All physicsfun toys

Magswitch

The smallest Magswitch in this product line, yet it can lift 17 lbs! The Magjig 60: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Magswitch 60 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magswitch 60 

Magswitch: switchable permanent magnet- a twist of a knob turns on a magnetic field strong enough to lift this 5.2 kilogram (11 pound) chunk of railroad rail. Magnetic fields, when combined, can be either additive or subtractive. This Magswitch model, the Magjig 60, works by aligning and counter-aligning two strong neodymium dipole magnets within a field channeling ferromagnetic casing.

Trammel of Archimedes

Get similar devices here: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

Trammel of Archimedes: as the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse. Sometimes sold as a “do nothing machine” or “nothing grinder”, far from doing nothing this simple and crucially important mechanism demonstrates how rotational motion can be converted into translational oscillatory motion- such as how a piston can drive an engine’s crankshaft. This version was crafted from fine maple, cherry, and oak by artisan Neal Olsen. 

5 Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes

Get similar devices here: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes


See this great video by the Mathologer for more details: Secrets of the Nothing Grinder 

5 Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes: similar to yesterday’s post- but more math is revealed as extra shuttles are added. As the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse- and each of the five shuttle points define points on a smaller circle that rolls within the perimeter of the device. This version was crafted from fine maple, cherry, and oak by artisan Neal Olsen. 


Chaotic Coupled Rotors

Sometimes available on eBay: 
From eBay: Search NOW Magnetron Chaotic Rotator 

Click this link for other tosy featuring the math of chaos theory! 

Chaotic Coupled Rotors: kinetic energy is passed back and forth chaotically due to magnets mounted on the the ends of the spines that repel. This toy was marketed under the name Magnetron and sold in the Natural Wonders shops in the 1990s-sometimes available on eBay.

Heat Pipe

The heat pipe kit includes the pipe and a copper rod: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Heat Pipe Demo Kit 

Here is the liquid crystal sheet used in the video (range 20-25C): 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW liquid crystal thermometer sheet 

Heat Pipe: a device that transfers heat with great efficiency- as demonstrated by this fantastic kit from @educational_innovations . Here a liquid crystal goes from green (room temp) to black (near freezing) showing the heat transfer to a piece of ice through a heat pipe (top) and a similar sized piece of solid copper rod (bottom). As you can see the heat pipe cools much faster than the copper rod even though copper is an excellent conductor of heat. The heat pipe is a thin shell of copper that surrounds a tube of sponge like material filled with some water vapor and sealed with a low pressure inside. The heat is transferred from one end to the other by the phase transition of water- at the warm end water in the sponge evaporates into vapor absorbing heat energy, the vapor travels down the hollow core to the cold end where it condenses into liquid releasing heat energy. The water is wicked by the sponge to the warm end and the process repeats. Heat pipes like this one pull heat away from the CPUs in modern computers preventing them from melting. The amazing heat transfer ability is clearly felt in the fingertips if one places the copper rod and heat pipe into a glass of ice water-the heat pipe immediately gets cold! 

Fulgurite 

It's now possible to obtain a fulgurite sample at a resonable price. Many sellers on Etsy offer a wide selection of specimens:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fulgurite Frozen Lightning 

Fulgurite: glass formation from when lightning strikes sand. One of only four ways to produce natural glass- volcanos, earthquakes (pseudotachylite from fault zones), meteor impacts (tektites and impactites), and lightning strikes (fulgurites). This fulgurite tube was collected from the Egyptian Saharan desert.


Trinitite Glass

Samples of trinitite are still available:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Trinitite Sample
From Mecari: BUY NOW: Trinitite Sample (wide selection)

Amazingly these Victoreen CD V-700 Geiger counters made in the 1960-70s still work great. Detetect the invisiable world of radioactivity with a piece of history! Make sure to buy the model 700, it's the only model that can detect low-level radaition sources:
From eBay: BUY NOW: CD Geiger Counter

Trinitite Glass: this piece of green glass was produced by the heat of the very first atomic explosion. Trinitite is the name given to the fused sand from the Alamagordo NM fission bomb test on July 16, 1945- code named Trinity. The 20 kiloton explosion melted a centimeter think layer of the desert sand out to a radius of a kilometer. Still mildly radioactive (as seen with this vintage Civil Defense Geiger Counter) but safe to handle. A piece of physics history! 

 

Vintage Wilesco Steam Engine

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wilesco Model Steam Engines 

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.

Micro Hoverboard

If you want to make one of these you will need: 
1) some pyrolytic graphite (which can easily be sliced and carved): 
From eBay: BUY NOW Pyrolytic Graphite 
2) some neodymium magnets: the racetrack magnets are a bit pricey though! 
From eBay: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Kit
3) shrink and print this image on medium weight paper, 
and 4) cut and assemble! 

