Kinetic Sculpture Clock development

Check out the giant jug vortex we made at the Physics Central Headquarters in College park.

We weren’t just fooling around – we were on a quest to make a cool timing device for the upcoming Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore.

The organizers have put out a call for a way to count down the time left before racers like the Rocky Horror Picture Shoe and Cycloctopus have run out of time in the infamous mud pit portion of the race.

If you have a better idea, let us know. We need something that will count down about two minutes with reasonable reliability and precision of plus or minus about ten seconds (it’s a sculpture race, not Olympic trials). It should be easy to build – the race takes place May 1, so we don’t have a lot of time. It should also be Kinetically Kool, which I can’t really define, but if you look at some of the pictures of past races you’ll probably get the idea.

Our Giant Jug Vortex runs for a minute and 35 seconds in its current form. We’re going to adjust the restriction in the neck to slow it down a little, and add food coloring, confetti, rubber duckies, and anything else we can think of to make it more visible and intriguing.

Here’s a video of a video (sorry, I seem to missing a codec or something) showing the vortex timer in action with bits o’ stuff added for visual effect.

And one more, with sound . . .

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