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Laser Lissajous: PVC Version


Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Laser Lissajous: PVC Version

In this activity, learners use a laser pointer and two small rotating mirrors to create a variety of fascinating patterns, which can be easily and dramatically projected on a wall or screen. In this version of the activity, learners use PVC pipes to build the base of the device. Educators can use a pre-assembled device for demonstration purposes or engage learners in the building process.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • laser pointer
  • wood or plywood base
  • 12 nails, bright finishing, 1 1/2 in, and hammer OR 2 paper clips, masking tape and 2 pieces of 1/2-inch wide double-sided foam tape, 2 in. long
  • hot glue gun and hot glue stick OR 2 pieces of 1/2-inch wide double-sided foam tape, 1 in. long
  • 4 screws, sheet metal, #8 x 5/8 in, pan head, Phillips
  • 4 spring grip broom clips
  • 2 motors, 1.5-3 volt
  • 2 potentiometers, 20 or 25 ohm
  • mirror, plastic (plexi-mirror) 1 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in
  • mirror, plastic (plexi-mirror) 2 in x 2 in
  • 2 screws, sheet metal, #8 x 5/8 in, pan head, Phillips
  • 12 alligator clips
  • 6 pieces of copper wire, #22, insulated, solid, 6 in long
  • clothespin, wood, with spring
  • electric drill
  • 7/64 in drill bit
  • 5/64 in drill bit
  • 2 batteries, D
  • needle-nose pliers
  • masking tape
  • screw driver, Phillips
  • wire stripper
  • PVC cutter
  • 2 knobs for potentiometers (optional)
  • cable tie, approx 8 in (optional)
  • 7 PVC 1/2 in. pipe, 2 in. long
  • 5 PVC 1/2 in. pipe, 3 in. long
  • 6 PVC 1/2 in. 90 degree elbows
  • 3 PVC 1/2 in. T

Subjects


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Light and Optics
      • Lasers
      • Lenses and Mirrors
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Rotation Motion
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories


  • Electronics

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Rathjen, Don

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2006

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