For my tech class at Bosco Tech we were assigned a product design project for the second quarter of our Junior year. We were able to group up if we wanted (I went solo) and got to design then build whatever kind of product we wanted to so long as it was approved by the instructor. At the end of the quarter we were to present the product to the rest of the class.

I had no idea what to make. My train of thought was just so messed up at this time and I don’t know why. I could’ve came up with tons of ideas if I had just thought of how I could improve existing products with new ideas (which others did) but I guess I really wanted to do something out of the ordinary so I somehow ended up looking into trains that travel via superconductivity and magnetic levitation. It was approved by the instructor and I got to work.

The final objective I made for myself was to get something to levitate across a track with the use of superconductivity. I started by looking into where to get superconductors from and it turns out they are really expensive so I ended up only able to get two small ones. I then started designing the housing for the superconductors so that they would be able to levitate across a track whilst maintaining a low liquid nitrogen cooled temperature. For some reason I was finding it quite difficult to find information about how to effectively levitate a superconductor. I did end up finding a lot more info on this but it was after the project had already been completed. I was trying to contain the liquid nitrogen supply on board instead what I should’ve been doing which was to properly insulate the superconductor so that it wouldn’t loose it’s cool. As a result my SolidWorks designs were too heavy, didn’t insulate, and overall didn’t function as intended.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that this project was a total failure but it sure was disappointing. I ended up just using a piece of styrofoam for the superconductor holder since there wasn’t enough time left to do anything else and on top of that one of the superconductors cracked and as a result only half of the craft completely levitated. If I had just known certain little things earlier on I would’ve done a lot better. Maybe I’ll revisit magnetic levitation sometime in the future. In the gallery you can view pictures of tests and the final demonstration as well as the SolidWorks CAD!

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