Get one here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Tail Spin Kinetic Toy
Tail Spin Geared Kinetic Toy: fourteen gears arranged on seven linked segments meshed in such a way that the configuration can roll up and stack compactly or extend into a line. With a flick of the wrist, one can impart enough angular momentum to the assembly to cycle it through its full range of motion- shown also in 240fps slow motion at the end of the video. Invented by Oskar van Deventer and produced by Think Fun toys.
This vintage toy is no longer in production (I found this on on eBay). Here are some sand sculptures that also depend on the angle of repose of the granular medium used:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Sand Triangles Kinetic Toy: physics of granular materials- matter with unique properties between those of solids and liquids- as demonstrated with this simple, oddly satisfying, vintage item by Naef Toys. Granular materials, such as the sand in this toy, flow but also stack with a characteristic angle of repose as can be seen here- the triangular peaks that form always have the same peak angle. The angle of repose mostly depends on the shape of the individual grains, rounded pieces cannot stack as steeply as rough shaped ones.
Get a set here:
From eBay:(best selecton) BUY NOW Ring Chain Catch
From Amazon: BUY NOW Ring and Chain Set
The physics of this trick in great detail with more slow motion: Ring Falling into a Chain: No Magic — Just Physics
Ring Catch Chain Trick: a solid ring will be caught by a loop of chain if it tumbles during its fall. By Newton's Third law, when the ring twists into and hits the chain, the impact transfers momentum to the end of the chain, which rises up and over the ring- seen here in 480 fps slow motion.
Get a Sp!n Top here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Sp!n Top
Sp!n Top: once set into motion the eye only perceives the punctuation mark ! in the center of a ring, with the vertical line seemingly suspended in space above the dot. The rate of spin is above the flicker fusion threshold of human vision, and the crossbars become blurred out and invisible- the effect is even more pronounced in person (hard to capture on video). Physics and psychophysics combine to produce this wonderful illusion!
Check out Raven's collection of work on Instagram: @madglasser and DM Raven if you are interested.
Some examples of Kevin 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
Split Vortex Marble: What does a vortex marble look like from the inside? Here are two examples of this amazing lampwork art: a split vortex marble by Raven Copeland aka @madglasser, and a classic vortex marble by the inventor of the art form Kevin O’Grady @kevinogradyglass (swipe to view). This rare split marble has been cut down the symmetry axis of the spiral and polished to reveal the inner workings of the vortex marble illusion, where the spherical clear glass face of such marbles acts as a convex lens giving the illusion that the spiral goes deeper than the diameter of the marble.
Inexpensive 3-mirror kaleidoscopes are available here:
From increadiblescience: BUY NOW: Moire Tube Kaleidoscope
Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored
See more amazing kaleidoscope designs from my collection: Kaleidoscopes
Four Mirror Kaleidoscope: a precise square arrangement of mirrors produces a four fold symmetry that “wallpapers” the view field in this unique handcrafted kaleidoscope design by Peter Roberts. Swipe to compare to a more traditional three mirror design. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.
Sandscape art from Klaus Bösch available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Sandscapes by KB
Follow this link to learn more about Mr. Bösch's art (since 1988)
Kinetic Sandscape: by Klaus Bösch, aka “The Sandman”, the originator of the sand+water+bubble form of these kinetic art pieces. The phenomenon of spontaneous stratification is a striking feature of these Sandpictures. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap in the air bubbles, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. The stratification process is a slow one in this device, here each transformation takes about 40 minutes or more- shown here using iPhone time lapse.
Get one here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW Solar Levitating Motor (on all models here-remove brown protective film to reveal clear acrylic on rotor)
Mendocino Motor: each face of solar cell 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 these d6 tops here:
Fron Etsy: BUY NOW: d6 Spin Tops
d6 Cube Tops: symmetry axes are often associated with interesting physics. For instance- a cube can spin like a top. Here we see that d6s can spin in a very stable fashion.
Available for under $100 US:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp
From eBay: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp
Magnetic Suspension Lamp: not only does this lamp defy gravity, the LEDs in the bulb are powered through wireless induction (no batteries needed). This kind of levitation uses a control system with an adjustable electromagnet in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allows for fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. If this lamp design is unplugged (or the power goes off) the bulb assembly does not fall, but instead snaps onto the upper armature via strong permanent magnets embedded within. Amazing physics demonstrated by clever engineering!
