This is magic, big news, both, or neither. It’s so exciting to see magnets behave in this bizarre and wonderful way that we think it’s hard to forecast where this will go. Shown above is a pair of magnets that have several modes of operation. They attract each other, but repel when less than a centimeter apart. However, give one a twist and the two will strongly attract.
The behavior is thanks to a new process of 3D printing magnets to manipulate where the fields occur. With the behavior just described, they would function well as a cabinet latch which has soft close and positive lock, all built into two magnets.
This comes from one of our favorite YouTube channels, [SmarterEveryDay], who just toured Polymagnet — a company that has figured out how to actually print magnetic fields.
So how the heck does it work? Well, your standard magnet has a north face on one side, and a south face on the other — creating a magnetic loop between the two. But what if you could put north and south on the same side of the magnet, and vary their position and size? It means you can control the magnetic field down to the magnetic pixel, or as Polymagnet calls them — a Maxel.
Here you can see some magnetic film (which reacts visually to magnetic fields) put on top of the two parts of the demo magnet. The printed design is very similar to a mechanical mechanism. We’d explain more, but [Destin] does a great job teaching about the tech in the video found below.
Is this the dawn of magnetic mechanisms? We certainly have never seen anything like it.
The applications for this technology are endless. Controllable, permanent magnetic fields of your own design? From locking magnetic latches, to shock absorbers, component coupling, positional control… this is going to be revolutionary in product design.