kinetic Art

Strandbeest Mini

Get one here! Make sure to get the Jr. Scientist version of this kit for best results. 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Strandbeest Model Kit 

Read about Theo Jansen and his novel leg linkage mechanism for the Strandbeests via these Wiki pages. 

Strandbeest Mini: A fully working model of artist Theo Jansen's Strandbeest kinetic sculpture which features Jansen's linkage- a unique leg mechanism which converts rotary motion of a crackshaft into smooth walking motion. Jansen's creations are usually a couple meters high and walk the beaches of the Netherlands powered by the wind. This version comes as a model kit that snaps together with no glue- a really fun project!

In-Feed Google

Slow Dance

This finally crated kinetic art piece avaiable here: 

From Wonder Machines: BUY NOW: Slow Dance

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Slow Dance

Slow Dance: a kinetic sculpture via induced vibration and high speed strobe lighting in which objects exhibit subtle and beautiful motion when mounted within this special frame. I love how the electromagnet, with its beautiful copper windings, is prominently featured at the bottom of the frame. Electronics within the frame send AC currents to the electromagnet which then pushes and pulls magnets on each side. These magnets are affixed to leaf springs to which feathers, flowers, and other objects are attached with elastic bands. The arrangement is then illuminated by LEDs set to strobe at just the right frequency to produce the slow dance illusion.


In-Feed Google 2

Strobe Coin Spinning Top

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

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. 

Hexa Sphericon

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. 


Planetary Gear Train

From Rail and Oak: the Esty shop of Logan Needham 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Planetary Gear System 

Planetary Gear Train: with non-circular gears! This piece of kinetic art features a 6-sided Sun Gear, six 3-sided Planetary Gears, all held within the 12-sided space of the Annular Gear. The video captures three of the many interesting modes of these epicylic gear systems: 1) holding the sun gear fixed while rotating the annular gear allows the planetary gears to orbit, 2) pinning the planetary gears such that they can spin (but not orbit) allows the sun gear to go in the reverse direction of the annular gear, 3) holding one planetary gear fixed produces curious motion- note that although the other planetary gears move they do not spin about their axes! Situation 2) is how reverse gear is accomplished in the transmissions of many vehicles. Thanks to Logan Needham (@pillagethenburn) for the ingenuous display stand that allows full demonstration of this work of physics and engineering art.


Euler's Disk

Get one here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Euler's Disk and Accessories 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Euler's Disk 

Wikipedia has an excellent introduction to the physics of Euler's Disk 

Eulers Disk: (best with sound on) this toy exhibits the motion of a “sprolling” coin, a motion that combines spinning and rolling. Designed with a large mass and very smooth edge, this device takes close to 3 minutes to come to rest- and amazingly, the contact point between the disk and the mirror can reach a speed of more that 200 mph! This video catches the first and last parts of this 2 minute and 42 second run, with two cuts to 240fps slow motion to show the curious motion. Watch the end with the sound on! 

Vortex Dome

Get one from David Fowler's Etsy 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 on bearings for long spin times. 

The Lollipopter

Four styles to choose from: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Lollipopter Kinetic Art 

The Lollipopter (The Helicone): one of my favorite interactive kinetic sculpture designs. With a bit of practice one can master the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the "petals" which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix. A creation by artist John Edmark. 

 


The Dancing Helix

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.

Tensegrity Icosohedron Toy: The Skwish

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! 


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. 

The Alchemist

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. 

Mini-Toroflux

There are many affordable versions of this device: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Flow Ring 

The original version is available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Toroflux 

Get one and flow with it! 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW 
The Toroflux


Why does it look like a bubble when moving fast? Wikipedia has the details: when the object exceeds a certain speed the flicker fusion frequency of our vision produces the bubble illusion. 

The physics of the toroflux is wonderfully illustrated and explained in this article by Daniel Walsh. 

Mini-Toroflux: kinetic art toy made from a single continuous loop of stainless steel band. The band of spring metal is woven such that it forms a torus that can clamp on to and roll down a stick or in this case s segment of cord. This miniature version loops through itself nine times which requires the spring ribbon to twist creating a tension such that when released the spring will pop into its minimum energy state- a flower-like torus. Amazing combination of math and kinetic art invented by Jochen Valett. Thanks to Tim Rowett for sending me this rare mini version for my collection.