Get this and other wind kinetic art here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Stainless Steel Kinetic Spinners
Warped Spiral Kinetic Art: a slight breeze will set this stainless steel sculpture into graceful and mesmerizing action. When spinning the rotation creates translational motion along the vertical- and each helix in this version has a slight asymmetry that adds to the complexity of the perceived motion.
Click here to visit this amazing Etsy shop Element83
Get a magnetic levitation sculpture here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Sculptures
Eclipse diamagnetic levitation sculpture. Cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a golden spherical neodymium magnet levitates trapped in a tunnel within the metal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the sphere magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cube neodymium magnet sits above the tunnel and is adjusted to help lift the sphere magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these fields, any other magnet brought near will change the balance.
These vintage watches are not too hard to find:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
From eBay: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
Moire Kinetic Watch: this beautiful timepiece is an Ernest Borel Cocktail pendant watch made in 1958 featuring the trademark rotating disk (instead of a second hand) which creates a kinetic radiant Moiré pattern. This vintage 17 jewel Swiss watch is old school- powered by a spring that must be wound once a day (elastic potential energy to kinetic).
Available in four colors and designs:
From StemCell Science: BUY NOW: Glass Water Tops
Glass Hydro-Top: under centripetal acceleration a liquid will flow to create a cylindrical surface parallel to the axis of rotation. This blown glass dreidel contains a small amount of colored water that when spun resembles a blue gemstone banded around the rim. A unique design with fun physics!
Get the 3D print stl files here:
From printables: download now: Mobius Strip with Arrow
Arrow on Möbius Strip: on the geometry of a Möbius strip a right pointing arrow points left after one trip around, a second trip restores the original orientation. This mathematical property is called non-orientability, and is also true of Klein bottles which I’ve posted about. I love how this 3D printed model, designed and produced by Wes Pegden, allows one to physically manipulate and intuit this somewhat obscure mathematical property.
Available from Pyrigan & Co.
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Lissajous Roller Illusion
Lissajous Roller: when viewing this 3D printed object from the side one sees a projection of a 3:2 Lissajous curve, but the object is actually cylindrical in frame and can roll towards or away from the viewer. When in motion a “dual axis illusion” is produced where the object appears to be rotating about a vertical axis. Invented by Bill Gosper and produced by Pyrigan & Co.
Get this amazing 3D print here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Seirpinski Pyramid
or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Seirpinski Pyramid
Half Sierpinski Octahedron Fractal: this 3D printed math sculpture is one half of the sixth iteration of what is called “the octahedron flake” a 3D fractal based on the Sierpinski triangle. To make this fractal, on each iteration an inverted triangle is removed from the center of the previous triangle, and if this process is repeated indefinitely one gets the famous fractal. This 3D print used rainbow silk PLA to create the beautiful color gradient base on the .stl files by Rick Tu. Another example of math brought to life via 3D printing!
PhiTOPs are available in Aluminum and Brass:
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass
From EI: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Aluminum
Click here for more on the PhiTOP and using magnetic induction to spin it up.
Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: a copper ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version 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. Rotating magnetic fields from under the wooden platform induce electric eddy currents to flow in the copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. This version differs from Tesla’s in that the rotating magnetic fields are created by, well, a pair of rotating neodymium magnets (revealed by lifting the top platform in this model). Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP, and this unique means of using a common lab magnetic stirrer to create the induced currents. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top.
3D printed as well as handmade sphericons and similar shapes avaiable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphericons
Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: beautiful works of art in metal- available here!
From the Matter Collection: BUY NOW The Sphericon (Hex and Regular)
Hexa-Sphericon: Sphericons are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane- following the path shown here with white paper. Solids from the sphericon family all have one side and two edges. Each sphericon is based on a regular polygon, with the basic sphericon derived from a square, and here- a more interesting case with more complex rolling motion- from a hexagon.
Get this device here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Chaotic Decision-Aider Pendulum
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Chaotic Decision-Aider Pendulum
Chaotic Decision Maker Pendulum: adding magnetic forces to gravity gives this comical pointing pendulum chaotic motion- not random, but very sensitive to slight differences in initial launch conditions. Each “choice” has a dipole magnet underneath which attracts a magnet in the hand and locks the pointer into place, but only after enough kinetic has been dissipated, and until that final state is obtained the motion is chaotic. Fun physics behind this novelty gag gift.
Limited quantities of this vintage top- available from the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum of Burlington, Wisconsin
Aslo this vintage version available on Etsy:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Laser Disk Top
Holographic Optical Top: a vintage sheet metal disk top spins with patterns created from reflective diffraction gratings- seen here illuminated by a light panel and flashlight- each producing illusions of depth and curious motions. Produced in the 1990s this set includes three interchangeable rings and circles of foil on card stock.
Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Mova Globes: all types
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Mova Globes: 1790 Terrestrial
From eBay: BUY NOW
Mova Globes: all types
Octopus Stand available here:
From pyrofarms: BUY NOW
OctoStand in Metal
1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation in a Mova globe is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent map image on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device. The featured map is a faithful recreation of a globe famous for its accuracy at the time by Giovanni María Cassini and highlights the voyages of James Cook.
Get the .stl files for this 3D print here:
From Thingiverse: Download NOW: CM Elephant
Learn more: mechanical engineering of compliant mechanisms
Compliant Mechanical Elephant: a demonstration of engineering using flexible elements instead of pivot joints when creating linkages. In this whimsical and clever linkage design a sideways translation of the elephant creates only rotation at the tip of the pachyderm’s trunk. Note that the hole at the end of the trunk remains eerily stationary as the body translates horizontally back and forth. This demonstration model comes from the Compliant Mechanisms Research group at Brigham Young University. Thanks once again to Roger Key for producing this 3D print.
Get this accurate and beautiful 1/2 scale replica here:
From Machined Marvels: BUY NOW: Maxwell's Dynamical Top
Maxwell’s Dynamical Top: A 1/2 scale precision replica of the famous “Dynamical Top” created and demonstrated by the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1857. The four color disk allowed Maxwell to see and study the direction of the angular momentum vector when a spinning object is subjected to a jolt/impact. After the top gets a flick from my hand note that one can see a circle of evenly changing color- the angular momentum vector points outward through the center of that circle. Balanced such that the spin point was placed at its center of mass, this unique top was used by Maxwell to experimentally test many theories about how the Earth and planets wobble as they spin. Swipe to see another astonishing property of this top described in a previous post. This beautiful historical replica is now available from machinist and creator Jim Peever @machinedmarvels- and as far as I know the only other replicas of this device where made in the 1880’s!
Similar innovative rolling ball sculptures available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Marble Machine
From Etsy: BUY NOW: 3D Printed Marble Runs
See more (miniture) marble runs here: Marble Run Fun
Rolling Marble Sculpture: marbles perform gymnastics as potential energy of gravity is converted to kinetic energy. An elegantly designed auger conveyor, an Archimedes' Screw, brings the marbles back to the top (powered by an AA battery and a small motor). Conservation of angular momentum produces a simulation of decaying orbits as the marbles whirl down the the main funnel shaped feature.
Get the soundtrack by John Williams (which comes with two wonderful examples of Tristan Duke's holography artwork) here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW The Force Awakens Soundtrack + Holograms
Click on this link for another amazing work by Mr. Duke
Star Wars Specular Hologram on Vinyl: the two LP soundtrack from The Force Awakens featuring two amazing "scratch holograms" of a Tie fighter and the Millennium Falcon- the video barely captures the fullness of the 3D effect as the spaceships seem to hover above the surface of the record. These holograms were hand etched on the metal masters by artist Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science. The etched grooves reflect a point source of light as sharp glints and the groves are arranged so that each eye sees a slightly different pattern such that, via stereopsis, the shiny points appear to float above or below the surface.
Get this well made woodworked illuson here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kellar Trivet
More on the second illusion: Skye Cafe Illusion
Café Wall Illusion Trivet: slide half the bars and to the right the lines look parallel and straight, slide them back to the left and the illusion of crookedness returns. Note that even after we verify the lines are parallel, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses and cognition. A creative woodworked trivet for the kitchen table by Tony Potter. Swipe to view an award winning version of this illusion by Victoria Skye.
Get this amazing and affordable science sculptue here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bismuth Maglev Rod
Click here to see other diamagnetic toys and scuptures
Bismuth Maglev Rod: Small magnets are trapped, suspended and floating, within the notch of a rod cast from the diamagnetic metal bismuth. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the small floating magnet supplies the external field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though, so a powerful neodymium magnet sits above the gap on the top of the rod, and its height is adjusted to help lift the small magnet against gravity. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon of Element83.