kinetic Art

Sp!n Top

Get a Sp!n Top here- four colors to choose from:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW:  Sp!n Top

Sp!n Top: once set into motion the eye only perceives the punctuation mark ! in the center of a ring, with the vertical line seemingly suspended in space above the dot. The rate of spin is above the flicker fusion threshold of human vision, and the crossbars become blurred out and invisible- the effect is even more pronounced in person (hard to capture on video). Physics and psychophysics combine to produce this wonderful illusion!

Kinetic Boom Op Art

This wonderful piece is available from the artist here: 

From Rafael ParraToro: BUY NOW: Kinetic Boom 

Kinetic Boom!- a spectacular Moiré kinetic art piece by artist/engineer/innovator Rafael Parra-Toro @parratoro which creates motion animation using the barrier-grid technique on a slab of acrylic. Stripes on the front form effects of constructive and deconstructive interference with the interlaced colorful image printed on the back to create motion as the viewer’s perspective changes. A turntable display (swipe for vid) reveals the animation with a continuous and fluid interpretation. A wonderful addition to my collection of kinetic art. 

Get the inexpensive turntable here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Display Turntable

 

Holiday Pyramid

Many types and themes available: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramids 
From eBay: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramid

Holiday Pyramid: a simple heat engine- rotational motion resulting from the convection of hot air due to the candle flames of two tea lights. These holiday decorations come from a German Christmas tradition, Weihnachtspyramide, that dates back more than 200 years! Energy transfer: chemical bonds to heat to kinetic energy of the rising air to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and reindeer. 


The Lollipopter

Many styles/colors to choose from: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Lollipopter Kinetic Art 

The Lollipopter (The Helicone): one of my favorite interactive kinetic sculpture designs. With a bit of practice one can master the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the "petals" which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix. A creation by artist John Edmark. 

 

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.

Gifeez: Modern Phenakistiscope

This amazing toy for under $10: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gifeez Animation Toy

Gifeez: a modern zoetrope type device with built in strobe light to explore the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produces the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. This inexpensive device has two modes: 1) the strobe frequency is set to various ratios of the spin frequency creating fascinating motion of abstract geometrical images, and 2) the strobe is set to animate simple cartoons. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. This device includes a centripetal switch that turns on the strobe and a motor that keeps the disk spinning for a couple minutes and comes with 15 printed double sided disks and a few blanks to allow for your own designs. 


Reuleaux Rotor

This toy is availble from Amazon Japan and will ship to the US:

From Amazon.jp: BUY NOW: Reuleaux Rotor Wodden Toy

Reuleaux Rotor: this famous curve of constant width, the Reuleaux triangle, can rotate such that at all times it remains in contact with all four sides of a square. As demonstrated by this wooden toy from Japan, the rotor covers approximately 98.77% of the area of the square, missing only the sharp corners. The curves in the corners are in the shape of an elliptical arc. Fun fact: a Reuleaux triangle has a perimeter equal to pi times its width- just like a circle! 

Half Seirpinski Octahedron Fractal

Get this amazing 3D print here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Seirpinski Pyramid

or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Seirpinski Pyramid

Half Sierpinski Octahedron Fractal: this 3D printed math sculpture is one half of the sixth iteration of what is called “the octahedron flake” a 3D fractal based on the Sierpinski triangle. To make this fractal, on each iteration an inverted triangle is removed from the center of the previous triangle, and if this process is repeated indefinitely one gets the famous fractal. For this 3D print, the maker Travis Quesenberry used rainbow silk PLA to create the beautiful color gradient base on the .stl files by Rick Tu. Another example of math brought to life via 3D printing! 

 

Reflective Diffraction Laser Disk

These vintage items are currently available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW: Laser Disk Spinner

Reflective Diffraction Kinetic Art: a vintage sheet metal disk spins with patterns created from reflective diffraction gratings- seen here illuminated by a light panel and by a single LED flashlight. Produced in the 1990s, and this version has a Star Trek theme. 


