These vertical standing coin diamonds of real UK coins (1p and 2p dated 1992-2010, and 5p and 10 p coins dated 2011 or 2012), balanced on a matchhead, were constructed by Robin Linhope Willson, formerly Professor of Biochemistry, Brunel University, UK. The standing coin diamonds are part of the "Balancing the Forces of Nature" project of Ciencias y Artes Patagonia (www.capat.org) a voluntary organization supported by the Magic Penny Trust (www.magicpenny.org).
No glues are used. The only magnet present is the black ceramic block magnet situated on a green plastic ruler, above each of the coin diamonds.
For demonstration purposes, the magnet shown is "as purchased". Ceramic block magnets similar to that shown, (47x22x10mm) (1-7/8x7/8x3/8 inches), magnetized so that the largest faces are N and S poles, can be readily obtained on the internet, for as little as 42 US cents.
Ceramic magnets are brittle and can easily be chipped. It is therefore strongly advised that in schools or homes, the magnets are wrapped in tape before unsupervised use.
Alternatively, ceramic block magnets already covered in plastic, or other non-magnetic material, such as the non-magnetic stainless-steel-covered Magic Penny magnet, might be purchased.
The ruler is supported by empty drink cans at each end (or similar: here they are out of sight). The height of the ruler is adjusted by placing drinks mats, or similar, beneath the cans.
Finer adjustment of the distance between the top of the matchhead (the fulcrum) and the base of the magnet can be done in 3 ways.
Initially, patience is required. The necessary adjustments can be less than1mm! It is probably best to start by hanging the coins from beneath the magnet and then easing them down.
- by placing paper or thin card (eg playing cards) under the supporting towers
- by placing similar under the matchbox
- by varying the length of matchstick protruding from the matchbox, as done here
The coins are held together so strongly that if the diamonds are balanced on a flat surface, they can be rapidly spun by blowing. Too much spin and the system "explodes". (see video)
Videos of the Blow Spinning Towers of Patagonia with magnetic coins of Argentina, Euro and US as well as UK,
and of the Spinning Wolfendale Jubilee Diamond of 9 UK 5p coins in windy Patagonia, are also available.
A large number of related photographs by Robin Linhope Willson were displayed at an exhibition held in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, Argentina, in January 2013.
©Ciencias y Artes Patagonia - Magic Penny Trust, 2013