The amazing art of Anne-Lise King available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kino Lamp Polarizing Art Lights
Lampe Kino: Art from from the manipulation of polarized light. These videos showcase two designs by artist Anne-Lise King, and each design can itself be displayed in numerous ways depending on the orientation of the polarizing filter and the layering of plastic imaging sheets. Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors produced here come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of light that passes through- light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic in proportion to their frequency, red and blue frequencies only a small amount. The images here are constructed with different layers of plastic to rotate the light by differing amounts. Polarizing filters are then added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
Get this device here (in your choice of color):
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Dual Threaded Bolt Print
Dual Threaded Bolt: this 3D printed fidget toy illustrates an interesting design that may have important engineering applications in preventing loosening of fasteners. Here one nut threads on clockwise as normal- the other threads on counterclockwise on the same bolt.
Each construced by hand, each a work of art- get a personalized bottle here:
From The Bottleologist: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottle with Frame
Impossible Frame in Bottle: the newest seemingly impossible object in my collection from craftsman/artist Grant Wicks AKA the Bottleologist. A framed photo complete with all hardware somehow assembled within a Fannys Bay Whisky bottle- a uniquely square bottle. More- the photo is a recursive Droste Effect image of the bottle itself. 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 frame.
This quality wood toy available here:
BUY NOW Hape Spinning Top
More flip tops here:
STEMcell Science Shop: BUY NOW Tippe-Tops
Fruit Themed Tippe-Top: spinning things often have surprising physics! This colorful top by Hape not only flips over when spun, it also exhibits interesting behavior due to instabilities as it slows down- serious break dance moves! Friction with the mirror provides a torque that acts on the existing angular momentum of the top to flip it over.
Get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Oil Drop Timers
Spiral Oil Drop Timer: when this drop timer achieves its steady state the drops form with amazing regularity in terms of both the size of the drop and the spacing between drops. The physics of immiscible liquids, surface tension, viscosity, and gravity combine to produce these interesting patterns.
Available as a set, or individually (all come with the super powerful sphere magnet) here:
From feelflux.com: BUY NOW: Copper + Aluminum Feel Flux
Get some magnetic viewing film here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film
Feel Flux Loop: original (copper) and the "Skill Flux" version (aluminum)- toys that use Lenz's Law to manipulate a very strong neodymium magnet. A changing magnetic field (such as that from a falling magnet) induces an electric current in the copper, which in turn produce an electromagnetic field (but of lesser strength) with opposing polarity. Interestingly the magnet falls a bit faster through the aluminum even though the walls are thicker- Al is only about 60% as conductive as Cu- so it takes more material to induce the needed magnetic field using aluminum. Interestingly the Al tube is about half the mass of the Cu one, even though it is larger in volume. Swipe to see the effect via magneview film which allows a visualization of the magnetic field- note that the field extends and is visible right through the thick copper.
Fairly simple to make- here are the inexpensive supplies needed to make a few of these motors.
AA batteries have a diameter of 14.5 mm, so a bottom magnet with a diameter of 15 mm is just right:
From eBay: BUY NOW Neodymium Disk Magnet
Wire that looks and works well is just 10 gauge ground wire. Inexpensive and available at any local hardware store-- or order a small quantity here:
From eBay: BUY NOW 10 gauge Copper Wire
Wikipedia has some good details on the physics of homopolar motors
Homopolar Motor: a minimalist electric motor- battery, wire, and magnet. This type of motor does not need a commutator- the polarity of the electromagnetic coil does not need to reverse. The challenge with this design is balancing the coil to center on the battery as it rotates. A favorite DIY physics toy!
Pallasites are indeed the rarest of meteorites, but they have become more affordable as more finds come in. Get a piece from this reliable seller:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Pallasite Meteorites
Pallasite Meteorite: olivine (peridot) crystals in a jumbled mix of nickel-iron matrix. You are looking at a piece of an ancient planetoid sized asteroid, specifically a chunk from the boundary where the nickel-iron core mixed with the mantle rock (similar to that of Earth’s inner anatomy). Dated to 2 billion+ years ago, when Moon sized objects violently collided in the Astroid Belt. These rare meteorites are small remnants of those ancient collisions, pieces that made their way to Earth.
