kinetic Art

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Surf's Up!

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

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. 

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus

PhiTOPs are available in Aluminum, Brass, and Copper (most conductive!): 
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Copper 
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass 
From EI: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Aluminum 

Click here for more on the PhiTOP and using magnetic induction to spin it up. 

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: a copper ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. Rotating magnetic fields from under the wooden platform induce electric eddy currents to flow in the copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. This version differs from Tesla’s in that the rotating magnetic fields are created by, well, a pair of rotating neodymium magnets (revealed by lifting the top platform in this model). Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP, and this unique means of using a common lab magnetic stirrer to create the induced currents. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. 


Fog Globe: Golden Gate Bridge

Get a fog globe here:

From eBay: BUY NOW: Fog Globe

Fog Globe: an ideal souvenir for a San Francisco winter- snow is very rare (1976 recoded one inch downtown) but prolonged fog marks the winter season. The “fog” in this globe consists of small glitter particles of uniform density that can be agitated into temporary suspension and then allowed to settle on the bottom giving the impression of dissipating fog. The particles settle out over the span of a couple minutes and at regular rate since they are fairly uniform and the drag force experienced by the particles depends on the size and weight of each.

Oloids: Solid and Anit-oloid

Order your Anti-Oliod today: available in three types of metal:

From The Matter Collection: ORDER NOW: Anti-Oloids in Brass, Copper, and Steel 

Oloids: “solid hull” and “ruled surface” types made from brass and copper- oloids are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane. The basis of the oliod’s geometry is that of two connected circles, one perpendicular to the other such that the rim of each circle goes through the center of the other. The shapes you see here are the results of connecting the rims of these circles together with a family of straight lines, one method leads to the solid convex hull form, and another way leads to the ruled oloid (anti-oloid). 

Kinetic Traced Hyperboloid

This hard to find sculpture curretnly available here:

From Amazon: Hyperbolic Kinetic Sculpture

Kinetic Traced Hyperboloid: a straight rod glides through a symmetric pair of curved holes in this kinetic sculpture based on the hyperboloid, the 3D ruled surface traced by an offset revolved straight line. This version is made of anodized aluminum and rotates via gearing and a motor powered by two AA batteries in the base. 


Orbit Spinning Top

Get this 3D printed top here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Orbit Spinning Top

Orbit Spinning Top: asymmetric in shape but perfectly balanced about the rotation axis, this beautiful stainless steel 3D printed top will spin for a couple minutes. As the top slows down interesting aliasing arises as the angular velocity changes with respect to the frame rate of the camera. 

Time's Up

Similar timers available from these sources: 
From eBay: BUY NOW 
Inverted Timer 


From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Inverted Timer 


Time's Up: inverse of the sandglass- tiny plastic beads are less dense than the water and thus ascend to the top of the container under the influence of a buoyant force in accordance with Archimedes' principle. This timer takes almost exactly 6 minutes to complete shown here at normal speed for the first half of this video, and the second half is condensed to 24 seconds in time-lapse. 

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.


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.

Fresnel Minor Lamp

See the gallery of work by the artist: 
Art Gallery: inquire about availability 
Sean Agustine March

Fresnel Minor Lamp: Microlayers of metals and metal oxides allow a slab of glass to transmit a different color than it reflects through thin-film optical phenomena such as interference and selective absorption. In this remarkable art piece, dichroic glass is combined with infinity mirror type multiple reflections creating this dazzling display of physics! Special thanks to @seanaugustinemarch for this amazing addition to my collection.

Hoberman Orbiter

These are no longer in production but there is one currently available on eBay: 
From eBay: Search NOW Hoberman Orbiter 

Hoberman Spheres are still in production-- see this link for details

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


3D Print Planetary Gearset

The .stl files are available here:

From Thingverse:

Origial desing by Emmett Lalish Download: Gear Bearing 

Refined version featured here by Don Stewart Download: Honeycomb Gear Bearing 

Similar prints available as fidget toys here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gear Spinner Fidget Toy

3D Print Planetary Gearset: amazingly this gear set is printed assembled, with interlocking herringbone teeth. The gears will not come apart, in fact this design can only be accomplished by 3D printing the gears interlocked with each other. Designed and first printed by Emmett Lalish in 2013, and this version with refined precision and honeycomb by Don Stewart. 

Bubble in Viscous Fluid Kinetic Art

This item is a vintage art piece from the 1970s and unfortunately I do not know the artist. Similar devices currently on the market include the Ooze tube:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Ooze Tube 

And this version from Amazon: BUY NOW 
Ooze Cube 

Bubble in Viscous Fluid: vintage kinetic art piece from the 1970s- the rising bubble contorts around three ring shaped obstructions with peculiar motion. I love how this construction emphasizes the flow pattern of the air bubble. Another example of the surprising physics to be found in fluid motion.

Rheoscopic Planet 

Avalable in five colors! Get one here:

From Mr. Sci (Science Factory): Rheoscopic Planet

Rheoscopic Planet: this example of fluid flow kinetic art uses rheoscopic fluid encased in flexible bubble of plastic to reveal the intricate motion of turbulence. A suspension of tiny flat mica crystals tend to align themselves at the boundaries where the fluid is moving comparatively faster or slower, making the typically invisible flow patterns visible. Another unique science toy from @mrscisciencefactory


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!

Water Drop Pulse Kinetic Sculpture

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

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 Colorizer

Get the Colorizer and lots of fun artwork here:

From ColorimetryLights.com: BUY NOW: The Colorizer

The Colorizer: Our perception of color depends not only on the pigments and dyes embedded in objects and artwork, but also on the frequency of the illuminating light. The Colorizer uses multiple LEDs to morph the intensity (and mix) of the emitted frequencies through various rhythmic patterns- which then animate any still image comprised from a bright color palette. Swipe for a few examples. A creation of Miles Warren of ColorimetryLights. Images: 1- Zebra (Loren Shaw) 2- Colorimetry logo 3- Pentomino Tiling 1.0 (R Hall) 4- AlienPattern (Brent Johnson)