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diamagnetic leverage

lifting heavy objects while inducing levitation
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Alright now, I've been pouring over how to move large, heavy and cumbersome safes from my store to customers houses with the least amount of effort and no damage to floors. Sounds easy, right? The practicality of the matter, and the behomoth-ness of an 1800 lb chunk of steel to be delivered has become an enormous endevour and one I am certain that there just has got to be a better way.

Here's what I've dreamed, but I am not certain of the outcome, the cost in construction, or if I'm not just totally baked:

Cut a square piece of plywood, about 3 foot by 3 foot, and fasten an amount of permanent and strong rare earth magnets (or electro), all pointing so that all of their poles are in one direction; a board with a lot of magnets with all north poles pointing to one edge of the board. Use this board as the "base". To it secure brackets that can be adjusted to different widths to accomodate different sizes of safes. The "angle irons" would be coming from the underneath of the base and and straight up to a hieght of about four feet. They sit on each corner of the base.

Now, take another board of the same size, use the same amount and strength of magnets as the first, all north poles pointing to one edge, and slide it down the brackets, magnets facing magnets, making sure to have the forces oppose each other, until levitation is created.

Now, the hard part. Slide a safe into the brackets until it reaches the levitated platform. One would have to calculate the amount of opposing force needed for each safe to levitate, but let's say that was accomplished and you have your safe levitating above the opposing force.

Would you not then be able to pick up the first base of magnets and only feel the wieght of the base and it's supporting angle irons? I'm sure there are holes in this 3/4 baked idea, but that's why I'm here!

EddyEdwards, Jul 02 2003

Have you tried these. http://www.airsled.com/prod_stand.htm
Up to 1400 lbs, but they can be custom made. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2004]

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       In the middle of all this pseudo-science you mention the key reason it wouldn't work: opposing forces. Newton's Third Law, known by anyone who was awake at GCSE or equivalent:   

       "For every force, there is an equal and opposite force". So if I hit you, you may feel a force of 80N from my fist, but I also feel a reaction force of 80N on my fist. In your idea (which, by the way, seems to be simple magnetics rather than any diamagnetic hocus pocus, and could therefore be more easily done with electromagnets) the force which is holding the safe up is the magnetic repulsion from the magnets below. The magnets below, by newton's third, must therefore be exerting a force equal and opposite upwards on the safe's magnets. And these magnets will be therefore pushed into the ground with the same force.   

       So all you've done is increase the amount of force on the floor by the weight of all the levitation gear. Bone.
imagin8or, Jul 02 2003
  

       But then if you evacuated all the air from the safe, and it was really big...
FarmerJohn, Jul 02 2003
  

       Even if your magnets were strong enough to support this you don't have any wheels with which to move the immense weight (as per [imagin8or's] anno).
Also, how do you propose to lift the 1800lb over your 4ft angle irons?. I also assume that they will not buckle under the forces trying to push the safe sideways (Any other way but down!)
gnomethang, Jul 02 2003
  

       I was just about to mention that Farmer John!
gnomethang, Jul 02 2003
  

       Why not make the safes out of styrofoam? They'd be really easy to lift, and no damage to the floors!
Cedar Park, Jul 02 2003
  

       2 fries shy- I've seen the airsled device, the problem being the sleds having to ride on a comletely smooth surface. One would have to have a couple of planks devoid of crevices and alternate them. The next problem is gong uphill. The third and final glitch is cost. Although, they have moved a 35,000 lb boiler with no strain on the floor. That's impressive.   

       There are hydraulic hand trucks, with prices ranging from $2500-$3200. Some of them will work and the cheaper one would only handle the lighter safes. You would still need 2-3 people in the move.   

       I am leaning towards using two lifting magnets that handle 1000 lbs apeice. They can be had for around $400 per. Next, build an extendable aframe on casters. The magnets hang from it's peak. Put in ratchets at the top to adjust the distance of the base of the frame and winches on each side of the aframe to adjust the length of the sides of the frame, allowing you to transfer weight to one side or the other, easing escalation. Not sure if this will work either, but I am going to try out some experiments. I would have to implement some safety features so the safe could not extend too far to one side and flop over. Ouch.
EddyEdwards, Jul 07 2003
  

       I like the last idea EE. I think I would make two 5 foot tall A frames with lockable wheels on the 2 legs of each, connected at the top by an aluminum I beam. Like a swing set. I know where you can buy surplus aluminum I beams for a couple hundred bucks. Maybe...8-10 feet long. Then use one of those industrial I beam trolley devices with a comalong attached to pick up the safe. If the ground was level you could push it easily with one hand. if it was a slight up or down angle you could attach a simple pulley and cable to a small winch and pull the trolley/safe along. I would also have pins and diagonal connectors that attached the A fram and I beam so you could always keep the A frams vertical. I would build one in a day and you'd be rolling.   

       Move it 8 feet, sit the safe down, move roll the setup 8 feet, pick up safe, move save 8 feet, sit it down and repeat. With two guys it would be rather easy.
clafever, Jan 21 2004
  

       Better yet, forget the bearing trolley and use a mag lev type of setup. You could have a V8 generator in the truck powering the track. : ) Then you could just shoot it out the back of the truck into the business :)
clafever, Jan 21 2004
  
      
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