Intro: 4 Motor 100mw 532nm Laser Spirograph Budget Build
I always wanted to build a laser spirograph. I was inspired on this site from Quackmaster Dan's 4 motor build. I came up with my own version as I didn't want to use a handheld or batteries. Thanks to all the posted builds for the tips and ideas!
Everything was purchased from e-bay with the exception of the project box that I purchased from Digi-Key. I tried to stick with US sellers, but 1 item came from China. I always go with deals with free shipping whenever possible.
USA e-bay seller "thaishine" had the majority of parts and their shipping is Lightning Fast and FREE! A+++++++++
The 532 nm module I purchased was 13mm and I had to drill out the aluminum mount 1mm to fit the module. Wish I hadn't used such a large "Master Switch" as it dwarfed the other components! It was also the part I waited on from China. Sacrificed an old DB-25 computer cable for the wire needed. I followed wiring schematics from other Spirograph's shown here on this site. The lens I used was a beveled coated vintage piece I got from e-bay. I used a Dremel to bevel the hole for the lens using a slightly smaller flat washer glued to the inside of the project box as a guide. I used scrap 1/4" aluminum blocks cut to the width of the CD ROM motors as heat sinks,, the 317 regulator, etc.
2 part epoxy was used to glue down the heat sinks for the motors, but I used hot glue to attach the CD ROM motors to the heat sinks so I could change them if they became defective. I mounted the LM 317 to a piece of 1/4" aluminum attached with small bolts and nuts to the project box. I used a piece of terminal strip there to make the electrical connections as well. I also attached the fan the same way and drilled a series of cooling holes for ventilation. I used an 7VDC - AC power supply and dropped down the voltage to 3VDC for the laser module using a LM317. The fan and motors run fine at 7VDC. I lined up the mirrors one at a time and after all 4 were mounted, I then carefully marked the hole through the case for the lens. I centered the laser beam every step of the way on each mirror to ensure that I had eveything aligned properly. TIP: Make sure everything is aligned and working properly before final glue down of the motors!
With the 4 motors that reverse direction and with adjustable speed, the patterns are endless. GREAT PROJECT!
It took me about 4 weeks to gather all the parts, but I was going for "CHEAP"! The build took me about 6 hours to complete.
I built this as a gift for my Grandsons Birthday coming up in April.
Spirograph Parts List:
1-Digi-Key HM961-ND BOX POLY 7.48X4.33X2.39" TR CL. $12.51
1-532nm 100mw Green 13mm Laser Diode Module with driver. $7.51
1-12X30mm heatsink mount for AixiZ 12X30mm. $3.95
1-50mm Coated Glass Welders Safety Lens $1.00
1-Sunon MagLev Fan 30X30mm. $2.70
4-Pot Knobs $.50 Each $2.00
4-100K OHM Linear Taper Rotary Potentiometers $1.00 Each $4.00
4-CD Rom Motors $.59 Each $2.36
1-Master Switch W/Green LED $5.00 (waste of $5)
1-LM317T Voltage Regulator $.34
4-Mini Toggle Switch DPDT $1.00 Each $4.00
1-4mm Cable Gland $.20
4-1" Round Glass Mirrors $.8 Each $.32 $1.99 for 25 at Michaels Crafts
(turned into front side mirrors using mirror tip here on this site)
Scrap pieces of aluminum, old computer cable wire, shrink tubing and 7 volt power supply from my junk box.
Total build cost: $46.20