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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Blacks vs. Wizard vs. Vortex PK Ring Strength Test (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bill Lhotta
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Greetings!

A while back I promised to post the comparison results of my findings on the strength of the Black's Magic PK Ring versus the Wizard PK Ring (New Style) versus the Vortex PK Pro Ring. I compared these three rings against my MasteRing by John Altpeter that I've owned for a number of years now. Strength wise the MasteRing is great, but wearing the signet on the wrong side always bothered me. What I wanted was something that looked like a normal wedding band which is what the three comparison rings bring to the table.

All of the models I compared were the Silver versions. There could very well be a difference in strength for some of the other models offered as some of the rings are available in Gold, Chrome, and black Onyx versions.

My benchmark for the test was to see how many clay poker chips each ring could pick up while wearing it on your finger. Each poker chips weighs 12 grams and must have some shim metal inside because they are attracted to magnets. For the test I would tape a number of the clay chips together and repeatedly increase the number of chips in the stack until the ring would no longer support the weight.

Results:

Wizard PK Ring (New Style) - 28 Poker Chips = 344 grams
Black's Magic PK Ring - 27 Poker Chips = 332 grams
MasteRing - 27 Poker Chips = 332 grams
Vortex PK Pro Ring - 9 Poker Chips = 108 grams

Read on (Strength is not the only factor):

Vortex PK Pro Ring - I obtained a Vortex ring before they actually came out. It's a long story, but it was referred to as an Omega style ring. While it looked a lot like a normal wedding band, it was very thin and very weak in strength as compared to the other rings. It was inadequate for normal chop cup kind of routines and it was very delicate (mine cracked when dropped from about 4 inches). I wouldn't recommend this ring.

Black's Magic Ring - I received this ring by accident when ordering the old style PK Wizard Ring. While the ring didn't fit and I had to send it back, I was impressed by how much it looked like a real wedding band. I was also impressed at the strength of the ring, and while it picked up slightly less weight (12 grams less) when compared with the New Style Wizard PK Ring, it is more than adequate for normal chop cup kind of routines. After further research I also found out the Black's Ring comes in half sizes which is a BIG plus if you don't fit the three basic sizes offered by the Wizard PK Ring or Vortex Ring. The only thing that turned me off about the Black's Ring is I submitted a question through their website and never received a response. I like good customer service so this didn't sit well with me.

Wizard PK Ring (New Style) - While the Wizard Pk ring (new style) picked up slightly more weight than the Black's Magic Ring it does not look as much like a normal wedding band. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look terrible and would probably go by unnoticed, but it doesn't look as good as the Black's Magic Ring. The Wizard PK Ring only comes in three sizes (US sizes 9, 11.25, and 13.25). If you're in between those sizes like I am then you are not going to be happy with the fit. The Black's Rings come in half sizes which is a big selling point for me.

MasteRing System by John Altpeter - This is a signet style ring I picked up about seven years ago. A strong magnet resides in the signet of the ring and you wear the ring "upside down" when you want to perform with it. The MasteRing's strength is comparable to the Wizard PK Ring (New Style) and the Black's Ring but it could draw the attention of your spectators when performing.

I'll add the usual disclaimers that I am not associated with any of these companies, but I did have a chance to compare each of their products on a head to head basis.

Cheers!

** Bill **
Steve V
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Dang...those rings are amazingly strong....
Steve V
AaronSmith
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Just to shed some light on the above review, The Vortex PK Pro Ring was never called the Omega Ring. A significant difference with The Vortex Ring is the process in which it's made, the materials used to make it, and of course, the instructions.

Here's some info from The Vortex instructions:
---------------------------------------------------------
Neodymium magnets, pronounced "neo-dim-eum," contain Rare Earth elements from the Periodic Table. NIBs are made from a combination of Neodymium, Iron, and Boron. The elements are milled to a powder, pressed into molds, and heated in a vacuum (Sintering). The "blanks" are magnetized by a special process of exposure.

For durability and resistance to corrosion, The Vortex finish isn't electroplated, but rather a triple coating of Nickel-Copper-Nickel. Because Ferromagnetic materials (elements attracted to magnets) block magnetic fields, The Vortex PK Pro Ring is coated prior to exposure. The finish is part of the magnet itself. Electroplated rings will chip, wear away, and lessen the magnetic power.

