23 March 2019
Magnetic Shock Absorbers

I’ve had a fascination with magnetism for many decades.  In the late 60’s I created mobiles that had magnets in them.  The mobiles never stopped moving…they were very interesting.

On Big Wheel Lift #1 I was faced with the problem of absorbing the shock of moving marbles.  Two drops, and the end of the run.

I experimented for a while and then created three magnetic shock absorbers.  They function based on the principle of ‘same poles repel’.  In the image to the right, in the upper part of the lower right quadrant, you see a silver disc.  This is the top of the bottom magnet.  It is stationary.  Above it is a swinging ramp that also has a magnet in it.  The two same magnetic poles face each other…they repel each other.  The swinging ramp is held aloft by the magnetic repulsion.  When the marble drops down onto the swinging ramp it’s drop is cushioned by the magnetic repulsion…so it is an ‘easier’ drop.

I obtain my magnets from K&J Magnetics.  They are one of my treasured suppliers.  Very reasonable prices.  Always fast shipping…and I’ve never had anything back ordered.

Magnets are fun to work with.  I suspect most of my automata will have magnets working somewhere.  I’ve prepared a video for you that shows these little shock absorbers in action…including some views in slow motion.  Enjoy.