Quarter Shrinker

The Quarter Shrinker was constructed by Rob Flickenger at Hackerbot Labs.

Quarter Shrinking has three steps.
1. make a coil of wire,
2. stick quarter inside it,
3. discharge an enormous amount of electric current through the coil.

But what does that actually do, other than making a big boom? … (click for more)

Passing current through a coil of wire produces a magnetic field. In this case, with so much current, the magnetic field produced is gigantic: the coil becomes a magnificently powerful electromagnet.

The creation of a magnetic field in the coil-now-magnet induces a circling current to flow around the coin sitting inside the coil. This current in the coin also produces a magnetic field (i.e., the coin becomes another electromagnet). The kicker is that the coin’s magnetic field and the coil’s magnetic field point in opposite directions, so the coin and the coil repel each other furiously.

This repulsion creates forces which overcome the strength of the metal; the coil is expanded out and explodes, and the coin is pushed in and shrunk.

Before and after

Before and after.

The quarter shrinker itself and the trigger setup. The yellow box around the coil through which the voltage is discharged protects bystanders from the shrapnel produced.

The quarter shrinker itself and the trigger setup. The yellow box sits around the coil through which the voltage is discharged to protect bystanders from shrapnel.

The entire installation.

The entire installation.



Theory of Operation of the Quarter Shrinker– http://capturedlightning.com/frames/shrinker.html

More information on the physics which make the coin deform– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinch_(plasma_physics)

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  1. Dan
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    @Ivan Smith
    So what are you using to treat your Asperger’s Syndrome?

  2. kevin d
    Posted June 27, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    The coin retains its density,the diameter of the coin is reduced while at the same time its thickness increased.

  3. kevin d
    Posted June 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    This ABUSE of coinage will NOT be TOLERATED!

  4. kevin d
    Posted June 27, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    @Ivan Smith
    LOL!The mass of the coin stays the same!the diameter is reduced while the thickness increased.

  5. Aaron
    Posted June 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Presumably, the mass isn’t changing. So, is the quarter becoming thicker, or is it more dense? It would be interesting to see a side-by-side picture of the quarters’ edge.

  6. Posted July 4, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    i understand that there is a lot of electromagnetic engineering involved with this quarter shrinking device. what i don’t get is what the point of all this is?

    do these guys really go around town talking incessantly and endlessly about how they use batteries and magnets to blow up a quarter?

    they’re spending money on destroying money, so in that sense IT IS AWESOME! but so pointless.

  7. Ryan C
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    A similar device was built in the electrical and computer systems engineering department’s Plasma Dynamic Lab at RPI some years ago. It was primarily used for turning aluminum cans into smoldering balls. For added amusement, the device could be loaded with something like a banana wrapped in aluminum foil.


  8. Edith Wiethorn
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I hope that soon everyone associated with Intellectual Ventures Lab, from Nathan Myhrvold to friends such as Hackerbot, will have read Dr. Robert O. Becker’s book The Body Electric.

    Here is a cautionary tip-of-the-iceberg glimpse from a review on Amazon, I don’t have time now to find a review that is worthy of the book > but what is significant about Becker’s work is not the special effects but what he discovered about basic life science by literally taking life in his hands.

    “By Faith Dyson (Oklahoma) – See all my reviews
    This review is from: The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life (Paperback)
    Let’s keep this simple. Robert O. Becker discovered that Metabolism, our “Biological Clock AND Compass”, is disoriented by the plethora of electromagnetic pollution spewed out by our government and corporate facilities, ( ie: everything from Radar Beams, Microwaves, radio waves and Cell Phone frequencies ), which discovery smacked Western Civilization/Technology, ( not just that of the U.S., but of other countries as well ), in the face.

    What does this metabolic “Disorientation” cause, or rather, prevent? It inhibits our perfect DNA replication/mitosis. This means that the multiplication and division of the information necessary to create correct cell replication is prohibited in the Global Population subjected to such abnormal, multi-level electromagnetic frequencies… and the very entities making money off of our denied replication, ( read that as Health! ), are making money “hand over fist” from the misery they are causing in us.

    Whether he realized it or not, Becker gives us “THE” cure for all genetic/cellular/chemical, ( ie: Endoderm, Mesoderm, Ectoderm/Neurological, Endocrinological, Immunological, Genetic, and Atomic ), dysfunction on page 249 of his book. It is our return to normal bio-rhythm/metabolism within the “infinitesimal field ( 0.025 volts per centimeter ) pulsing at 10 hertz”, which also just so happens to be the Earth’s natural frequency – and the tempo of Mozart’s music. ( See also “The Mozart Effect” by Don Campbell. ) “

  9. Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Would you be interested in making antimatter?

    contact me!

    Three + Spot AT aol u know the rest.

  10. Jonathan M
    Posted August 14, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    There is something interesting I think is occurring during the quarter shrinking phenomenon that is not specified in the explanation above. Namely, the chronology of the event. Once the quarter inside the coil becomes an electro magnet itself and they begin to repel one another vigorously, the weakest link in the relevant system of forces attempting to stabilize one another is the quarter’s intramolecular structure, producing the shrinking. This is what I’m saying: after this occurs to a certain degree (i.e. the quarter shrinks down to the size we ultimately see after the event) the force required to continue to shrink it into a smaller size is greater than the force it would take to just blow the whole thing sky high (expand the coil).