Graded in strength from N24 to the strongest N54, the number after the N represents the magnetic energy product in Megagauss-Oersteds. N48 has a remnant static magnetic field of 1.38 Teslas and a Magnetic Field Intensity of 13,000 Oersteds. NIBs do not require a "Storage Keeper" like Alnico magnets and only lose about 1% strength over ten years.

Some NIBs are "Magnetized Through Thickness," meaning the poles are located in the middle of the sides. Polarized on the curve, The Vortex was designed to efficiently transfer electrons, causing non magnetic items to temporarily possess magnetic properties.
---------------------------------------------------------

The Vortex derives its name from a patented Sintering process used to make the ring. A new process was created to produce a stronger type of Neodymium magnet, which is used for The Vortex II, due for later release. Made from a different set of Rare Earth elements, it is triple the gauss rating of rings currently on the market and will be used mainly for the larger PK-style effects.

I wrote a book called The PK Ring Owner's Manual, and the folks that put out Vortex contacted me to use an abridged version for their instructions. In about a month, my full book will be available and it does a cross-comparison of all the rings, including Vortex II.

- Aaron Smith
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Magiguy
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Interesting info, Aaron. I'll be in line to get your book.
Ustaad
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Bill, Excellent Review! I liked the way you went about practically judging the various rings and providing us with a side-by-side comparison. That's the way a group of similar products should be reviewed. Congratulations & well-done!

Quote:
On 2006-09-19 20:21, AaronSmith wrote:
I wrote a book called The PK Ring Owner's Manual, and the folks that put out Vortex contacted me to use an abridged version for their instructions. In about a month, my full book will be available and it does a cross-comparison of all the rings, including Vortex II.

Interesting!

Aaron, I look forward getting the book.

Best regards,

Smile
MAGIC is a SECRET, without the SECRET, there is no MAGIC.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
magicbob116
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Quote:
On 2006-09-18 21:04, jclark wrote:
Hey man, please feel free to call if you ever have questions... our servers have had so many visits that we have had to upgrade to handle the load. As a result, we have had problems getting the emails. One thing is for sure, had we found it in our in-box, we would have responded right away. Sorry for that!

James
black's magic
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I'll provide a short testimonial on this point. I saw the "try it free" offer for the Black's PK ring on another thread. I PM'd James and he got right back to me with the details. I'll be ordering mine shortly. I have long slender fingers, so the variety of ring sizes is a benefit. I've also been quite concerned about the ring looking like my "real" wedding band. I think this one will fit the bill. Looking forward to receiving it.
B. Robert Pulver

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tmoca
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I have dealt with Troy at Black's Magic shop and I got GREAT customer service! The try before you buy was great and shipping was fast.

I highly recommend Black's PK Ring. It looks great, has a more than acceptable magnetic field and the customer service is outstanding.
SlushMan
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Do most of you wear your magnet rings on the ring finger or middle finger for more coverage to hide an object?

I,m gonna order soon and can't decide which finger would be best.
Charlie Justice
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Quote:
On 2006-09-21 06:02, SlushMan wrote:
Do most of you wear your magnet rings on the ring finger or middle finger for more coverage to hide an object?

I,m gonna order soon and can't decide which finger would be best.



I'm too old to 'get away' with the stylish and in vogue look of a middle finger. I'm married so a ring finger looks perfectly naturally on me.

Black's Magic Shop rings look e-x-a-c-t-l-y like a typical wedding ring. Nice and rounded off. I happen to own all 3 colors to match my watch and clothing style that I may wear to any particular gig.

Black's has a "if it doesn't fit send it back for a size that does" policy so I can't imagine you going wrong with ordering from them.
Bill Lhotta
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One clarification on the Vortex PK Pro Ring. When I obtained the Vortex ring it still did not have a name. The "Omega style" reference I used was incorrect.

Cheers!

** Bill **
jclark
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I have heard about the "Vortex PK Ring" that Magic City is putting out. Good for them. Way to add to the mix and offer up some competition. I wish them very well indeed!

As to the reviews I have heard, they are all pretty much the same. The ring looks great but is thin, which results in a weaker attraction and depth of penetration. Do the research on all of the rings, don't just buy the hype from us, the Wizard guys, or anyone else for that matter. Be an informed consumer.

