kinetic Art

Planetary Gear Train

From Rail and Oak: the Esty shop of Logan Needham 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Planetary Gear System 

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Planetary Gear Train: with non-circular gears! This piece of kinetic art features a 6-sided Sun Gear, six 3-sided Planetary Gears, all held within the 12-sided space of the Annular Gear. The video captures three of the many interesting modes of these epicylic gear systems: 1) holding the sun gear fixed while rotating the annular gear allows the planetary gears to orbit, 2) pinning the planetary gears such that they can spin (but not orbit) allows the sun gear to go in the reverse direction of the annular gear, 3) holding one planetary gear fixed produces curious motion- note that although the other planetary gears move they do not spin about their axes! Situation 2) is how reverse gear is accomplished in the transmissions of many vehicles. Thanks to Logan Needham (@pillagethenburn) for the ingenuous display stand that allows full demonstration of this work of physics and engineering art.

Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells

Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Motion Ferrofluid Sculpture 

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Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells: spectacular metallic blue, gold, and black display cells by czferro - colloidal ferromagnetic liquids in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. The gold and blue coloring appears to be from a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid. Still exploring the details of the coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid - both trade secrets it seems. 

Water Drop Pulse Kinetic Sculpture

Art by Philippe Bouveret available here:
From the artist: BUY NOW philippebouveret.com 

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Water Drop Pulse Kinetic Sculpture: “Heart In A Bottle” is a kinetic art sculpture by Philippe Bouveret that utilizes the amazingly strong surface tension and adhesive properties of water. Two halves of a heart are attached to a wire spring which is periodically pulled together in a zipper like fashion by a single drop of water (as seen in 240 flp slow motion). The engineered system in the top bulb emits a water drop that adheres to the two wires, and as it falls surface tension pulls and connects the spring wires, which stay stuck together until gravity pulls down and thins the water coating enough such that the spring force can overcome the water’s adhesion. The halves of the heart then undergo vibrations that damp out until another drop forms in a process that repeats a few times a minute. 


The Alchemist

Bismuth levitation available here: 
From Etsy- Element 83: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures 
featuring amazing Bismuth Crystals, Jewelry, and Maglev Kinetic Art

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Circa 1981, Physicists transmute Bismuth to Gold: Particle accelerators make possible the ancient alchemist’s dream—but at a steep cost 

The Alchemist: cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a neodymium cube magnet levitates trapped between the hands of the ancient scholar. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a cylindrical neodymium magnet hangs above the figure and is adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Although alchemists never succeeded in transmuting lead to gold, in 1981 physicists used the particle accelerator at Berkeley to shoot Carbon nuclei at thin foils of Bismuth- the resulting collisions did produced a tiny amount of Gold atoms! So modern nuclear physics, applied to the element Bismuth, finally accomplished the aspirations of the alchemists. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon. 

Strobe Coin Spinning Top

These are not just tops, but works of art. Available in Copper and in Silver! 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW  Strobe Coin

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Strobe Coin Spinning Top: beautiful coin tops made of solid copper and silver display a remarkable spinning strobe pattern when viewed on video from a smartphone. Incredible art/physics from @shirepostmint that takes advantage of aliasing and the wagon-wheel effect. The black enamel pattern on the top of the coin is specifically designed to interact with the frame rate of the video process to produce the intricate motions of the concentric circle patterns seen here, and on the back of the coin a starburst pattern provides similarly interesting effects. These coins can be spun on both sides with spin times reaching 12 minutes! The contact points are super hard spheres of silicon nitride black ceramic (Si3N4) providing a low friction bearing. 

Hexa Sphericon

Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: order your set today! 
From the Matter Collection: BUY NOW The Sphericon (Hex and Regular) 

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Hexa-Sphericon: Sphericons are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane. 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. 


Hexa Sphericon

Select metal versions, or less expensive 3D printed versions avaiable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphericons
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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. 

Top Secret

This physics toy top is available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Mystery Spinning Top

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The amazing green magnetic viewing film is also available: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewing Film 

Here is the 1974 patent showing the very simple circuit of this device. The spinning dipole (the top itself) induces a current in one of the coils, and this current is fed to the base of the transistor turning the electromagnet on when the top is near. 
 

