Some examples of O'Grady's vortex marbles are available on eBay:
From eBay: BUY NOW Vortex Marbles by Kevin O'Grady
A number of artists now offer vortex marble art on Etsy
From Etsy: BUY NOW Vortex Marbles
Vortex Marble: glass art intersects with the physics of optics in this lampwork art form invented by Kevin O’Grady circa 1994- and this marble bears his signature mark on the back. The clear glass face on these marbles acts as a convex lens giving the illusion that the spiral goes deeper than the diameter of the marble. Different kinds of dichroic glass (doped with thin layers of metals and oxides) is mixed in to the borosilicate marble to create the intense colors.
Bismuth levitation available here:
From Etsy- Element 83: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures
featuring amazing Bismuth Crystals, Jewelry, and Maglev Kinetic Art
Circa 1981, Physicists transmute Bismuth to Gold: Particle accelerators make possible the ancient alchemist’s dream—but at a steep cost
The Alchemist: cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a neodymium cube magnet levitates trapped between the hands of the ancient scholar. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a cylindrical neodymium magnet hangs above the figure and is adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Although alchemists never succeeded in transmuting lead to gold, in 1981 physicists used the particle accelerator at Berkeley to shoot Carbon nuclei at thin foils of Bismuth- the resulting collisions did produced a tiny amount of Gold atoms! So modern nuclear physics, applied to the element Bismuth, finally accomplished the aspirations of the alchemists. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.
Get this 3-color laser cut acrylic version here:
From Kadon Enterprises: BUY NOW: Stomachion Puzzle
Also a very nice multicolor acyrlic version here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Stomachion Puzzle
Learn about the 1998 discovery of the lost writings of Archimedes (and the technology used to recover them) in this TED talk.
Ancient Stomachion Puzzle: the oldest known puzzle, discovered in the writings of the great Greek physicist and mathematician Archimedes from some 2200 years ago. The puzzle is a dissection of a square into 14 polygons, where the areas of each piece are integer multiples of each other (a curious way to slice it up). In 2003 Bill Cutler showed that there are 536 district ways to configure these pieces to make the square (five are shown here), ignoring simple rotations and reflections. Swipe to see the most famous solution, attributed to Archimedes himself, that was found in an ancient manuscript discovered only in 1998- before this date historians knew the name of the puzzle, but no one knew what it looked like. Kate Jones, the maker of this particularly aesthetic version, found that when using only three colors for the polygons, there are only 6 solutions where no two pieces of the same color touch (four solutions shown here).
Get this Pegasus, and many other automata (dragons, fish, flying pigs!) from Keith Newstead's Etsy store:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Automata Kinetic Art by Newstead
Pegasus Automaton: Turn a crank and this metal pterippus takes flight using simple mechanisms in what mechanical engineers call a closed kinematic chain. In his elegantly crafted automata, artist Keith Newstead uses a crank connected to linkages with multiple joints to translate rotational motion to choreographed linear and oscillatory motions.
The Nixie Tube Clock in the video is of amazing craftsmanship- real hardwood with brass accents and solid construction. Get one from this excellent shop:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Nixie Tube Clocks
Nixie Tube Clock: long before there were 7 segment LED displays there was the Nixie- cold cathode tubes with a wire mesh and 10 cathodes shaped in the form of numerals 0-9 that illuminate through neon glow discharge. The “Numeric Indicator eXperimental 1” or NIX 1 was introduced in 1955 by Burroughs Corporation and manufactured until the 1990s. This clock uses modern electronics to power Russian versions called the ИH-19A where the numbers are stacked so the front symbols obscure each lighted cathode minimally: from back to front 1320984756.
