Get these ornaments while they last:
From Austine Studios: BUY NOW: Polage Ornament
Polage Miniatures: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and birefringent cellophane to create changing forms and colors. A polarizing filter is used to reveal the colorful designs- amazingly with two images hidden within these layers. Rotation of the polarizing filter also allows the artist to produce colorful metamorphosis in these images. These affordable sun catchers are made in limited quantities by @austinestudios, and look amazing through polarized sunglasses as well. Light as a transverse wave has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
Get these wonderful laser cut sets here (I only added some bright spray paint):
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Non-Circular Gears
Non-Circular Gear Trains: a survey of a few designs using gears with some interesting shapes that can produce variations in rotation speeds. Swipe to view: two oblong gears, two logarithmic spiral gears, and four squircle gears. Just a small sample of the infinite possible shape combinations and arrangements of non-circular gear sets. With thanks to the Jeux Efce shop for sending me these wonderful laser cut gears and mounts.
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 Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP
Induced Current Spin-Up: Spinning magnets from the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the brass 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.
Get these and other amazing phonotrope spinners here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Phototrope Animation Spinners
Phonotrope Fluidity: more amazing phonotropes from apyrodesign. When the rate of rotation matches the rate of the smartphone video process the six spokes appear to become fluid with waves rippling outward. The precision fabrication of these spinners is specifically designed to interact with the video process, similar to the animation effect of a flip book, but in a repeating cycle like that of the phenakistiscope, the 1833 invention that started moving media animation that lead to the development of movies and video. Swipe to see another design with an illusion of rotating meshed gears.
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope art and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Tabletop Magnetic Kinetic Art
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope: kinetic art on a stand (or on a chain)- physics you can wear, rendered in brass or silver by @foxtailjewelry in collaboration with @physicsfun! Two half-sphere neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended under centripetal acceleration - connected by the invisible but tactile force of magnetic fields. Honored to have this concept featured in the gallery of @foxtailjewelry.
This kit (usually part of a subscription) often available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Glow Pendulum Kit
Get amazing quatilty science kits delievered to your home- this glow pendulum is part of the Tinker Crate subscription.
From KiwiCo: LEARN MORE: Tinker Crate Subscription
Glow Trace Chaotic Pendulum: this fun and amazing DIY kit features a UV diode to trace the intricate path of this double pendulum system on to a phosphorescent screen, revealing the physics of chaotic motion. It’s amazing that such complex motion can arise from a simple assembly of two pendulums, one attached to the end of the other. Chaotic motion, such as that observed here, is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.
Available from these sources:
From CMY Cubes: All 5 Platonic Solids
From Amazon: BUY NOW: CMY Cubes and More
Check out this nice set of Platonic Solids gaming dice
CMY Platonic Solids: The five famous convex regular polyhedra with thin film coatings, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, that allow filtering of the light that enters or leaves particular facets of each acrylic prism. I was struck by the intricate patterns produced in each object’s shadow by the refracted light- especially as the objects rotate.
Currently taking pledges on Kickstarter from a trusted maker:
From KickStarter: Pledge NOW: Mezmocoin Infinity
The Mezmocoin Infinity: precision machined kinetic spinning tops with helical motion illusion- a simple and elegant physics toy for everyday carry. Give these stainless steel disks a spin and the imparted angular momentum (along with embedded precision bearing contact point) allows for sustained rotation of 20 minutes or so. The spiral designs converts rotational motion to translational motion for a nice visual effect.
Many types and themes available:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramids
From eBay: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramid
Holiday Pyramid: a simple heat engine- rotational motion resulting from the convection of hot air due to the candle flames of two tea lights. These holiday decorations come from a German Christmas tradition, Weihnachtspyramide, that dates back more than 200 years! Energy transfer: chemical bonds to heat to kinetic energy of the rising air to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and reindeer.
Only made by the Flyte team:
From Art of Play: Buda Ball
Buda Ball: 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 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! Amazing magnetic levitation physics demonstrated with aesthetic design (and very clever engineering) by the Flyte team- the only (non-superconducting) system I know of that can suspend in a horizontal direction as shown in this video.
