Physics on Etsy!

Phase Locking Folk Toy: Hooey Stick

Versions of the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle available from these sources:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Hooey Stick Folk Toy
From Amazon: BUY NOW Hooey Stick Folk Toy
From eBay: BUY NOW Hooey Stick Folk Toy

Phase Locking Folk Toy: rubbing the stick over the notches creates both vertical and horizontal vibrations- and leads to an elliptical motion of the nail in the center of a propeller, which begins to rotate due to friction with the nail. This toy is called a Gee-Haw Wimmy Diddle (see the Wikipedia page- I kid you not) or a Hooey Stick. Note that depending on how the stick is held, the propeller will spin clockwise or counterclockwise. 

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 Moiré pattern effects of constructive and deconstructive interference. One of many CineSpinner type kinetic animation loops by Scanimation creator, artist, and author Rufus Butler Seder. 

Nixie Tube Clock

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. 

Glass Spirals Kinetic Ornament 

Sometime available from these sources: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Glass Spiral Ornaments 

Glass Spirals Kinetic Ornament: a thread of glass is shaped into connected helixes in this holiday decoration- one clockwise the other counterclockwise. When spinning the rotational motion creates translational motion both upwards and downwards along the vertical direction. Mesmerizing holiday decor! 


Sphere Sticks Geometric Puzzle

Get this affordable and amazing puzzle here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphere Sticks

Sphere Sticks Puzzle: 30 identical wood pieces, each with two notches as shown, can create 12 interlocking pentagons in a perfect symmetry- look carefully and you can see that each rod is in an identical configuration with the 4 others that connect with it. Precision cut notches on the rods allow them to interlock with elastic tension such that vector sum of the 4 forces sum to zero in this tensegrity type equilibrium. The dodecahedron, with its 30 edges and 12 sides, is the basis of this puzzle sculpture. 


Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle

This beautifully made puzzle available here:: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Rhombic Blocks 

Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle: There are 9 possible ways three rhombuses can be joined together along a common edge, and similar to pentominoes, these 9 tri-rhombs can tile a polyhedron, in this case a hexagon. There are 14 solutions to this puzzle, and one where no same-colored pieces touch. A beautiful math discovery by puzzle master Stuart Coffin.

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! 


Sodalite Fluorescence 

Get sodalite-bearing syenite river stones here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sodalite Glow Rocks

You will also want an awesome UV flashlight like this one:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: High Power UV Light

Sodalite Fluorescence: in daylight this rock looks like an ordinary river stone, but when illuminated with long wave ultraviolet light, patches of the mineral sodalite shine in bright orange glow. These stones are comprised of sodalite-bearing syenite, where syenite is a course grained igneous rock similar to granite but deficient in quartz. Found on the shores of Lake Superior- discovered in 2017 by Erik Rintamaki.


Fluorescent Corundum (Ruby) in Matrix

Get ruby in matrix stones and jewelry here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Ruby Glow Stones

You will also want an awesome UV flashlight like this one:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: High Power UV Light

Corundum (Ruby) in Matrix: the pink/red mineral inclusions in this polished sphere of fuchsite are ruby crystals. Ruby fluoresces in bright red light when exposed to long wave UV light (such as a black light), creating the illusion that the sphere is lit from within. The same fluorescent property of synthetic ruby allowed creation of the first lasers.


Get a smaple of labbradorite here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Polished Labradorite 

Labradorescence: the unique luster given off by the mineral labradorite that appears as a glow emanating from below the surface of the polished rock. This iridescence is due to the Schiller effect, crystals that grow in very thin layers producing colors from the diffraction of reflected light. Labradorite is a feldspar mineral first identified in Labrador Canada.

Tenebrescence of Hackmanite

Get a sample here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Hackmanite Samples

You will also want a powerful UV flashlight:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: High Power UV Light

Tenebrescence: a property of the mineral hackmanite which temporarily changes color when exposed to UV light- from pink/white to violet. Photochromism from a naturally occurring mineral! Similar physics to phosphorescence (glow in the dark) the purple color fades back to normal over about half an hour, and the mineral can be put into this excited state over and over again by the UV rays of the sun, or this high intensity UV flashlight. Also- hackmanite has a bright orange fluorescent glow under UV.

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. 

Am-241 in Wilson Cloud Chamber

I found this vintage apparatus on eBay. Here is a similar device made for classroom demonstrations (a bit pricey though): 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Wilson Cloud Chamber 

Diffusion cloud chambers that use dry ice are more affordable: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Diffusion Cloud Chamber 

Wikipedia has nice descriptions of Am-241 and the history and operation of Wilson Cloud Chambers 

Am-241 in Wilson Cloud Chamber: the typically invisible ionization tracks of alpha particles emitted from a radioactive source are revealed in this miniature expansion type cloud chamber. When an americium nuclei disintegrates it ejects a high speed cluster of protons and neutrons (2 of each) called an alpha particle which then plows through the air creating a trail of ions, tearing electrons off any nearby molecules it passes by. A rapid decrease of pressure (releasing the squeeze bulb) drops the temperature in this chamber allowing cloud formation. Alcohol droplets prefer to condense on ionized molecules/atoms and so reveal the tracks. Amazingly the synthetic element americium-241 is found in common smoke detectors, where a few micrograms will emit thousands of alphas per second. Of course please use great caution if you choose to mess around with any Am-241- it’s safe inside the smoke detector, much less so if removed. 

Iron Meteorite Guitar Pick

Hard to find but currently avaiable from this source:
BUY NOW: Meteorite Guitar Pick

Sometimes found on Etsy:
From Etsy: Search NOW: Meteorite Guitar Pick

Cosmic Guitar Pick: carved from a piece of Gibeon meteorite and etched with mild acid to show the special nickel-iron crystalline structures that are only found in iron meteorites. These Widmanstatten patterns from nickel-iron cannot be produced in the lab or in any factory- the structure only forms if the metals cool at a rate of 100 degrees per million years! 2 billion+ year old heavy metal from the core of an ancient asteroid! 🎸🤘

Impossible Bottle Sculpture Puzzle

Mr. Evans makes a variety of amazing impossible bottle sculptures: 
From Buy NOW Impossible Bottles by Philip Evans 

Nice Impossible bottles are often available on Etsy: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Impossible Bottles

Impossible Bottle Sculpture Puzzle: seemingly impossible, but created with clever engineering, this “impossible” bottle contains a padlock and full deck of cards still in the wrapper (a cut out in the side of the box reveals that all the cards are inside). The puzzle aspect is to consider how the bottle was produced (I personally have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). I can tell you with high certainty that the bottle was never cut or altered in anyway, and it was not somehow formed around the objects. This bottle by Phil Evans is one of the best I’ve seen. 

Impossible Caged Golf Ball 

Some nice versions of this impossible object available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Golf Ball in Wood Cage

See more of these thought puzzles in my collection here: Impossible Objects

Impossible Caged Golf Ball: Here a regular off-the-shelf golf ball is somehow trapped within a cage made from a solid piece of hardwood walnut. Neither the ball nor the wood were cut or glued in the fabrication process. The puzzle aspect is to consider how this object was produced (I have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist).

Ambiguous Object Illusion Mug

From Etsy: BUY NOW Squirkle Mug Ambiguous Object Illusion 

These type of objects were invented by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara, and you can buy his books here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects by Kokichi Sugihara 
The math and physics are described here in this technical journal article by Prof. Sugihara

Ambiguous Object Illusion Mug: circle or a square? It’s all a matter of perspective and viewing angle. The complex shape allows for both to be perceived and is based on the work of mathematician Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan, the inventor of this illusion and art form. 

Big Dipper 3D Sculpture

Get this amazing and informative sculpture here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Big Dipper 3D Sculpture

Asterism in a Box: Swarovski pearls, suspended by nylon lines in a specific spatial orientation, represent seven well known stars in the Northern night sky. The pearls in this sculpture show the actual 3D configuration of the stars that make up the Big Dipper! Only from one particular point of view- that of our sun- do they look like the "dipper", and this sculpture shows what this cluster of stars would look like from other “near by” star systems in our galaxy. Note that large pearl in the bottom right represents the star Dubhe, a blue giant some 326 times brighter than the sun and the farthest of the Dipper stars at 123 lightyears away. The rest of the stars range in distance from 58 to 101 lightyears, as measured from Hipparcos satellite telescope mission data. From artist Caroline Bowen of Hypotenuse Studios.