Available here in a variety of colors and wood types:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Kwish Tensegrity Toy
Tensegrity Icosahedron Toy: an architectural engineering inspired toy for tots- believe it or not this design is sold as a toy for babies: the Skwish rattle by the Manhattan Toy Company. Six wood struts float isolated from each other but held in a stable configuration by a net of 24 connecting elastic cords. This configuration of three sets of parallel struts forms a Jessen’s icosahedron under tension, and was invented by the famous architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949. A physics toy for ages 0 and up!
Available in many styles and colors:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Sand Pendulum
From eBay: BUY NOW Sand Pendulum
Dual Axis Sand Pendulum: the kinetic energy trades back and forth between swinging toward the support arm and then swinging perpendicular to that path tracing Lissajous figures in the sand. The sand slowly dissipates the energy and the traced figures get smaller so the next one fits inside the last. Coupled oscillations like this can occur when multiple modes of motion (degrees of freedom) are available to the system.
Get one here! Chose your color scheme and length, all come with the special motor and operating instructions:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW: Dancing Helix
The Dancing Helix: This kinetic mobile's mesmerizing motion arises from pulsed torsion waves that propagate up and down the length of a series of weighed rods connected by an elastic ribbon (which acts as a torsion spring). The waves arise by a special pulsed motor from which the strand hangs, and only spins for a second or so out of each minute. The twisting waves then constructively and deconstructively interfere creating an array of flowing motions.
This amazing device now available here:
From ArtofPlay: BUY NOW: Uplift 2.0
Uplift 2.0: light powered kinetic sculpture with mesmerizing apparent translational motion due to rotation of a spiral element under glass and mounted on precision bearings. The rotation is propelled silently by a simple and elegant bidirectional motor- a disk shaped copper coil which interacts with an array of six neodymium magnets and powered by a single solar cell. The included hand held magnet allows one to select the direction of flow. A stunning creation for any windowsill by artist and inventor Tom Lawton.
Get this amazing sculpture here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Square Wave Horizon
See also: The Square Wave (Original)
Square Wave Horizon: a second incarnation of Ivan Black’s Square Wave interactive kinetic sculpture- in this version 20 interlocking right angle metal rods are mounted horizontally with accompanying base and grips at each end which allows one to rotate the structure to and fro. Waves propagate, folding the structure into a tight curl- and a reverse snap will bring it back to the initial flat square state. An important design feature is that each right angle rod is limited to move through about 45 degrees, and all through parallel axes, allowing for the beautiful rotational wave motion via a cascade of angular momentum transfer.
Bismuth levitation available here:
From Etsy- Element 83: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures
featuring amazing Bismuth Crystals, Jewelry, and Maglev Kinetic Art
Circa 1981, Physicists transmute Bismuth to Gold: Particle accelerators make possible the ancient alchemist’s dream—but at a steep cost
The Alchemist: cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a neodymium cube magnet levitates trapped between the hands of the ancient scholar. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a cylindrical neodymium magnet hangs above the figure and is adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Although alchemists never succeeded in transmuting lead to gold, in 1981 physicists used the particle accelerator at Berkeley to shoot Carbon nuclei at thin foils of Bismuth- the resulting collisions did produced a tiny amount of Gold atoms! So modern nuclear physics, applied to the element Bismuth, finally accomplished the aspirations of the alchemists. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.
Get this amazing top here:
From Etsy- ShirePostMint: BUY NOW Spinning USA Top
USA Copper Spinning Top: a ceramic silicon nitride sphere is precisely placed at the center of mass allowing this copper plate of the US to spin like a top. Stamped out of heavy 1/8 inch thick copper, spin times up to 4 minutes can be achieved. More physics magic by @shirepostmint !
This elegant design comes ready to assemble in your choice of four colors:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chil Balance Bird
Chil Balance Sculpture: the mass and orientation of the wings creates a center of mass below this sleek bird's beak- making a system that will rotate and oscillate about a stable equilibrium. No magnets! An elegant sculpture by artist Bin Xu of BinDesign that comes ready to assemble complete with stand,
Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: order your set today!
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. 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.
Get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wind Spinners
From eBay: BUY NOW Copper Wind Spash
Reflective Wind Spinner: this one translates rotating motion into a repeating expanding (or shrinking) circle. An interesting one of many ways to connect rotational motion to translational motion.
These are not just tops, but works of art. Available in Copper and in Silver!
From Shire Post Mint on Etsy: BUY NOW Copper Strobe Top
and in one Troy once of 999 silver
From Shire Post Mint on Etsy: BUY NOW Silver Strobe Top
These are not just tops, but works of art. Available in Copper and in Silver!
From Art of Play: BUY NOW
Strobe Coin Spinning Top: beautiful coin tops made of solid copper and silver display a remarkable spinning strobe pattern when viewed on video from a smartphone. Incredible art/physics from @shirepostmint that takes advantage of aliasing and the wagon-wheel effect. The black enamel pattern on the top of the coin is specifically designed to interact with the frame rate of the video process to produce the intricate motions of the concentric circle patterns seen here, and on the back of the coin a starburst pattern provides similarly interesting effects. These coins can be spun on both sides with spin times reaching 12 minutes! The contact points are super hard spheres of silicon nitride black ceramic (Si3N4) providing a low friction bearing.
Get this 3D print here (your choice of colors):
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Satifying Hexagons
Satisfying Hexagons: this delightful kinetic art manipulation toy features 19 nested hexagons within a hexagonal frame. Embedded magnets allows one to move the central hexagon from behind creating interesting visual effects. A 3D print created by @i.am.the.lazy.engineer- indeed oddly satisfying!
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Lava Lamp
Ferrofluid Interactive Lava Lamp: special ferrofluid infused wax allows manipulation of the blobs of “lava” with a weak magnet, adding an interactive element to the already mesmerizing physics of convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, and immiscible liquids. Love the atomic rocket theme on this updated version of the 1960s classic physics toy.
Kyle Auga-- kinetic sculptures:
Check out Kyle's art here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kyle's Kinetics
Surf's Up!: Another gravity defying creation by Kyle Auga, this time a well-balanced stainless steel surfer that carves waves in the air for over 10 minutes on one push! The surfer has the curious motion of a 3D physical pendulum- a complex motion which can be broken down into oscillations along two dimensions and rotation about the point of contact. The stick figure plus counterweights and bar structure is designed such that its center of mass is few centimeters below the contact point when at rest. When the sculpture is tipped the center of mass swings under the pivot point in this stable equilibrium condition- no magnets needed to create this physics magic.
PhiTOPs are available in Aluminum, Brass, and Copper (most conductive!):
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Copper
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.
Get a fog globe here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Fog Globe
Fog Globe: an ideal souvenir for a San Francisco winter- snow is very rare (1976 recoded one inch downtown) but prolonged fog marks the winter season. The “fog” in this globe consists of small glitter particles of uniform density that can be agitated into temporary suspension and then allowed to settle on the bottom giving the impression of dissipating fog. The particles settle out over the span of a couple minutes and at regular rate since they are fairly uniform and the drag force experienced by the particles depends on the size and weight of each.