3-Mirror Kaleidoscope Design Options

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Most folks start out by making a 3-mirror kaleidoscope. Not only is it the simplest to construct, but this configuration permits repeated images the entire length of the mirrors.

Three long pieces of front-surfaced mirror are placed at 120 degree angles to form a perfect pyramid (emphasis on perfect). When they are secured, they can be placed into almost anything to protect them both from moving and from the elements.

The scope above is a 3-mirror cellscope with a rotating object chamber. The chamber is supported by a bearing (supplied by Scott Cole--scott@laughingeye.com). In fact, all parts to this scope came from Scott.

This configuration permits the viewer to hold the scope with one hand while rotating the object chamber on the left with the other hand.

This scope has a clear chamber permitting light to enter from the sides. Opaque (not transparent) objects such as stones, seashells, turquoise, buttons, paper clips, springs, etc can be used along with transparent "stuff.".

The simplest scope, of course, has the object chamber inside of the tube, and requires only transparent objects which limit selection considerably as most things around us are not transparent.

Interior Design Elements

Kaleidoscopes can be made out of just about anything that will protect the mirrors and provide an object chamber. There are many ready-made and money-saving solutions to making scopes. They can be made in Pringles boxes, toilet paper tubes, PVC pipe, flashlights, etc.

Old flashlights are ready-made for quirky kaleidoscopes. A small hole about 3/8 inch diameter is drilled into the rear end providing the eyepiece. After removing the batteries, the mirrors can be inserted. After removing the bulb and reflector an object chamber can be created in its space. The existing pre-made circular glass lens is retained. The beauty of this concept is that the lens can be unscrewed and any number of objects can be inserted. In fact one can carry around little pre-made packets of objects to pour into the chamber. Think of it as your contribution to recycling!

The kaleidoscopes below were made using recycled trophy parts. Old trophies can be picked up at yard sales and flea markets. Their assembly parts can be used as eyepieces as seen in the foreground scope.

Not all trophy tubes are completely hollow inside. This you will not find out about until after you purchase and disassemble them.

While tubes of old trophies can look very expensive, many are made from plastic. Additionally, some surface coverings don't wear well with handling.

Old trophy tubes can be cut to length, but we generally use what tube is available and cut the mirror to fit the tube.

Click here to see more uses of trophy tubes.