I have been making the laser vortex for several years as a Halloween affect on my front porch, everyone loves the affect. Finally, this year I created a Halloween site showing others how to make one of these. The video of this can be found on http://haunted.hyperreactor.net. Its made with a laser pointer, small motor, and a mirror creating an effect similar to what you might see at Halloween Horror Nights but on a smaller scale and much cheaper.

I have uploaded the how to videos and added them the the end of this instructable along with some example videos of the vortex in action. I have said this a hundred times but once again, it is even more spectacular to see it in person. There is so much depth that the video dose not bring out.

Step 1: Laser Pointer Mount

We will be mounting the laser on a scrap piece of wood. The one used here is about 1 ½ by 1 inch and cut to about 6 or 7 inches. A 2 by 4 would also work well and can be found in your local hardware store. It will probably cost you less than a dollar if you need to purchase this piece.

A beam clamp was used to secure the laser pointer to the wood base and hold down the “on” button continuously. Three were used, two for securing the laser pointer in place and one to hold down the button. The one holding down the button should only be tight enough to hold the button down, if it is too tight it may damage the button. These beam clamps would be easy to find in the electrical section of your local hardware store near the electrical conduit for less than a dollar a piece. Just make sure there is a screw hole on the clamp to mount it to the wood base.

I'm wirking to make this project..<br>whene I made I've upload pictures..<br>thanks for insurance. ..
please tall me how to creat smoke ?
<p>Some hot water and dry ice will create a fog effect. Perhaps you could use that as the smoke.</p>
my laser diode burnt-out project fail
<p>Nice work but there is a reason that the buttons on those laser pointers are momentary. They cannot handle 100% duty cycle. Draining a whole battery charge in one shot is just about enough to cook the laser diode. Commercial versions of such a device would used a cooled laser.</p>
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I may be showing my age.... But it is very reminiscent of the &quot;time travel vortex&quot; effect used in the 1981 movie, &quot;The Final Countdown&quot;.<br><br>Very cool
it reminds me of the game &quot;Portal&quot;...
You could tape a prism to the top of an old whacked out CD player and then reflect the lasers through the prism.
um yeah its a nail not a screw
you used a screw not a nail
Nice work. I'm not very handy, so I&nbsp;modified a USD&nbsp;$50 green laser unit from Guitar Center to do the laser vortex. Plugs into the wall, so no batteries to worry about. Has a fan. Has a mount:<br /> <br /> The how-to itself:<br /> <br /> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH7FjiwrdDE<br /> <br /> What it looks like:<br /> <br /> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vTIbJ-pyXc<br /> <br />
Is this a sort of 2-d "hole" that people could pass through, or if you aimed it down a hallway could you create a "tunnel" effect? I moved into an apartment with a long and awkwardly empty hallway that this would be perfect for... Going for a sort of "twilight zone" effect, if I can manage it.
Imagine Light reflected from this to be in a conical shape, where the thinner part emerges from the mirror, the closer you are to it, the thinner it is. Hence it will either be visible on your clothes. If you make the angle wider, the farther you are from the mirror, the more likely light never reaches you. It will end up just forming circle on the walls closer to the mirror.<br /> <br /> What I mean is that you need is a cylinder to mimic a tunnel, a cone would not work.<br /> <br /> Anyway, you would need the smoke to be everywhere in that room for the tunnel effect, this also means that the more effective the tunnel is, the smaller it has to be.<br />
Sorry the pic didn't upload, but this should help better understand<br />
realy realy kool i might be able to try this when i get bat home
i think this is how they do this in doctor who
Shouldn't the wood get turned around so the side clamped to the table also has the laser clamps? Or are you planning on dropping the last 3 steps of work?
That's a good point, well spotted.
THERE IS A MUCH EASIER WAY!! get a laser pointer, shine it thru the bottom of a nalegene bottle. the way the bottle is shaped it does that. you have to move it around a little
Sorry, that will not produce the same effect.
r u sure... jk, its really cool tho
It is cool… but it diffuses the beam and causes it to go out of focus. Looks neat on a wall or a flat surface but can’t produce a sharp image in mid air.
it is best up close.
This is my main setup. The laser pen is actually a cheap laser pointer that I modified to use AAA batteries. I used some heavy guage wire for the bipod and a ring of plastic(3rd picture) held together by duct tape that slides over the button, holding it down. For the mirror part, I used a free mirror from the Hair Cuttery, which is bigger than most used here. I attached the mirror to the motor with a folded section of a milk jug. I punched a hole and put the shaft through the hole. Then I pushed the plastc gear that came with the motor over the shaft and the plastic layer. I hot glued the gear to the plastic all around. I used a double D cell battery holder from i science kit and glued that to a random piece of wood for stability. Then I glued the motor to the top of the battery case. The last picture is on my bathroom floor and wall without smoke.
