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I looked at the floating bar stool videos. I am always amazed by levitations. No doubt Kerry Pollock version is outstanding. But at nearly 10k, it may be worthwhile DIY project.

Clearly, having books that explain details avoids the cost of learning lessons. But at 1000 bucks, I think you could afford some experimentation.

With that said, I have no idea how it was done in the past. I am just looking at how the effect can be done. So here is what I would consider your design decisions.

In any case, I see it as Indian Guru Levitation/broom suspension with a little electricity added to it to levitate.

1) decide where the attachment point is. I see only a few places that make logical sense. A knee or a foot attachment. With the knee attachment (edge of chair), a hidden seat can be employed. Seats can be relatively thin, even fitting under clothes. The chair can be connected to the seat near the human leg to minimize exposure. Obviously a rod is moving up and down right behind one of the legs. The actor can even slightly kick his feet. The foot attachment would require the actor to have great balance (elevator under shoe) or a ankle gimmick that locks to the chair leg. This would look better completely surrounded as their is no rod behind the leg.

2) Lift - We have a lot of mechanisms for lifts from electronic motors, hydraulic lifts, and even pneumatic. The pneumatic ones will be noisy and possibly unpredictable so I would not use those. We have TV lifts that use electronic lifts. Usually just a motor with a timing belt. Think of a threaded rod that spins. And we have electric hydraulic desks lifts. A single lift (250 lbs) will cost you around 750 bucks, but you may be able to repurpose someone's old desk.

3) Containment - Note how thick these bar stools are. The goal is to hide everything as thin as possible. But they need to hold all the electronics and batteries. For the foot attachment, the chair leg needs to be hollowed out and reinforced. You may even have the chair leg shell over the existing one. Not sure how obvious that would look. Alternatively, you can have a groove that the mechanism goes up and down on. I suspect the chair leg may compromise the effect but hopefully everyone is looking at the floating person. As with most magic, misdirection may be key.

4) weight distribution. With all the weight on one leg, the chair might tip. Just like the chair suspension, care might be needed to adjust weight distribution.

5) Under the clothes. Maybe you need things under the clothes or maybe you don't. This will depend a lot on your attachment point decision.

6) control - need to control everything to go up and down. These are widely available and can easily implement a wireless key fob to make the person go up or down.

I guess if you are trying to fool magicians having both attachments would be neat. One is hidden when other is employed. Start off with the knee attachment, kicking those feet around during the lift. Then switch to the ankle attachment and have someone put mirrors behind you
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Profile of TomB
I was reading the manuals for the lifts, and if the lift is rated 250 pounds, and you only are using one cylinder, the max weight on that one cylinder is 166 pounds.

I think an electro magnet would be nice for the attachment point. Just need to use a lift that is not interfered with the magnet

Here are some COTS items that might do the job.
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