Bouillant de Franklin Collection: my collection of vintage hand boilers, physics toys of blown glass that feature a reversible liquid-gas phase transition and demonstrates the relationship between temperature and pressure in an enclosed volume. The dyed fluid within each is typically dichloromethane which is in both liquid and vapor states. Heat from a hand, or from this catering warming tray, increases pressure in the bottom bulb pushing the liquid to the top bulb. Originally made famous by Benjamin Franklin, the first to describe the physics of its operation.
Get this precision crafted device here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Brass Helical Flywheel Spinner
Flywheel Fun: a precision machined kinetic desk toy (with helical motion illusion) that will spin for 30 minutes! A massive cylindrical ring of brass is mounted on quality bearings- the combination of the ring’s large moment of inertia with the low friction contacts allows for amazingly long spin times. The spiral design converts rotational motion to translational motion for a nice visual effect.
Only made by the Flyte team:
From Amazon: Buda Ball
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!
Available in a number of colors and configurations:
From KickStarter: Pledge NOW: Luna Kinetic by Mezmoglobe
Luna Kinetic Illusion: precision machined and crafted kinetic desk toy with helical motion illusion. A metal sphere seemingly defies gravity as a coil spins around it in this astonishing design by Kristoph Krisjans and the Mezmoglobe team.
Avalible in a number of colors from these sources:
Color Spirit Kaleidoscope: a side lit kaleidoscopic with sparkling and kinetic mandala. The intricate patterns seen come from shiny trinkets that flow in oil, and two mirrors that are precisely aligned at a 60 degree angle to produce the sixfold symmetry. This affordable yet top quality kaleidoscope is from the Color Spirit line of artist Karl Schilling.
From Grand Illusions Ltd.: BUY NOW: Chaotic Pendulum Kit
Chaotic Double Pendulum with Ring: the intricate dance of chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time. Another extraordinary design by Kontax Engineering Ltd.
This affordable triple Laser show device available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Aurora Laser Show Projector
Aurora Laser Projector: red, green, and blue laser elements are refracted through a rotating optical element with lumpy surface features which create this amazing aurora/nebula effect. When light rays refract through a curved surface they concentrate into bright patches called caustics, often with cusp singularities (sharp points) and intricate threads of shadow.Click here to see a cyan laser pointer interact with the caustic projection optical element removed from this device.
Get this well designed kit here:
From Kontax: BUY NOW: Tensegrity Stand
Tensegrity Mobile Stand: thin cables levitate and support a smartphone at an angle in this high tech precision machined version of the tensegrity concept, invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949. This stand by Kontax Engineering Ltd came as a kit and was a lot of fun to assemble.
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine (reccomended seller: William Le of BackToNatureDecor)
Note: poorly designed knock-offs are being sold widely that are not at all the same device. If the price is less than $100 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.
See Steve Mould's excellent video for details on the Perpetual Motion Simulator Circuirtry