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Profile of seanmccarthy121
I'm looking for any books, videos, lecture notes, blueprints etc. That detail how to build electromagnets for pk effects. Specifically how to build an electromagnet into a box or table. The magnet would need to be strong enough to move small objects and I would want to be able to control it remotely.
Can anyone give me any advice or resources on where to start? The search function here hasn't been of much use unfortunately.

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New user
73 Posts

Profile of lnlver
Anverdi-museum seems to know a lot about this type of thing. I'd shoot him a PM.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22723 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
I have never seen this described in magic literature. Seek the advice of an electronics store. I have seen a setup in an illusionette, it looks simple enough.
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Regular user
Southern California
165 Posts

Profile of rhiro
This is not what you're asking for, but I would consider making a servo-controlled version of a PK rig. IIRC, the basic concept of the rig is described in the instructions that come with Patrick Snowden's P.K. Factor gimmick. (I don't have his P.K. Factor Book so I don't know if it's described in there.)

I would make the rig 2-axis so that you could achieve some of the cooler animations that are possible with a PK M*, and control this with either an R/C receiver or use a programmable micro controller. I'd counterweight the appropriate axis so to not needlessly strain the servo, so that it talks less, and also consumes less current. It's probably worth making a quick prototype first to see if you're okay with the noise and the action before committing to building something slick.
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Inner circle
Fort Worth, TX
1624 Posts

Profile of randirain
All you do is get some insulated wire and make a coil. The more you coil, the more voltage you put through the wire, the more magnetism you will get.
What you will find is, more than likely you're going to need bigger coils and bigger batteries than you will have room for. Which is why I honestly don't know of a trick that uses them.
I'm sure there is something that does, but it's not how most people imagine.
You should listen to rhino...

Peter Loughran
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Ontario, Canada
2683 Posts

Profile of Peter Loughran
There are a few builders who use electro magnet coils in effects like inside a ouija board that causes the planchette to fly off the board when the magnet is turned on, but like Randi points out, they can be big and bulky.

I build a super thin 1 inch thick PK table that can do a gazillion different effects and it is all remote controlled in real time on the fly with LIVE control or you can have it run a custom program and you can pause the programs and switch back and forth between LIVE control and a custom program at any time. You can also save your custom programs to your computer for later or for different shows, routines etc.

I also build my WitchBoard now with LIVE control that uses PK magnets on a double axis (like Rhino suggests) that will move the planchette around the board on the fly. Info and video of it in action can be found below.

I created these props on my own and they are complex and advanced builds, I’m not sure you will find a source that teaches you how to make stuff like this in detail, but a simple google search should find a source on how to make an electro magnet which is much easier to build than a moving PK magnet system, then you just install it inside your prop and add an activation on/off remote, and Bob’s your uncle.

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Inner circle
1063 Posts

Profile of Anverdi-museum
Hello, I happened to stumble upon this thread. Coils can be a bit tricky...I really have never found any of the formulas regarding the number of windings needed to accomplish what you need, it is a matter of experimentation. I guess about a year ago I built a cool close up mat or performing area with several such coils I hand wound inside to accomplish what I was looking for such as flipping a card, etc. Everything is remote operated...keep in mind room I was performing in was silent and at times you will hear the 'clicking' of the remote buttons on the video, in actual performance going from table to table it is a bit noisy. Here is the clip:

Chuck C.
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13 Posts

Profile of Albrecht
This thread is a bit old, but there is a book from David J. Gingery. Build a Universal Coil Winding Machine. There is a section in the book that has coil design facts and formulas. This book is still available through his website
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22723 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
There was an illusion marketed years ago, it used a coil to draw in a pin. This pin released a spring loaded lever to break a sheet of glass. It was for shooting through a girl illusion. No remote, but sound activated. The coil about 3 inches long, and the copper was was very thin wound around the tubing. When activated, the rod was drawn in to set off the spring loaded glass breaking bar. It only used a couple regular batteries, Alkaline batteries were not invented yet for the public.
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