    This is an interesting phenomenon for many reasons and some of them may have some very powerful practical use. Scientifically, I’m curious to know what would happen if the coil structure was made of a stronger material – would it demand that the quarter shrink further down before the coil itself is overcome? Can the coil be made so that it does not fail? And if so, what happens then? Does the quarter shrink down into the the shape filling in the space in the center of the magnetic fields surrounding it, the points of where there is the least magnetic force? There are many questions.

    In the practical sense, this technology can develop into a way we craft a magnetically influenced prone object. With advanced knowledge and tools, we could deduce a method by which to manufacture an item by enveloping it in a magnetic field – shaping it into the form we wish it to be.

    We gotta start somewhere joe m.

  11. Posted September 15, 2009 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Сдесь комменты можно почитать и в цирк не ходить!! бред какойто.

  12. Posted October 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Shrinking a Quarter?

    I think about all the worlds future energy issues and if any one of those “Brains” put some real effort into solving problems instead of playing “Honey I shrunk the Quarter!” They might try looking for a better way to turn those High Voltage Capacitors into better batteries! A new “Capacitor/Battery system” that would charge instantly but drain slowly over time instead of this huge burst of violent energy trying to shrink quarters! Grow up gentlemen, there are bigger issues you need to be focusing on other then wasting huge amounts of energy playing with small change! In “my view” this is a total waste of time, money and brain power!

    • Jfranches
      Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      its tests and demonstrations like these that lead to bigger ideas though. Ben franklin flew a kite in the middle of a storm to demonstrate electricity. And flying a kite seems way more of a waste of time, not to mention his life, than shrinking a quarter.

  13. j pots
    Posted March 15, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Think this might show how these people can make better quality metal? At least thats my hunch cause its smaller but stronger by what i get from this story. Im def not a scientist heck i didnt visit any universaty at all (might show in spelling) but if someone can tell me if im in the right direction that would be nice cause after all its just a hunch. Anyway i had a good laugh and wish you all the best with upcoming ventures. greetz


  14. j pots
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Got me thinking; if you can reduce the size of a metal by half you should be able to reduce the size of a tool or machinery by half as well (in some cases) so you save half the storage space on those, smaller transport and such so there’s lower costs. Maybe you have some sort of equipment which is really narrow in use but needs to be big for its structual integrety; make it smaller makes it easier in use? Hope someone gives me the answer? Tanx & cheerio’s

  15. Timothy Lee
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Wonder what would happen to the iron in ones blood if they were standing in a larger version if this ? :)

    • Posted January 16, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Tim Lee, I think the current and heat would kill you well before you would have any real concern about the tiny amounts of iron in your blood. Your blood would be cooked into blood pudding at best.

  16. gam
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I believe I saw an identical device operated in downtown seattle in the late eighties by Dale Travous—-is that the one? If so, it’d be nice to know where he’s been, and what he’s cooking up next—shrinking coins is not as pointless as war—sincerely—gam seattle

  17. Lester
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    @Timothy Lee
    Fancy version of electrocution by explosion of all soft tissue!
    To make body-parts collection practical, please conduct experiment in a large plastic bag.

  18. unknownsoundman
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    —>If the coil was non-failing…& could be operated continuously , it could extrude wire with some unique properties.
    —> Maybe not superconducting, as I think the structure would be wrong, but perhaps a great heat sink, or slow release capacitor leads, or more efficient motor windings.
    —>Perhaps just nano thin wire, for higher frequency & more efficient antennas, circuits, and other sensors.
    —>Could this be used with this material…ie: The Quarter…
    NOTE: (?-exactly what is this quarter made of?)
    (Silver, Cooper/Nickle Plated, or a newer mix?)
    Sorry, I was too excited about shrinking it, to notice the date…Replay!
    Err…Could it be used with other materials, and Especially NANO Materials…
    —>to Create/Print, not only just in 2 dimensions, but also make 3 dimension structures, perhaps that can’t be made currently.
    —>Would the wire have unique magnetic characteristics, making continuously extruded wire that could be magnetically Steered or Woven into desired shape, with only a nano wire access needed…as in surgery. Building a sensor array, with its own transmitting antenna inside a structure…like the heart…or brain…or maybe any other organ…& we have Human Diagnostics…”Now let us just tune into you, and we’ll see what’s wrong with you quick”
    So where do I send a couple of rolls of quarters, in order to get a couple samples,
    to check out the cross-section…of course w/a Post Paid Return envelope…I address it to…? NEAT!!! PLEASE keep us informed on the progress with this, and ALL the other great things you folks are working on…FASCINATING
    You have the ability to make dreams into REALITY!!!
    …and perhaps to SAVE THE PLANET in the process!!!
    Thank You unknownsoundman

  19. unknownsoundman
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    ps: Could NANO Wire collect Photonic, eletrostatic, or other energies from the atmosphere, or in space?

    or does it have uses in testing some of Teslas theories?

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