inspiration for creating a Mendochino motor originally came from a Youtube video and after doing some research into it, I found an instructional page on how to build one yourself. As for the space age/futuristic aesthetic, I hope to model and 3D print a casing inspired from a rocket or even the International Space Station. The base itself will be what I try to model using similar curves to the previously mentioned fighter jets.

International Space Station


Hardest/Trickiest Part

The most challenging part of this project will be figuring out everything related to the magnetic levitation of the motor rod. In order to have the rod properly levitating, either the rod must be light weight or the magnets must be especially strong. Along with the force/weight balance necessary for the rod’s levitation, it’s critical to have the magnets placed in the correct position relative to each other for optimization of the magnetic force interaction. The most efficient and effective way to deal with the placement will come from trial and error.


Estimated Costs:



Projected Timeline:

3/11 All necessary parts ordered

3/18 Working prototype of magnetic levitation and wired up motors and solar cells.

4/1 Finalized design for stand and motor rod

4/8 Stand and motor rod both constructed

4/15 Project finalized


brunsgaard, peter
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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Derek Sikora
    March 9, 2016 12:10 pm

    I love the modern look and inspiration behind this project. I am interested to see/hear about the difficulties in aligning the magnets appropriately to fully suspend the cells. Looking forward to seeing the final product and how well it actually functions!

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    March 7, 2016 7:51 pm

    Do you need to do any sort of power regulation for the solar cells? When it is bright/dim outside, you will see varying voltages, and your spin speed will be different. To obtain the futuristic/space aesthetic that you are going for, you could machine your base out of 6061 alum. I know Mark is oftentimes willing to setup and run the CAM foor the ITLL 3 axis cnc, so you could get creative with an organic SR-71 like shape.

  • Pete, I am really excited with your project. I will be very interested to see how you make all of the pieces space-age, and have the curves of the stealth bomber and the f-16. I am a little concerned with your timeline. It seems like you will be running really tight to the expo.

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    March 7, 2016 12:37 pm

    This is totally feasible. Might take a few iterations to find the ideal placement of magnets, but once you get through that, you should be good! Excited to see it!

  • Elyse Skinner
    March 7, 2016 12:37 pm

    This is such a cool design. I love the futuristic/space age aesthetic. I think it is cool you are designing something that goes along with your interests/passions. You have your project really well planned out as well. Good luck!

  • Kenzy O'neill
    March 6, 2016 6:28 pm

    This is a great idea! I really like that you’re planning on covering the magnets in the base to give it a mysterious aspect. I wonder if there is a way you could make the levitating part look like an SR-71 so that it looks like a floating aircraft when it isn’t rotating.

  • Elyse Skinner
    March 6, 2016 3:41 pm

    Great job Peter! You have this really well organized and planned out for when you are going to work on different parts of your project and get it done on time as well as understanding the cost. I like your futuristic and space age aesthetic and your inspiration of the fighter planes. I think this could turn out to be a really neat project and I am excited to see how it turns out when you are finished. If the function is just to be a dynamic, cool piece of art, you could consider how your aesthetic ties into this theme. I feel like your aesthetic should be an integral part to your design, not something that is tacked on because it has to “have an aesthetic.”


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