Micro-Hoverboard: diamagnetic levitation technology- although Marty McFly would have to be three inches tall to ride this hoverboard. Made from printed paper and pyrolytic graphite with concentric circular neodymium magnet array. The magnetic rings alternate between north and south magnetic poles in just the right way to trap this special type of graphite. Pyrolytic graphite has strong diamagnetic properties such that it develops an opposite (but weak)magnetic field when in the presence of a magnetic field from another source. Swipe to see the graphite pieces levitating individually.


Single Tube Nixie Clock

This single tube version is an affordable alternative to showcase the vintage aesthetic of the Nixie neon glow:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Single Tube Nixie Clock Base (buy the tube in the next link)
From eBay: BUY NOW: IN14 Nixie Tube

Get the diffraction grating here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Diffraction Grating 

Get a beautifully made full four digit clock here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Nixie Tube Clocks 

Single Tube Nixie Clock: This minimalist clock uses a standard 5V USB connection and modern electronics to power a single Russian made ИH-14A Nixie tube- here the display shows the time 12:36 flashed in sequence. 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 at 170Volts. A diffraction grating reveals the brightest emission lines of the neon spectrum including: violet, green, bright yellow, and a bunch of orange/red lines characteristic of this noble has. The “Numeric Indicator eXperimental 1” or NIX 1 was introduced in 1955 by Burroughs Corporation and manufactured until the 1990s.

Magnetic Suspension Sculpture

The DIY version can be assemebled with these parts. Steel wire of guage 10 or 12 should work well. 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Quilting Hoop, Neodyumium Magnet, Steel Wire

Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture: Steel circles are suspended by a magnet (black sphere) and held down to the base by a thin thread. The tops of the steel hoops, being ferromagnetic, become a north pole in the presence of the south pole end of the black magnet, so they are attracted to the black magnet, but repel each other. Made by Rathcon Inc. in 1970. Swipe to see my DIY version made from a quilting hoop, neodymium magnets, and some bailing wire. 


Coins and Eddy Currents

I found this apparatus at American Science and Surplus many years ago. Follow the link below to find similar demonstrations of eddy currents and other electromagnetic toys and demos: 
 
physicsfun shop: 
Magnetic Toys and Demos 
Coins and Eddy Currents: coins interacting with powerful neodymium magnets. Eddy currents are generated when conductors move near magneticfields- these currents then produce opposing magnetic fields. Coins that are made of good conductors fall slowly through the magnets (quarters, dimes, and pennies) and those made from poor conductors fall faster (nickels).

Globe of the CMB

Produced by George Ioannidis and The Little Planet Factory: 
From Shapeways: BUY NOW Cosmic Microwave Background Globe 

The Cosmic Microwave Background radiation on Wikipedia. 

Globe of the CMB: measuring 7cm in diameter this 3D printed globe shows the temperature map of the entire sky in the microwave frequency range- and shows the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, the light of the photons left over from the Big Bang. If your eyes could see microwaves this is a map of what the sky would look like- hot and cold patches -a few parts per million difference between red (hot) and blue (cold). This mapped globe depicts the actual data from the orbiting Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) research team. These tiny temperature fluctuations from 13.7 billion years ago are directly related to the current large scale structure of our universe.


The Random Walker

Galton Board version available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Galton Board 

The Random Walker: second model of two Galton Boards designed and produced by IFA.com- this version is made to demonstrate probability in investment returns of a global stock market portfolio relating to risk capacity. Slow motion reveals the erratic path of each steel ball (second half of video). The red graph shows the distribution of 592 monthly returns (mean =1%, SD=5%) representing data from 50 years of an IFA Index fund- here the random “walk” of 3000 steel balls falling through 12 levels of branching paths always produce a close match, and both distributions tend toward the famous bell curve distribution. A wonderfully designed modern version of the Galton Box invented by Sir Francis Galton(1894) to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem - showing how random processes gather around the mean.

The Planets of Our Solar System to Scale

Made by Jay Fisher- Buy the Solar System! 
From Shapeways: BUY NOW Scale Model Solar System 

The Planets of Our Solar System to Scale: 3D printed accurate scale model of 8 planets and Earth’s moon. In this model: Earth (diameter = 0.80 cm) and Jupiter (diameter = 9.0 cm). Wonderful detail allowed by the 3D printing process reproduces the belting on the gas giants. The rings of Saturn are printed on transparency film. Made by artist/maker Jay Fisher using images from NASA. 

Kalliroscope with Heating Element Stand

Vintage (1970s) Kalliroscopes are sometimes available here: 
From eBay: Search NOW Kalliroscopes 

Click this link for the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.

Kalliroscope with Heating Element Stand: visualizing the invisible- convection currents. This wonderful vintage device was invented and produced by artist Paul Matisse in the 1970s, where suspended microscopic flat crystals of guanine reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the guanine crystals are the same density as the tetrachloroethylene liquid so the crystals never settle to the bottom making the fluid reactive to showing the slightest movement. Here the stand option (that was sold separately) has a resistive element in contact with the back of the kalliroscope which generates heat at about body temperature to establish these convection currents.