The Levitron is an antigravity top toy set featuring a flying saucer shaped top with weighted washers, a magnetised base with adjustable levelling legs and a plastic lifter cover. According to Levitron's website, magnetism, precession rotation and weight distribution are the three main forces that keep the top floating. The orientation of the base and the weight and spin of the top are important factors in making the top levitate successfully.
The orientation of the Levitron base determines the inclination of the invisible magnetic fields produced by the magnetised base. The magnetic fields must be vertical in order for the top to levitate. You can determine which way to adjust the base to achieve vertical magnetic fields by observing which side of the play the top falls off of when the plate is lifted. Place a support wedge under the side of the base the top falls off of to align the magnetic fields.
Coloured weighted washers are used to provide stability for the Levitron top. The more weight that is added to the top, the more stability the top will have. If too much weight is added to the Levitron top it will not float. If the Levitron top jumps directly up off of the plate when the plate is lifted, add one washer at a time until you find the correct weight.
Perfecting the spin of the Levitron top is perhaps the most difficult part of making the top levitate successfully. According to the Levitron Top Instructions guide, the magnetised base will repel the top until it has reached a speed of 18 RPS (revolutions per second). Stand above the Levitron and grasp the top firmly without bending your arm. Hold the top straight above the base, push the top firmly on the lift plate and spin the top with as much speed as possible. The top may wobble briefly before becoming stable.
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