Break out your Pink Floyd albums, because it is time for you to have your own personal laser show. In fact, it cannot be stressed enough just how much "awesome" you are getting out of such an easy to build device. Watching the patterns spiral out of this little box onto a large wall is much more mesmerizing than it really has any right to be. Most people of the people form whom I demonstrated this for have agreed that they could probably watch the laser patterns dance all day without getting board. I can only imagine how your cat might respond. There is only one way for you to find out! You're going to have to build one.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

- (x4) Paint storage cups
- (x3) 1" round mirrors
- Project Enclosure (7x5x3") (Model: 270-1807 | Catalog #: 270-1807)
- (x3) 1.5-3VDC Metal Gear Motor (Model: 273-258 | Catalog #: 273-258)
- (x3) 25-Ohm 3-Watt Rheostat (Model: 271-265 | Catalog #: 271-265)
- Pen-Style Laser Pointer (No model information available | Catalog #: 63-1064)
- DPDT Submini Toggle Switch (Model: 275-614 | Catalog #: 275-614)
- Enclosed 2 "AA" Battery Holder (Model: 270-408 | Catalog #: 270-408)
- 2 "AAA" Battery Holder (Model: 270-398 | Catalog #: 270-398)
- (x3) Hexagonal Control Knob with Aluminum Insert (Model: 274-415 | Catalog #: 274-415)
- Enercell® "AA" Alkaline Batteries (4-Pack) (Model: AA-4PK | Catalog #: 23-849)
- Enercell® "AAA" Alkaline Batteries (4-Pack) (Model: AAA 4-PK | Catalog #: 23-850)
- Assorted short zip ties
I built my first Instructable! This was a cool project, I have to adjust the position of my mirrors a little bit because the beam going out of the box is just touching one of the paint cups, but other than that it was a success!
Very cool! Thanks for giving it a try. Looking great.
Here are some pics of the light show.
is there a way to private chat on instructables I have a few questions
<p>Do you have an instructable for making a flat scanning laser effect?</p>
hi. in an old laser printer you will.find a hexagonal mirrored motor. point a laser pen on it and you have your scanning effect.
<p>I found you can also make the same effect using a small spinning cube with glued hobby mirrors on it :)</p>
oh by the way donot used the laser from the printer itself it has also dangerous.infrared radiation. but about the motor type on the internet 'laserprinter mirror motor' and then images. you will fimd plenty of diy projects.
my box vibrates like hell. what do i do? i alreadt lifted the motor a bit, and put softeners around everything...
<p>I work at Radioshack and I am reluctant to use one of our laser pointers for this project because I know I could find something better somewhere else. However I don't need anything expensive and I want to be sure it will work for this project. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good green or blue laser to use in this project? Model number or SKU would be nice, thanks.</p>
Im working on a sound activated version by replacing one of the motors with a speaker and hooking it up to a microphone and an amplifier.
when I saw the paint storage cup I started wondering about how it would be used. Even a block of wood could be used for the same function.
The nice thing about using the cup is that the lids rotate and this allows for fine-tuned positioning of mirror alignment.
How would one integrate a spirograph into a party SAFELY? Would you aim it at the air, a wall, the ground? Lawyers are expensive.
I'm not a lawyer. I can't answer this question. ...but - perhaps - if you have to ask someone this question, you shouldn't do it.
The DPDT toggle switch I have, has two &quot;on&quot; settings I think. One for one load one for the other. Is it possible to use this in this circuit? This is the switch I got: http://www.toolking.com/gardner-bender-gsw-16-heavy-duty-toggle-switch?CAWELAID=1410642058
Yes. Just don't connect one of the side and that can be the off setting.
Oh so I would only use four of the six pins on the switch still?
Awesome! Thank you so much for such a prompt response! I'll post results when I finish.
Just in case,what if the laser does not have a transistor there?
Just wire it so the laser gets powered on from these two wires.
Can anyone please tell me if I can use potentiometers instead of rheostats? The Rheostats are quite pricey.