Get this unique toy and amny other whimsical spinnign tops from this store:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gyro-Carousel Globe Tops
Gyro-Carousel: two terrestrial globe spin tops of the same mass hang balanced on the ends of a beam such that their rotational motion is allowed to transfer to the system as a whole. The tops are set to spin as usual, but here small neodymium magnets are embedded in the tops of their stems which allows them to connect and hang from metal pins in the beam. The angular momentum of each top is slowly transferred to the rotation of the system by the slight force of friction acting at the attachment point on the beam produced by the stem of the spinning top. Studies show that approximately 1% of the original rotational kinetic energy of the tops is transferred to the rotating beam, not much- but enough to produce this interesting effect. A design by physicist Christian Ucke and a product of KreiselArt (Ulrich Büker).
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.
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.
Amazing kinetitc creations made here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Spiral Gear Set 3D Printed
Original 3D print files available here:
From Thingverse: Spiral Gear Set
Logarithmic Spiral Gears: an extreme example of non-circular gear sets. This set is based on the famous Fibonacci spiral and evokes the cross section of nautilus shell with internal chambers. If one gear of this set is turned at constant speed, the other will turn with an varying speed. A laser cut based on 3D prints of Misha Tikh and the research of Balint et al.
Click here to visit this amazing Etsy shop Element83
Get a magnetic levitation sculpture here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Sculptures
Eclipse diamagnetic levitation sculpture. Cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a golden spherical neodymium magnet levitates trapped in a tunnel within the metal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the sphere magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cube neodymium magnet sits above the tunnel and is adjusted to help lift the sphere magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these fields, any other magnet brought near will change the balance.
Get this 3D printed/hand painted tensegrity art here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: LUNA Tensegrity Display Table
Tensegrity Table: A wonderful three string version of the suspension equilibrium table. The LUNA tensegrity stand is 3D printed and then painted by hand, with designer Anthony Yap incorporating a celestial moon phase motif to nice effect, and clear nylon fishing line for an almost invisible means of support. Another configuration related to the concept of tensegrity invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949.
Get a set here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Anamophic Cup & Saucer
Mirror Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: the cylindrical mirror of the silver cup reflects and reveals the distorted scene of a carousel ride with four horses and the buildings of Macau Heritage City. The shape of the mirror allows for a mathematical operation, a type of affine transformation, to map the distorted image on the plate to the restored image reflected on the cup. A nice example of mirror anamorphosis through the medium of ceramics.
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.
This puzzle was produced and sold in the 1990s.
The individual tiles can be found on eBay (and sometimes the whole puzzle):
From eBay: Search NOW Penrose Pentaplex Puzzle
Wikipedia has the details on Penrose Tilings and their inventor Sir Roger Penrose (Recently won Nobel Prize!)
A nice basic version of Penrose Tilings is available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Penrose Tiles
Penrose Tiling Puzzle: a challenging puzzle with pieces that come in only two shapes. Sir Roger Penrose- who just yesterday won the Nobel prize in physics for his contributions to General Relativity- also discovered tessellations (tilings) that are aperiodic even though the two tile types are regularly shaped polygons. If one tries to shift a part of a Penrose tiling, the shifted part will not align or match up with any other part of the same tiling- all the way out to infinity! This puzzle, entitled “Perplexing Poultry”, created and sold by Penrose himself, uses polygons modified into crazy looking birds such that the tiles can only connect in specific ways to ensure the non-repetitive nature of the Penrose tiling structure. Shown here is one way these two tile types will fill the plane.
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.
Similar 4 marble version of this puzzle available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Four Marble Puzzle
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Two Marble Puzzle, or get this set of puzzles
Two Marble Puzzle: physics brain teaser- move both marbles to their top locations on each side simultaneously. The solution to this puzzle relies on some fun basic physics principles- can you figure out which ones? Swipe to reveal solution. Found this well made version of this classic physics puzzle at a gift shop in San Francisco (note Golden Gate Bridge motif).
Get a nice 3D print made here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Heart Gears
Or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Download Free: Heart Gears Print Files
Heart Gears: This 3D print is guaranteed to put your heart in a twist- comprised of eight bevel gears attached to an octahedron center block, with the axis of each gear oriented to the center of each face of the octahedron. Rotate any one gear 360 degrees and the heart shape will reform. Another amazing design by Emmett Lalish, first printed in 2014.