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Physics Toy Store 07


Fire Piston

This model as well as many other practical fire pistons and bushcraft tools are available from Dustin James at


Bushcrafttools.com

Get the model featured in the above video here

From Bushcrafttools.com: Science Fire Piston


SpinFlo Kinetic Art

The SpinFlo Kickstarter campaign ended quite a while ago.

A main component of this kinetic sculpture is rheoscopic fluid which can be purchased here:


From Educational Innovations: Rheoscopic Fluid



Tork Kinetic Sculpture:

This vintage piece was made in San Rafael CA in 1975.




Oil Drop Timer:

Oil Drop Timer: immiscible liquids, in two containers of colored oil and kerosine in this case. The oil in each container falls through a small drop forming hole in between clear walls of acrylic. Note how surface tension forms the smaller drops into nearly perfect circles and limits the size of the drop formation. In addition the drops fall at terminal velocity with smaller drops falling faster than larger ones. This video has been reposted many times - here is the full 1 minute version. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy this and many other physics toys. #fluiddynamics #immiscible #liquiddrop #oildrop #hourglass #physics #physicstoy #surfacetension #circle #timer #science #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Get one here- many colors to choose from:


From Educational Innovations: Liquid Motion Timer



Black Hole in a Bottle:

From the imagination (and Etsy store) of Veabn

From the Etsy Shop: LittlePlanetFactory

Wikipedia as the details on the Schwarzschild radius of black holes.



Star Wars Mirror Illusion:

These are still available on eBay

From eBay: Star Wars Illusion Cube



Mirror Anamorphic Cup & Saucer:

Luycho offers a number of designs to choose from such as this Giraffe version:

From Luycho: Anamorphic Cups & Saucers

Amazon has a number of inexpensive books (some with special mirrors included) that feature anamorphic images and how to make your own:

From Amazon: Mirror Anamorphos Books



Memory Spring:

Memory Spring: some special alloys of brass can be made to have a shape memory triggered by temperature. These springs quickly change their length from 1 cm to 2.5cm when heated above 90 C (done here with hot water) and just as quickly shrink back to original size when cooled (immersed in cold water). Useful in many applications, especially things like automatic fire sprinkler valves. This amazing property is probably due to a solid state phase transition similar to that of Nitinol wire called a martensitic transformation. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for information on where to buy this and many other physics toys. #memorywire #physics #physicstoy #phasetransition #martensitic #memoryalloy #nitinol #alloy #thermodynamics #statisticalmechanics #thermostat #science #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Available here:

From Mindsets Online: Memory Spring

A similar product of Nitinol is available here:


From Educational Innovations: Nitinol Memory Coil



Swirl Around Top:

Versions of this vintage toy can be found on eBay like this one:

From eBay: Swirl Around Toycrafter Top

Similar magnetic tipped tops often come with "snakes":

From eBay: Magnetic Snake Top



"Magic" Wallet:

These have become popular recently:

From Amazon: Magic Wallet



Spiral Kinetic Art:

I bought this object from the Exploratorium in 1997, similar spinners can be found here:

From Amazon: Kinetic Spinners



Mirror Illusion Bank:

A version of this coin bank is available here:

From Amazon: Art Bank Illusion



"Mystery Top":

"Mystery Top": this top will stay spinning for more than a week- because it is actually a motor! The top is a dipole magnet (as revealed by Magneview film) and the base has an electromagnet that gives the dipole a push when the top comes near the center. An ingeniously simple circuit consisting of only a battery, a coil, and a transistor, is activated when the spinning magnet nears the coil turning on the electromagnet to give a boost to the spin of the magnetic top. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy this and many other physics toys. #top #mysterytop #electromagnet #physics #physicstoy #induction #inducedfield #transistor #electricmotor #motor #coil #inductor #ingenious #desktoy #awesome #science #Bfield #magnaview #magneview #magnaviewfilm #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Here is the 1974 patent showing the very simple circuit of this device. The spinning dipole (the top itself) induces a current in one of the coils, and this current is fed to the base of the transistor turning the electromagnet on when the top is near.