You might be able to get away with a 100 ohm potentiometer... maybe. This technique requires something with very little resistance. The rheostat provides between 0 and 25 ohms.
why the DPDT switches?
The motors and the lasers are powered separately. So, each power supply uses half of the switch.
One of the best and simple to make project I have seen for a while. Awesomest instructable ever... :D <br>I got 1 query... I am making 1 of these but instead of connecting the rheostat directly, I am using a transistor(a Darlington pair to be exact, for more gain) to vary the voltage with rheostat. It gives me a wider range to work with and I can replace rheostats with an arduino PWM pin to control speed. <br>The problem I am facing is that when I am connecting the battery, they are draining in seconds. Even 9 Volt ones! When I am running all 3 together, they become so slow, they almost stop at times. I have checked for any shorts. I know it might be due to the modifications I have made, but thats what DIY is about. Do you or anybody here has any idea why is this happening and how i can fix it?
Are any of the components heating up a lot? The batteries should not be draining so quickly. I am using the low-voltage Radioshack motors (1.5V - 3V). The 9V ones they sell suck power, but even those shouldn't be that bad (but perhaps it does not like 3 at once?). If none of the parts are heating up, perhaps replace the battery with an M-type power jack and plug in a wall wart (of a voltage rated for your motors).
Yup. The adapter was what I was considering as well. As soon as its a bit stable, I'll post pics... Thanks a lot for your help and this great instructable. Btw, I love the images in all your instructables... :D
I just got done........This was a very fun instructables only because i work at a radioshack and the parts were 50% off .......only $15 im planing to make more for my friends maybe different laser colors
is there a special way to put the mirrors on? mine get on unbalanced and vibrate a lot when I tested it. i would use it but its way too loud!!!! Help PLEASE!!
Do you have a video of this in action or did I miss it?
<div class="media_embed"> I have made a vid;<br> <br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/B_uKhSvOats" width="480"><br> </iframe><br> <br> I use a 30mW laser form dealextreme.</div>
I'm surewonder if a simple crossoc I remember somewhere about hooking a motor to an audio signal.
if it's a laser diode, audio could be used to control the light strength.
Is there an audio input, or how would that be done, so that the light show can be reactive to the music
did not upload properly on the other comment:
Here's a simple circuit for an audio input, hope it helps!<br><br>
I was hoping for an audio input as well :( I believe using simple Pulse Width Modulators to control the motors could work. search for pulse width modulation at you tube, there is a video detailing how to make a PWM circuit out of a 555 timer. You may need someone to show where, and how to apply an audio signal
That could work, but an easier route would be to take a set of speakers from an old computer, ones with a built in amp and attach mirrors to the speaker cones themselves. Put the mirrors into the optical chain described in the article and attach your audio feed.
This looks like a fun project. I may do it with my kids. <br>Question: I don't understand the need for the two battery packs. They are both the same voltage with two cells each right? Couldn't one run the motors and the Light?
I figured the motors would draw considerably more power and that would affect the brightness of the light pretty quickly.
video to see it in action?
nice project man! I did something very similar back in 5th grade in '98 for my science fair proj. It won me first place!<br><br>I like how you make it look real clean by putting it in a proj. box. Nice job man!
This is awesome! definately what I need for my room! Although, I think I read in one of Forest Mim's books that pots and motors don't quite get along is that true? btw this Rocks!
These have such low resistance that they work for this purpose, but this is not the most ideal setup. Sometimes you have to turn them up a bit to get the motor to start at a high speed (from a dead stop) and then you can adjust them down to a slow speed.<br /><br />This project is way more awesome than I imagined it to be when I set out to make it. <br /><br />It is also definitely desperately calling for a fog machine.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Mighty-Mini-Fog-Maker/<br><br>Oh yeah!
This looks like a really cool project. Do you have an estimate for how much the parts would cost?
In the area of about $30 for this project.
Are kits available?

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
More by randofo:Custom Print Kimono Mad Scientist Extension Cord DIY Life-Sized Cardboard Cutout 
Add instructable to: