Introduction: Spin-Art From a DVD Player

About: Loving life art and boating

I was walking back from a downtown art gallery the other day when I chanced to see this DVD player in someones trash. It looked in good shape so I brought it home. At the gallery my friend and I were talking about MOB ART where many people each decorate a unique item but the item is the same for everyone. We were talking about making a mold of a Horseshoe Crab shell and casting 50 or 60 pieces. Individuals or businesses buy a shell and uniquely decorate it. The proceeds less the cost goes to a local charity. There is a show/party and then the individual or business takes their work home to display. I think the more ubiquitous the item is the more fun it is. So I thought hmmm...what about doing art on a spinning DVD. So here we go. It may not become a MOB ART project since not everyone will want to disassemble their DVD player.

Step 1: Make Sure It Works

First make sure that the DVD player works. Safely plug it in and see if you get a power light (usually red). Press the power button. The light should turn green and perhaps you’ll hear a little self test noise that tells you the unit is checking for a disk.

Press the eject/tray button and the tray should slide out. If you have an old disk put it in the tray and press the play or tray button.

Step 2: The Decision Point

The decision point. If the player is working and you need one use it. Otherwise go on to the next step.

Unplug the player and remove the screws both recessed and surface mounted. This will most likely detach some inside components as well as separate the top and bottom halves. So here you can see that the slide tray is now loose with the removal of the cover. There may be a plastic tab or two holding the tray. Every player will be a little different. I chose not to disconnect the ribbon cables attached to the tray. I rested the tray in the bottom of the player.

Step 3: Removing the Bridge

On top of the tray is a little bridge with a metal disk in the center. This is what actually centers and holds the disk in place one it is inserted. On each side there are plastic tabs but yours may use screws. We want to remove the bridge.

Once the bridge is removed note the top and bottom. This green plastic disk is the bottom. Here is the tray without the bridge. A cone shape centers the disk. Behind it is the laser which travels from front to back on the two side rails. On the right you can see the gear mechanism that moves the laser. This whole assembly actually raises up when a disk is inserted. That is the playing position.

Step 4: Modify the Bridge

Now back to the bridge. We are going to remove the center disk.

You can see that I have used a tiny screwdriver and needle nose pliers to bend three little tabs up. This allows the locking disk to be rotated and removed. On the bottom of the metal disk a circular magnet is glued on. We are now going to reassemble the two disks without the bridge. The plastic disk goes face down. It has a little inside bevel that helps it to align with the disk drive in the tray. Try it. Set the disk green side down on the tray disk. You’ll understand why the magnet is there now.

Step 5: Placing a Disk in Your Spin-Art

Place a CD/DVD disk in the tray and place the magnetic disk on top.

Caution Open Electrical Circuits!

With the tray firmly in the base and CD/DVD loaded plug the player in. There is no need to eject the tray so just hit play. There you have it. You now have a Spin-Art paint spinner!

Step 6: Moving the Tray

Because some paint does spin off the disk it would eventually get all over the electronics And You!

So I mounted the tray on top of the DVD player top making a couple slots for the ribbon cables. I used a hot melt glue gun to hold it. The ribbon cables were just long enough. Now you can replace the player top on the bottom base. A couple screws should hold it together.

You can make a shield of 2” masking tape to surround the tray and catch any paint that flies off the disk.

Step 7: How to Create Spin-Art

Since this isn’t an art class I won’t be going deep into the paint process. I just did a couple drops of acrylic paint to give you the idea. Any kind of paint will work but you usually need to thin it down a bit. Thin with different amounts of water to get different effects. It drys pretty fast so you can experiment with different colors and layers. Spray painting the disk with flat white or black first would give a good base color.

Also try different ways of dropping/dripping the paint onto the spinning disk. Try stopping the disk placing a few drops/colors then starting the disk. A toothpick works well. After you place some paint try a couple drops of plain water...then more paint...glitter... Have Fun! Post some photos of the Spin-Art you make!


Step 8: I Learned Something!

So after publishing this instructable I played around a little more with my Spin-Art machine. It just happened that when I found the machine it had a DVD in it. Nothing I cared about so I used it for the demo. The player spun the disk just fine. But when I turned over the disk to paint the other side it only spun for a few seconds. Apparently the laser/reader during startup determines if there is a disk inserted or not. Since the back of the disk has no data on it, usually just the title and graphics, the player stops spinning after a few seconds.

So everyone it would seem that all your Spin-Art must be done on the label side of the disk so the data side faces the laser. Hence if the label side is not smooth like screen printed labels, it is probably a good idea to give it a light sanding. Then perhaps as I mentioned earlier a base coat of white or black would be a good idea.

I also found that using a paint loaded brush and holding it against the spinning disk. It makes nice circles. Also the toothpick idea will scratch the paint surface for a very thin line. Anyway just an addendum and some ideas...Cheers ~ EZ