Let's Make Robots!

Steampunk Ferrofluid stand

When I first came across some videos on YouTube for Ferrofluid I was amazed of its properties and wanted to build something micro controlled with electro magnets. For those of you that (like me) are unfamiliar with ferrofluid you can read more about this amazing liquid here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrofluid

So I bought a small bottle of eBay and the plan was to just have it in some water and have some electromagnets coming in from the side. So I got this chamber made from vinyl and cut out some Plexiglas front and back pieces. There is a groove in the vinyl to hold an o-ring to seal the water inside.

The first time I filled the chamber up with water and added the Ferrofluid. Total disaster. The ferrofluid stained the Plexiglas so it was just a mess. The ferrofluid stains about anything it touches so I had a hard time cleaning the chamber afterwards.
Now what?
I have seen it done on YouTube so there must be some sort of secret mixture in the solution they are using. So I humbly asked Nicky Nada over at Concept Zero
http://shop.czferro.com/ for help, and amazingly he took the time to help me and reveled some of the secrets in the world of ferrofluid. But a lass, my magnets where not strong enough to pull the ferrofluid in my first chamber so I had to rethink this.

Then it struck me that I could just order a perfect bottle from Nicky and build my stand around it. And armed with my 3D printer I could build everything I needed. As you can see did I go for a Steampunk them and I think it came out rater good.

Usually I start out testing parts of my project and breadboard everything before I start building. On this project I started in the other end and built the box and all the Steampunk fixtures first, then got down to the electronics and wiring. On this project that turned out pretty well, as there is a small issue of the strength of my home made magnets and if this had been apparent to me earlier on, I might not have finished this project.

 Again, a special thanks to Nicky Nada for all his help and encouragement on this project. Without his help this project would have been ditched a long time ago. So please have a look around at his site http://shop.czferro.com/

 Some more images of the stand

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Can you post a couple of details on your power supply and electromagnet? How much current are you using per magnet?
forevergeek's picture

Dear Mr. Anderson, 

I stumbled across you're facinating project in the course of my research and I was wondering if you might allow me to pick your brain for some of the same information you gathered from the wonderful Nicky Nada. 

I am an art student studying at Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri. For my final project in my interactive electronic sculpture class, I decided to take an approach very similar to yours in attempting to suspend ferrofluid in a solution of sorts to trigger reed switches implanted in my structure... but my budget is very low and I can't afford to waste any of this stuff experimenting. I would love to talk to you further about you're process and results, please dont hesitate to contact me at rosie.ruzicka@gmail.com or respond here! 

Thank you in advance! 

Geir Andersen's picture

I sent you an email, -did you get it?


ChuckCrunch's picture

im leaning towards tesla punk meh ........ cool as Geir

lumi's picture

DS9 Constable Odo...that's what I got in mind by reading ferrofluid ;-)

Interesting project (interesting == awesome) and good to try different ways to interact with the ferrofluid. Maybe when it's conductive you even get a feedback signal...but that is brainstorming....


OddBot's picture

That is very cool Geir!

Looks like you caught an alien lifeform an are now performing evil experiments in preperation for taking over the world!


Dan M's picture

That definitely produces cool-looking effects. I like it.

Korel's picture

Awsome project Mr Geir,good looking and original piece of art. Thanks for sharing and congrat :)

This looks totally awesome!

As was said, most steampunk looks just... modern made old.
This looks as if it comes from a different dimension or something... high tech in an old school jacket.

My girlfriend even liked it (especially the ferrofluid itself) and she usually just goes 'meh' when I show her any tech stuff :) 

I just realized what this object is.........this is how people in the steam punk universe would display data from analogue computers. Just think about it..... No need for digital or even advanced electronics. Display waveforms with with magnets and fero fluid, using a cunning arrangement of resistors magnets and inductors. Or.....did you really make this, maybe it fell through a transdimensional rift. Either way..cool.