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.
This set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Uphill Roller Double Cone
Uphill Roller: a double cone (like two funnels connect by their tops) will roll up a set of inclined rails. Although the bi-cone rolls toward the higher end, its center of mass descends due to the geometry of the rails. This curious construction was first published in 1694 by the noted surveyor William Leybourn to promote “recreation of diverse kinds” towards the “sublime sciences”. Physics fun from three centuries ago!
Click these links for ooze tube sources (green works best).
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Get an inexpensive 405nm laser pointer here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
(405 nm) Laser pointer
Fluorescent Ooze Tube with Laser: stunning visual effects from a 405 nm laser pointer interacting with the viscous polyisobutene fluid in this ooze tube timer toy. The fluorescent dye converts this particular laser light frequncy to green light as the fluid stretches into thin ropes that act as light pipes while bubbles reflect and fan the beam. Perhaps the next generation Lava Lamp?
Get a set here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer set
Viewing Magnetic Poles: visualizing the invisible- tiny iron filings suspended in viscous oil gracefully chain up to reveal the presence of magnetic field lines. Can you determine how the magnetic polls are configured by the structure of the field lines? Here three configurations, initially hidden behind white foam board, create the beautiful mappings of the fields.
This and other beautiful and well made puzzles are available on Etsy:
From Etsy: BUY NOW 10 Hex Puzzle
Two great resources about these polyhexs: polyform puzzler page and puzzleworld page
10 Hex Puzzle: this puzzle is comprised of pieces which are the set of all ways three and four hexagons can be joined with a common edge. There are 3 trihexs and 7 possible tetrahexs, and similar to pentominoes, these 10 polyhexs can assemble into a large hexagon. Amazingly there are exactly 12,290 solutions to this puzzle- but it’s still a challenge to find just one!
Magnetic Flux Pendants and other amazing science inspired fine jewelry available here:
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant: version 2 of the @foxtailjewelry - @physicsfun collab! Two half-sphere neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended under centripetal acceleration. Another kinetic art necklace design by artist Betsy Yates of @foxtailjewelry who brings this concept to life so elegantly and is currently featuring @physicsfun inspired pendants in her gallery and store.
Get this simple module here:
From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Mag Lev Kit
Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this bare bones engineered control system uses an adjustable electromagnet (the copper coil) and a Hall effect magnetic field sensor (embedded in the center of the the coil) to levitate a neodymium magnet and keep it from falling. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, all powered by a 12 power supply. Once trapped the magnet can also rotate, creating a nice way to display a small piece of kinetic illusion art hanging from a chain. A no frills design that shows the fairly simple circuit and components of such a levitation feedback system.
These vintage items are often available on eBay
From eBay: Buy NOW Magic Window
Wham-O Magic Window: popular 1970s toy with immiscible sand like substances interacting under gravity to create images that evoke landscapes and mountains.
This vintage puzzle was made in Germany about 30 years ago by "Dr. F Hein Spiele", and unfortunately there does not seem to be anything like it currently on the market. This is a table top version of anamorphic projection. Here is an example of large scale versions:
Anamorphic Projections of Felice Varini via Colossal
See similar art in my collections: anamorphic projections
Anamorphic Projection Puzzle: multiple layers of images, fragments of letters and colors, assemble into an image of a smiling sun if viewed from a very specific view point. Thanks to Mark Setteducati for sending me this vintage item.
Fully assembeld high quality clocks available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: VFD Tube Clock
Vintage VFD Tube Clock: before seven segment LEDs there were Vacuum Fluorescent Display tubes in which zinc oxide coatings emit green light when bombarded by electrons under high vacuum. A phosphor coated anode segment only illuminates if it and the grid (seen in close up) are both energized at positive potential. This clock features an eight digit IV-18 display tube manufactured in the 1990s and cofigured to power up via a USB cable - old tech meets modern electronics in an elegant acrylic case.