Old CDs Create A Haunting Rainbow Vortex

The 1960s were, in Western culture, a time of great social and political upheaval, and the dawning of the psychedelia subculture. This resulted in an art style consisting of bright colours in wild, shifting designs. [Afraser-kruck] has built a device capable of generating beautiful rainbow light patterns, which he calls Mesmer-Eyes.

Unnerving, to say the least.

The device uses two CDs, stripped of their reflective coating. This leaves the plastic layer behind, which appears to be acting as a circular diffraction grating. By passing light from a flashlight through a CD, a dazzling rainbow vortex is created, and the effect is even further improved by adding a second disc. The patterns can be moved and shifted by changing the distance between the discs themselves, as well as the flashlight. This is achieved through the use of a sled that slides on PVC pipes, holding each individual element.

It’s a build of a kind we haven’t seen before, and is put to good use as a creepy Halloween decoration, imitating the famous Cheshire Cat. It’s one we can’t wait to tackle ourselves, and we wonder how difficult it would be to turn it into a projection, or a larger scale design.

Creepy eyes remain a Halloween staple; we’ve featured them before. Video after the break.

8 thoughts on “Old CDs Create A Haunting Rainbow Vortex

  1. Spindles of CD-R blanks used to come with uncoated discs as protectors at the top and bottoms of the stacks. They had the pressed texture, don’t know if they were reject CD-R or some audio albums that didn’t pass inspection before the coating.

    Then at some point those got replaced with smooth discs purpose made to be protectors for the top and bottom discs on the spindles.

    Either it had become cheaper to make special molds just for making the protector discs or the defect rate had dropped too low to scoop them up for protectors.

  2. Use a single high watt LED without diffusing reflector, a concentrated pinpoint of light. The bands will be more pure in color. Now put CD drive slider motors in and motivate things! Movement sideways and small twisting angles. A big lens from an old projector box TV and this could project on the wall.

  3. Those patterns look oddly like multicolor interference patterns at certain points…I wonder if that’s actually happening or if it’s just an illusion of interference.

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