PhiTOPs are available in Aluminum and Brass:
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass
From EI: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Aluminum
Click here for more on the PhiTOP and using magnetic induction to spin it up.
Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: a copper ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. Rotating magnetic fields from under the wooden platform induce electric eddy currents to flow in the copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. This version differs from Tesla’s in that the rotating magnetic fields are created by, well, a pair of rotating neodymium magnets (revealed by lifting the top platform in this model). Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP, and this unique means of using a common lab magnetic stirrer to create the induced currents. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top.
Aluminium 1 Yen coins are the perfect denisty to float as shown in the video:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: 1-Yen Coins
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.
Impossible Trapped 8-Ball
Get this amazing object here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Trapped 8-Ball
Trapped 8-Ball: one more addition to my “impossible object”collection- a solid wooden frame contains an 8-ball which is too large to fit through any of the holes. The puzzle aspect is to consider how the ball was somehow inserted (as usual I personally have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). I can tell you with high certainty that the frame was fabricated from a single piece of wood, and once made, never cut or glued in anyway. A creation by artist/maker Troy Hawkins.
3D printed as well as handmade sphericons and similar shapes avaiable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphericons
Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: beautiful works of art in metal- available here!
From the Matter Collection: BUY NOW The Sphericon (Hex and Regular)
Hexa-Sphericon: Sphericons are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane- following the path shown here with white paper. Solids from the sphericon family all have one side and two edges. Each sphericon is based on a regular polygon, with the basic sphericon derived from a square, and here- a more interesting case with more complex rolling motion- from a hexagon.
This industrial grade museum quality device available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Giant Newton's Cradle
Regular sized Newton's cradles availabe here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Newton's Cradle
Newton's Cradle: industrial model made with galvanized aircraft cable, aircraft aluminum for the frame, and 1.5 inch one-half pound nickel plated chrome steel spheres. (0.23 kg and 3.8cm in diameter each) The classic demonstration that shows the curious behavior due to conservation of both momentum and kinetic energy. Swipe to see comparison to standard version.
Similar models available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Cone of Apollonius
Cone of Apollonius: Slicing a cone with a plane will produce the famous curves known as the conic sections, as demonstrated with this beautiful vintage wood model by Nasco. Slicing at a right angle to the cone’s axis of symmetry produces a circle, and tilting the intersecting plane a bit produces an ellipse. When the plane is tilted parallel to the side of the cone the curve produced is a parabola, and tilting even further creates a hyperbola. The discovery of the mathematics demonstrated here are attributed to Apollonius of Perga from about 250 BC- thousands of years later Kepler, Newton, and others showed these conic sections to be intricately connected to many branches of physics such as planetary orbits and the optics of telescopes.
Get this well crafted puzzle from Creative Crafthouse here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Crossroads Four Marble Puzzle
From Etsy: BUY NOW Four Marble Puzzle
Four Marble Puzzle: physics brain teaser- move all four marbles to their corner locations simultaneously. Each slot slopes down towards the center such that the marbles tend to stay at the center- so, how would one get them to roll outward at the same time? The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun basic physics principles. Answer below and swipe to reveal solution. A beautiful and well-made puzzle from Creative Crafthouse.
This bird-in-egg and similar vintage style tin toys avalable here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Centripetal Egg Tin Toy
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Centripetal Egg Tin Toy
Centripetal Egg: a simple rack and pinion mechanism spins up the tin egg shell to reveal a duckling in this vintage style tin toy. The four pieces of the egg shell are held in place with a rubber band. With sufficient centripetal acceleration the elastic force of the rubber band is temporarily overcome until the spinning assembly slows down and the egg snaps shut again.
Limited quantities of this vintage top- available from the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum of Burlington, Wisconsin
Aslo this vintage version available on Etsy:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Laser Disk Top
Holographic Optical Top: a vintage sheet metal disk top spins with patterns created from reflective diffraction gratings- seen here illuminated by a light panel and flashlight- each producing illusions of depth and curious motions. Produced in the 1990s this set includes three interchangeable rings and circles of foil on card stock.
Similar innovative rolling ball sculptures available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Marble Machine
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.
Get this amazing and affordable science sculptue here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bismuth Maglev Rod
Click here to see other diamagnetic toys and scuptures
Bismuth Maglev Rod: Small magnets are trapped, suspended and floating, within the notch of a rod cast from the diamagnetic metal bismuth. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the small floating magnet supplies the external field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though, so a powerful neodymium magnet sits above the gap on the top of the rod, and its height is adjusted to help lift the small magnet against gravity. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon of Element83.
This vintage art often found here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: John Anderson Kinetic Art
Kinetic Balance Sculpture: two ribbons of aluminum balance on a third in equilibrium with gravity- but free to rotate about pivot points above each system’s center of mass. A vintage find from 1974 by artist John W. Anderson.
Similar ferrofluid devices available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Sculptures
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.
I got this fun device here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Haptic Magnet Toys
Magnetic Fidget Physics: iron rich ball bearings temporarily become dipole magnets and repel each other- and when manipulated they keep their distance. In this design the ball bearings snap into place above one of the seven neodymium magnets embedded within the 3D printed disk.
Available here (in limited supply):
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine
Original listing on Etsy: Perpetual Marble Machine
Note: poorly designed knock-offs are being sold widely that are not at all the same device. If the price is less that $150 USD then it is not the same quality device and mechanism as shown here.
Perpetual Motion Simulator: this marble machine device does not break any laws of thermodynamics- but it sure looks like it! When I first saw videos of this piece of kinetic art I thought the effect was due to video editing, but in fact the base contains a power source and very clever mechanism (swipe twice for clue/partial reveal). An amazing piece of art by William Le expertly crafted from stainless steel wire, doussie hardwood, and undisclosed internal components.
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.