The Supermag 244 kit comes with 72 long magnets and 108 short magnets. In total, that's about 11 feet of magnets.

Magnets are interesting to play with. I can take a S==N and a N==S magnet and move them together and they'll repel. If I put a metal sphere in between, they'll still repel until they both touch the sphere, and then they'll attract. Why is that? I don't quite understand it yet. The polarity of the magnets matters when building certain structures. S==N (*) N==S and S==N (*) S==N look and feel the same but when you're attaching more magnets to them, they'll behave differently. This page gives some tips on how to build with geomag/supermags. Unfortunately I haven't found any other web sites with magnet building tips. I did find an explanation of magnetic fields that was useful to remind me of magnetic and electric fields, and an entire site about magnets.

Something that I want to explore is combining Lego and Supermag. The spheres are larger than a Lego "dot" and the rods are narrower than a dot. Thus, you can hang the supermags off of a lego structure by creating a 1x1 hole in a structure, putting a supermag rod inside, and then putting a sphere on top to hold it there. Another way to use them is sideways―the length of a half-size supermag rod is about the same as the length of a 2-dot brick. One of these two orientations should be usable to build a maglev train. With 108 short rods, I can either build a monorail (3 dots wide) maglev that's 2x108 = 216 dots long (that's about 6 feet) or a dual-rail (5 dots wide) maglev that's 108 dots long.

The only thing I need now is magnetic viewing film.

1 comment:

Allan Street (just a tinkerer) wrote at Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 6:22:00 AM PST

Hi Amit,
If you would like to understand this effect a little better, I think the answer lies in the works of Edward Leedskalnin, where he says that a sphere when magnetised is able to have its poles changed the easiest of all magnet configurations, and also may have the poles easily removed. He explains that the poles in a sphere inhabit what I picture as quadrants, which would explain how it is possible that a N-o-N and also a N-o-S configuration would act similarly. I beleive the answer may be in observing closely, the region or quadrant of the sphere that the poles of your long magnet are being attracted to and this will help you understand the effect you ask about.