Get this affordable physics tensegrity sculpture here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Tensegrity Sculpture
Tensegrity for the Desk: an elegant, and stackable, desk toy version of this popular tensegrity configuration by maker/designer Micah Murdoch. Constructed from poplar wood, the design assembles easily with clever ball and socket connectors at the ends of the nylon support lines (3 long, 1 short). Stacking them seems to only increase the illusion of floating with the subtle way these structures defy gravity. Another fun configuration of tensegrity concept, invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949.
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: 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-19A where the numbers are stacked so the front symbols obscure each lighted cathode minimally: from back to front 1320984756.
A nice version is curretnly available from this Etsy craft store:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Impossible Nail
Impossible Nail: An eighteen-penny nail driven through the inner notches of a solid piece of wood. The wood was notched and the nail added- no glue used or cuts made, and the nail is solid and in one piece. Not impossible, but creating this does depend on the use of some amazing physical properties of wood. I won’t reveal the method here but a quick search on YouTube produces a few how-to videos showing the process.
Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Motion Ferrofluid Sculpture
Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells: spectacular metallic blue, gold, and black display cells by czferro - colloidal ferromagnetic liquids in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. The gold and blue coloring appears to be from a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid. Still exploring the details of the coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid - both trade secrets it seems.
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.
Another wonderful desing by BinDesign- get one here in black or natural wood:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bin Design Balancer Puzzle
Balance Stacking Sculpture: a series of torques in unstable equilibrium complete this Calder-esque structure. As each component is added its weighted end balances all the others before it, with the initial small piece weighing about a gram or so. Remove the end piece and the whole structure comes down. Another wonderful design by artist Bin Xu.
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.
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 this 3D printed/hand painted tensegrity art here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: LUNA Tensegrity Display Table
Tensegrity Table: A wonderful three string version of the suspension equilibrium table. The LUNA tensegrity stand is 3D printed and then painted by hand, with designer Anthony Yap incorporating a celestial moon phase motif to nice effect, and clear nylon fishing line for an almost invisible means of support. Another configuration related to the concept of tensegrity invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949.
Get this "impossible" jar and other amazing things from this shop:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Impossible Jar & Golf Ball
Impossible Jar with Golf Ball: a regular off the shelf golf ball somehow trapped within a standard glass jar. Neither the ball nor the jar were cut or glued in the fabrication process. The puzzle aspect is to consider how this object was produced (again, I have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). This incredible piece was made by craftsman and artist Nathan Nickerson, and comes with the golf tee display stand (a nice touch!)
See more of Ernie's amazing creations here in his Etsy shop Element83
From Etsy: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures
Bismuth Diamagnetic Trap Levitation: neodymium cube magnet trapped between two pieces of strongly diamagnetic bismuth crystal. 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 two large ceramic magnets are placed on each side and 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. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.
This set of 3D printed scutoids available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Scutoid container set
Scutoids: a recently recognized form of geometric solids discovered in 2018. Scutoids have a different polygon on each end, and when packed together maximize stability and minimize energy when forming a boundary layer- such as the membranes around organs in living tissue. These 5-6 scutoids have pentagons on one end and hexagons on the other. Discovered by a collaboration of biologists and mathematicians in 2018, this set is sold by Recep Mutlu of 3DPrintBase.
Logan sometimes has items for sale here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PocketScintillators
Pocket Scintillator Card: three sheets of seemingly random arrays of translucent colored pixels produce words and images when stacked- shift the stack of sheets and a second images appears! Innovative kinetic optical art by inventor, artist, software developer Logan Kerby @thanksplease who kindly sent me these cards encoded with @physicsfun themes.
From Etsy: BUY NOW Squirkle Mug Ambiguous Object Illusion
These type of objects were invented by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara, and you can buy his books here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects by Kokichi Sugihara
From Amazon (Japan): BUY NOW set of four ambiguous objects with booklet
This kit contains four white plastic illusion objects (including the arrow) and a booklet. I used the translate feature in the Chrome browser to place my order and it shipped to California in a few days.
The math and physics are described here in this technical journal article by Prof. Sugihara.
Ambiguous Object Illusion Mug: circle or a square? It’s all a matter of perspective and viewing angle. The complex shape allows for both to be perceived and is based on the work of mathematician Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan, the inventor of this illusion and art form.
Very nice wooden mini-teleidoscopes are affordably priced here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mini Teleidoscope
From Etsy: BUY NOW Mini Teleidoscope
Diffraction spin disks are getting harder to find. Here are some sources:
From eBay: BUY NOW Diffraction Spin Disk
and here: From Flynn Sci: BUY NOW Atom Disk
Teleidoscope with Reflective Diffraction Disk: a teleidoscope is like a kaleidoscope but with a lens on the end, such that the kaleidoscopic image is formed by whatever is put in front of it. Here a well crafted wooden teleidoscope is directed towards a spinning sheet metal disk with patterns of reflective diffraction gratings- seen here under a 40 watt incandescent bulb.
Get this Pegasus, and many other automata (dragons, fish, flying pigs!) from Keith Newstead's Etsy store:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Automata Kinetic Art by Newstead
Pegasus Automaton: Turn a crank and this metal pterippus takes flight using simple mechanisms in what mechanical engineers call a closed kinematic chain. In his elegantly crafted automata, artist Keith Newstead uses a crank connected to linkages with multiple joints to translate rotational motion to choreographed linear and oscillatory motions.