How to Build a <strike>heliostat</strike> Parabolic Reflector

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Introduction: How to Build a <strike>heliostat</strike> Parabolic Reflector

Turn a flat sheet of anything flexible into a parabolic reflector.

Step 1: Prove It to Yourself

Download this template and print it on cardstock, add something shiny cut it out and tape the edges together, don't cut all the way to the center. The template is Deltacad 6 format

Step 2: Now What?

Wel, you're done, you can print that template out any size and go to town, the plywood dish at the beginning was made that way. However if you like, in the next step i'll give you the math.

Step 3: So Here's the Math

Sort of, for the educated its based on the difference between the arclength integral and x, you can take it from there, for those not fond of thinking read the attached file.

Step 4: Now to Build One

You could just cut one out with a jigsaw like the one at the beginning, but for better accuracy I printed out a section and made a router template

Step 5: Next I Acquired the Materials

I want to say I acquired all these signs LEGALLY, with permission, from the dumpster of a polling place, and I'd really like to see more instructables based on this resource, i know i'm sickened that signs are printed on a material designed to last a million years and are up an average of 2 days.

Nothing like dumpster diving in the rain

Once again these were collected legally.

Step 6: Now Cut Them Out

quick work with a router, lots of plastic curls eveywhere, once they're cut out apply shiney aluminum tape from the hardware store.

Step 7: Now Find a Cool Spot to Work

And tape the peices together, or use cable ties, it came out a little peaked so I added a ridgid disk in the center to flatten the curve, I should have done that first.

Step 8: Finally Flip It Over and Tada a Parabolic Reflector, Now to Turn It Into a Solar Oven

eventually I hope to turn it into a tracking solar oven with drill head motors. a word on the coroplast plastic in these signs, to glue it u can flash it with a blow torch and use super glue, and hot glue works well to glue it together, the "rigid disk is just two pieces with the corrugations orthogonal glued with hot glue. Sorry no pix in operation, it's dark out.

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99 Comments

Can this be used as an acoustic mirror?

Animal, can you please post a jpeg or pdf of the template? I plan on making a solar-powered laser (& accompanying instructable) and I need a good template for the experimental dish. I don't have an autocad programs, and the computer from which I'll be printing a large copy of the template DEFINATELY doesn't have one ;-] Thanks-

Just download LibreCAD and be done with it. You can draw, print and design without permission from A desk.

Cool...I apreciate it. :-]

they're in step one with the other templates, 300 dpi jpegs

How come I can't open this file? I have an IMac and the parab16 wont open. also the "dxf" file shows up as a bunch of letters and numbers and lines. Please help a newbie out as I'm not good with this stuff. maybe a PDF file or something like that

If the .DXF file is showing up as a bunch of letters and numbers like a text file looks like, you don't have the correct CAD program installed and your OS is mistakenly opening it with the wrong text editor program. Go download the free LibreCAD program to open the .DXF file correctly.