I want to make simplistic models of atomic structures using spheres (overview). Each model consists of maximum 10 spheres that have the same diameter. Normally I use ping pong balls or balls made from styrofoam as they are easily available and have almost no weight. Here is a rendered sphere arrangement as an example:
I want to create sphere structures that can easily be constructed and modified. After construction the spheres should stay in their positions but it should also be possible to easily change the sphere positions. It should be possible to attach spheres in any orientation and not only at predefined positions. As spheres should allow easy handling with your hands and be visible for demonstration their optimal diameter is in the range of 3 to 6cm. The shape shall be spheres, no deformed or bevelled variants. Spheres must be touching, therefore I cannot use spoke models that are sold as molecule construction kits, e.g.:
How can I easily attach and detach the spheres? Are magnetic balls suitable for my purpose?
keeping together with your own hands:
This is the easiest way but your hands cannot hold not more than 5 spheres in defined positions. Permanent fixation is not possible.
This process is not reversible and it takes long time until the glue hardens.
spheres fully consisting of magnetic material:
I have not tested them. Will they work? They attract each other and might allow only limited configurations. For demonstration spheres with at least 3cm diameter are needed. Sphere arrangements might be not stable under their own weight. They are costly and before I buy them I would know if the spheres arrest in any position.
partially magnetic spheres:
They are sold under the brand Snatoms. They can easily and reversibly be connected. However, they are not suitable as they are bevelled and allow connection only at defined positions.
I am also interested in digital models and looking for a program that allows easy creation of touching spheres. See this post.