Music Driven Laser Pointer Lightshow

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Intro: Music Driven Laser Pointer Lightshow

Unlike the mirror on the subwoofer trick, this DIY shows you how to create a very cheap, music driven lightshow that actually visualizes the sound!


Step 1: Making the Visualizer Body

I used a plastic coffee can for the sounding tube by removing the lid and cutting a large hole in the bottom. The vacuum form of the can's bottom gives a perfect template for cutting a nice, large round hole while leaving a lip around the bottom edge.

Step 2: Visualizer Reflector Membrane

Cut a latex glove into a section large enough to cover the top of the can. Secure the membrane to the top of the can with a rubber band. Pull the edges of the membrane until the membrane surface is taut and even. Trim away the excess if you want to be neat... =)

Step 3: Membrane Reflector

A fancy way of saying, "Paste a mirror in the center of the membrane". I used an old CD and scissors to cut the size I needed (yes, I am cheap!).

Step 4: Continuing the Excellence of Cheapness!

Use a coat hanger and pliers to bend the wire into a holder for your Laser Pointer. You want it to reflect down onto the mirror at a sharp angle for reflection off the cieling.

Step 5: The Visualizer Driver Element!

Otherwise known as a cheap auxilary speaker like you can buy at Radio Snack or find at a garage sale that has a mono jack. Remove the top cover of the speaker, then superglue the bottom lip of the coffee can assembly to the speaker edge.

Step 6: Final Check!

Make adjustments in the coat hanger holder until the pointer beam lines up nicely with the mirror. Placing the speaker on top of the wire base works wonders. Now plug the mono jack into your PC output, cue up your favorite tunes, and get ready for the show!

Step 7: What You'll See

It's really fascinating as you can see the shapes made by solo instrumnts, and how they grow or shrink as the not is changed. You'll also get some nice linear and circular revolving patterns depending upon the music and instruments. The coolest thing about this is that you can project this onto a house, billboard, gymnasium cieling, or just about anything you can think of. Theoretically, even a low lying cloud base (I'm looking forward to a day when I can try that!). See the video for a great example of the lightshow functioning. Have fun, and suggestions or questions are welcome!

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    76 Discussions

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    dodo91zuljoule

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    easy. Speaker moves air molecules to produce sound. The moving air molecules hit the rubber on the top of the can and move/vibrate that. That in turn moves the cd mirror, causing the reflection angle to be different. The laser then moves because of this angle difference, so the laser moves based on music.

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    yungblood

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! :) I'm thinking of making 2. 1 red, 1 green. And hook them up to the left & right channels of my sound system. :)

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    psharpepyungblood

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure the red laser is much more powerful than the green one, since green light is about 70x more visible to the human eye.

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    alexrom17

    9 years ago on Step 7

    What type of laser is that? btw very cool
     
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    mspearin

    9 years ago on Step 3

    you can also use a hard drive platter if you have one around it works better!!

    1 reply
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    simplebeep

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is one of the best instructables I've seen on this site. Wonderful work!

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    lukeman3000

    9 years ago on Step 7

    The music at the end was made with the MTV music studio thing was it not?

    i could just put the cd cut out peice on a peice of ballon and got a big sub to push a beta effect lol

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    TheEvilRobot

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is really simple, and it gives really great quality. Who would have known? 5/5

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    thisdude

    9 years ago on Introduction

    need to test this idea use a metal can and put bright leds inside then poke small random holes in the membrane(which would have to be opaque)

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    agent

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm gonna make one that has 3 different colors that are arduino controlled! Yay for epicness!

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    Spectrace

    11 years ago on Introduction

    i have that same exact laser pointer flashlight. Yay for walmart and 1.99 checkout items