All physicsfun toys

Buda Ball

Only made by the Flyte team:

From Art of Play: Buda Ball

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Buda Ball: my favorite powered levitation device- and the only system I know of that will suspend in a horizontal direction as seen in this video. A spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors (I assume) which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! 

Jack in the Box Puzzle

Order this amazing puzzle here:

From Craighill & Art of Play: Order Now: Jack in the Box

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Jack in the Box Puzzle: eight solid aluminum pieces form a textured cube when carefully stacked- yet the same eight pieces can also be packed around a six pronged “jack” to form a second smooth silver cube that is barely larger that the first. Similar to the 2D Matsuyama’s paradox puzzle, a small square is centered on each face of the cube in the second solution. Some stages of assembly shown here under rotation to emphasize the beautiful symmetries in the design and avoid spoilers to the challenge. Created by Rod Bogart and engineered into existence by the talented folks at @craighillcompany, and I send a hearty thank you to my friends at @artofplay for sending me this unique and special puzzle. 

The Magic Octagon Coin

Get this new amazing coin here:

From Shire Post Mint: BUY NOW: Magic Octagon Coin

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“Magic Octagon” Challenge: introducing a beautiful copper coin version of this puzzle of successive rotations. Which way will the light arrow point after left and right rotations of the dark arrow? No trickery here- just the math of geometry, symmetry, rotations, and reflections and how our intuitions often fail us upon first attempts. Swipe twice for second challenge. In collaboration with my friends at @shirepostmint 

 


Doubly Impossible Bottle

Each constructed by hand, each a work of art-  get a personalized bottle here:

From The Bottleologist website: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottle with Frame

From his Etsy store: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottles

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Doubly Impossible Bottle: the newest seemingly impossible object in my collection from craftsman/artist Grant Wicks @thebottleologist. An “impossible nail” object was somehow assembled within a Fannys Bay Whisky bottle- and personalized with my logo too! The puzzle aspect is to consider how the bottle was produced (I personally have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). I can tell you with high certainty that the bottle was never cut or altered in anyway, and it was not somehow formed around the objects inside. 

Square Dissection Puzzles

Get these and other well made disection puzzles here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Square Dissection Puzzles

These puzzles are expertly laser cut and sold by GamesEfce. I spray-painted the pieces of mine to better show the shapes and relationships for the video. 

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Square Dissection Puzzles: a square can be cut (dissected) into polygons and then reassembled into other regular polygons. Shown here: an equilateral triangle, a pentagon, and a hexagon. These are the record holders for smallest number of pieces needed: triangle (4 pieces by Henry Dudeney 1902), hexagon (5 pieces Paul Busschop 1870s) and pentagon (6 pieces Robert Brodie 1891). Fun fact- It is not known if any of these records are the smallest possible, no mathematical proofs yet exist on this question.

Tesla's Egg of Columbus Replica

Get an amazing reproduction here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Tesla's Egg of Columbus

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Get an aluminum phiTOP "egg" here: BUY NOW phiTOP 

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus Replica: an egg of brass mysteriously spins and stands upright in this museum quality replica of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. The base has no moving parts- instead special copper windings (very similar to Tesla’s original design) form four electromagnet coils on a circular steel core, and a special circuit supplies each with AC currents in such a way that a rotating magnetic field is created. This rotating magnetic field from the coils under the concave glass induces electric eddy currents to flow in the metallic brass egg. These currents within the conducting metal of the egg then create their own magnetic field, which by Lenz’s law oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the egg to spin. Finally, the oblong egg stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. Flipping the switch reverses the rotation direction induced by the coils.


Liquid Xenon Ampule

Available here:

From Luciteria Science: BUY NOW: Liquid Xenon Ampule (make sure to select "Supercrtical" type)

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Liquid Xenon Rapid Phase Change: this small sealed vial contains pure xenon gas at very high pressure- 65 atmospheres! When cooled to 16C (61F) the xenon gas undergoes a rapid phase change to liquid as seen here when the ampule is put in contact with the tip of an icicle. The video is shown in real time and the liquid xenon returns to gas within a few seconds and the process can be repeated indefinitely. The vial is made of fused quartz and kept small (3cm long) to be able to contain the high pressure environment which allows for such a high condensation temp (usually much colder at -108C).

 

Sucrose Crystals

Edible and pretty sugar crystal clusters available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sucrose Crystal Clusters on a Stick

and here is a fun page describing how to grow large clear sugar crystals at home.

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Sucrose Crystals: so I recently found, in the back corner of my kitchen panty, this bottle of fancy maple syrup I bought a long time ago. Apparently the conditions in my pantry were just right to allow the sugar to form these large prismatic clear crystals. Sucrose is a complex molecule (C12H22O11) but forms crystals of elongated polyhedra often with irregular hexagonal forms as seen here. I soaked the label off this bottle to better view the crystals- and I put it back in the cupboard it to see if the crystals will grow further- accidental kitchen physics experiment in progress! 


Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal)

This new demonstration transparent model is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Transparent Perpetual Simulator

Get the original here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine (reccomended seller: William Le of BackToNatureDecor)

The magnetic viewing film can be purchased here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

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Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal): a follow up post using magnetic viewing film and slow motion to actually see the magnetic pulse that accelerates the ball. The sensor conveniently has a red LED indicator which flashes, and then we see the appearance of the magnetic field pulse as the circuit discharges the capacitors through the coil. The original version of this device was expertly crafted to make the base look like a block of wood (see post from November), but here we see a battery, a coil, a set of large capacitors, and a blue sensor unit along with circuit boards. Pretty sophisticated stuff- and a great reminder that when someone claims a perpetual motion device the question to ask is “where’s the battery hidden?”

Reflective Kinetic Sculpture

Available from this source: 

apollobox: BUY NOW: Square Wave Kinetic

Reflective Kinetic Sculpture: this one translates rotating motion into repeating expanding (or shrinking) square-ish reflections. Directing two colored beams of light enhances the effect. An interesting one (of many) ways to connect rotational motion to translational motion. The base has a silent motor and connects to power via USB. 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Puzzle in a Puzzle: Extra Square

Get this and other amazing math puzzles here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Extra Square Puzzle

See alsoMatsuyama's Paradox

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Puzzle in a Puzzle: 12 pieces fill both large square areas- but the bottom has 5 tiny squares in its center compared to 4 in the top. All 9 tiny squares are identical in size, and the large square areas are also identical. So where did the extra square go? Some fun math involved in the design of this puzzle, which illustrates how the concept of area can challenge our intuitions. Another precision crafted puzzle by Jeux Efcé game shop. 

 


Induced Current Spin-Up

This great little lab stirrer (which I modified to have a transparent top) can be used in many investigations and demonstrations: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer 

Inexpensive concave lenses make great spinning platforms- get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Lens Spin Station 

Get a PhiTOP in aluminum here (will work nicely in this demo):
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW PhiTOP

Copper version avaiable here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Copper PhiTOP

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Induced Current Spin-Up: copper is not magnetic, but magnets can interact with conductors. Here spinning magnets in the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the solid copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which opposes the magnets underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP and this unique means of using Lenz’s Law to spin it up. This top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave lens keeps the top from wandering off of magnetic stirrer

Rubik's Phantom

Get this version of the famous cube here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rubik's Phantom

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Rubik’s Phantom: is the 3X3 cube not challenging enough for you? Here’s one where the colors are activated by the heat of your hands (or better- a light bulb) and fade back to dark as you try to solve. A thermochromic twist to this most famous of puzzles. The heating and cooling was sped up by a factor of three here to keep it interesting.

Pickagram Puzzle

Get this well made puzzle here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: PIckagram Puzzle

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Pickagram: an innovative update on the classic Tangram puzzle- magnets added! With pieces that cling together with a satisfying snap, the 2D puzzle formations become 3D abstract sculptures that can stand on their own. From the mind of designer and architect Gilryong Song, with inspiration from the golden ratio in its proportions and angles.


HeNe LASER

Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each) for under $20 (including S&H): 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer

The only available source I know of for projection holograms at this high resolution is this supplier of industrial samples 
From MaterialSampleShop.com: Diffractive Optical Element Sample 

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HeNe Laser: before there were diode based laser pointers, laser beams were produced by exciting mixtures of gases with high voltage and placing a mirror at each end. This vintage laser is based on the original laser design from Bell Labs in 1962 and has just such a configuration and uses a mixture of helium and neon. The red 632.8nm coherent beam comes from Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER), and photons of this wavelength are one of the spontaneous emission lines of Neon. However, if these photos are reflected back into the excited gas they can produce stimulated emission where a photon is emitted of the same frequency- and in the same direction- as the reflected photon. This happens over and over producing a beam between the two mirrors, and one mirror is only a partial mirror allowing the photons to leak out one end forming the beam. A diffraction grating reveals the many emission lines of the excited gasses, but only the one red frequency participates in the LASER process in this design. This vintage educational model (with transparent housing) is a lucky recent find on eBay. 

Electromagnetic Levitation Module

Get this kit here (comes complete as shown in my video):
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Magnetic Levitation Module

The featured sculture is by Bathsheba Grossman, affordable and beautiful math art available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Soliton Sculpture

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this engineered control system uses adjustable electromagnets (four copper coils) and and two Hall effect magnetic field sensors (held firm embedded in white silicone) to levitate an 5cm diameter neodymium magnet platform about 3 cm in mid-air. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, and is powered by a standard USB connection. The platform also rotates, perfect for showcasing one of my metal 3D printed mathematical sculptures by Bathsheba Grossman.

Floating Eye Toys

Look for these anumal pens in airports gift shops (can't find them online).
Gliding eyes are still available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gliding Eye Toy

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Floating Eyes: low center of mass spheres suspended within a liquid filled clear acrylic sphere- the inside”eyeball” maintains its eerie orientation always pointing up as the outer shell rotates. I found these animal pens at airport gift shops and notice the eyes are the same as the spooky gliding eye toys from a few years back. Fun physics of Achimedes principle and constructing a low center of mass.