Moving on from the ferrofluid tentacle, I decided to iterate on the concept of the contracting coiled fishing line. My idea was to somehow integrate a method of heating the fishing line directly into the line while still allowing the coil to contract and expand. After thinking about the problem, I thought a convenient way to achieve heating would be to coat the nylon line in a resistor. I found these videos for some inspiration:
I thought if I could get pencil graphite to adhere to the nylon line, it might conduct enough electricity to heat up the coil. I tried a couple different methods, first just rubbing the graphite on the fishing line before the coiling process. This didn’t collect enough graphite to complete a circuit. I then sanded the line before coiling in order to increase friction on the line. This weakened the line too much to successfully coil, and still did not retain enough graphite for a circuit. Finally I tried rubbing the pencil on the already coiled line. While this retained the most graphite, enough to visibly discolor the fishing line, it still did not conduct.
Once those initial ideas failed, I looked into some other possible techniques. I bought powdered graphite and tried coating the line with that, but again it did not adhere enough. I then mixed the graphite into rubber cement on the advice of classmates. I suspect the glue insulated the flecks of graphite and I could not get the solution to conduct. I also tried using the powdered magnetite I had purchased for the ferrofluid, but that is not a conductor. After failing to solve the problem of adhering enough of the graphite to the fishing line, and dealing with the difficulties of actually making the fishing line coils, I decided that I would once again move on to a new project.