After having problems with the first magnets I used being too strong, I ordered a pack of 10 weaker magnets to be delivered next day. The good thing about the magnets I ordered is that they are very thin and can be stacked on top of another to create more strength if needed. At first I just tried out the system with just 1 magnet on each end, but this didn’t do a lot in the way of spikes in the fluid, although the good sign was that the motor was still spinning even with the magnets close to the fluid. I then jumped ahead and stacked another two on top of each end, this produced more of a spike when next to the liquid, however it still made the motor jitter and get stuck (first two clips in video below). So I went back down to two magnets on each end, this was the perfect compromise as although the spikes it created weren’t as impressive as when I used the bigger magnets, there were still visible spikes and the motor would also spin which is what I was not achieving before.
(Ferrofluid is very hard to clean so please excuse the dirty perspex box in the video!)
Although the motor is still a little jittery in some places and the sensor sometimes throws out some random data, I am very pleased with how hard I have worked to finally get an outcome close to what I had imagined. The main thing I am pleased that worked is the Arduino circuit with the sensor and motor, as this is what I had spent a lot of time on with coding and wiring. If I hadn’t managed to get the ferrofluid to work today I still would have been happy with using the LED’s as my final outcome, because all I my intention was, was to build an installation using a sensor as the mode of interaction, with some kind of visual display as an output, and this is what I have created.