This physics toy top is available here:


From Educational Innovations: Mystery Spinning Top

The amazing green magnetic viewing film is also available:
From Educational Innovations: Magnetic Field Viewing Film



Tornado Spheres:

Hard to find in the US but reasonably priced (even with shipping) from Grand Illusions Ltd.:

from Grand Illusions: Tornado Spheres

...or from Amazon: Tornado Spheres

Wikipedia has the details on the physics of the Magnus Effect used here to get the toy up to such high rotation rates, and the wagon-wheel effect along with the mathematics of aliasing behind this illusion.



Silica Aerogel:

A good source for a sample:


From Educational Innovations: Aerogel Sample

Wikipedia has the details on Aerogels, and how the Stardust spacecraft used silca aerogel to collect dust from the tail of a comet and bring a sample back to Earth!



US Patriotic Radiometer

US Patriotic Radiometer: 4th of July physics toy on this 240th year since the the Declaration of Independence. Produced in the 1970s by Kyp-go (maker of Balafire bulbs) the images spin with kinetic energy converted from light. Light heats up the "vanes" which then heat up the very thin gas left in the bulb- the black side of the vane is hotter and any gas molecules that comes into contact with it fly off at a faster speed imparting impulse to the rotor. Radiometers with special vanes like this are no longer in production but sometimes pop up for sale online as antiques. ➡️ Follow the link on my profile for more info and places to get radiometers. #CrookesRadiometer #radiation #radiometer #light #lightmill #physics #physicstoy #photon #thermodynamics #science #kineticenergy #KypGo #Balafire #momentumtransfer #recoil #impulse #angularmomentum #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


This vintage radiometer was made in the 1970s. Once in a while a rare antique like this one will show up on eBay.

Follow the links after the next video for more information on the physics of how the radiometer works, and where to buy current versions of this famous physics toy.


Disneyana Radiometer

Disneyana Radiometer: here's a real Mickey Mouse physics toy! Produced in the 1970s by Kyp-go (maker of Balafire bulbs) the images spin with kinetic energy converted from light. Light heats up the "vanes" which then heat up the very thin gas left in the bulb- the black side of the vane is hotter and any gas molecules that comes into contact with it fly off at a faster speed imparting impulse to the rotor. Radiometers with special vanes like this are no longer in production but sometimes pop up for sale online as antiques. ➡️ Follow the link on my profile for more info and places to get radiometers. #CrookesRadiometer #radiation #radiometer #light #lightmill #physics #physicstoy #photon #thermodynamics #science #kineticenergy #KypGo #Balafire #MickeyMouse #Disneyana #momentumtransfer #recoil #impulse #angularmomentum #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on



Unfortunately the Disney radiometers are antiques and can sometimes be found on eBay. Here's a link to a private collection that shows other versions of these collectible radiometers.
I recommend Educational Innovations to obtain science toys like this: Radiometer

And you can find some variety on Amazon: Radiometer

Read about famous physicists (including Einstein) and the remarkable history of the radiometer on my blog.



South Pointing Spoon:


From Grand Illusions Ltd: Ancient Compass Replica



Fused Optical Fiber Inverter

Fused fiber optic inverters are available via industrial sources and are quite expensive. Sometimes they can be found on eBay.

See a similar use of fiber optic bundles in the videos below!



Fused Optical Fiber Magnifier

These taper magnifiers are special application devices and are typically very expensive. Here is a source to get one under $50 (but only a few left in stock)

From Plastecs.com: Fiber Optic Taper



Fused Fiber Optic Marble:

An assortment of colors and sizes are available here:

From Amazon: Fiber Optic Spheres



Superellipsoid:

Available here:

From piethein.com: Super Egg

Wikipedia has the details on the "super egg" superellipsoid, and its inventor: physicist and artist Piet Hein
Piet Hein also invented the Soma Cube (see below)



Soma Cube

The video features the original version produced in 1969 by the game maker Parker Brothers.

