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!
Created in my shop with these parts:
From Amazon: plastic rings, plastic sphere, blue paint
Inspired by the Phone Booths in the new Watchmen series.
Calling Dr. Manhattan: floating rings illusion device inspired by the recent Watchmen series. Two attached rings appear to roll in an impossible way around an orb, featured in a number of scenes on top of blue interplanetary phone booths in the new Watchmen series. Created in my shop with plastic rings and some blue spray paint.
This version is a bit pricy, but very well made and shows the phenomena of spontaneous stratification better than any other versions I've seen:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Kinetic Sandscape: the phenomenon of spontaneous stratification is a striking feature of this sand motion desk toy. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap in the air bubbles, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. The stratification process is a slow one in this device, here about 30 minutes have been condensed to the 60 second IG format.
This type of kaleidoscope is hard to find and mostly made by artists. Here are two examples currently avaliable:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chorus Line Kaleidoscope
From KaleidoscopeShop.com: BUY NOW: Chorus Line Kaleidoscope
Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored
Chorus Line Kaleidoscope: an interesting and uncommon kaleidoscope design where two mirrors are placed with surfaces parallel to each other- resulting in a side by side strip of alternating images. Here the camera is attached to the view port and the entire tube is rotated to produce the changing patterns. The kaleidoscope was invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), and has become an entire field of artistic endeavor.
There are many affordable versions of this device:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Flow Ring
The original version is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Toroflux
Get one and flow with it!
From Art of Play: BUY NOW
Why does it look like a bubble when moving fast? Wikipedia has the details: when the object exceeds a certain speed the flicker fusion frequency of our vision produces the bubble illusion.
The physics of the toroflux is wonderfully illustrated and explained in this article by Daniel Walsh.
Mini-Toroflux: kinetic art toy made from a single continuous loop of stainless steel band. The band of spring metal is woven such that it forms a torus that can clamp on to and roll down a stick or in this case s segment of cord. This miniature version loops through itself nine times which requires the spring ribbon to twist creating a tension such that when released the spring will pop into its minimum energy state- a flower-like torus. Amazing combination of math and kinetic art invented by Jochen Valett. Thanks to Tim Rowett for sending me this rare mini version for my collection.
Classroom demonstration models are available here
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wilberforce Pendulum Apparatus
Wikipedia has a good introduction to the physics: Wilberfocre Pendulum
Wilberforce Pendulum: the mass and spring properties of this device are tuned such that the kinetic energy transfers back and forth between bouncing and twisting in this special coupled harmonic oscillator system invented by physicist Lionel Wilberforce in 1896. If any system is free to oscillate in two or more ways, the energy can transfer between the different modes- note that the bouncing completely stops for a bit, and then the twisting briefly stops- and back and forth with a period of energy transfer at about 15 seconds between the bounce mode and the twist mode. Here the mass and rotational inertia (altered by moving the four small masses in and out) are adjusted so that the resonance frequency of twisting is equal to the resonance frequency of bouncing. This system will complete up to 5 cycles (from rotation only to bounce only and back) before the energy is dissipated.
Logan sometimes has items for sale here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PocketScintillators
Pocket Scintillator Card: three sheets of seemingly random arrays of translucent colored pixels produce words and images when stacked- shift the stack of sheets and a second images appears! Innovative kinetic optical art by inventor, artist, software developer Logan Kerby @thanksplease who kindly sent me these cards encoded with @physicsfun themes.
Get these and other amazing developable rollers here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Hexacon and Sphericon Rollers
Hexacon Roller: beautiful 3D printed versions of a recent mathematical discovery of new developable rollers (objects that roll where every point on the roller’s surface comes into contact with the plane upon which it rolls). Similar to the sphericon (based on a square) the hexacon rolls in a straight line with a peculiar wobble motion but has a hexagonal cross section (swipe to see video loop of each in motion). The hexacon (2019) and sphericon (1980) are two of a family of such rollers called polycons discovered by David Hirsch, and described in a paper by Hirsch and Seaton published in January of this year.
