kinetic Art

Strandbeest Mini

Get one here! Make sure to get the Jr. Scientist version of this kit for best results. 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Strandbeest Model Kit 

Read about Theo Jansen and his novel leg linkage mechanism for the Strandbeests via these Wiki pages. 

Strandbeest Mini: A fully working model of artist Theo Jansen's Strandbeest kinetic sculpture which features Jansen's linkage- a unique leg mechanism which converts rotary motion of a crackshaft into smooth walking motion. Jansen's creations are usually a couple meters high and walk the beaches of the Netherlands powered by the wind. This version comes as a model kit that snaps together with no glue- a really fun project!

Chil Balance Sculpture

This elegant design comes ready to assemble in your choice of four colors:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chil Balance Bird

Chil Balance Sculpture: the mass and orientation of the wings creates a center of mass below this sleek bird's beak- making a system that will rotate and oscillate about a stable equilibrium. No magnets! An elegant sculpture by artist Bin Xu of BinDesign that comes ready to assemble complete with stand,

Slow Motion Timer

Get this device here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Paradox Silver Slow Motion Timer

Slow Motion Timer: instead of sand and air, dense oil and metal beads trade places in this unique timer. The small metal spheres slowly descend slightly tethered to each other due to the effects of viscosity as the fluid flows. This liquid timer is carefully constructed so there are no air bubbles to interrupt the delicate motion, and includes molded lens shaped windows on each side. Although more a piece of kinetic art, this particular timer consistently takes 4 minutes and 24 seconds to complete (partly shown here sped up x10).


The Dancing Helix

Get one here! Chose your color scheme and length, all come with the special motor and operating instructions:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW: Dancing Helix

The Dancing Helix: This kinetic mobile's mesmerizing motion arises from pulsed torsion waves that propagate up and down the length of a series of weighed rods connected by an elastic ribbon (which acts as a torsion spring). The waves arise by a special pulsed motor from which the strand hangs, and only spins for a second or so out of each minute. The twisting waves then constructively and deconstructively interfere creating an array of flowing motions.

Planetary Gear Train

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

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.

Maxwell's Dynamical Top: Historical Replica

Get this accurate and beautiful 1/2 scale replica here:

From Machined Marvels: BUY NOW: Maxwell's Dynamical Top

Maxwell’s Dynamical Top: one of my favorite demonstrations of the strange properties of rotating bodies- shown here with a 1/2 scale but exacting replica of the famous “Dynamical Top” created and demonstrated by the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1857. When this brass bell shaped top is spinning an interesting stability can occur- push on the pointed stem and the top will push back, forcing the stem against that object, and friction will cause the stem to roll along and trace the edge of the object. Note- magnets are NOT involved here. The key to this design is to make the contact point/tip of the top at its own center of mass, then any frictional force in contact with the stem will produce a torque about the contact point at a right angle to the direction of friction that creates the stabilizing force (students of physics may recognize application of the right hand rule here). 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!


Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

The Pisces Lamp is now avaialbel for purchase here:

BUY NOW: Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

From the same artist who created the Aquarius Fountian Lamp

Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp: standing waves of a rotating string are illuminated by strobing light in this new kinetic sculpture by artist and computer engineer Stephen Co. With the help of programmable micro-controllers, strips of addressable RBG LEDs are made to flash in sequences that make the rotating string change colors, merge into spoon shaped surfaces, or split into multiple braids. The string is propelled by small motors and the standing waves can have multiple nodes, which can be altered by touching the string while in motion.

Anamorphic Locomotion Cup & Saucer

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. 

Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope

Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored

Similar Kaleidoscopes available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope 
From eBay: Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection: Kaleidoscopes

Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope: the amazing colors you see from the object cell of this 3 mirror kaleidoscope are generated by manipulating the polarization of light- the object in the clear wand is a strip of clear cellophane in oil which has the property of optical rotation. These property allows for an incredible range of color formation when placed between two linear polarization filters (swipe for demonstration). A creation of kaleidoscope artist Ron Kuhns.


The Swinging Sticks

The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy version from their website: 
From GeelongShop.com: BUY NOW The Swinging Sticks
 

The Swinging Sticks: a driven coupled chaotic physical pendulum as kinetic art where the placement of the rods' axes of rotation are engineered to exhibit the widest range of interesting motion. Four AA batteries and a simple electromagnetic kicker circuit in the base gives a tiny push to a magnet in the end of the large rod, keeping the system in motion for over a year! Perhaps one of the most famous physics toys out there as it was featured in the movie Iron Man II (sitting on the desk of Pepper Potts).

Mini-Lollipopter

Available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Lollipopter Kinetics

From eBay: BUY NOW: Lollipopter Kinetics

Mini-Lollipopter: new smaller cousin of one of my favorite interactive kinetic sculpture designs. A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the "petals" which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- clockwise rotation transforms a helix to an abstract pine cone, counterclockwise returns the helix. Created by @john.edmark.

Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells

Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Motion Ferrofluid Sculpture 

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. 


Andrew's Space Wheel

This vintage 1970s item available now on eBay 
From eBay: BUY NOW Andrews Space Wheel 

Andrew's Space Wheel: kinetic art desk toy from the 70s- the rotor will stay in motion for weeks, until the hidden 9V battery is depleted. The rotor has a magnet at the end of each spoke- a coil and circuit identical to that of the "Top Secret" mystery top that I've posted about gives these magnets a push as the rotor passes through the middle- conservation of energy and angular momentum does the rest! 

Hexa Sphericon

Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: order your set today! 
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. 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. 


3D Print Kaleidocycle 

Get this beautiful 3D Print here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidocycle Fidget

Or print it yourself: Kaleidocycle print files

3D Print Kaleidocycle: this kinetic manipulation fidget toy is comprised of six hinges such that it can twist inwards continuously. Amazingly this item is 3D “printed-in-place”, which means it comes off the printer already assembled with movable links and ensures the color gradient is continuous across the joints.

 

 

Dual Axis Sand Pendulum

Available in many styles and colors: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Sand Pendulum 
From eBay: BUY NOW Sand Pendulum  

Dual Axis Sand Pendulum: the kinetic energy trades back and forth between swinging toward the support arm and then swinging perpendicular to that path tracing Lissajous figures in the sand. The sand slowly dissipates the energy and the traced figures get smaller so the next one fits inside the last. Coupled oscillations like this can occur when multiple modes of motion (degrees of freedom) are available to the system.