IF the ring does what you need it to do, then buy it. It is less expensive than both ours (the Black¡¦s PK Ring) and the Wizard PK ring, which will sit very nicely for those who are both financial conscious and/or light in the wallet for products of this nature.

That being said, I am anxious to see what Aaron writes in his comparison. We believe in being honest and anticipate that the book will not be entirely slanted to the Vortex, though I find it ironic that Magic City¡¦s add speaks negatively, or at the very least intimates the same, buy stating "Efficient Power without Dangerous Overkill!¨

At the end of the day, either you can do the tricks you want with it or you cannot; people vote with their pocketbook so time will tell.

Since they are making a ¡§Vortex II¡¨, which is, again, ironically supposed to be stronger (huh?), my guess is that they are fleshing out the inadequacies of the first run (which the purported 8 years of research and development must not have taken care of initially).

I say this partially tongue in cheek, but it is all in good fun! I mean why make a second ring if you are going to also claim that the first one is the magician's choice.

Either weaker is better or it is not. LOL You'll need to decide which works best for you, but seriously, I can¡¦t wait to see one. Heck, if it is a better ring then I want one for my own!!! And I give them my full support in their entrepreneurial ventures! God bless America!

But word of advice to Magic City: three sizes will not be enough. Take it from us, we've tooled up for US sizes 7 to 16 for a reason. They sell very, very well indeed. Also, let people try before the buy like us and let them trade in their rings for new sizes if their fingers grow or shrink for the life of the ring. Anything less is just cheeky.

James
Black's Magic
877-877-7878


Posted: Sep 22, 2006 1:06am
------------------------------------------------------
OMG, I just read what you posted again. LOL:

"N48 has a remnant static magnetic field of 1.38 Teslas" is a direct quote from a book. Did you reference the manual in your “Official” book? Or the website you got it from?

But more importantly, is anyone here supposed to get that? Heck, I have two masters degrees, was involve in the process of making these rings, and I barely know what they heck you said! Smile

"Ahhh, yes." One thinks to himself. "I remember now... back when I was in high school I studied 'Oersteds' and 'induced eddy currents'. More importantly, I loved reading about 'Lenz's law' with regard to non-ferrous metals and the resulting transfer of magnetic properties. But specifically with regard to this product, Sintered's process was of particular interest and delight."

Seriously Aaron, what the heck does that have to do with the bare bone facts: either it works for the performer or it doesn’t? Either they *like* the way it looks and what it does for them or they don't.

No offense intended here, but why try to confuse people with unneeded verbosity and partially plagiarized scientific facts about magnets and the process of development, which quite frankly, you only alluded to by quoting the sintering process.

Why can’t we just be straight with our clients and potential customers here? “Hey, we know there is a lot of money to be made by making PK rings, so we found a manufacturer in China and told them what we wanted. We say thousands of them pass though our hands and wanted a piece of the pie. And, well, we had a few ideas that we felt were better, so we went with it.” LOL

No BS. No trying to prove anything. Just a *** good product at a fair price that magicians can enjoy. Not one that is weaker UNLESS it serves a very specific purpose. Know what I mean? We came out with a ring that was about a third as strong as the one we manufacture; it wasn’t good enough to field, so we didn’t. The Vortex is approximately 1/3 of the strength of the Wizard and the Black’s. It sure isn’t because of having less surface area, is it?

But hey, if you are making a public claim that the Vortex is an N48 magnet... I can't wait to play with it; after all, ours is only an N40 and we had to thicken ours to keep it from breaking due to the fact that the sintering process results in inherently brittle components.

ha ha. ROFLOL

Oh, this is fun stuff. Too much.

And again, quite seriously, I love that you guys came out with a ring. Or, that is, Magic City (with you maybe?). Either way, it doesn’t matter. I think it is great! That is the way America is supposed to be.

I support you guys 100% and can’t wait to see the book—the meat of it that is. Some solid routines and uses because that is where I suck! Smile

JC


Posted: Sep 22, 2006 1:15am
------------------------------------------------------
Man, it is late and I can't spell tonight. LOL
AaronSmith
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I submitted a few designs for Vortex and let Magic City use part of my Owner's Manual as the included instructions, but it's not my product or release. If other ring manufacturers want to include my book with their instructions, all you have to do is contact me and I will be more than happy to discuss the details.

