Monday 26 November 2012

Home made Kaleidoscope

With our set of mirrors, making a kaleidoscope was too good an opportunity to miss. It has provided Middle Son and me with some design challenges and, I'm sure, there are further improvements to be made.

3 or 4  safety mirrors- ours are 7x7cm
brown parcel tape
greaseproof (waxed) paper

Tape the mirrors together-shiny side inwards
We experimented with having the mirrors as in the picture and as a ring structure.  In the end the ring structure was probably best. We have experimented with a triangular prism and with a cube. We ended up with the triangular prism although via several cube versions.

Cover one free surface with card and tape this down securely. Make a hole in the card using a pencil or scissors.
 Place the sequins between the cling film and the greaseproof paper. Secure carefully over the remaining side of the cube with the clingfilm on the inside and the greaseproof paper on the outside. Do be careful with this as if it isn't secured properly you will end up picking up sequins off the floor-voice of experience!

Hold the greaseproof paper side to the light or shine a torch through this end. Look at the sequins through the viewer.

Shake and look again.

 I had hoped that the images would be as dramatic as a commercial kaleidoscope. There are some rather different designs around using plastic rather than conventional mirrors. I would be fascinated to know if anyone has made these as I wonder how well the plastic works as a mirror, as it must for this design to work.
I guess that the best design would use a flexible mirror in a tube.

Have you ever made a kaleidoscope? Any thoughts about the design?

This is linked to the Home School Scientist share and tell.

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