This amazing toy for under $10:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gifeez Animation Toy
Gifeez: a modern zoetrope type device with built in strobe light to explore the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produces the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. This inexpensive device has two modes: 1) the strobe frequency is set to various ratios of the spin frequency creating fascinating motion of abstract geometrical images, and 2) the strobe is set to animate simple cartoons. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. This device includes a centripetal switch that turns on the strobe and a motor that keeps the disk spinning for a couple minutes and comes with 15 printed double sided disks and a few blanks to allow for your own designs.
Animated Horse set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Luycho Locomotion Horse Cup & Saucer
CAUTION: There are poorly made counterfeit versions on Amazon as well. Only these origial Luycho products produce a clean animation and image.
Locomotion Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: an amazing combination of barrier grid animation and anamorphic projection rendered on elegant porcelain. The warped image on the saucer is reconstructed by reflection off the surface of the cup, however the gold mirroring is comprised of parallel lines that only reflect part of the image pattern. Turing the cup (or the saucer and cup together) reveals a flying bird or running horse! Another expertly crafted product from Luycho.
Get this device here (comes with both a Lolipopter and Helicone):
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Automated Base playableART
See also: Lolliopter and Helicone
Stepper Motor Kinetic Sculpture: this base provides a pulse of rotational energy to drive the transformation of a Helicone or Lollipopter kinetic toy. Short bursts of spin impart angular momentum to the "petals" which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing, and a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone- a pulse in the opposite direction returns the helix configuration. Comes with a cool dome to keep the dust off (or to provide safe operation in case you own a cat). A creation of artist/designer John Edmark and produced by PlayableART.
Mini Tesla coil with wire end attachment- get one here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
Long exposure image captured using this Slow Shutter app:
From App Store: BUY NOW: Slow Shutter Cam
Corona Discharge Trajectories: the ejected electron stream propels the end of a thin wire connected to a miniature Tesla coil. The corona discharge creates a glowing plasma at the end of the wire, but also imparts momenta that pushes the wire’s end into a final state circular orbit. The more interesting behavior occurs during the initial transient orbits which seem to be hypotrochoid type curves beautifully captured here using the Slow Shutter app. Please see seven posts back for details about this mini Tesla coil.
Get one from these fine sources:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Hourglass
Magnetic Sand Hourglass: ferromagnetic sand collects above a neodymium magnet in the wood base. Each particulate of ferromagnetic iron becomes a temporary dipole magnet in the presence of the magnetic field in the base. The tiny dipoles link up north ends to south ends, creating interesting patterns that reveal the magnetic field lines.
Available in limited supplies here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Thermomotor Candle Engine
Thermomotor Carousel: this decorative and dynamic centerpiece is actually a Curie point heat engine! Two tea light candles continually chase two magnets around a magnetic ring in this truly unique design by @violet__revolution. When the portion of the magnetic ring over the flame heats up to a particular temperature (the Curie point) its magnetic field is temporarily lost until it cools, so the magnet near the candle is now pulled toward a cooler portion of the ring- which then heats up and the process continuously repeats creating the steady rotation. Swipe to see the full design (complete with a laser cut forest mantle) in operation. Many thanks to artist and inventor Darragh Hewat for this fantastic addition to my collection.
The CUMOS Cube is a creation of artist Minori Yamazaki. Available for purchase- inquire via the contact info below:
Fron Art of Play: BUY NOW: Cosmos in a Box
CUMOS Cube: a variation on the Kaleidoscope by artist @minori.yamazaki that produces a Cosmos in a box. So much wonder hidden within this unassuming white cube where etchings on front surface mirrors produce the repeating geometric patterns. A moving light source (led flashlight) is projected on the cube producing the dazzling animation effect on the multiple reflections.
The team at MetMo release these cubes for sale periodically:
From MetMo.co.uk: Inquire Here: MetMo Cube
MetMo Cube: art from precision metalworking technology- a wire EDM (electrical discharge machine) can cut out two ovals from a 0.5 kg cube of solid stainless steel, and leave a gap of less than 0.05mm around the cutouts! The EDM process, sometimes called spark machining, removes material from the work piece by a series of rapid current pulses, that when bathed in dielectric liquid creates electric arcs that “vaporize” a precise bit of metal with every pulse. A 3D printed base is mounted to the bottom to create a tight seal and connect the two chambers so air can transfer between allowing pneumatic manipulation, and the satisfying slow descent (video in real time). From machinist/artist Paegan Ward and the MetMo (Metal in Motion) team.