Laser Spirographs

The basis of this project was to create mesmerizing patterns from a laser. My final iteration I used (2x) DC Motors, each attached with a mirror as well as (2x) lasers. Both lasers hit the first spinning mirror and then hits the second spinning mirror, allowing unique patterns to form. This idea came into fruition for my love of animals. As a pet owner, I like to use the lasers to play with my cats. They enjoy chasing the laser. Anyway, I was soon mesmerized by the way it can make shapes and patterns when you spin it real fast enough with your wrist. I decided to take this idea and turn it into a real project I like to call Laser Spirographs. The lasers activate when there is motion detected, thus causing the lasers to spin. This installation piece was case specific in a stairwell at DAAP at the University of Cincinnati. I quite literally put my blood, sweat and tears into this project and I hope you enjoy.

Here I am presenting my Laser Spirograph Installation


Second Iteration

I was able to construct a heavy duty wood work piece to mount my internals in. Was able to get the other DC motor to function properly to allow both mirrors to work. Moved the motion sensor to the side. Added a latch mechanism as well as paid attention to detail with the rocks. This was powered by a portable battery pack. I was able to get the laser patterns to be far more intricate. The result is below.

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This video below you can see me trouble shooting with the internals in regards to getting the second mirror to spin as well as working on getting a unique laser pattern.


First Iteration

For the first iteration, I housed the internals in cardboard shoe box. Added the motion sensor in the back. I was unable to get (2x) DC motors in this iteration, so I stuck with one DC motor and I used (2x) laser. This was powered via my laptop. The result is below.

This video below shows you behind the scenes of me constructing the mirrors. This is just one of the many times I injured myself during the course of this project. I cut myself with a spinning mirror. The troubleshooting with this was wires coming consistently loose from the DC motors as well as making sure the mirrors were securely mounted to the DC motor. I also had trouble getting the mirror to be an appropriate degree for the DC motor. Both mirrors had to be at a fixed length from each other and each mirror had to be between 1 and 5 degrees for a laser spirograph pattern. As for the motion sensor, I used a button for the DC Motors to be activated. This helped immensely as you can see with troubleshooting.

Get Away From Me 

The basis is where as individual gets closer to the box it elicits an emotion of anger, that being of the light getting brighter as well as the sound getting louder. As the individual steps away, both the light and sound start to diminish. The green light represents the comfort zone typically for a human and when you are in proximity of the distance sensor the green light immediately goes away and it detects the distance from you to the box and makes accurate measurements as to the approximate light and sound it should project. You can view the code here.


To view a How-to-Guide on doing this project click here.


Photo Documentation


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Video Documentation



Second Iteration


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First Iteration


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Working Preliminary


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Arduino without its housing unit. Distance sensor detected motion which triggered the sound (piezo component) as well as triggering Red LED lights. For code.

Preliminary Design

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Initial sketches


Future Iterations

For individuals interested in pursuing this further. Here’s a list of things I would like to further iterate upon.