Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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3d Magnetic Pen

Pen uses magnetizable ink to produce persistent 3d drawings (aka objects) suspended in a superconducting magnetic field.
  [vote for,

Superconducting magnets are able to "pin" a magnet in place. The 3D magnetic pen takes advantage of this pinning effect to let you draw wireframes in 3D. The resulting wireframe drawings harden into wireframe objects.

The user draws directly in mid-air above a strong superconducting magnet.

The ink is a slurry of iron shavings suspended in glue. This is fed through the tip of the pen. A button lets the user turn on/off the flow of ink.

An electromagnet around the tip of the pen magnetizes the iron shavings as they leave the tip. This pins them in the superconducting magnet's field, suspending the iron shavings in midair. The tension of the liquid glue pulls the ink out of the pen as the user writes out a line.

As the glue hardens, it forms a stiff composite with the iron shavings. The result is a wireframe object, which can maintain its shape after the superconducting magnetic field is turned off (i.e. when the superconducting magnet is allowed to warm/quench).

IJK, Mar 22 2007

Meissner Effect http://www.lbl.gov/...Meissner_effect.jpg
Picture of a permanent magnet floating above a superconductor. [Jinbish, Mar 22 2007]

Intro to superconductors and levitation (video) http://www.youtube....watch?v=Z4XEQVnIFmQ
It gets less cheesy after the intro. [jutta, Mar 22 2007]

floatfoam floatfoam
[xaviergisz, Jun 08 2007]


       There's a croissant in this for you, if you can convince me it's not total bollocks. Can you cite something to support the statement that //Superconducting magnets are able to "pin" a magnet in place.// and that they can do this for multiple objects at multiple points simultaneously?   

       My money is on the bollocks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007

       I think, [IJK], you are actually talking about superconductors as a material, rather than a 'superconducting magnet'? The Meissner effect is the phenomona whereby magnetic fields do not pass through superconductors, causing a magnet to be repelled by them.   

       So your idea makes more sense to me as a magnetised ink escaping from a pen, above a SC. But that doesn't involve pinning... Have I got this wrong?
Jinbish, Mar 22 2007

       I wonder if a metal planetoid out in the orbit of Pluto would be cold enough to superconduct? If so one could use this method to build on its surface.
bungston, Mar 23 2007

       what [MB] said.   

       I think this idea is more suitable in the virtual world using a robotic 'haptic' arm.
xaviergisz, Mar 23 2007

       [MaxwellBuchannan] It's always safe to stay with the bollocks.   

       There seems to be a wave of magnetic levitation ideas recently
punk_punker, Jun 08 2007


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