Wikipedia has nice descriptions of the Soma Cube and its inventor: mathematician, physicist, inventor, designer, Piet Hein.

Soma Cubes are available in many styles and colors

From Amazon: Soma Cubes



Splat Pig Ball:

Splat Pig Ball: water filled ball made of an extremely elastic and sticky (tacky) soft polymer. This toy can regain its initial shape after extraordinary deformation- as caught in 240 fps slow motion (see the replay). The exact chemical makeup of these splat toys seems to be a trade secret but involves the following main constituents: polymerizing styrene, butadiene napthenic oil, calcium carbonate, and hydrogenated polyterpene resin as a tackifier that allows the temporary adhesion to the surface. Similar polymers are used in toys such as wall tumblers and sticky hands. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy this and many other physics toys. #splat #splatpig #splatball #physics #physicstoy #elasticity #polymer #hookeslaw #tacky #tackifier #wallwalker #240fps #chemistry #chemtoy #collision #inelasticcollision #science #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Available in many colors and shapes:

From Amazon: Splat Pig



Equilateral Prism

Good quality glass versions are available here:


From Educational Innovations: Glass Prisms



Primed Siphon

From the creative mind of Evan Gant and sold from his 3D print shop on Shapeways

From Shapeways: Wave Siphon



Extreme Viscosity Sculpture

I got this vintage piece of kinetic art from an estate sale on eBay and I've never seen another one like it. Not sure who made it or when is was made, although I think it is from the 1970s. Perhaps a reader knows something more about this amazing piece- if so send me a note!

Here is a similar kinetic sculpture currently on the market:

The Ooze Tube

Ooze Tube: viscous fluid timer toy. Some interesting physics phenomena are found in this kinetic art novelty item: the "liquid rope-coil effect" where the fluid thread coils and stacks as it lands on the pooling surface, and a curious periodicity in the rate of flow that is related to the formation of non-spherical bubbles as the air and fluid trade places (shown in time-lapse). The physics of the coiling effect is complex. Broadly speaking the coiling is due to the bottom of the fluid rope widening at the contact point with the surface, and as it widens the fluid slows down but not evenly. This uneven rate of flow produces a bend and the elasticity of the stream constrains the rope to a limited radius- hence a stack of coils. #coileffect #ropecoil #viscosity #fluiddynamics #physics #physicstoy #viscousbuckling #geophysics #helix #helicalcoil #liquidrope #liquidropecoileffect #ooze #oozetube #coileffect #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Get one here!


From Educational Innovations: Ooze Tube



120 Sided Dice:

120 Sided Fair Dice: mathematically this die has the maximum possible number of sides with equal area. Two mathematicians, Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, realized that oddly named regular polyhedron (disdyakis triacontahedron) had the needed geometry to make a 120 sided fair die. Like the familiar 6 sided die, the d120 has the following properties: every side must have equal area and the numbers on parallel sides (top and bottom) must sum to the same number. The inventors admit that they do not have any suggested use for these dice- they made them purely because mathematically it was possible to do! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many other physics toys. #mathtoy #mathstoys #physics #physicstoy #geometry #mathfun #polyhedron #d120 #dice #probability #disdyakistriacontahedron #dicelab #mathartfun #science #scienceisawesome

A video posted by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on


Available here:

From the Dice Lab at MathArtFun: d120 Disdyakis Triacontahedron

Wikipedia has the details on this unique polyhedron: Disdyakis Triacontahedron

An article in the New Yorker magazine about the inventors, Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, and some of the other interesting dice they have created.



Modern Newton's Cradle

Available from multiple vendors- follow these links to shop for the best deal:

From Amazon: Newton's Cradle LED Illuminated
From eBay: Newton's Cradle LED Illuminated



Duel Axis Sand Pendulum:

Educational Innovations has a nice model with a black finish:


From Educational Innovations: Sand Pendulum

Versions with a cherry wood finish like the one in the video can be found here:

From Amazon: Cherry Wood Sand Pendulum



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Physics Toys,



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