Building the installation and testing

Today I build my installation using the resources I could:

  1. I started off my using a rubber battery end protector which fitted the point of the motor perfectly.
  2. I then glued two wooden coffee stirrers together and affixed them to the rubber battery protector.
  3. From this I then trimmed the wood so it would fit in the base of the perspex box I bought.
  4. I then attached the magnets to each end of the wooden stirrers.
  5. I finally attached the whole thing into the point of the motor.

This was the basis for the mechanical part of my installation. The weight of the magnets made the base of the motor struggle a little, but I knew all I had to do was secure it in place for it to work properly again.

I then had to construct the physical form of my installation, I already had the perspex box but I needed something to raise it off the table to be able to put the motor under, so I asked around at uni and found a large block of polystyrene which i cut up into even blocks and put under each corner.


(A little make-shift I know, but it did the job!)

The video below shows the process after this:

The first clip shows everything working fine, I used another section of polystyrene which already had a hole in it the perfect size for the motor to be held in. I taped this to the table so it would not move and jitter, meaning the only thing to move would be head of the motor. So everything is working, until I put the ferrofluid into the container. The attraction between the magnets and the fluid was too strong for the motor to continue turning. The motor struggled to turn but every now and then it would complete a full rotation.
I tried adding on an extra bit of cardboard on top of the magnets so there was a greater distance between the magnets and the fluid, this helped a little bit and managed to see a few rotations, but I was still not getting the outcome I was expecting.

I then decided to change the set up, and moved to a different table. This time I put the motor and the magnets underneath the table and the box with the fluid on the top. The sensor, Arduino and battery rest on the lower table, while the motor with the magnets is closely underneath the table, resting on the polystyrene. I had a slightly better outcome from this as there was more occasional rotations, but I still did not have the outcome I was wanting.



The video shows how the motor and fluid was moving when no one was interacting with it – it would jitter and slowly move, then sometimes rotate. It then shows me interacting with it up close – when the motor is supposed to be turning fast, it gets stuck, then when I move out the way (at 1:30) it continues its rotation. This shows that when it is meant to be moving slower, it has the time to move slowly, but when it is meant to be turning fast, it gets more stuck and doesn’t move.

The only two possibly solutions I can think to fix this problem are:

  1. A bigger, more powerful motor
  2. Weaker magnets

So within the time-frame, I am not going to be able to get a bigger motor as this would require a change in the coding and they are also very expensive. So I am going to order some weaker magnets and try again to see if it will make a difference.

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