Ready to build a mind-warping, light-abstracting, infinitely deep array of color-changing lights as practical furniture? Then read ahead and get ready for some fun! Pictures are heavily used throughout this guide, hoping you find them helpful and enjoyable :-)
After seeing the movie Interstellar and the incredible tesseract scene near the end, I wanted to create something involving light, mirrors, and have a daily use in my home. There are a few two-plate infinity mirror guides already on Instructables, but I wanted something more complex and striking -- enter six-plates!
The design is fairly straightforward, and can be constructed out of any materials, most commonly wood or metal. I opted for metal because I wanted it to match the silver tint of the mirrors and I had spare aluminum plates on-hand. Darkly stained or painted wood could also make a striking impression.
Hoping you enjoy this Instructable. If you do make use of this work, have any questions, or make improvements on my designs, please let me know -- it is always a joy to see what others create. Enjoy!
Oh boy! A straightforward project with a lot of ways to get the job done. Many of these tools can be substituted for alternative methods. Nothing needs to be expensive except for the tempered glass plate for the top.
You likely already have access to many of these tools -- there are many sad and unused tools on many idle workbenches, ask your friends and family if you can borrow tool X or tool Y, they are often glad to see it put to use!
Jigsaw - Used to cut the metal plates, also works on wood.
Jigsaw T-Shanks (blades) - $10, 5x - You'll need metal rated bits to cut metal or hardwood. Wood-rated bits for wood. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UMLQ9W
Aluminum Cutting Fluid - $10 - Makes the jigsaw blades last much longer. You can also substitute 3-part oil. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003X3ZKXI
Power Drill - Makes holes. Needed for connecting the plates together via bolts in this guide. If you are using a wood-build, I highly recommend going for Pocket Holes with a Kreg Jig.
Drill Bit Set - Makes different sizes of holes.
Tape Measurer - $4 - Measures distances.
Level or Ruler $1-20 - Measures more distances.
Cloth Rags - For cleanup.
Acetone (1 Gallon) - For cleanup of grime and metal-flakes from plates and for washing hands.
Hot Glue Gun and Sticks (High Temp) - $16 - Get high temp with the large-sized glue sticks, plan to use a lot. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00004YMWF
Plastic Scoring Tool - Used to cut acrylic or polycarbonate mirrors to size. - https://www.amazon.com//dp/B003UHUZ5U
Acrylic Squeegee - $5 - For cleaning the glass plate, and applying the mirror film evenly.
Plastic Card - $0 - Use a credit card or equivalent. Used to remove air-bubbles from the mirror film.
Spray Bottle - Use water plus a few drops of dish-soap. No need for a special mirror-film application solution.
Clamps - Recommend C-Clamps or Bar Clamps - $8/ea. You'll need at least 4.
(Optional) Angle Grinder w/ Wire Brush - For polishing the aluminum plate with swirl patterns to cover up scratches. Also smooths the edges of cut metal. You could use a simple file wrapped in a cloth for smoothing edges if desired, it will just take a lot of sweat and time.
(Optional) Mitre Saw with Grinding Disc - For cutting through the corner aluminum. Can easily be done with a Jigsaw, just makes some cuts easier.
(2x) 1/8" Acrylic Mirror - 4' x 2' - $60/ea - One mirror is on the bottom, the other will be cut into strips for the sides. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GGB0D2Q
1/2" Glass Plate (Tempered) - 4' x 2' - $135 - The most expensive part of the build. Needs to hold up computer monitors and take a small amount of weight, coffee-table thickness of 1/2" highly recommended. Open the box before signing for a shipment. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G3P4VBU
####Option 1 - Metal Build
Aluminum Plates - $60 - 1/8" or 1/4" thickness recommended. I went to the metal scrapyard and picked up a 4'x6'x1/8" plate.
Bolts (Unless you have a TIG Welder) - $5, 50x - I used entirely 3/4" length, 1/4" 20# Bolts.
Nuts (Unless you have a TIG Welder) - $5, 100x - 1/4" #20 nuts.
(2x) 1/8" (Thickness) 1/2" x 1/2" x 4' Angle (90 degree) Aluminum - $4/ea at the hardwood store, these provide the supports for the glass plate. If you are making a wood build, you can use a router bit instead on your edges to inset the glass.
(2x) 1/16" (Thickness) 3.5" x 2" x 8'Angle Aluminum - $10 at the scrapyard. Would probably be $50/ea in the store. Holds the entire frame together, also acts as rounded corners.
####Option 2 - Wood Build
Plywood - $40, or Hardwood ($100-200) - Recommend 1/2" or 3/4" plywood, probably about $40 worth of material.. If you are going with hardwood, I recommend using maple, walnut, cherry, or mahogany, prices vary, probably $100+ for the good stuff from your local hardwood supplier.
Screws - $5, 100x - $6, length depends on your wood thickness. If you've never tried Torx screws, I highly recommend them (much harder to strip the heads or slip).
Router Bit - $10 for a set at Harbor Freight, used to edge into your frame to inset the glass. Cut doesn't need to be deep, 1/4" or 1/2" depth is perfect.
LED 5050 RGB Strip - $9 - Very pretty lights. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LW2NJM
LED Controller and Remote - $7 - Remote control to select the colors, and a controller chip to change the patterns / colors. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0188JN9HA
Power Supply - $8 - 12vDC Out, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019Q3U72M/
Privacy Mirror Film - $28 - 3' x 15' - Provides a one-way mirror for the glass plate on top. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000H5XTKG