Blog Post 8: Top 5 Specifications and Top 5 Constraints

What are the top 5 things you want your project to look like, to feel like, to do? What are the aspects that will tell you you’ve succeeded in your project? What are you prioritizing?

  1. Stability: will it actually work?

This is obviously the most important specification to me as it is the entire point of the project. Will it Balance? This is what will tell me that I have succeeded in my project of making a seemingly impossible device for my desk.

  1. Spin: can I get it to spin slightly while levitating?

This is the next most important thing to me and goes hand in hand with stability, I want the flower pot or whatever is levitating to slightly spin while it levitates. For this to work it will make the balance even more important.

  1. Versatility: can I make different ‘casings’ to levitate different objects?

If I can do this then I will prove to myself that I fully succeeded in this project and made it repeatable for other artifacts. I am going to start with a mini flower pot, then once I have the magnet in hand to take more precise measurements, I will attempt to make various objects with a slot for the magnet allowing them to levitate.

  1. Look: does it fit the aesthetic I wanted it to?

I am definitely prioritizing this because if I get it to work, but I hate how it looks, I wouldn’t consider that a success. I want it to be minimal, with a smooth, matte black appearance, as well as some hexagonal geometry patterning the flower pot. Most importantly, it needs to be attractive to me when it is complete and on my desk.

  1. Wow factor: is it impressive?

This sounds shallow but I want this to be impressive, I want someone to walk into my office and see it on my desk and say “wow where did you get that”. This is motivating me to make sure it fits my aesthetic and matches the picture I have in my head.


Next, what are the top 5 constraints you face? Time, money, skills, supplies, ideas, room to work? Which ones will be the toughest to deal with?

  1. Time

Time is easily my biggest constraint now, with the most critical parts taking weeks to ship, I am doing all that I can to work on the rest of the project while I wait for them to arrive. In the mean time I have been focusing on researching the electromagnet kit so that I am ready to assemble it upon arrival.

  1. Money

Money is definitely a constraint for me here as I, like most of my peers, am a college student trying to save money for after I graduate. On top of that some of the more important components (i.e. the electromagnet kit) were more expensive than I had hoped them to be. To try to save money, the rest of the materials I need for my project I am going to create in Solidworks and try to 3D print with some leftover PLA. This will both make the creation of the base that houses the electromagnet unit cheap, and easily customizable. On top of that I will only need a few fasteners which should be considerably cheap at the hardware store.

  1. Skills

I expect my skills to be a constraint at some point along the process here. I haven’t 3D printed in a while so I will definitely need to touch up on my skills before proceeding. I’m not too worried about assembly / soldering of the electromagnet unit as that is something I am pretty comfortable doing. That being said I haven’t soldered in a few months so I will most likely get some practice on some scrap wire before proceeding with my project.

  1. Supplies

Supplies were initially a constraint for me, right off the start I greatly struggled with finding the necessary electromagnet kit. I eventually found one that was close enough that I could modify it to work, however it was a bit more expensive than I planned. Due to this I have been getting creative with alternative ways to cheaply source my supplies.

  1. Ideas

Up until about a week ago, having an idea for this project was easily my biggest roadblock. I couldn’t think of a good idea that nobody else in the class was already doing. I really found motivation last week when I had to write a blog post on a project that I didn’t have an idea for yet. Once I had the idea, everything else has begun to go smoothly.





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Specifications and Constraints: Violin Pendulum
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Top 5 Specs and Constraints

3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Jon, I think this is going to be a really cool project. Do you have any specific aesthetics that you have in mind besides minimalism? I feel like you could make this project interchangeable or perhaps make a character that is levitating?

  • Hey Jon, I think this is a great idea and like that you want to create several models that are compatible with your setup. I’m looking forward to seeing your finished product and seeing the constraints like weight and size for the models you float on the stand. How many different models do you plan on creating for the final project? And are there any models down the line you would like to create that may be more time or cost demanding than you can supply right now?

  • Hi Jon, awesome direction to go with the project. I know absolutely nothing about electromagnetism, and how to craft or control it. I’d love to see what kit you chose so that I might get a better understanding.


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