For my final project, I knew I wanted to make something relatively small that I could easily take with me wherever I end up following graduation. I knew I wanted it to be a desk or tabletop product to build off of the theme of my upcycle project, following the same sleek, minimalist aesthetic but with some added versatility and mechanical complexity. Finally, I knew I wanted it to be a reminder of this class and my engineering degree as a whole, combining many of the skills I have learned over the years to create something for me.
The artifact I will be making will be called “The Levitation Station”, an innovative and multifaceted device that consists of an electromagnet base module and a powerful neodymium magnet. The objective of this project is to create a platform that can levitate small cup-shaped objects that could house a plant or a candle.
I began this project with the intention of learning how to use an electromagnet, and to gain experience in 3D printing. Once I got the electromagnet working correctly, I was able to move onto the next step of the project, which was to learn how to balance the neodymium magnet above the base module. This was not an easy task since the magnet was very strong, and I had to figure out the right distance and position in space to make it levitate.
I had to wrestle with it for a while and I could really feel the forces moving my hand, so it was a thrilling experience to get it to work for the first time. Next, I decided to create a cover for the base module that would hide it from view and give the Levitation Station a more polished look.
I took precise measurements with calipers and noted all the dimensions on a sketch I had on paper, I had to make sure that the cover would fit perfectly with the base module and provide enough clearance for the magnet to levitate. Then, using Solidworks CAD software, I started designing the cover.
I have been using CAD as a way of iterative modeling and working through different designs to determine what is most attractive to me, and what will make the most sense to fit the aesthetic and the environment it will be in.
My next steps are to finalize the geometry of the base cover and create CAD models of two different cups that would levitate above the base module. Once the CAD models are complete, I will convert them to STL files and begin printing them out at the ITLL on campus. I will also be heading to Home Depot soon to pick up a few nuts and bolts that I will need to secure the electromagnet base module into its 3D-printed cover. I plan to continue to refine the Levitation Station after this class is complete and explore its potential for levitating other objects.