The second generation of this amazing device is now available here:
From beuplifted.com: BUY NOW: Uplift 2.0
Uplift and Uplift 2.0: a spiral kinetic sculpture under glass, mounted on precision bearings and powered by light. The rotation is propelled silently by a simple and elegant bidirectional motor- a disk shaped copper coil impels an array of six neodymium magnets, powered by a single solar cell. The included hand held magnet allows one to select the direction of flow.
KaleidoFlow fluid and associated devices available here:
From Laminar Sciences Corp: BUY NOW: KaleidoFlow Rheoscopic Fluid
KaleidoFlow Fluid Cell: the phenomenon of streaming birefringence colorfully reveals the temporary sheer stresses induced in a liquid by a moving plastic sphere. The “Glorb” device design features a cylindrical cell with polarizing filters as the top and bottom windows and filled with this special rheoscopic fluid and a plastic bead. This assembly then slides into a base with white LEDs to supply backlighting. Many thanks to Laminar Sciences Corp for supplying this beautiful display cell and bottles of KaleidoFlow fluid for experimentation.
The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy version from their website:
From GeelongShop.com: BUY NOW The Swinging Sticks
The Swinging Sticks: reposting a personal favorite- 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).
Get a set here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Tornado Spheres
Get a concave mirror like the one in the video for less than $3 here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Mirror
And get a set of inexpensive colored lights here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Color LED lights
Tornado Spheres: two ball bearings welded together can be made to spin up to 2000+ rpm by the Magnus Effect using a stream of air. Shining three colored LEDs on the spinning pair produces an illusion of floating rings along with a second illusion that these rings are rotating and changing direction due to aliasing with the frame rate of the video camera (like the famous wagon-wheel effect).
Many animations to choose from:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Cinspinner Animation
CineSpinner: motion animation from Moiré pattern effects of constructive and deconstructive interference. Affordable kinetic art by Scanimation creator, artist, and author Rufus Butler Seder.
From sphidget.com: BUY NOW: Magnetic Tensegrity Table
See similar scupltures here: Tensegrity on @physicsfun
Folow this link for Mova kinetic globes: Mova Globes- Earth and Planets
Magnetic Tensegrity Table: This CNC machined tensegrity sculpture replaces the center tension member (chain) with a pair of attracting neodymium magnets. Made from 6061 aluminum and nickel plated steel chain, the “Impossible Table” is the creation of Kevin Sayers of sphidget.com. The table can support up to about a kilogram of mass, and makes for a nice display stand for my Mova globe of Pluto (swipe to view). Another fun configuration of the tensegrity concept, invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949.
Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mova Globes: all types
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mova Globes: Jupiter
From eBay: BUY NOW Mova Globes: all types
From movaglobes.com: BUY NOW Mova Globe: Jupiter
Jupiter Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent Jupiter globe on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device.
Austine has an on-line gallery of her amazing work.
From Austine Studios: BUY NOW: Polarized Light Art
click here for more .
Here is a very nice discussion about polarization that pertains to Polage: Experiments With Polarized Light by Donald E. Simanek
Polage Miniatures: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and birefringent cellophane to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the polarizing filter allows the artist to produce colorful metamorphosis. These affordable sun catchers were created by Austine Wood Comarow (the main developer of this art form), and look amazing through polarized sunglasses as well. Light as a transverse wave has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
Get this cube here:
from Amazon: BUY NOW: CMY Cube
CMY Color Cube: physics and psychophysics of color perception demonstrated with this acrylic art object. Thin films cover parallel sides of the transparent cube in cyan, magenta, and yellow which comprise the elements of the CMY subtractive color model- viewing the cube through various angles allows exploration of multiple and interesting combinations of the CMY elements.
See also: the CMYK model and colorspace on Wikipedia.
Get this precision machined and balanced desk pendulum here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Double Chaotic Pendulum
Mini Double Pendulum: 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 frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion (shown here in 240 fps slow 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. This well made precision bearing double pendulum is made by Doug Cvelbar.