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World's Longest Slinky 109

Orlock writes: "I was trawling google for something, and came across this. Apparently the world's longest slinky, created as a kinetic sculpture showing visible low frequency waves travelling down it."
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World's Longest Slinky

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  • Google (Score:5, Funny)

    by mmca ( 180858 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:46AM (#2981738) Homepage
    Thats pretty cool... but what I want to know is what you were searching for? "World's longest *"??

    • I was actually looking for somewhere that anodized aluminium in Australia for my work, http://www.d2p.com.au - We make linux based network appliances.

  • by Kasmiur ( 464127 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:51AM (#2981746)
    Now all I need is a way to get that slinky through customs and past the metal detectors.

    Cost of airfare 500$
    Taxi out to Pyrmid 50$
    Being able to finally watch your long slinky in action -Priceless

    • It's been a few years since I lived in Cairo, but that taxi ride ought to be more in the ballpark of $20, methinks. ("You don't want to haggle? What do you mean you don't want to haggle?!")

      Amazing that there's even a person to whom it would occur to create such a monstrosity. It's wrong! Slinkies were never meant to be this long!

    • You just know that the airport security droids would impound the Slinky. Knitting needles, well, you can get those through without any hassles at all... but you can bet that Slinky would weird them out enough that they'd ban it.
  • haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by reo_kingu ( 536791 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:52AM (#2981747) Homepage
    What I love is how every time the author of that page makes a reference to his "sliiiiiinky", he changes the number of "i"'s in the word ;)
    • A note on the spelling of Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinky. I just hold the "i" key down for as long as I feel like each time.

      still, it was an interesting idea

  • for me, We're doing wave theory in physics at the moment, it's fun wasting hours playing with slinkys in the name of physics :-)
  • by burtonator ( 70115 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:56AM (#2981751)
    I went over ALL the pictures and by FAR this is the best one [firstpr.com.au]

  • "34 slinkies soldered together." Can't be that tough, surely? It's made difficult by all the supports this guy has come up with in order to elevate the slinky. If you wanted it to make pretty patterns (not lie on the floor lifeless), you could probably just wrap it around a large metal tube. Then you might get some interesting noises as the slinky vibrated around it.

    I did run a check on the Guinness Records [guinnessrecords.com] site to see if there was any record for the longest slinky, but apparentely not. Anyone want a quick and easy record to break? :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I sell the machines that make slinkies. They are actually uncut piston rings. Occationally the cutter breaks and record lengths are made for as long as it takes for the operator to notice.
  • Zero gravity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thorgil ( 455385 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:59AM (#2981754) Homepage
    I bet it would look quite funny in zero gravity (without the suspension stuff).
    • Slinky in 0 G (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Saw that this summer. At Wallops Island Museum (NASA) I saw

      a move made on various shuttle flights with astronauts

      playing with various toys in 0 g. They spun tops, bounced balls

      and did a slinky. I don't know if you could find

      the film on a NASA site but try.


  • by GringoGoiano ( 176551 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:01AM (#2981756)
    ... do yeh?
  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:16AM (#2981768)
    ...how well does it walk down stairs?
  • All together now! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:21AM (#2981773)
    Who walks the stairs without a care
    It shoots so high in the sky.
    Bounce up and down just like a clown.
    Everyone knows its Slinky.

    The best present yet to give or get
    The kids will all want to try.
    The hit of the day when you are ready to play
    Everyone knows it's Slinky.

    It Slinky, It's Slinky
    for fun the best of the toys
    It Slinky, It's Slinky
    the favorite of girls and boys.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:22AM (#2981775) Homepage
    Interesting story about the inventor of the Slinky [straightdope.com], his instant success, his wealth, his joining a religious cult...

  • Nitpick (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rde ( 17364 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:23AM (#2981776)
    I don't mean to sound picky, but surely a slinky is more than a helix? If it doesn't walk down the stairs, it's not a slinky to my mind.
    And this thing - impressive though it is - doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
  • by Mattygfunk ( 517948 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:39AM (#2981783) Homepage
    The World's Longest Slinky will be useless without the Worlds Largest Starcase.
  • by Robin Whittle ( 319889 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @07:59AM (#2981795) Homepage
    A friend made me promise to contact the Guinness Book of Records about Sliiiiiiiiiiinky. I haven't done so yet. James Industries - who have manufactured the Slinky since 1945 - say they don't know of anything like it.

    That's the algorithm - just hold the 'i' key down for as long as you like!

    The suspension is elastic - not wires. This is my attempt to firstly free the Sliiiiiiiiiinky from the constraints of gravity and secondly unite a small number of Slinkies, or rather create some subset of the one true Sliiiiiinky, since the factory insists on chopping Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinky into such short fragments.

    Yes, they should do this in the new Space Station - it would be a lot easier than all those elastics!

