Bill Beaty documents his recipe for levitating neodymium magnets using two rotating coppers tubes. Note: The aptly named “Fantastically Dangerous Mechanical MagLev” could indeed seriously injure a person (you’ll notice Bill uses a clear plastic covering over the tubes to prevent the aforementioned nastiness) –
While working on science museum exhibits in 1990 I came up with the above idea: it is known that a spinning metal disk will lift and fling a strong magnet. Therefore, metal rods with opposite spin will lift a magnet but WON’T fling it sideways. It works! I used “sched-80″ heavy wall copper tubes about 1-3/8″ diameter, 12″ long, with 1/4″ wall thickness. I hammered aluminum plugs into the tubes, carved shaft-tips with a lathe, built endblocks and bearings, spun them with an AC/DC motor, and managed to levitate a stack of two 3/4″ diameter neodymium magnets. The spinning tubes must move at about 5000 RPM before the magnet starts floating.