kinetic Art

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.

Rolling Ball Fountain

Find this and similar fountains here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rolling Ball Fountain

Rolling Ball Fountain: this miniature kugel fountain features a glass sphere that sits on a socket of precisely similar shape, and is suspended on a very thin (less than half a mm) film of moving water which greatly reduces friction. The velocity of the water in the thin layer slows as it spreads out via a hole in the socket, and this hole is offset from the center so that the interaction with the water stream sets the ball spinning. A small pump provides the flow rate, and colorful LEDs illuminate the glass sphere to show off the rotation. Perhaps you’ve seen public art installations featuring giant granite spheres weighing tons and yet similarly suspended on a thin layer of flowing water. Physics principles involved here include viscosity and Reynold’s number, the Navier-Stokes equation, Bernoulli’s principle and the study of thin layer lubricants.


The Square Wave

Own this scuplture by Ivan Black (made in collaboration with Italian manufacture house Atellani): 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW Square Wave 

The Square Wave: an interactive kinetic sculpture of 24 interlocking right angle metal rods from the mind of artist Ivan Black. Waves propagate, folding the structure into a tight curl- and a reverse snap will bring it back to the initial flat square state. An important design feature is that each right angle rod is limited to move through about 45 degrees, and all through parallel axes, allowing for the beautiful rotational wave motion via a cascade of angular momentum transfer. 

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

CineSpinner Hula Santa

CineSpinner animation kinetic art availabe here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: CineSpinner Santa

From Etsy: BUY NOW: CineSpinner (many animations)

CineSpinner Hula Santa: ole St. Nick showing off his hooping skills in this barrier-grid type animation using Moire╠ü pattern effects of constructive and deconstructive interference. One of many CineSpinner type kinetic animation loops by Scanimation creator, artist, and author Rufus Butler Seder. 


Spinning Snowflakes Convection Candle

Get this convection candle here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Spinning Kinetic Candles 

Other convection turbines here on eBay: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Spinning Convection Candles 

Spinning Snowflakes Convection Candle: with chimney effect! This holiday candle is a simple turbine heat engine where rotational motion results from the convection of hot air from the candle flame of a tea light, which is also surrounded by a glass cylinder which enhances the convective flow via the chimney effect. A quick investigation finds the rotor spins twice as fast with the glass cylinder in place. All moving parts of thin stainless steel with some assembly required. Energy transfer: chemical bonds- to heat- to kinetic energy of the rising air- to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and snowflakes.

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

EDC Gyroscope

Precision machined stainless steel gyroscopic spinners avaialbe here:

From mechforce.com: BUY NOW: EDC Gyroscope

EDC Gyroscope: a metal rotator spins freely within a gimbal arrangement and features precision bearings used throughout (1 ball bearing in core plus 4 micro-bearings in the intermediate ring). Spin up the center gyro and conservation of angular momentum will keep its axis of rotation pointing in a constant direction even as the outer rings are rotated to and fro. Precision machined from stainless steel- the ultimate spinner!


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. 

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.

eyeMo Linear Zoetrope

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

Click here for similar itmes: Zoetropes

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.


Kalliroscope with Heating Element Stand

Vintage (1970s) Kalliroscopes are sometimes available here: 
From eBay: Search NOW Kalliroscopes 

Click this link for the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.

Kalliroscope with Heating Element Stand: visualizing the invisible- convection currents. This wonderful vintage device was invented and produced by artist Paul Matisse in the 1970s, where suspended microscopic flat crystals of guanine reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the guanine crystals are the same density as the tetrachloroethylene liquid so the crystals never settle to the bottom making the fluid reactive to showing the slightest movement. Here the stand option (that was sold separately) has a resistive element in contact with the back of the kalliroscope which generates heat at about body temperature to establish these convection currents.

Satisfying Hexagons

Get this 3D print here (your choice of colors):

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Satifying Hexagons

Satisfying Hexagons: this delightful kinetic art manipulation toy features 19 nested hexagons within a hexagonal frame. Embedded magnets allows one to move the central hexagon from behind creating interesting visual effects. A 3D print created by @i.am.the.lazy.engineer- indeed oddly satisfying!

Pearlescent Metallic Lava Lamp

Get this metallic lava version here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp

From explOratorium store: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp

See aslo: Magnetic Ferrofluid Lava Lamp

The Lava Lamp: with new pearlescent metallic “lava”- kinetic art with an amazing amount of physics on display: convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, surface tension (note how the smaller blobs form into spheres), and immiscible liquids to name just some of the science behind this famous device. In this loop one can see shock waves ripple through the blobs as they detach, and as they recombine at the bottom. Manufactured by Mathmos and invented in 1963 by Edward Walker of Dorset, England. 


Optical Glass Cube Sculpture 

Mr. Lustig's art is typically sold at art gallery pricing:
From Nellie Bly: BUY NOW: Lustig At Glass (Call the shop for availabilty of the small piece in the video)

See other optical sculptures here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Optical Light Sculptures

Optical Glass Cube Light Sculpture: multiple internal reflections create intricate and delicate patterns within this crystal glass cube with beveled prismatic edges and concave lens shaped indentations on three faces. The bottom three faces are coated with special metal oxide layers that create color through the physics of thin film interference. This is the smallest (4.0 cm on edge) cube featured by artist Harold Lustig, famous for his precision optical glass sculptures. 

Mini Waving Tube Guy

Get this inexpensive and silly toy here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy

This power supply reccomended: BUY NOW: 9V power supply

Mini Waving Tube Guy: the physics of fluid dynamics describes the flopping behavior of the famous dancing tube guy. Bernoulli’s principle tells us that when air is moving with a velocity, the pressure in the region of the moving airmass is reduced. When the tube guy stands strait, air escapes through his head and arms allowing a temporary steady velocity of flow which reduces pressure inside and he collapses and bends. When the tube is bent, airflow is cut off, and the tube inflates like a balloon building pressure until air can again escape through the top- and the process cycles back and forth between these two states creating the iconic dance moves. This desktop version uses a 9V battery to power the fan.

Infinity Cube Sculpture

Get an infinity cube here (many colors and sizes to choose from):

From Ricardo Churchill (Etsy): BUY NOW: Infinity Cube

Infinity Cube Sculpture: crafted from solid stainless steel and powder coated orange, the geometry of this mathematical sculpture is the perimeter of the faces of a cube traced by a nonintersecting connection of equal line segments. When viewed from a corner, a cube has a hexagonal cross section, and some may recall the famous logo of Silicon Graphics computers based on such an infinity cube (a design by Scott Kim). Rotating this “tubed cube” along a diagonal axis reveals the interesting symmetries of this geometric construction.