Physics on Etsy!

Tessellating Geckos

These laser cut hardwood geckos are available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Tessellating Geckos 

Tessellating Geckos: MC Escher inspired lizard cutouts interlock precisely to tile a surface with no overlaps or gaps. Laser cut from maple, walnut, and cherry wood by maker/artist Craig Caesar and inspired by MC Escher’s “Study of Regular Division of a Plane with Reptiles” 1939. G4G week: Martin Gardner wrote about the art and math of Escher in 1961- which helped create the popularity that his work has experienced ever since.

Hydrophobic Water Maze

Wonderfully well crafted and available from this shop :
From Etsy store TheSmallestWorkshop:

BUY NOW Hydrophobic Water Maze

Hydrophobic Water Maze: a superhydrophobic coating allows this dynamic puzzle to use a drop of water as the "pinball", which can split into multiple smaller drops and recombine along the way. The wood surface is treated with silica nano-coating that makes water roll off- a condition sometimes referred to as the Lotus effect because leaves of the Lotus plant have this property.

Nixie Tube Clock V2

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 V2: 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-12A where the numbers are stacked so the front symbols obscure each lighted cathode minimally: from back to front 162750483.

Neon Plasma Glass

Each glass is unique and comes with tesla coil base:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Neon Glow Glass by TeslaCoilPro

Neon Plasma Glass: these double walled glass mugs glow orange and blue from the excitation spectrum of neon gas at low pressure. The base contains a high frequency transformer (Tesla coil) that generates high voltage electric fields (but at very low current) from USB rechargeable batteries- which excites the neon to glow, and also serves as a coaster. The inner volume varies in thickness which leads to variations in heat and pressure which in turn produces different excitations (orange and blue) of the neon gas in patterns that dance and dazzle the eye. Stunningly beautiful kinetic art and tech by creator Zerg Dragonymous.

Heart Gears

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.

High Voltage Wood Burn Fractal

Beautiful wood fractal art available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: High Voltage Fractal Art

High Voltage Wood Burn Fractal: a classic Lichtenberg fractal created by electrical discharge- in this piece artist/maker Nic Ferretti applied cobalt blue epoxy resin to fill the cavities of the burn pattern and create the look of frozen lightning. Swipe to see my attempt at this process with an old neon sign high voltage transformer using 7500 V at 20 mA. I turned the power off right before the two sides connected to get the fern-like look. The wood is slightly wetted with baking soda dissolved in tap water. WARNING high voltage can kill- do not use a transformer like this unless you are fully trained in electrical high voltage safety. 

Penrose Tiling Puzzle

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.

Arrow on Mobius Strip

Get this 3D printed object of math topology here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Mobius Strip with Arrow

Arrow on Möbius Strip: on the geometry of a Möbius strip a right pointing arrow points left after one trip around, a second trip restores the original orientation. This mathematical property is called non-orientability, and is also true of Klein bottles which I’ve posted about. I love how this 3D printed model, designed and produced by Wes Pegden, allows one to physically manipulate and intuit this somewhat obscure mathematical property. 

Ferrofluid Magnetic Tree Sculpture

Choose from black, blue, or gold ferrofluid: 
Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Nano Tree Ferrofluid Sculpture 

Ferrofluid Magnetic Tree Sculpture: the 'Nano Tree' by Concept Zero designs using gold colored ferrofluid which can be manipulated with a handheld magnet. The spiky structure is due to the balance between the forces from the focused magnetic fields (from a neodymium magnet in the base connected to an iron rich bolt) and the forces from liquid surface tension on the colloidal ferromagnetic liquid. 

Chelyabinsk Meteorite

Own a piece of asteroid- specimens like the one in the video are quite affordable:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chelyabinsk Meteorite Sample

Reccomended reading: Wikipedia- Chelyabinsk Superbolide Event

Chelyabinsk Meteorite: on this date eight years ago this piece of rock was in space. This meteorite was part of an asteroid that exploded over Russia in February 2013 as it entered the Earth's atmosphere at 19 km per second (41000mph). An object moving that fast in the atmosphere experiences pressure pushing back many millions of times more than normal, and at an altitude of 30km (97000ft) the asteroid detonated releasing the equivalent of 500 kilotons of TNT. This sample is a few grams of chondrite LL5 meteorite with fusion crust- a small chunk of former asteroid!

Stomachion Puzzle

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).

Butterfly Mendocino Motor

Get this elegant motor here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Butterfly Medocino Motor

Butterfly Mendocino Motor: the simplest (and very elegant) version of this motor with only two photovoltaic cells mounted with care to ensure precision balance. This motor will spin quietly to high RPMs on any sunlit windowsill. In this model made by Semyon Nazarov of SolarWindRU, each of the two photovoltaic solar cells is connected to a coil of copper wire under the opposing solar cell. When the rotor is lit from above the top solar cell provides electric current to the coil in the bottom position which becomes a temporary electromagnet that pushes against the permanent magnet in the base propelling the rotor to rotate. As the rotor turns, the coil that moves into the bottom position is likewise energized by the solar cell currently at the top- one can say the light commutates this motor. 2D magnetic levitation is provided by permanent magnets where an acrylic plate constrains the third dimension, and makes for a nice bearing surface for minimal friction. Invented in the 1960s by Daryl Chapin of Bell Labs and popularized by Larry Springs of Mendocino CA


Get a similar affordable Zoetrope from these sources:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Zoetrope 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Zoetrope 

Zoetrope: the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produces the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. The slits are crucial to creating the illusion by blacking out the visual stimulus for a short duration- without these pauses only a blur is perceived. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. 

Rolling Marble Sculpture

Similar and innovative rolling ball sculptures available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: 3D Printed Marble Runs

See more (miniture) marble runs here: Marble Run Fun

Rolling Marble Sculpture: marbles perform gymnastics as potential energy of gravity is converted to kinetic energy. An elegantly designed auger conveyor, an Archimedes' Screw, brings the marbles back to the top (powered by an AA battery and a small motor). Conservation of angular momentum produces a simulation of decaying orbits as the marbles whirl down the the main funnel shaped feature. 

5 Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes

Get similar devices here: 

See/buy a 3-Shuttle version here: 
From Curiosity Box: 
Trammel of Archimedes

From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

See this great video by the Mathologer for more details: Secrets of the Nothing Grinder 

5 Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes: similar to yesterday’s post- but more math is revealed as extra shuttles are added. As the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse- and each of the five shuttle points define points on a smaller circle that rolls within the perimeter of the device. This version was crafted from fine maple, cherry, and oak by artisan Neal Olsen. 

Floating Yen

These aluminium 1 Yen coins are the perfect denisty to float as shown in the video:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: 1-Yen Coins (20)

Floating Yen: the surface tension of water is strong enough to suspend the aluminum coin, and a trapped column of air in a second glass can submerge a portion of the surface with the coin. The 1-Yen coin has just the right mass and density for this demonstration. One of my favorite DIY physics demonstrations.


Vintage Super Eggs of Piet Hein can be found on eBay: 
From eBay: BUY NOW 
Superellipsoid by Piet Hein 

Get one in brass from this shop: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Brass Super Egg 

Superellipsoid: the "super egg" is a mathematical creation of Danish scientist and artist Piet Hein (also the inventor of the Soma cube puzzle). The equation of the superellipse is that of a regular ellipse, but raising both sides to the power of 2.5 instead of 2- the resulting curve had a flattened end that allows the superellipsoid to stand upright. The superelljpse has found use in architecture and design. This super egg is made of stainless steel.

Chorus Line Kaleidoscope

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 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.