I sell all the rings mentioned in these posts and have positive experiences with each. As far as I'm concerned they're all strong enough to do the effects abridged in the Vortex instructions and provided in detail through The Owner's Manual.

The Owner's Manuals are a new series of books from The Magic Depot. This will be the first, and we're working on Owner's Manuals for other common tools of the trade. They'll be available as instant downloads and in print at your favorite dealer.

If you would like to suggest subjects for future Owner's Manuals, please contact me. I'm interested in getting as many magicians involved as possible!

Thanks guys!
- Aaron Smith
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jclark
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Sounds cool Aaron; I am looking forward to seeing your work. Have heard great things about you and your shop in Tulsa. Given that I am often there, I'll have to drop in and shake your hand. All the best, JC
AaronSmith
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Come by and shake my hand right now and I'll hand you a paintbrush!

We're remodeling the new Tulsa warehouse and adding a showroom to this location. I'm working all night tonight installing more fixtures. We should have it all up and running, the outside painted, parking area paved, and the studio built before Thanksgiving. I would love to meet you.... wait until we finish the wet bar and you'll love to meet me too! :o)

Have a great weekend!
- Aaron Smith
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chrismatt
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This thread started out as a helpful comparison between several versions of PK Rings, but soon got somewhat off track. Can we focus on the differences and similarities among the various products? I would especially like to know the various dimensions of the rings. Now, I'm not talking about the sizes (like 10.5, 11.0, 11.5, etc.), although it would be helpful to know what sizes are available for each of the various models on the market. I'm really talking about how thick the band is and how wide the band is. I happen to care more about the width than the thickness, but both dimensions are important. (Just to be sure I'm being clear here, I'm using "width" to describe the length the ring is along the finger, not how thick the band is from the underside of the ring [the part that touches the finger] to the outer aspect or surface of the band [the part that is seen].)

Most of the rings seem to be about 1/4-inch (approx. 7 mm) wide. I am looking for a ring that is no more than 3/16-inch (approx. 5 mm) wide. I would also like to know how thick the bands are. Can anyone provide this info?

As for strength of magnet, this is really driven by the type of effect you are using the ring for. For example, a Kurotsuke-type routine (in which, for example, you are trying to detect a magnetic black ball in a bag of nonmagnetic white balls) would not require much magnetic strength at all, depending on the type of black ball used. However, if you're trying to detect a PK Ring held in someone's hand with a Child's Play II watch, the strongest magnetic ring available is what you probably want. (You can also try changing the other objects you're using in the effect so that they are more or less magnetic: for example, you could use a Steel Core Half or you could use a Magnetic Half--whichever you use could allow you to use a weaker or stronger PK Ring.)

Anyway, what I'm really looking for is a wedding band style PK Ring that is durable (won't break when dropped) and has a width of no more than 3/16 of an inch along the finger. Is there such a ring available?

Secondly, I'm looking for the strongest magnetic PK Ring availble (N54?!) no matter what its dimensions.

Information concerning these two different types of PK Rings would be most appreciated by me (and perhaps by others).

Thank you,
CM
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
jclark
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What's your website CM? I don't see any links, emails, etc in your profile.

James
chrismatt
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I have no website.

CM
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
Bill Lhotta
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I have the Black's ring in a size 9.5 and here are the dimensions of the ring as requested by CM.

Width = 7.4 mm or 0.292 inches
Thickness = 2.6 mm or 0.104 inches (The band is tapered to look like a real wedding band so this is the thickness at the center which is the thickness part).

While the Black's ring is slightly wider than my regular wedding band (which is 5.8 mm wide), my regular wedding band is on the smaller side when comparing widths among normal wedding bands. I've seen plenty of wedding bands out there that are similar in width to the Black's ring. The Black's ring looks like a normal wedding band and will not raise any suspicion with the spectators.

If you decrease the width or thickness you will probably lose some of the magnetic strength of the ring.

Hope that helps!

** Bill **
jclark
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Yes, as the sizes increase, from 7 to 8, to 9 to 16, the thickness increases for stability. We did not want the rings to break easily. There is a trade off in that respect; the thinner you go, the worse it gets.
theoriginalman
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Nedd some information concerning effecs which can be performed with my PK ring. Are there and books or DVDs that can help. I'm new to Pk effects and since I've received my ring I've only performed the watch stop and coin in envelope location. I would really like to learn a few more interesting effects, any ideas?
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