As stated in my previous post, I am currently planning on creating a Newton’s cradle that fits within the mid-century modern aesthetic. I have a great appreciation for the mid-century modern look because it embodies organization and simplicity. I think this is a good match for a Newton’s cradle which acts to provide a simplified model of the rules which govern the organization of the universe. 


My current plan for making this desk toy requires an aesthetically pleasing piece of wood, aluminum uprights and support beams, fishing line, metal marbles, paper clips, and some strong adhesive. I want to tap holes in the wood for the aluminum support structure, cut and bend paperclips to create eyelets for the marbles, attach the eyelets to the marbles with some adhesive, run the fishing line through the eyelets, and tie the ends of the fishing line to the support structure. The Newton’s cradle could then be improved with a wood stain, adhesive rubber non-slip pads, and more.

I also considered the possibility of making a very large Newton’s cradle that fits within the maximalist aesthetic. This aesthetic is characterized by items’ ability to dominate a space and become a strong focus point with its sheer size. I played around with the idea of using bowling balls and chains to create a massive Newton’s cradle. This would be a very fun project, but I believe that it comes with many additional issues. It would take up a lot of room, the materials would be a lot more expensive, and it would require an extremely robust support structure. 

I would consider this option if I had more time and money, but for now I think it is wise to stick to a normal sized Newton’s cradle. I can still make it a very unique and creative design without being in the maximalist aesthetic. 



[1] Design Addict. “How to Create The Picture Perfect Mid-Century Modern Home Office.” Design Addict, 15 Jan. 2020,

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Riley Menke
    May 7, 2024 6:13 pm

    Oliver, I like your original idea for this artifact. I think the alternatives you came up with represent a different constraints of what you are going for which I think is great to think about when designing. Cool work so far!

  • Brandon Phillips
    March 10, 2024 8:51 pm

    Hey Oliver, this project sounds great, and I love the idea of a giant bowling ball newton cradle, though I agree it might be too ambitions. For the scaled down design, how do you plan on getting the holes drilled into the metal marbles? It seems like drilling a hole into any kind of sphere would be a huge challenge so i’m curious how you pan to go about it.

  • Hi Oliver sounds like an amazing project!
    I am curious about the idea of tapping holes into wood that seems to me like it would be a bit difficult maybe insets would work better? I don’t really know I’m sure a quick conversation with the woodshop would set you on the right path!


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