The Tumbling Rings of Antiquity...On Your Office Desk




About: I love building things and taking pictures.

Many times around I've wanted to build a Jacob's Ladder but haven't had the time to. When I ran into the Tumbling Rings, I was delighted. And so, here it is. It is an awesome physics toy that is hard to describe. I think you should consult a professional physicist for more thorough info.


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Step 1: Get the Parts.

For Demonstrational Purposes: (teachers)
30-100 colored binder rings (make sure the rings are not too small to manipulate but not so large that they touch the ground.)

For everybody else:
30-100 key rings (binder ring, will work.) (For the magic to work, they shouldn't be colored but it is okay if they are.)

Step 2: Build It! Part 1

Start with 5 rings.

Arrange them into sort of a cross formation. 

Loop the top and the middle two that are horizontal.

Then, take the next ring in line and loop it to both rings. 

Repeat the last step again so that all five rings are looped.

Step 3: Build It! Part 2

  1. Now, pull one of the middle rings and let go of the top.
  2. It should end up with One top ring, two middle rings and two bottom rings.
  3. At the bottom, add two more rings and then go back to Step 1 on this page. Repeat until you have on or two rings left. Make sure when you pull on the second ring, you pull the one looped through only one ring of the next loop otherwise it will not work properly. 
  4. Now, take those one/two rings and bring a closure by looping it through the end. (As much as you would like to keep going, I am not going to let you go bankrupt over binder rings.)
  5. Now, hit "Next Step."

Step 4: Testing One, Two, THREE!

Now, like before, grab the one connected to only one loop and throw the top one down. 

(A suggestion, put the one with the one loop on your left hand side and throw it down hard.)

If you did it right, you should have one ring "tumble" to the bottom.

As always...if you experience any problems leave a comment and I will try my best to help you.

If you did make it successfully well then...leave a comment saying you made it successfully!

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    31 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Made it. Used different coloured rings. Played with it until my arms got sore. Rebuilt it using one colour. Much better. Thanks for sharing. Very cool.

    1 reply

    I've been trying for over an hour to figure this out. Confused about going back to step 1. It works for me until then. How many "single"rings should there be. Should I be adding the rings this way: one through both rings then one through just one ring? Determined to get it! Thanks

    4 replies

    Once you have 5 rings with two on the bottom, two in the middle and one at the top, add two two the bottom, Then, take the first pair of double rings and drop it again, then do the same again.

    Making a video very soon.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    please tell me clearly about that repeating the 1st step..... i m getting till 5 rings correctly after that i m not getting anything......!!! please help me

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Okay, once you reach two rings at the bottom, take two more rings and add them to the bottom. Then, hold the ring looped around only ONE of the loop below it and then hold that one and drop the second one. By tomorrow I should have a how it works video.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Made two sets of strings of 30 binder rings for my kids on Christmas day. Once you start, you just cant stop playing with them! There is kind of a trick in the way you hold it, and some of us in this family get it, and some of us don't--or don't every time. This just adds to the excitement. Not to mention a box of binder rings cost me $10 and I had more than enough to make 3 strings. That's a lot of entertainment for ten bucks.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Its so fun isn't it. If you want, you can take those three and make a long chain so that the effect will last longer.

    6 rings but, the effect isn't seen with 6 rings.

    Most of the time people ask what is the maximum...

    30 is a good amount.