Thinkgeek.com has a fun product called Smart Mass Thinking Putty. It’s really a neat toy that can teach kids a lot about magnetism. Not to mention it’s just fun to play with. Here is a series of time lapse videos using Smart Mass with some very powerful magnets.
Warning – The magnets used in these videos of very strong! They are not toys and should be handled carefully.
The 1” N50 rare earth magnet is rated at 140lbs of pull. It’s tons of fun to experiment with but a bit terrifying around electronics and metal. When it latches on to something it can be a pain to remove. In fact while shooting these videos the 1” cube traveled across my desk and smashed into the bar magnet shattering the bar. This isn’t the first thing that this magnet has shattered in my house so consider yourself warned. 🙂
If you buy Smart Mass and want to perform similar experiments I have one more tip. With high powered magnets over time the magnet will actually pull all of the iron filings out of the putty and to the surface of the magnet. Here are some steps to restore your product.
- Remove the putty from the magnet
- Knead the putty for several minutes to work the remaining fillings back into the putty
- Take the putty and press it hard onto the magnet and remove quickly to pull the filings off of your magnet
- Repeat until the iron flecks are off of the surface of your magnet