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OS:Scott F. Hall's Electrostatic Magnet Motor from Kitchen Stuff

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Screen grab from Scott Hall's YouTube video.
Screen grab from Scott Hall's YouTube video.

On July 30, 2007, Scott F. Hall posted a video at YouTube showing a continuously running gizmo composed of a conglomeration of things found in his kitchen, including a can of dog food, 4 toothpicks, refrigerator magnets, a pencil, spring clips, and a small corner cut out of a box.

"Basically, I have no idea what is going on with my dogfood can device. I was simply fooling around with some magnets and things in the kitchen and concocted it. It turned on me and kept turning!" -- Scott Hall, Aug. 8, 2007
Three toothpicks are fastened to the box corner by scotch tape, and that nominally-balanced tripod is set up-side-down on the fourth toothpick, which is held vertically by one of the clamps. Three refrigerator magnets are placed at the base of the toothpick on the three sides not occupied by the clamp. On top of the left and right arms of the clamp are placed two smaller magnets, each side. The orientation of the magnets is not mentioned. Next to that set-up is placed a can of dog food, with a pencil held in place by another clamp held in such a way that the pencil's point is suspended over the top of the inverted tripod of toothpicks.
It Spins 
The astonishing thing about this is that the tripod of toothpicks appears to spin continuously.
Replication attempts thus far have been unfruitful (as of Aug. 8, 2007, 11:20 am mountain time). (more)
Skeptics say that the toothpicks are spinning via an unseen source of blowing air, or an AA battery with black tape covering it.
The purpose of this PESWiki page is to report on this phenomenon and to encourage the open development of a clear set of instructions so that it may be replicated, documented, characterized, then implemented into a practical application. This is a publicly editable site. Feel free to participate.



Official Website

The YouTube video is the only presentation that we know of.

We offer this page as the official open source project page for this device.


  • Electro-Gravitic Perpetual Motion Machine from Kitchen Items - Title chosen by Scott F. Hall, who posted this video of his on July 31, 2007. (YouTube)

Comments by Scott Hall

"No aluminum foil--just clear plastic tape and cardboard in the pyramid. I assume the graphite is a conductor of electric current. Magnets--yes. I really don't know what's going on with this either. I just built it from a thought off the top of my head. It turned. Weird, I agree." (Aug. 9, 2007) [1]

How it Works

Parts List

As described by Scott.

  • Seven round refrigerator magnets
  • a tiny cardboard pyramid with three sides (i.e. cut off the corner of a tiny box)
  • four flat toothpicks
  • three tiny bits of scotch tape for attaching three of the toothpicks to the pyramid
  • a graphite pencil
  • two rubber insulated spring clips to be used as clamps as shown
  • an unopened can of dog food (chunky beef flavor, which may or may not matter--I have not yet repeated this experiment using a different flavor)


As described by Scott.

Assemble the items into the configuration you see here. As the final step, bring the point of the pencil very close to the top of the pyramid without actually touching it. Rotary perpetual motion commences. If it does not, then lift off the pencil, wait several more minutes, and try again.

Theoretical Postulation

As described by Scott.

I think what's happening here is an electro-gravitic effect in which the array of magnets act in conjunction with the rest of the structure to rapidly gather minute quantities of static electricity from the surrounding atmosphere. The can of dog food acts as a capacitor rapidly storing the charge. When the graphite pencil nears the pyramid, energy apparently trickles across the gap and counterclockwise rotary motion results. I wonder if the rotary motion would be clockwise instead if I built this machine in the southern hemisphere?

- - - -

On Aug. 2, 2007, Steve Sarbot <ssarbot{at}> wrote:

Very possible that Scott F. Hall motor effect is similar to homopolar motors made from simple battery with small magnets. Possible that dog food in metal can is acting as battery.


none likely


Replication attempts thus far have been unfruitful (as of Aug. 4, 2007, 8:20 am mountain time). If you have replicated this, or know of someone who has, please click on the "edit" button for this section and post that info.

post here
(Just click on the "[edit]" button to the top, right of the header for this section. You will need to log in.)

If you have a lot of information, feel free to create a separate page to set forth a description of your replication, modifications, and results.

Data Recommendations

In addition to describing the experimental set-up, such as materials composition, the data you will want to tabulate include:

  • speed of rotation
  • duration of rotation
  • direction of rotation
  • atmospheric conditions
    • humidity
    • temperature
    • hemisphere
    • altitude

Also might try using such measurement apparatus as:

  • Kirlian photography [2]
  • Magnetism visualization tools



Questions for Scott

  • Do you have any reservations about us posting this as an open source project?
  • Does the rotation begin without giving a push to the toothpick tripod?
  • In what N/S orientation are the magnets placed?
  • What are the make/model of the refrigerator magnets? dimensions?
  • Do the insulated clips have to be metallic and magnetic?
  • Are the magnets placed with all the poles facing same direction?

Variations to Try

After faithful replications have been accomplished in sufficient number, in addition to removing the different components to see whether they are crucial, the following variations might be attempted to characterize and optimize the design:

  • Toothpick
    • Different number of toothpicks in rotation apparatus
    • Variation in toothpick size and shape
    • Variation from toothpick (other material, e.g. dowel, plastic)
  • Post
    • Variation in post composition (rather than toothpick)
    • Post different from rotation apparatus material
  • Magnets
    • Different configuration of magnets
    • Different shape, strength & size of magnets
  • Pencil
    • Vary distance from top of inverted rotation apparatus
    • Various led types for pencil
    • Other than Pencil
  • Can
    • Try different sizes, compositions
    • Various distances, heights, and locations with respect to apparatus
  • Clips
    • Try different compositions, lengths, fixed material substitutes Forum

  • link to their discussion of this set-up


Inventor: Scott Franklin Hall

See: Directory:Scott F. Hall

See also

- Other Open Source Projects
- Open Source News
- PESWiki main index
- PES Network Inc.

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