HOW TO – Build your own Chaos Machine


A Double Pendulum, a.k.a. a Chaotic Pendulum, is a simple, jointed pendulum used to study dynamic systems/chaos theory. It’s also just a really cool widget that’s fun to watch.

Not to be confused, BTW, with Steve Jackson’s (of Steve Jackson Games fame) Chaos Machine, which is an entirely different mechanical animal.

The Chaos Machine (Double Pendulum) – Link

8 thoughts on “HOW TO – Build your own Chaos Machine

  1. alexsand says:

    It would be neat to put an LED at the tip of the pendulum, turn off the lights, and film the path taken by the LED.

  2. garethb2 says:

    That’s one of the first things I thought of, too. I bet that’s been done, probably frequently. A great way to study motion is a chaotic system.

  3. alexsand says:

    A second LED at the joint would be interesting too.

  4. Luke_Luck says:

    Cliff Pickover gave it the name.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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