Get your custom message engraved here:
From Creative Crafthouse on Etsy: BUY NOW
Custom Opticum Font Message Plaque
This family of fonts is available here: Opticum 3 from Linotype
Opticum 3 Font: This laser engraved message uses the Opticum 3 font designed by Erken Kagarov, where indirect lighting reveals the symbols hidden in a maze- created by simply typing out your message using this font. Amazing application of geometry and shadow!
Get this tiny brass top here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Tiny Spinning Top
Tiny Top: the smallest spinning top in my collection so far. Made of brass and works well!
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).
Only available from these aritist/craftsmen:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Impossible Bolt & Nuts
Impossible Bolt: one nut threads on clockwise as normal- the other threads on counterclockwise on the same bolt! Not impossible- but carefully engineered and machined. Swipe for partial hint on mechanism. This puzzling curiosity was inverted by Scott Eliott and machined in solid brass by puzzle crafters Steve Nicholls and Ali Morris of TwoBrassMonkeys.
Get a similar super nice, affordable, and fun to assemble kit here:
From KiwiCo: BUY NOW: Glow Pendulum Kit
Get amazing quatilty science kits delievered to your home- this glow pendulum is part of the Tinker Crate subscription.
From KiwiCo: LEARN MORE: Tinker Crate Subscription
Double Pendulum with Glow Tracer Screen: A UV diode traces the intricate path of the pendulum on to a phosphorescent screen, revealing its chaotic motion. It’s amazing that such complex motion can arise from a simple assembly of two pendulums, one attached to the end of the other. Chaotic motion, such as that observed here, is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.
Get one from David Fowler's online shop:
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Vortex Dome Kalliroscope
Made with extraordinary craftsmanship and high quality materials, and sold at a very reasonable price!
Vortex Dome Kalliroscope: kinetic art with rheoscopic fluid in a rotating base. Visualizing the invisible- the Vortex Dome is the creation of engineer/inventor and @physicsfun featured artist David Fowler aka @physicshack who creates this modern rotating kalliroscope that generates complex and beautiful structures similar to those seen in the cloud bands of the gas giants of our solar system like Jupiter. The capsule is constructed of high quality glass on a heavy stainless steel base which glides upon an included bearing set for long spin times.
For the price, this is the best one on the market I think and beautiful to look at in copper- the music function does not do much, but it is a great little Tesla coil and it comes with three accessories for the top. Please be sure to employ all appropriate safety precautions when utilizing any electrical circuity!
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
Tesla Coil: miniature low current version of the famous air core double-tuned resonate transformer invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. The thick copper of the primary coil is set into three windings around the many windings of the tall secondary coil. This one uses a modern transistor circuit to excite the radio frequency oscillations that produce a voltage in excess of 50kV in the form of pulses that cycle about 100k times a second. This version is fed by a 24V DC power supply and is fairly safe due to a low current (mA)- but the circuitry does get hot and demands a huge heat sink with fan (the metal base can burn skin when operating). The coils comes with attachments- the spike produces a purple corona discharge as the voltage exceeds the breakdown voltage of air with current flowing into the air or arcing over to a grounded piece of metal. The corona discharge imparts momenta, and here the ends of a bent wire are set into rotation from the slight push of the escaping electrons. Swipe to see the ejected electron stream propel the end of a thin wire into a final state circular orbit. The more interesting behavior occurs during the initial transient orbits which seem to be hypotrochoid type curves beautifully captured here using the Slow Shutter app.
Available from these sellers:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Wilesco Model Steam Engines
Often available on eBay: BUY NOW: Wilesco D16 Engine
Wikipedia has a very nice description of the history and inner workings of steam engines
Vintage Wilesco Steam Engine: a working model reciprocating piston steam engine complete with boiler, flywheel, governor, and whistle. The invention that powered the industrial revolution on a desktop! My father bought this model D16 in 1970- with just a little cleaning and oiling it fired right up. Wilesco has been producing model steam engines since 1960 and still manufactures and sells the D16.