Picture of Moire Effect Spinning Lamp
Moire Lamp.JPG
spinning lamp.JPG
I had originally wanted to make myself a spinning picture lamp.  Though I realized that these lamps use the heat from incandescent lamps to cause them to spin.  I wasn't really thrilled about the idea of using incandescent bulbs and I no longer had any of them around.  I did however have a computer fan with LEDs. 

The fan, unfortunately, spins much to quickly to be used for pictures.  I tried using with patterns of strips and spirals and discovered that it created an interesting Moiré effect.  Hence the name, though I was also considering calling it the "Hypno Lamp".

The lamp consists of two cylinders the pattern on the outside cylinder is printed on a transparency sheet and the spinning cylinder on the inside is printed on regular white printer paper.  Both of these can be switched up, so you can try out different patterns. 

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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
  • PC Cooling Fan with LEDs (80mm diameter) -I bought mine here
  • 1.5-12v Ac adapter ( my adapter can switch between 1.5-12 v)
  • Glass vase ( mine is 6inch high and 11 inches in circumference - I bought it at a dollar store
  • Transparency sheets
  •  Regular white printer paper
  • Computer and colour printer
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Pliers to strip ends of wires
  • 2 twist on wire connectors
  • Optional -Sugru

Step 2: Print

Picture of Print
insidepattern2 (2).jpg
For the lamp I needed to print out a pattern on transparency sheet to fit around the outside of the glass, the dimensions required where 11x6 inches.  I also needed a pattern that rotates with the fan, I printed this out on regular white printer paper that is 9.375x6 inches. (The width needs to be precise since it has to fit over the fan blades but not be too loose that it slides down.)

I tried out a few different patterns in different colours to use with my lamp with varying effect.   This site gives some interactive examples on how different Moiré patterns are created.  Looking at the images above you can see the Moiré effect caused by your computer screen.
windshadow1 year ago
Pretty cool . Interesting if it could be adapted to the william borroughs' waking lucid dream machine.

Hi, that dream machine is an interesting device, the point of it is to create a strobe light, I think a rather small led strobe light would would make similar effect and would be much simpler, simpler than that theres strobe programs for pc screen, thanks for an interesting read :)

Hi, that dream machine is an interesting device, the point of it is to create a strobe light, I think a rather small led strobe light would would make similar effect and would be much simpler, simpler than that theres strobe programs for pc screen, thanks for an interesting read :)

ChrysN (author)  windshadow1 year ago
Cool, thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it!
Really nice! I know you can get quiet, slow turning gear boxes from old things like microwaves and those disco ball turners incase you wanted to make a spinning one :D
I also built a spinning lamp years ago, and I added a little fan to make the cylinder spinning since the halogen little bulb was not hot enough. But the fan was too much powerful, so maybe I'll add a voltage regulator to it.
ChrysN (author)  andrea biffi1 year ago
Yes try it, it is nice to be able to adjust the speed.
I'm not sure that voltage change is the best option for speed control, but one could use an arduino to generate PWM for speed control of the fan. In such a mode, the speed could be as low as desired, perhaps low enough for the picture lamp mentioned at the beginning. An added benefit is that your construction is already completed and adding the arduino would involve only the connection to the fan.

Nicely done instructable.
Link to one of the many arduino references to speed control with PWM:

ChrysN (author)  fred_dot_u1 year ago
Thanks for the link, I've never actually used an Arduino before but I think it is about time I did.
I'm far from an electronics genius and only recently have begun to explore arduino. The simple experimenter package includes various projects, one of which includes dimming an LED using PWM. A dim LED is the equivalent of a slow spinning computer fan, so the tutorial project will be right in line with your instructable, I think. The LEDs on the fan may require a separate circuit, I'd think, as you'd want them to remain full brightness while the fan speed changes. All of your possible modifications, including the zoetrope may become more easily accomplished with the arduino. The link I sent is likely to be more complex information than it is useful. After additional reading, I left more confused than I began, while the tutorial project in the beginner package is quite simple and easily understood.
maybe you can find useful advice in my fan controller ible: http://www.instructables.com/id/silent-fan-with-thermal-controller/
here you can control fan speed with PWM and without the use of arduino..
I can see you have much greater skill and understanding than I do. I do not have enough to modify your circuit for non-thermal speed control. I think you have an easy answer to perhaps replace the thermal speed control with a potentiometer. I suggested an arduino because it substitutes a micro controller with more smarts than I have!
danzo3211 year ago
I have a bunch of unused fans. Some are from when Hunter Fan made them for electric typewriters. I could flatten the pitch of the aluminum blades for low flow, I suppose. The only one I use is venting my bathroom! Others: available!
nerd74731 year ago
pretty cool
aceammar1 year ago
nice lamp