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Phonotrope Spinning Gears

Get this and other amazing phonotrope spinners here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Phototrope Animation Spinners 

Phonotrope Spinning Gears: one more amazing phonotrope from apyrodesign. When the rate of rotation matches the rate of the smartphone video process (wait for it) twelve animated gears appear to mesh and turn. The precision laser cut acrylic is specifically designed to interact with the video process, similar to the animation effect of a flip book, but in a repeating cycle like that of the phenakistiscope, the 1833 invention that started moving media animation that lead to the development of movies and video. 

Caustic Projection Optical Element

This optical element is a component of this affordable Laser show device:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Aurora Laser Show Projector

Get this beautiful new color of laser pointer here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW: 488nm Laser Pointer (Cyan)

Caustic Projection Optical Element: the intricate geometries of light due to refraction through various curved surfaces of transparent plastic. A 488 nm cyan laser pointer is refracted through an optical element with lumpy surface features which create this aurora/nebula effect. When light rays refract through a curved surface they concentrate into bright patches called caustics, often with cusp singularities (sharp points) and intricate threads of shadow. 

UFO Mirascope

Similar devices available here:

From Curiosity Box: BUY NOW: Mirascope with tiny Orange Octopus
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Mirascope 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mirascope 

UFO Mirascope: two parabolic mirrors create a 3D image above the actual object. The image of the tiny alien made here is not a hologram and is produced solely by reflection of light rays between special concave mirrors. Love the space saucer theme on this version. The mirascope design principle was discovered circa 1969 by Landry and Elings at UC Santa Barbara.


Levitation Lamp 

Get this fun lamp here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Levitation Lamp

Levitation Lamp: tapping the floating spherical magnet turns this LED lamp off and on in this interesting design. The magnet floats a couple centimeters from the surface of the base when plugged in, and feels springy to the touch. Within the base is a control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity. 

Perpetual Motion Simulator Marble Machine

Available here (in limited supply):

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine (reccomended seller)

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.

Hyperbolic Holes

This inexpensive kit available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Hyperbolic Holes Kit

Hyperbolic Holes: a straight rod, in this case a pencil, glides through a symmetrical pair of curved holes. The design is based on the hyperboloid, the 3D ruled surface traced by an offset rotating diagonal line. This device is sold as an inexpensive kit to assemble yourself, and includes a motor with geared drive and pre-cut pieces. The pencil is my addition- sharpened to just the right size to clear the curved openings.


Magnetic Chaotic Pendulum

Currently available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Chaotic Pendulum 

Chick here for similar chaotic systems

Magnetic Chaotic Pendulum: adding magnetic forces to gravity gives this pendulum chaotic motion- not random, but very sensitive to slight differences in initial launch conditions. Arranging the dipoles magnets on the base leads to different patterns of motion- here the center magnet attracts and the rest are set to repel. ROMP pendulum by Hog Wild toy company. 

Kaleidoscope Symmetry Physics

Lief Colson's store is now Colorfulscopes on Etsy with many designs to choose from- all with precision aligned high quality front surface mirrors: 
From Etsy store Colorfulcopes : BUY NOW Precision Teleidoscopes 

Amazing next-level fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes

Get a Gyrobi here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Gyrobi Kinetic Toy 

Kaleidoscope Symmetry Physics: Two adjacent mirrors form the repeating image of a kaleidoscope, but the shape of the image is determined by the angle between the mirrors. This principle is demonstrated with three different symmetrical patterns using this beautiful set of precision teleidoscopes- angles of 36° (blue tube), 30° (green tube), and 22.5° (red tube), creating mandala stars with 5, 6, and 8 points. The angle for any symmetric star pattern of n points is just 180°/n. A teleidoscope is a kaleidoscope but with a lens on the end, such that the kaleidoscopic image is formed by whatever is put in front of it. Here the complex motion of a Gyrobi toy is used as the observation object. 


Electric Motor Build

Get an easy to assemble kit here (or just buy the replacement wire to build your own like in the video): 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Simplest Motor Kit 

Electric Motor Build: One of the most important inventions consists of only three basic components as shown here: coil, magnet, and a battery with lead wire posts. The wire of the spinning coil has an insulating coating on it- and this coating is carefully scrapped off one side of the thin wire on each end. When current passes through the coil it becomes an electromagnet and the permanent magnet repels it making it spin- as it turns the current goes on and off depending on if the copper wire posts are in contact with the bare wire side (current on) or the part of the wire with the insulating coating intact (current off). When the current is off momentum keeps the rotation going until the next push. The physics of converting electric energy to rotational kinetic energy- and a fun DIY project! 

Gyroscopically Stabilized Rail Runner

Get this inexpensive toy here:

From eBay: BUY NOW: Gyroscope Rail Toy

Gyroscopically Stabilized Rail Runner: this toy remains upright on a single wheel as it travels along any thin rail or tightrope. A flywheel with considerable mass is ramped up to high RPMs via a small motor powered by two AA batteries (a stand is provided for this initial process to complete). Once operating speed is obtained the device will keep its orientation due to conservation of angular momentum, allowing it to seemingly magically balance on one point. The motor also turns the drive wheel which propels the device along any thin guide rail. 

Hero's Engine

This live steam engine is available here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Hero's Engine

Hero’s Engine: the very first steam engine ever devised, the Aeolipile is a radial steam jet reaction turbine, an a invention attributed to Hero of Alexandria in the year 1 AD. Water within the spherical container is heated to produce steam which exits through nozzles directed at right angles to the radial direction, and by Newton’s third law these jets produce a torque about the rotation axis. There is no historical record of this engine being put to practical use in ancient times- except perhaps as the world’s first physics toy!


Heritage Periodic Table: Collector's Edition

The Collector's Edition Periodic Table with 85 element samples: 
From Etsy store ProtoshopLLC : BUY NOW 
Heritage Periodic Table

The Heritage Periodic Table: Collector’s Edition- a comprehensive collection of the chemical elements that can fit in the hand. Embedded in acrylic are actual samples of 85 of the 118 elements- including pure gasses and reactive alkali metals in glass ampules- and represented by 80 high purity samples (including a Gold nugget and liquid Mercury) and 5 compounds. Radium is included in the form of an antique watch hand, and the bead of Mercury rolls back and forth within its glass container. This spectacular table and collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC

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3D Phonotrope Spinner

Get this and other amazing phonotrope spinners here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Phototrope Animation Spinners 

3D Phonotrope Spinner: spiders on a treadmill! When the rate of rotation matches the rate of the smartphone video process (wait for it) six animated 3D-printed spiders spring into motion. The laser cut acrylic, with precisely placed spiders, is specifically designed to interact with the video process, similar to the animation effect of a flip book, but in a repeating cycle like that of the phenakistiscope, the 1833 invention that started moving media animation that lead to the development of movies and video. Another fantastic design by Travis at aPyroDesign. 

 


Rolling Uphill Illusion

Get the 3D print file here:

From Thingverse: Download Now: Uphill Illusion

Learn more: The amazing illusions of Kokichi Sugihara

See the many other Sugihara Illusions: in my collection

Rolling Uphill Illusion: the ball bearings seemingly roll uphill as if attracted by magnets of some kind. What’s going on? Swipe for reveal as it is truly a matter of perspective. A wonderful take on an illusion invented by Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University. 3D printed by my good friend @zathras5 (Roger Key) from a file designed by Julian Hardy. 

Photochromic Frisbee

Get this quality flying disk here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: UV Chameleon by Discraft

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

Photochromic Frisbee: the plastic of the UV Chameleon by Discraft contains photochromic pigment molecules that actually change shape when struck by photons of UV light, and the new shape alters their absorption properties such that they reflect a deep purple color. The color is temporary- room temperature thermal energy bumps the molecules back into their original configuration, and the color fades back to white in about 3 minutes (shown here sped up x7). A long wave UV flashlight is used to “paint” the disk purple, and sunlight will do the same very quickly.

Emission Spectra Gases on Radial Mount

I made the display holder and I got this set of gas tubes here (about $9 per tube): 
From eBay: BUY NOW: Gas Pure Element Samples

From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
For the price, this is the best one on the market- and beautiful to look at in copper- and it comes with three accessories for the top. Please be sure to employ all appropriate safety precautions when utilizing any electrical circuity!

The mount is made by driling holes in this acrylic tube: 4" Acrylic Tube

The breakdown voltages of the elements featured in this post are described by Paschen's Law: 
 
Here is a excellent article with an overview of the physics of glow discharge and its application in lighting and other technologies. 

Click this link to see the mini Tesla coil in action

Emission Spectra Gas Samples: pure samples of hydrogen, nitrogen and five noble gasses are subjected to the high frequency pulsed field of a miniature Tesla coil. Each gas has a characteristic breakdown voltage and emission spectrum- note that Nitrogen has the highest breakdown voltage and begins to glow after the presence of my hand temporarily lowers the resistance to current flow for that tube. The color of each gas is due to a mix of the colors emitted from electron energy transitions specific to each element- the basis of spectroscopy. Notice also that the purple color of the brush discharge at the top of the Tesla coil matches closely to the color of the nitrogen sample, which makes sense as air is 78% nitrogen.