1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova

Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: 1790 Terrestrial

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

Octopus Stand available here:
From pyrofarms: BUY NOW
OctoStand in Metal

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation in a Mova globe is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent map image 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. The featured map is a faithful recreation of a globe famous for its accuracy at the time by Giovanni María Cassini and highlights the voyages of James Cook.

 

The iTOP

Well engineered brass spinning toys by SiriusEnigmas:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The iTOP 

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PhiTOP

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The eTOP

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PiTOP

The iTOP: inverting spinning disk- the equilibrium state for a spinning thing is often different from that of the same object when stationary. When spun, the iTOP almost instantly inverts to raise its center of mass (shown in slow motion because it happens so fast). However, when the rotation speed decreases to a certain rate the system becomes unstable (shown again in slow motion) and flips again before going into a rolling/spinning motion like a coin. This top completes the set of four spin tops by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, all made of polished brass and themed on a mathematical constant. Swipe to see a demonstration of each: iTOP (square-root of -1), PhiTOP (golden ratio, φ), eTOP (base of the natural log), and the PiTOP (C/D of a circle, π). 

 

Rheoscopic Sworld

Get a Sworld ball (choose a color) here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Sworld Rheoscopic Ball

Also- the best in rheoscopic kenitic art- see: the Vortex Dome

Rheoscopic Sworld: this nice 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. 


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. 

Magnetron Chaotic Rotors

Sometimes available on eBay: 
From eBay: Search NOW Magnetron Chaotic Rotator 

Click this link for another toy featuring the math of chaos theory! 

Chaotic Coupled Rotors: kinetic energy is passed back and forth chaotically due to magnets mounted on the the ends of the spines that repel. This toy was marketed under the name Magnetron and sold in the Natural Wonders shops in the 1990s-sometimes available on eBay.


Rainbow Twirler

Get one here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rainbow Twirler

Rainbow Twirler: shaped by angular momentum and centripetal acceleration- when the speed of the ribbon is faster than the flicker fusion frequency of human vision it looks like a bubble. As the rotation speed increases the shape flattens- similar to the way the Earth bulges due to its rotation. Found this fun motorized base for this item in a toy store last week.

Unmixing Density Column

The bottle used here is from Voss Water: a nice cylinder and the labels come off easily. Amazon has the ingedients:

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
acetoneblue glitterfood coloring, Voss Water

The density column I made for this video is based on blend of two ideas: this "science snack" from the exploratorium: Klutz-Proof Density Column and this ChemED X post: Blog of Prof. Tom Kuntzleman  

See my Salt Fractionation post for details. 

Unmixing Density Column: three liquids that won’t stay mixed! Acetone (dyed blue) floats on top of the higher density vegetable oil, which in turn floats atop salt water (dyed orange) which is more dense than oil. Acetone usually dissolves in water through hydrogen bonding interactions, but solubility can be altered. In a process called “salting out” a sufficient amount of salt is dissolved such that the water molecules, which are much more attracted to the resulting Na+ and Cl- ions (through ion-dipole bonds), will then ignore the weaker acetone hydrogen bonds. This results in the spontaneous separation of these three liquids no matter how well shaken up. 

The DeltaCELT Rattleback 

Get one here: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The DeltaCELT

The DeltaCELT: a new rattleback design where the indentations create an asymmetry in the distribution of mass that leads to rotation reversals when spun: 1) If spun clockwise, after about two full rotations, a complicated combination of friction, precession, and instability induced vibrations transforms the rotational energy into into end-to-end rattling (energy of oscillations) and then into rotational energy in the opposite direction. 2) If spun counter-clockwise, after about 30 full rotations the rotational energy translates into side-to-side oscillations leading to a clockwise reversal (swipe to see- less dramatic but still amazing). The design is made of solid brass and has the shape of a bisected prolate ellipsoid in the proportion of the mathematical constant δ =4.669.. (Feigenbaum dynamical constant) giving the name to this new design by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher. The DeltaCELT comes with the polished slate spinning surface for optimal performance.