    I don't have any audio samples on the site, but now that techie slashdotters are perusing it, perhaps I should. Sending an impulse at one end - by tapping with a coin - generates a short pulse of all frequencies. The high frequencies travel faster than the lows, due to some effect of the stiffness of the steel. (This is apparent at the 0.5 to 5 Hz range of the big visible waves too.) At the other end, a piezo pickup gets a "chirped" sound, a high tone rapidly descending to a very low tone. It sounds just like a swept oscillator. Since I figure no-one else has 645 metres of wire = 2,116 feet suspended in a way which supports vibrations of frequencies almost from DC to daylight, I figure I could get another gong in the Book of Records for the world's most serious *chirp*. Let me look around and see if I can put a .wav on the site soon. In the future, there will be some video too.

    Stairs are boring by comparison - Sliiiiiiiinky enables anyone at all to make transient three dimensional kinetic public art - and there's no electronics involved.

    Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinky may be having another outing at Beckett Park in late March or early April - write to me if you want to come.

    As for the favorite photo of the Space Cadets, this is part of a page http://www.firstpr.com.au/slinky/tourism/ Well gents, isn't true that so much of our efforts go, ultimately, to keeping fabulous women smiling and gyrating? Ms Yellow Cadet worked at a computer shop and now is one of the organisers of Melbourne's best trance techno outdoor parties. Ms Blue Cadet worked on a very high floor of some god-awful city building, for a *bank* of all things. I hope she has transformed since then. . . . . . . and fellas, when it comes to this particular approach to getting girls gyrating, mine's longer than . . .

    - Robin
  • by TonyTheTiger ( 156325 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @08:05AM (#2981798)
    Is the record measured at it's max length?

    It looks like that thing could be stretched at least twice that long. I mean if you're going for the record, go for the record!
  • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @08:25AM (#2981812) Homepage
    Alright, theres a problem with welding loads of slinkys together and setting them off down stairs:

    When your slinky has finished unspooling off the top step, its rear coils then swing over the top of the slinky to fall on the next step, this after a point will preclude an indoor venue due to the height clearance required. The Pyramids may be the only option.
    As slinkys get longer, they also fall over more than one step at a time (I know they shouldn't but its something to do with rigidity) - Is this cheating?
    And finally, very big slinkys with small diameters (across the coils) become unstable (I know; I'm a muppet, but I just tried this:) and fall flat after the first step and slide to the bottom. So your longer slinky needs a wider 'foot'.

    All in all, it make the challenge of creating the woulds largest working slinky look quite something :)
  • escallator (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mountain_penguin ( 43679 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @08:26AM (#2981813) Homepage
    I have aways wondered about putting a slinky on an escalator. With proper tunning i think a perpetual slinky could be made to work. The trouble is i dnt have a slinky at the moment my last one broke :( they are now made of plastic so you cant end them back to normal.
    Has any ine tried a slinky on an escalator? does it work?
    well just an idea
    • Re:escallator (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "If you put a downward-going Slinky on an upward-going escalator, will it just go on like that forever? We tried it but it didn't work; the escalator in question had steps too big for the Slinky to go down properly."

      http://segnbora.crosswinds.net/diaries/diary4f.h tm l

      Thank you, Google. (Search: escalator slinky)
    • I haven't tried it, but I suspect there are some fairly hairy stability issues here. An escalator, at the slinky scale, does not move all that smoothly. There are vibrations, stop-and-go jerks - I'm sure you could make it work for a few minutes, but any more than that is unlikely. Please not, I am not a physicist, slinky expert, or even a particularly good student or smart human being.
    • Fortune has a quote along those lines.
    • Re:escallator (Score:2, Informative)

      by restive ( 542491 )
      Actually, they're not ALL made of plastic. Check out:
      http://arborsci.com/Product_Pages/Sound&Waves/So un d&Waves_products.asp#Slinky

      No, I don't work for this company, but this one is nice...worth the $
    • Re:escallator (Score:2, Insightful)

      I imagine it would be technically possible, but the escalator would have to be calibrated to synchronize with the slinky's rate of fall. Even after calibrating it very carefully, it would have to still be off by a little bit and would eventually go up to the top or to the bottom.
      • it is possible to calculate the slinky rather than the escalator my dad who teeches physics has a number of different size (lenghts) of slinky and they fall at different rates but i have not been able to take them to an escalator also tuning would require snipping the slinky with a pair of wire cutters if u snipped too much then it ould be usless. As i say i have not tried this but would love to try it
  • "We had part of a slinky. But I straightened it."

    -- Egon Spengler [imdb.com]
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @08:51AM (#2981831) Journal
    Someone should put this guy in touch with NASA, since it seems he has come closer to building a space elevator than they have.
    • I'm not too well up on the dynamics of different shapes and configurations of materials but would the actually be an advantage of using a whacking great slinky to iron out payload harmonics on a orbital tower?

