kinetic Art

Maxwell's Dynamical Top: with Color Wheel

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! 

Rolling Marble Sculpture

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. 

Star Wars Specular Hologram on Vinyl

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.


Cafe Wall Illusion Trivet

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. 

 

Bismuth Maglev Rod

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.


Wham-O Magic Window

Vintage Wham-O Magic Windows are almost always available on eBay : 
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Magic Window 

See other sand physics here: Kinetic Sandscapes

Wham-O Magic Window: a popular 1970s toy with immiscible sand like substances interacting under gravity to create images that evoke seascapes and mountains. Unlike most shifting sand devices available today, the Magic Window did not contain any liquid- all the interesting behavior results from the physics of granular materials, specifically interactions due to different sizes and shapes (jagged like salt or round like glass beads) of the grains comprising the different colored “sands”. Shown here is a vintage retail store display stand with the rare “Crystal Fantasy” version of this kinetic art toy. 

Kalliroscope

From eBay: Search NOW: Kalliroscopes 

Click this link for the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.

Kalliroscope: rheoscopic fluid reveals the convection currents generated by the heat emanating from fingertips. Invented and produced by Paul Matisse in the 1970s, suspended microscopic flat crystals of guanine reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the guanine crystals are the same density as the tetrachloroethylene liquid so the crystals never settle to the bottom making the fluid reactive to showing the slightest movement.

Mercury Maze

These vintage items from the 1980s can be found on eBay and Etsy quite often (two available as of this posting): 
From eBay: BUY NOW: Mercury Maze 

Mercury Maze: metal mercury (Hg) is liquid at room temperature, and small blobs of it roll in a peculiar way. The curious properties of elemental mercury are showcased in this vintage toy from the 1970s. Mercury is very toxic and toys like this are now banned in most countries. Mostly dangerous if the toy were to break open- contact with the skin and breathing vapors are to be avoided with mercury. 


Perpetual Motion Simulator Marble Machine

Available here (in limited supply):

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine 

Original listing on Etsy: Perpetual Marble Machine

Note: poorly designed knock-offs are being sold widely that are not at all the same device. If the price is less that $150 USD then it is not the same quality device and mechanism as shown here. 

Perpetual Motion Simulator: this marble machine device does not break any laws of thermodynamics- but it sure looks like it! When I first saw videos of this piece of kinetic art I thought the effect was due to video editing, but in fact the base contains a power source and very clever mechanism (swipe twice for clue/partial reveal). An amazing piece of art by William Le expertly crafted from stainless steel wire, doussie hardwood, and undisclosed internal components.