For the railing system, I utilized a V-Slot Gantry System from Open Builds Part Store.

The rails are made of aluminum, the X-axis is 40 inches long and the Y-axis is 20 inches.



Here is the material breakdown for one of the rails (Y-axis 20 inches):

Qty. Description
4 Low Profile Screws – 25mm
2 Double Tee Nuts
2 Aluminum Spacer – 6mm
4 Low Profile Screws – 8mm
1 GT2 (2mm) Aluminum Timing Pulley – 30 Tooth
2 Eccentric Spacers
4 Delrin Solid V Wheel Kit
1 Smooth Idler Pulley Kit
1 Idler Pulley Plate
1 Motor Mount Plate for Nema 17 Stepper Motor
4 Cable Ties – 4″ (4 Single Cable Ties)
1 Aluminum Spacer – 3mm
1 V-Slot Gantry Plate (20mm)
4 M3 Socket Head Screws (4 Singles)
1 GT2 Timing Belt
1 V-Slot 20mm x 40mm Length 500mm
1 Nema 17 Stepper Motor


Step-by-step Build of the First Rail




Once I finished assembling one of the railing system, I started planning on how to put together the other railing. So one assembled railing (Y-axis) will sit on top of the other railing system (X-axis). This way, the gantry plate carrying the magnets can move in all directions (left, right, up, down, diagonal). I 3D modeled a bracket that would join and hold the rails together. And then using Tee Nuts and screws, I fastened the rails.

The Final Build of Rails


I then decided to build an enclosure for the railing system, the goal is to cover the gantry so that it gives it a magic essence when interacting with the ferrofluid. I used 4’x8′ Birch Plywood from Home Depot and secured all the sides using an electric staple gun. For the top frame, my advisor suggested to create a lip where we can slide in the tank and it will sit in smoothly. I used a CNC machine to create the lip.

Rail Enclosure





For the glass tank, I used Lexan MR5, a polycarbonate sheet. The measurement of the tank is 30″x15″x4″. One of the challenges for this tank was to make it water-tight. At first, I tried using Acrylics adhesive, a clear  water-thin solvent cement to glue the sides together, but it did not stick. Then I got some epoxy glue, and using a syringe applied it to all the sides and left it for a couple of hours to dry. Came back to check on it and it was holding together. To seal it, I used clear silicone caulk on all the sides and left it for over 24 hours to dry. The next day, I filled the tank full of water and left it for a few hours to check if it would leak. It was all good. I got my water-tight tank.

Glass Tank





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