# Thread: Help improve this perpetual motion machine!

1. ## Help improve this perpetual motion machine!

Here is an opportunity for experienced engineers to put their technical expertise on display...

Thanks to physicists, metaphysicists, metaphysicians and other people without the relevant expertise to abstain from posting, although you're welcome to look and take notes. It's never too late to learn from those who know these things.

The rough sketch below explains a possible principle for a perpetual motion machine...

Perpetual motion machine

The magnet at the top pulls the metal ball up the ramp. When the ball gets at
the top of the ramp, it drops through to the hole and returns by the curved slope
to the bottom of the ramp, where it is again attracted up the ramp by the magnet.

So, what improvements do you think would have to be made to improve the contraption to the extent that the ball would do at least a few cycles?

Please note that the general principle should not be affected by your improvements.

Thank you to limit yourself to three or four modifications at most.

Thank you also to explain the modifications you propose.
EB

2. Is this a joke or are you serious?

3. Originally Posted by steve_bank
Is this a joke or are you serious?
???

Sorry, I'm not sure where could be the problem...

This is a straightforward technical question. I've given a realistic representation of the contraption. The design is a very simple. I think it wouldn't work as pictured but perhaps a small number of minor improvements would make it work, meaning for example at least ten of the expected cycles of the ball inside the contraption. I would assume that the MIT or NASA could make it go on for 10,000 cycles or more but I'm not asking for the Moon. You can use the material you want, make the contraption bigger or smaller, within reason, use a large magnet or a small one, adjust its position, modify the curve of the downward slope and generally add whatever you think is absolutely necessary to make it work as long as you can explain why it is necessary.

I'm not sure why I need to explain all that. It seems to go without saying. I thought engineers where practical people.

Still, I'm not asking you personally. I'm sure there is a large number of people here who are or were engineers by profession. You can wait and see if they propose something. Maybe none of you have any idea how to make it work...

Still, I see that it's not just metaphysics that will nonplus you. A simple contraption to be made to work is already too much.
EB

4. Seems to me, in my admittedly simplistic understanding of physics:

In order for the gizmo to work, the magnetic attraction of the magnet on the ball would have to be stronger than gravity on the upper (straight) strip, while being weaker than gravity on the lower (curved) strip.

If the magnet is strong enough to pull the ball up the top strip, I don't see how the magnet would "let go" of the ball to let it fall through the hole & roll back to the starting position.

In other words, it couldn't work without some sort of outside influence, which, of course, means it doesn't qualify as a "Perpetual Motion Gizmo"

-----------------------------
I've never studied anything remotely related to physics or math beyond "College Algebra" some 40 years ago, so will not be the slightest bit offended if anyone cares to tell me how off-base I am.

5. Originally Posted by Speakpigeon
Originally Posted by steve_bank
Is this a joke or are you serious?
???

Sorry, I'm not sure where could be the problem...

This is a straightforward technical question. I've given a realistic representation of the contraption. The design is a very simple. I think it wouldn't work as pictured but perhaps a small number of minor improvements would make it work, meaning for example at least ten of the expected cycles of the ball inside the contraption. I would assume that the MIT or NASA could make it go on for 10,000 cycles or more but I'm not asking for the Moon. You can use the material you want, make the contraption bigger or smaller, within reason, use a large magnet or a small one, adjust its position, modify the curve of the downward slope and generally add whatever you think is absolutely necessary to make it work as long as you can explain why it is necessary.

I'm not sure why I need to explain all that. It seems to go without saying. I thought engineers where practical people.

Still, I'm not asking you personally. I'm sure there is a large number of people here who are or were engineers by profession. You can wait and see if they propose something. Maybe none of you have any idea how to make it work...

Still, I see that it's not just metaphysics that will nonplus you. A simple contraption to be made to work is already too much.
EB
Provide a demonstration or equations. What is the magnetic filed strength, the material of the ball, size of the ball, height...?

The ball will not roll up, it will be dragged. If the field strength is high enough to overcome gravity will the ball fall through the hole instead of sticking to the magnet at the top?

If the ball falls through the hole the field is acting on the ball along with gravity. As the ball rolls to the bottom what are the forces that will make it make the turn up the ramp and not get stuck on the bottom? Not enough information. What you describe could be described loosely as a form of a motor not perpetual motion.

6. Just put a microswitch or other sensor top and bottom, such that the passing of the ball over the hole switches off the electromagnet, and its arrival at the bottom switches it back on.

The electromagnet can be powered by a battery concealed in the plinth. With a suitable choice of materials to keep friction to a minimum, there's no reason why you can't get hundreds of cycles out if it.

Certainly enough to impress your investors and get hold of their cash before the battery goes flat.

"Anything sufficiently weird must be fishy." - Liu Cixin, Three Body, translated from Chinese by Ken Liu.

If something is inexplicable, you are probably being scammed.

7. For a device to be labeled perpetual motion implies an efficiency of 100%.

8. Originally Posted by Old Woman in Purple
Seems to me, in my admittedly simplistic understanding of physics: In order for the gizmo to work, the magnetic attraction of the magnet on the ball would have to be stronger than gravity on the upper (straight) strip, while being weaker than gravity on the lower (curved) strip. If the magnet is strong enough to pull the ball up the top strip, I don't see how the magnet would "let go" of the ball to let it fall through the hole & roll back to the starting position.
OK, you don't see.

Originally Posted by Old Woman in Purple
In other words, it couldn't work without some sort of outside influence, which, of course, means it doesn't qualify as a "Perpetual Motion Gizmo"
I obviously don't believe it could work as a perpetual motion machine.

This is why I asked what improvements do you think would have to be made to improve the contraption to the extent that the ball would do at least a few cycles.

As I explained to Steve, I think it wouldn't work as pictured but perhaps a small number of minor improvements would make it work, meaning for example at least ten of the expected cycles of the ball inside the contraption. I would assume that the MIT or NASA could make it go on for 10,000 cycles or more but I'm not asking for the Moon.

You can use the material you want, make the contraption bigger or smaller, within reason, use a large magnet or a small one, adjust its position, modify the curve of the downward slope and generally add whatever you think is absolutely necessary to make it work as long as you can explain why it is necessary.

Originally Posted by Old Woman in Purple
I've never studied anything remotely related to physics or math beyond "College Algebra" some 40 years ago, so will not be the slightest bit offended if anyone cares to tell me how off-base I am.
You're doing good as to physics, but not so good at reading the OP. But maybe still better than others...

Please refer to the Hobbies & Craft forum. Maybe I can get people with a more hands-on attitude interested!
EB

9. Originally Posted by bilby
Just put a microswitch or other sensor top and bottom, such that the passing of the ball over the hole switches off the electromagnet, and its arrival at the bottom switches it back on.

The electromagnet can be powered by a battery concealed in the plinth. With a suitable choice of materials to keep friction to a minimum, there's no reason why you can't get hundreds of cycles out if it.

Certainly enough to impress your investors and get hold of their cash before the battery goes flat.

You can do the same easier still, for less money and less complicated. Just pick up the ball with your bare hand and push it through the hole at the top of the ramp and then pick it up again at the bottom of the ramp. Thus you can adjust exactly how many times the ball does the trip.

Originally Posted by bilby
"Anything sufficiently weird must be fishy." - Liu Cixin, Three Body, translated from Chinese by Ken Liu.
What's even weird about being like a fish?

Originally Posted by bilby
If something is inexplicable, you are probably being scammed.
What's even inexplicable in the OP?

I suppose I could explain it if I knew what.
EB

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