"Top Secret": this top will stay spinning for more than a week- because it is actually a motor! The top is a dipole magnet (as revealed by Magneview film) and the base has an electromagnet that gives the dipole a push when the top comes near the center. An ingeniously simple circuit consisting of only a battery, a coil, and a transistor, is activated when the spinning magnet nears the coil turning on the electromagnet to give a boost to the spin of the magnetic top.


Hoberman Orbiter

These are no longer in production but there is one currently available on eBay: 
Hoberman Spheres are still in production-- see this link for details

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Hoberman Orbiter: vintage kinetic sculpture based on the isokinetic structure of the Hoberman Sphere. Here the sphere is opened by centripetal acceleration provided by a motor in the base. The motor is programmed to repeatedly spin for 10 seconds and turn off for 5 seconds. The structure expands with the help of the colored masses that provide additional angular momentum and then contracts as friction slows the spin rate

Magnetic Sand Hourglass

Get one from these fine sources: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Hourglass 

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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. 


Surf's Up!

Kyle Auga-- kinetic sculptures: 
Check out Kyle's art here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kyle's Kinetics 

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Surf's Up!: Another gravity defying creation by Kyle Auga, this time a well-balanced stainless steel surfer that carves waves in the air for over 10 minutes on one push! The surfer has the curious motion of a 3D physical pendulum- a complex motion which can be broken down into oscillations along two dimensions and rotation about the point of contact. The stick figure plus counterweights and bar structure is designed such that its center of mass is few centimeters below the contact point when at rest. When the sculpture is tipped the center of mass swings under the pivot point in this stable equilibrium condition- no magnets needed to create this physics magic. 

Vortex Dome

Get one from David Fowler's online shop: 
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Vortex Dome Kalliroscope 
Made with extraordinary craftsmanship and high quality materials, and sold at a very reasonable price! 

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Vortex Dome Kalliroscope: kinetic art with rheoscopic fluid in a rotating base. Visualizing the invisible- the Vortex Dome is the creation of engineer/inventor and @physicsfun featured artist David Fowler aka @physicshack who creates this modern rotating kalliroscope that generates complex and beautiful structures similar to those seen in the cloud bands of the gas giants of our solar system like Jupiter. The capsule is constructed of high quality glass on a heavy stainless steel base which glides upon an included bearing set for long spin times. 

eyeMo Linear Zoetrope

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: eyeMo Linear Zoetrope 

Click here for similar itmes: Zoetropes

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eyeMo Linear Zoetrope: the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produce the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. This unique version uses an array of lenses, and the images are flashed one by one as the series of lenses moves past the eye. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV.


Hyperbola Clock

This amazing clock available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Hyperbola Clock

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Hyperbola Clock: a straight rod glides through a curved hole in this unconventional clock based on the hyperboloid, the 3D ruled surface traced by rotating diagonal line. In this creation by Robert Darwen of Fibonacci Clocks, the rod serves as the hour hand with a smaller minute hand above the center of the base disk. (The time adjustment dial of the clock mechanism was connected to a small motor to produce the sped up motion in this video so that 1 second = 1 hour) 

Designer Kaleidoscope

Tom and Carol Paretti create some of the finest kaleidoscope art in the world: Paretti Kaleidoscopes 

Other Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here from this trusted seller:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes

More amazing kaliedocsopes from my collection here

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Designer Kaleidoscope: the beautiful symmetry of multiple reflections. Tiny glass beads and a collection of shiny objects provide the viewing material in this side-lit precision kaleidoscope by Carol Verde-Paretti. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.

Spinning Liquid Paperweight

Many versions available here 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Liquid Wave Paperweight Toy 

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Spinning Liquid Paperweight: two immiscible liquids (three if you count the air bubble) are sorted under gravity by density with the densest on the bottom and the lightest on top. If the container is rotated the boundary between the layers forms a parabola due to the added influence of centripetal acceleration. As seen here in 240 fps slow motion, symmetric waves travel and reflect along the curved surface for the first few rotations until damped out via viscosity and friction. The plastic fish have a density between that of the two liquids so they stay at the boundary layer.