      Its not one of my craziest ideas but that just show how far thru I am :P
  • Girls (Score:2, Funny)

    by slardy ( 29383 )
    I'm suprised no one has mentioned this yet. Check out the last set of pictures on the bottom of the page, some interesting stuff going on between those two girls. Would you classify that under Slinky porn? If I build my own "World's Longest Slinky" is that the kind of people I should expect to attract with it?
  • by laxian ( 174575 ) <digitalstruggle @ y ahoo.com> on Sunday February 10, 2002 @09:32AM (#2981884)
    I looked at this page in awe a few years ago at work in Los Angeles ... and I was so excited to actually see it in person on my Australia trip ... at the best party I'd ever been to, no less!!

    Earthcore [earthcore.com.au] NYE 2000 was a weeklong techno-marathon ... the sliiiiiiinky was there on a hill very similar to the one in the "space cadets" [firstpr.com.au] photos. It moved so gracefully on the elastic strings it's suspended by. A slight movement on one end creates a lovely fluid ripple along the length of the whole object. People creating ripples on both ends make waves that gently join each other. Very peaceful to look at.

    Both Earthcore and the Sliiiiiiinky are not to be missed if one's in the Melbourne area!


    p.s. Robin Whittle ... creator of this sliiiinky, is also the creator of the world-famous Roland TB-303 Devilfish mod: http://www.firstpr.com.au/rwi/dfish/ [firstpr.com.au]

    p.p.s. A great picture [earthcore.com.au] from that party ... it was the DJ booth.

  • In Denmark, there's a place called 'Experimentarium' where you can experience physics phenomenae first-hand.
    One of the regular exhibits is a slinky like the one mentioned in the article (there's a picture here [experimentarium.dk]).
    Okay, maybe it's only 15 metres long, but OTOH it's been around for several years, so there. :)=
  • Why is the girl in this picture [firstpr.com.au] wearing a helmet?

    I think I'll stick to regular sized slinkies so I don't have to remember to wear a helmet. The number of slinky related deaths each year is growing. Please remember that playing safe is playing smart.
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @11:33AM (#2982195)
    There's a link in the linked article to a 15-meter slinky in Denmark, but it's broken. The current link is here [experimentarium.dk] for the English version.
  • So how does this thing do on a set of steps?

  • Bah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ironfist_ironmined ( 554123 ) <jawest AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 10, 2002 @01:48PM (#2982722) Homepage
    "34 Slinkies soldered together. They are zinc-plated spring steel, and are very easy to solder. There is actually about 33 and a half of them."
    How much for 35 slinkies?
    My website could do with some slash-throughput
  • http://www.firstpr.com.au/slinky/tourism/

    look at that link... I would love to see that..
  • by Robin Whittle ( 319889 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @02:23PM (#2982836) Homepage
    For the cruising hordes of slashdotters, I scrambled some audio files and frequency analyis and have added these to the site. This includes analysis of a chirped impulse response which spreads the frequencies out in time over more than 2.5 seconds.

    Christian mentioned the DJ booth at that Earthcore party. Cat (my Devil Fish assistant at the time and Sliiiiinky co-pilot) and I were at an excellent smaller party at Nagambie on NYE, and we arrived at Earthcore on 2 January. People were raving about the big night! The main floor was on the top of a hill, with the DJ booth being the front part of an old Victorian Railways diesel loco. It is all made of 1/4" steel.

    Some of the crew saw it on a truck going omewhere, and they spoke to its owner and hired it for a few weeks. Behind it is the very dry reservoir of Lake Eildon. Cat and I surveyed the scene. Two crashed light aircraft and a motor car tumbling on a horizontal axis were parts of the decor. A bulldozer doubled as a lighting stand . . . there were other huge sculptures. The thing on top of the loco cab is a ferocious tesla coil of a chap also called Robin. Apparently there were wires all over with sparks leaping around the place and people all said that that night, everthing just went **off**! The local fire brigade was on hand, since the place was as dry as buggery and was a real fire hazard.

    - Robin
  • Two ideas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martyb ( 196687 ) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @04:59PM (#2983515)

    First off here's a simplification that anyone can try. In my high school physics class (many years ago ;-) when we were studying waves, one of our lab experiments was to go out into the tiled-floor hallway. With the help of a lab partner, we'd stretch out a slinky along the floor. We experimented with creating standing waves of different periods. This permitted experiments in the horizontal and longitudinal axes (though not in the vertical, which the sliiiiiinky also supports). So, try it at home!

    Secondly, I have a suggestion concerning the tendency of the sliiiiiiiiiiinky to get tangled onto itself that was often mentioned in the article. Wouldn't an initial tensioning of the sliiiiiiinky reduce or event prevent that from happening? I'm thinking the use of some cords, strings, or bungie cords being attached to the ends of the sliiiinky and whose other ends would be attached to the endmost vertical support poles. The downside, I would expect, is that the wave would move more quickly down the length of the sliiiiinky.

  • Is it fun for both boys and girls?

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle