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!
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.
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.
Some nice versions of this impossible object available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Golf Ball in Wood Cage
See more of these thought puzzles in my collection here: Impossible Objects
Impossible Caged Golf Ball: Here a regular off-the-shelf golf ball somehow trapped within a cage made from a solid piece of hardwood walnut. Neither the ball nor the wood were cut or glued in the fabrication process. The puzzle aspect is to consider how this object was produced (I have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist).
Versions of the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle available from these sources:
Phase Locking Folk Toy: rubbing the stick over the notches creates both vertical and horizontal vibrations- and leads to an elliptical motion of the nail in the center of a propeller, which begins to rotate due to friction with the nail. This toy is called a Gee-Haw Wimmy Diddle (see the Wikipedia page- I kid you not) or a Hooey Stick. Note that depending on how the stick is held, the propeller will spin clockwise or counterclockwise.
The .stl files are available here:
Origial desing by Emmett Lalish Download: Gear Bearing
Refined version featured here by Don Stewart Download: Honeycomb Gear Bearing
Similar prints available as fidget toys here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gear Spinner Fidget Toy
3D Print Planetary Gearset: amazingly this gear set is printed assembled, with interlocking herringbone teeth. The gears will not come apart, in fact this design can only be accomplished by 3D printing the gears interlocked with each other. Designed and first printed by Emmett Lalish in 2013, and this version with refined precision and honeycomb by Don Stewart.
Avalable in five colors! Get one here:
From Mr. Sci (Science Factory): Rheoscopic Planet
Rheoscopic Planet: this example of fluid flow kinetic art uses rheoscopic fluid encased in flexible bubble of plastic to reveal the intricate motion of turbulence. A suspension of tiny flat mica crystals tend to align themselves at the boundaries where the fluid is moving comparatively faster or slower, making the typically invisible flow patterns visible. Another unique science toy from @mrscisciencefactory
Many designs to choose from- all with precision aligned high quality front surface mirrors:
From Etsy store Colorado Scopes : BUY NOW Precision Teleidoscopes
Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes
Get a Gyrobi here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Gyrobi Kinetic Toy
Kaleidoscope Symmetry Physics: Two adjacent mirrors form the repeating image of a kaleidoscope, but the shape of the image is determined by the angle between the mirrors. This principle is demonstrated with three different symmetrical patterns using this beautiful set of precision teleidoscopes- angles of 36° (blue tube), 30° (green tube), and 22.5° (red tube), creating mandala stars with 5, 6, and 8 points. The angle for any symmetric star pattern of n points is just 180°/n. A teleidoscope is 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 the complex motion of a Gyrobi toy is used as the observation object.
Choose your color and get one here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Hyperboloid Pencil Holder
don't forget a set of pencils:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Colored Pencil Sets
Better yet- get some thermochromic color changing pencils!
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW
Pencil Hyperboloid: a perfect gift for any math teacher- the precisely oriented holes in this base direct 16 pencils to reveal a hyperboloid, the 3D surface traced by revolving a diagonal(skew) line, the outline of which is the conic section of the hyperbola. A doubly ruled surface for any desktop!
These laser cut hardwood geckos are available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Tessellating Geckos
Tessellating Geckos: MC Escher inspired lizard cutouts interlock precisely to tile a surface with no overlaps or gaps. Laser cut from maple, walnut, and cherry wood by maker/artist Craig Caesar and inspired by MC Escher’s “Study of Regular Division of a Plane with Reptiles” 1939. G4G week: Martin Gardner wrote about the art and math of Escher in 1961- which helped create the popularity that his work has experienced ever since.
Get this 3D printed object of math topology here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Mobius Strip with Arrow
Arrow on Möbius Strip: on the geometry of a Möbius strip a right pointing arrow points left after one trip around, a second trip restores the original orientation. This mathematical property is called non-orientability, and is also true of Klein bottles which I’ve posted about. I love how this 3D printed model, designed and produced by Wes Pegden, allows one to physically manipulate and intuit this somewhat obscure mathematical property.
Some examples of O'Grady's vortex marbles are available on eBay:
From eBay: BUY NOW Vortex Marbles by Kevin O'Grady
A number of artists now offer vortex marble art on Etsy
From Etsy: BUY NOW Vortex Marbles
Vortex Marble: glass art intersects with the physics of optics in this lampwork art form invented by Kevin O’Grady circa 1994- and this marble bears his signature mark on the back. The clear glass face on these marbles acts as a convex lens giving the illusion that the spiral goes deeper than the diameter of the marble. Different kinds of dichroic glass (doped with thin layers of metals and oxides) is mixed in to the borosilicate marble to create the intense colors.
This industrial grade museum quality device available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Giant Newton's Cradle
Regular sized Newton's cradles availabe here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Newton's Cradle
Newton's Cradle: industrial model made with galvanized aircraft cable, aircraft aluminum for the frame, and 1.5 inch one-half pound nickel plated chrome steel spheres. (0.23 kg and 3.8cm in diameter each) The classic demonstration that shows the curious behavior due to conservation of both momentum and kinetic energy. Swipe to see comparison to standard version.
The book by mathematician Solomon Golomb that started the polyonomo recreational math craze:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Polyominoes
Pentominoes: The 12 possible arrangements of five identical squares joined edge to edge. Since 5x12=60, the pentominoes can tile a 6 x 10 rectangle with no gaps (2339 ways to do this- yet even finding one solution is a challenge). I love this beautiful set from artist/woodworker Ron Moore where each pentomino is made from a different kind of hard wood.
Eclipse: A diamagnetic levitation sculpture by Element83. Cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a golden spherical neodymium magnet levitates trapped in a tunnel within the metal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the sphere magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cube neodymium magnet sits above the tunnel and is adjusted to help lift the sphere magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these fields, any other magnet brought near will change the balance. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.
Get this precision machined and balanced desk pendulum here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Double Chaotic Pendulum
Mini Double Pendulum: the intricate dance of chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion (shown here in 240 fps slow motion) is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time. This well made precision bearing double pendulum is made by Doug Cvelbar.
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!
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.