Vocal Visualizer

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With a bit of PVC, a laser, a can/cup, and a small mirror, you can make a device that visualizes you voice or any sound transmitted into the cup/can. Make beautiful patterns on a white wall as you scream into a cup!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • A red laser pen/pointer with low power output; we recommend the common variety that is about 9/16 inches (14 millimeters) in diameter, about the thickness of your pinky finger
  • Rubber bands
  • One 11-inch diameter balloon
  • Double-sided tape
  • Small plastic mirror
  • Various lengths of PVC pipe (1/2 inch, Schedule 40):
  • One 6-foot (2 meter) length of pipe
  • Two 1/2-inch diameter “elbows”
  • Three 1/2-inch diameter T-joints
  • One 4-inch (10 cm) length of 3-inch diameter solid, smooth-walled drain pipe
  • Safety goggles
  • Measuring tape with both English and metric units
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • Optional: PVC cutter


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
      • Sound
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Music


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access