Do It Yourself Laser Light Show

Bryan was telling us over dinner how in school his science teacher setup a laser light show. Bryan has a laser level, so we decided to do it. The concept is so simple. Basically, the idea to put a mirror on a large speaker and bounce a laser off the mirror onto a wall. Playing music through the speaker causes the mirror to bounce around.

Materials: laser (you can get a laser pointer at Radio Shack or an office store for $10 or $20; Bryan happened to have a laser level), a very small mirror (we pried a small mirror out of a makeup thing, see the picture), good stereo with good speakers), plus tape and books and stuff to act as shims. Bryan aims and aligns the laser level, using high tech shims like a book and a mini-stapler.

The unblinking eye of the laser aim’ed.

Remove the grill from the speaker. The speaker is tilted at a 45 degree angle, so the laser will be reflected to the ceiling.

At first we used a dental mirror. You could probably get this at any pharmacy for $1. We taped the handle end of the dental mirror to the top side of the speaker cone, and the mirror part laid on the cone itself. Music ON (Led Zepplin, of course, is protocol for a laser light show). Ta Da. The reflected laser moved a little on the ceiling. Proof of concept, but not very exciting. It might work better if we took the little mirror out of the handle.

We tried anonther mirror. I pried the little mirror (about 1/2″ x 2″) out of one of Kim’s makeup thingies. (Sorry Kim!)

Bryan taped the little mirror to a strip of folded up foil, then taped the strip to the top of the speaker cone. Very light weight. This was out final prototype of the evening, and it worked very well. I recommend you don’t tape anything to the cone itself, because you can damage the cone.

The laser show has to be seen in motion to do it justice!

Led Zeppelin Your Time Is Gonna Come

B52’s Private Idaho

Rude 66 Machine (A1)

Public Enemy Fight The Power

Led Zeppelin What Is And Should Never Be

Led Zeppelin Kashmir

Next level of difficulty: Stereo.

2 Comments

  1. stereo is where the true coolness comes in. with the dental mirror, we basically got a line on the ceiling as it bounced on its “hinge” (the tape). with the makeup mirror and the foil, the mirror was less rigid and made more random shapes as it bounced around. BUT if you bounce the light off TWO mirrors taped to TWO speakers at a 90? angle from each other, one moves the line on the X axis, and the other moves the line on the Y axis, thus a steady test tone would make a circle (with volume making it larger or smaller), and a pulsing test tone would make a flower/star shape. That lends a good deal more action to the light during music, if you can separate the bass and treble into two pairs of speakers with different colored lasers, you can pretty much start charging admission. See also: Triton College, Pink Floyd. http://www.triton.edu/cgi-bin/r.cgi/facility_detail.html?SESSION=6CpKn5Vc3b&ContentID=530

  2. nice little laser light show for the tight budget. I got one for ya, it cost me less than $8.00 in parts. it bounces a laser dot off of a rotating mirror onto another rotating mirror, in effect drawing a spiralgraphic image. this requires some eletronics skills such as soldering, and formulas for calculating resistance and such, but you can check out my creation at http://www.c2azores.com/djfire/images/lasertoy/

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