wow! how many AAA batteries does it take?
The pointer originally had 3 button batteries, and each button battery is 1.5 volts. Each AAA battery is 1.5 volts so it uses 3 AAA's. The mirror spinning component uses two D cell batteries, which are also 1.5 volts, but last longer.
how do u convert the laser from button batterys 2 AAA baterys
It's not a perfect mod, but if someone else wants me to post it, I might do it during Christmas. My camera is a little fidgety so I've been reluctant to make Instructables lately. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find one of my other laser pointers, but if I see one at the dollar store, I'll pick it up.
post your mod :P it's great
Heres my first picture that didn't show up.
that's cool im going to try a mirror instead of a cd. the first time i used 6 volts in which case the cd shot off the motor and ricocheted off of my tv. i tried 1.5 volts next with another cd and even with the addition of fog, was not able to produce a non diffracted beam. so what im wondering is .. can you explain how you attached that mirror to the motor ?
Wash out a plastic milk jug, if you're in America like me. Cut an 8x4inch strip of plastic, or fit it yourself. Bend it around itself like in the pictures to the desired angle(this setup has a fixed angle)and hot glue it in place. Poke a hole where you want the motor to go with a thumbtack or something. Push the motor shaft into the hole and attach the gear on the inside to the shaft. If you don't have a gear with it, use an eraser or part of a glue stick. Hot glue all around the gear ONLY ON THE INSIDE. Then hot glue on the mirror to the other side.
thank you very much !
I love your bipod, its a perfectly simple solution to pointing the laser in the proper direction. Do you have any vibration trouble with the large mirror mounted to the motor?
There's some vibration but I think it is because my hot glue doesn't completely cover the connection points. When I squeeze the top of the motor and the bottom of the wood, the vibration stops. If anyone uses a bigger mirror, I recommend putting rubber pads on the bottom of the mirror component or taping it down. Mine tries to run away when it's turned on, but for a five minute throw together, it works fine.
can u giv me a list of all the materials? plz and thank u
That is SOO cool great job
I love it! my uses might be for something other than Halloween, though. lol. imagine this as a hand-held version. mini vortex at rock concerts. :D
There was a rock band in Las Vegas that built one for concerts last year. It should work out well.
hey awesome idea! what is the song that you used in the first video the green vortex?
That is Midnight Syndicate, Born Of The Night. I think Born Of The Night is the name of the album as well but you really can't go wrong with any of their work to set a Halloween mood.
nice instructable, but i have a quick question. my laser pointer is one of the ones that has the red beam will it still work?
Yes, red will work. I used a red laser for years until the price of the green lasers became more affordable. You can even use green and red at the same time, I have been wanting to try this with 3D Glasses. I imagine this would give an interesting affect.
ok thanks, cuz i just got down my fog machine and i have my laser ready to do a test..... now if night would hurry up and come XD. i already have all the parts to build it just got to put it together.
Ok, so I salvaged a motor from an old walkman type personal CD player and I got thinking... is it possible to use the laser from it for the vortex? I absolutely love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing it!
Sorry, the laser in an audio CD player will not produce a visible beam. some DVD burners do but they are normally red in color and I do not know how safe they would be or how focused the beam is at longer range. Good luck with your project... Haunting season is just around the corner!
do you have to worry about the laser effecting your eyes?like in vortex form?
Because the single point of the laser is spread out of the size of cone, the brightness is severely reduced. The fog it illuminates further dissipates the brightness of the laser as well. So this is generally a very safe project but the cone diameter and fog density change depending on its setup. For this reason, I recommended using no more than a 5mW laser pointer for this. You could use more but 5mw will be safe and quite spectacular. Some safety info from my site can be found here:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://haunted.hyperreactor.net/Frequently_Asked_Questions/Disclaimer_%10_Safety_FAQs/Laser_Vortex_safety/">http://haunted.hyperreactor.net/Frequently_Asked_Questions/Disclaimer_%10_Safety_FAQs/Laser_Vortex_safety/</a><br/><br/>If you want to do more research on laser safety in regard to this project, this is is considered &quot;audience scanning&quot;. Searching on this should give you alot of good information. <br/>

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