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A Kaleidoscope - How I Made Mine

by
Charles Lee Gibbens

November 18, 2015

A Kaleidoscope - How I Made Mine

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Table of Contents
Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 4
An Overview of My Scope ............................................................................................................... 5
The Body ...................................................................................................................................... 5
The Mirror System....................................................................................................................... 6
The Eye Piece............................................................................................................................... 9
The Object Chamber or Cell ...................................................................................................... 11
Detailed Construction Notes......................................................................................................... 12
Body Construction......................................................................................................................... 13
Mirror System Construction ......................................................................................................... 21
Eye Piece Construction ................................................................................................................. 38
Object Chamber (or Cell) Construction......................................................................................... 42
Some Final Thoughts ..................................................................................................................... 55
The Basic Parts of this Scope and Costs .................................................................................... 55
Glues and Cement Solvents ...................................................................................................... 56
Materials for Covering the Tube. .............................................................................................. 57
Making and Storing Items for Object Chambers. ...................................................................... 59
Spare Object Chambers. ............................................................................................................ 60
Velvet Wine Bags and Presentation Boxes ............................................................................... 61
Sources of Information ................................................................................................................. 63
Kaleidoscope Mirror Systems .................................................................................................... 63
From the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society Website at www.BrewsterSociety.com .................. 70
Sources of Supplies ....................................................................................................................... 79
Boston Craft Works, LLC, 557 Sawmill Brook Parkway, Newton, MA 02459, 617-688-1668.
www.bostoncraftWorks.com. Kaleidoscope parts such as object cells, first surface mirrors,
silicone, glues, etc. .................................................................................................................... 79
B&H Photo, 420 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10001, 800-221-5743. www.bhphotovideo.com.
Camera parts for the filter lenses and step up rings Bower filters and Sensei step up rings. 79
Adorama, 42 West 18th Street, New York, NY, 10011, 800-223-2500. www.adorama.com.
Camera parts for the filter lenses Vivitar filters. .................................................................... 79
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Delphi Creativity, 3380 East Jolly Road, Lansing MI 48910, 800-248-2048.


www.delphiglass.com. First surface mirrors, and stained and dichoric glass. ......................... 79
Delvies Plastics, Inc., 133 West Haven Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84115, 800-533-5843.
www.delviesplastics.com. Acrylic cement solvents, clear acrylic discs, acrylic polishes. ......... 79
Grand Brass Lamp Parts and Lighting Parts, www.grandbrass.com. Brass check rings. .......... 79
My Lamp Parts, www.mylampparts.com. Brass check rings. ................................................... 79
The Felt Store, www.thefeltstore.com. 100 percent black wool felt. ...................................... 79
U.S. Box Corp, 14 Madison Road, Fairfield, NJ 07004, 800-221-0999. www.usbox.com. Velvet
Wine Bags used as presentation bags for the scopes. .............................................................. 79
Inventables, Inc., 600 West Buren St, #602, Chicago, IL 60607, www.inventables.com. 1/16
inch thick glossy black acrylic sheets, 18 x 24 inches. ............................................................... 80
Hot Glass Products, www.hotglassproducts, for portable glass strip cutter and table. ........... 80

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Introduction
The name kaleidoscope comes from the Greek kalos, eidos, and skopios meaning beautiful,
form, and view, respectively.
I became interested in kaleidoscopes after acquiring a Reflections model scope in 2006 made
by Steve and Peggy Kittelson of Woodland Designs at http://www.kittelsondesigns.com/. The
scope was stunning in its quality of construction and in its display of beautiful shapes and
colors. The rich vibrant colors, and the unique shapes of lamp worked items in the liquid filled
object chamber produced the best kaleidoscope visions I had ever seen.

Image from a Reflections Scope by Steve and Peggy Kittelson


I began researching the internet for information on how to construct a kaleidoscope. I made
several rudimentary scopes then set the hobby aside until 2014 when I retired from the work
force. I then became interested again in trying to create a scope similar to the Kittelson scope
(in size, a two mirror design, and a rotating liquid filled object chamber (or cell).
The standard tube scope has four basic components the body, the mirror system, the object
chamber, and the eye piece. The materials and the process one uses to put them together can
vary greatly. This paper will document my efforts to find the materials to build the scope, and
will describe how I eventually settled on a process to build one.
For those of you that chose to make this journey, I wish you well as the joys and tribulations are
more than worth the effort.

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An Overview of My Scope
The Body
Found at any plumbing supply or home improvement store, the body is a white PVC tube which
is 2 inch OD (outside diameter) and 1.5 inch ID (inside diameter) and typically about 9 inches
long. This length allows for the eyes of most people to easily focus on the object chamber at the
end of the scope The ends are perfectly square and smooth.

The body is covered with various 12 x 12 inch specialty papers.

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The Mirror System


The most common mirror system has three sides, each side being a mirror. Another common
system is a two mirror system with two sides of mirrors, and a third non-mirror side. I prefer
two mirror systems, as I find the three mirror system too busy for me to view. The five, six
and seven point star mirror angles are my favorite.

The mirrors are first surface (meaning the reflective coating is on to top of the glass) as
opposed to standard household mirror which has the reflective coating on the underside of the
mirror which prevents the reflective coating from being scratched.
In the two mirror setup, two first surface mirrors are used. For a 1.5 inch inside diameter tube,
with a 5 point star, the width of the first surface mirrors are about 32mm, or 1 and 17/64
inches. The third piece is regular household 1/16 inch glass, 23mm, or 29/32 inches, painted
with flat black paint to prevent any reflections. Alternately, thin (1.2mm) 100% black wool felt
glued to the third glass piece can be used.
The width of the black surface mirror varies depending on the size of the angle of the mirrors.
Angles are 36 degrees for a 5 star, 30 degrees for a six point star, and 25.5 degrees for an eight
point star. The smaller the degrees, the smaller the width of the black surface glass side can be.

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Actually, the third non-mirror side can be of materials that vary greatly to produce interesting
effects along the side of the tube from the eye piece up to the mandala produced at the object
chamber. Below, one can see the effects of the green, blue and purple tiles that comprise the
third side of the mirror system.

Another example.

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Another mirror system variant is a four sided square or rectangular mirror system which
produces a parade or chorus line view. One of the four sides is blackened. Here, each side is
about 24mm.

The view.

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The Eye Piece


I have used two different eye pieces. One was from a lamp part called a check ring with a 7/16
inch hole in its center. Sometimes I spray painted them black. I would then sign my name Lee
and year the scope was made and then spray it with clear satin enamel.

The eyepiece on the scope.

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The second eye piece was a bit more complicated and was what I now use most. It is a 52mm
clear or UV lens filter for a camera lens. An additional 1/16 inch thick black acrylic circle with a
3/8 inch hole at its center, is glued on top of the glass filter.

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The Object Chamber or Cell


This is the most complicated part of the scope. I was after a combination of parts that would
allow for a liquid silicone filled object chamber that could be smoothly rotated, and could be
easily added to or removed from the scope to allow for interchangeable object chambers.
The most important component of this object chamber was a camera lens filter called a circular
polarizing lens (CPL) filter. This construction of this filter allows it to smoothly and continuously
rotate 360 degrees.
The actual polarizing glass filter is removed which leaves the metal shell to which the acrylic
object chamber is glued in place of the glass filter. I like the Bower brand CPL because the glass
filter can be easily removed by unscrewing the plastic retaining ring.

The three parts.

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A completed object chamber.

Here are the four basic parts of the scope the tube, the mirror system, the eye piece, and the
object chamber.

Detailed Construction Notes


I will now describe all the steps I used to make my scope. Except for some fundamental
principles, there is no correct way to do this. Your materials and your experience will
eventually guide you. Lets get started.

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Body Construction
Found at any plumbing supply or home improvement store, the body is a white PVC tube which
is 2 inch OD (outside diameter) and 1.5 inch ID (inside diameter) and is typically about 9 inches
long. This length allows for the eyes of most people to easily focus on the object chamber at
the end of the scope. The ends MUST perfectly square and smooth.

The ends of the tubes must sanded to remove the band saw cut marks. I start with an 80 grit
paper.

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Next I use a 200 grit paper for final sanding.

I finish up with a flexible woven sanding pad to remove burs from the ends, and to remove any
shiny finish from the outside of the tube. I then rinse the tubes in water to remove all traces of
dust and debris inside and out. Let air dry.

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Place the tube on a flat surface and mark where it meets the surface. Do the same for the other
end ensuring that the first mark is also just touching the surface. The purpose is to be able to
draw a line on the tube by connecting the marks resulting in a line that is perfectly
perpendicular to the ends of the tube.

Draw a line connecting the two marks. This is your reference line to ensure that when you glue
the paper to the tube, and when it is completely wrapped around the tube, the finished paper
edge will be perpendicular.

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The body is covered with 12 x 12 inch specialty papers from Hobby Lobby or Michaels craft
stores.

Pick a paper and remove about one inch of paper from one side. This eliminates working with
too much excess paper. You only need about inch excess paper on each end of the tube. Do
NOT try to cut the paper to the exact length of the tube. Invariably, the paper will not rollup
perfectly, and there will be too little overlapping paper on one end.

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I use Elmers white glue on the first 2 inches of paper. Rub in completely but not too thick. Set
the tube on the glued paper on at only one end, and align the tube so that both end marks are
on the edge of the paper.

Pressing firmly, role the paper tightly around the tube until the starting seam is just covered. It
is held in place with a heavy weight and allowed to dry. I have found this works better than
trying to put glue on both ends of the paper and doing the complete roll at one time. The wet
glue tends to cause the starting paper end to slide on the tube, and it is hard to get a tight roll.

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Once dry, place glue all the way across the remaining last 2 inches of paper. Tightly role the
paper by rolling the tube on the table top until the seam is at the bottom of the table surface.
Excess glue will be forced out at the seam. +Holding the paper and seam tightly, remove any
excess glue with a damp sponge or paper towel. The tube is then positioned with the seam
down and held in place with a heavy weight and allowed to dry. This allows the long edge of the
paper to dry tightly to itself.

Once dry, trim the excess paper flush with the tube ends. Remove any glue on the ends of the
PVC tube by scrapping with a razor blade to ensure a clean gluing surface later.

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I give two coats of Triple Gloss Glaze to the paper with a very soft but somewhat stiff artist
brush which is about to inch wide. This provides a deep luster, and protection from
handling. This coating was found at Michaels. I stick two fingers in one end of the tube while I
put on the glaze. Do NOT make the coating too thick or overwork the glaze as it will leave small
bubbles in the finish which cannot be removed. Simply ensure the paper is coated with a thin
layer and allowed to dry. Do this at least two times.

Using a 1.5 inch kitchen sink plumbing combo from Home Depot that has a 12 inch long tube, it
becomes a drying rack jig.

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The scope with wet glaze is simply placed over the setup, and the PVC scope tube stops at the
expanded portion at the base of the jig.

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A 40.5mm to 52mm camera step up ring is glued with epoxy to each end of the completed
tube. This provides for a screw on point for the eye piece, and for the object chamber.

Mirror System Construction


The cutting of glass requires the proper tools and some practice to make precise, repetitive
cuts. It starts with a smooth cutting board surface. I used a 24 x 24 inch, 10 ply, birch covered
piece of plywood from Home Depot to serve as the work board. I attached a x 1 x 24 inch
strip of oak wood on top of the board and along one edge. The strip was secured with four
countersunk screws to provide for a smooth unobstructed strip surface. This strip serves as a
stop for the glass.

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I laid two pieces of shower pan liner (a rubber like material about 1/16 inch thick) over the
remaining cutting board to provide a slightly sticky surface for the glass to cling to when
cutting.

In addition to a standard glass cutter, I believe it is critical to use a strip glass cutter to cut long,
uniform, repetitive mirror and glass pieces with accuracy. This cutter is adjustable to cut widths
of about to 12 inches. For hobby work, first surface mirrors generally come in sheets less than
24 x 24 inches.
This is a 12 x 16 inch mirror from a vendor on the cutting board.

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Cutting strips of stained glass.

Once the tube is completed, the step up rings are glued to the ends, and a lens filter is screwed
on one end. Now is the time to measure the correct length of the mirror system components. It
must NOT be too long or the second glass filter eyepiece will not screw down snugly without
hitting the mirror system.
To measure this distance, I use a small, straight, round dowel and insert it into the tube so that
it hits the glass filter at the closed end of the tube.

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With the dowel fully inserted into and perpindicular to the tube, mark where the glass should
end just slightly above the inner flat portion of the step up ring that is glued to the tube. Be
sure to account for the space that the lens filter glass will take up when it is screwed on to the
step up ring.

Mark the dowel and verify this measurement several times as this dowel will be the measuring
device for the length of the mirror system pieces.

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Set the strip cutter to the correct distance for the length of the mirrors (about 9 inches, but as
precisely measured by the marked dowel). Cut the glass.

An invaluable tool for measuring is the digital caliper. It can easily measure in inches and
millimeters on an LCD display. I find it most helpful to measure in millimeters or mm such as
27mm. I got mine a Home Depot for about $35.

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Measuring the width of a piece of glass.

With the 9 inch dimension of the mirror glass set against the wooden strip, set the correct
distance for the width of the mirrors (32mm) and cut out two pieces.

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Repeat these steps for the darkened glass piece (width of 23mm) by using clear window glass.
The idea of the blackened glass is to have minimal light reflections on this surface. You now
have the three glass pieces of the mirror system.

In the two mirror setup, two first surface mirrors are used. The third piece is regular household
1/16 inch glass painted with flat black paint to prevent any reflections. Alternately, thin
(1.2mm) 100% black wool felt glued to the third glass piece can be used. For a 1.5 inch inside
diameter tube, the width of the first surface mirrors are about 32mm.
The width of the black surface mirror can vary depending on the size of the angle of the
mirrors, but is about 23mm for a 1.5 inch ID tube. Angles are 36 degrees for a 5 star, 30 degrees
for a six point star, and 22.5 degrees for an eight point star. The smaller the degrees, the
smaller the width of the black surface glass side can be.
Sometimes, the blacked glass width for the 5 point star can be used for the six or seven point
stars. This is because mirrors angles are smaller which leaves a little overhang of the blacked
glass.

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In the picture below, the blackened glass side (at the top of the long V) of the mirror system
was all the same size for the 5 star, 6 star and 7 star systems (left to right). Only the mirror
angle was reduced before the hot glue was applied to the adjusted mirror.

I use thin metal tape with a sticky backing to secure the mirror parts together. This tape is used
to seal duct work and can be found at Home Depot. I cut about 10 short strips, and three strips
just a little longer than the length of the mirrors.

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Remove the plastic backing on the mirror parts. I made a 30 degree V jig to hold the mirror
parts for joining the edges with tape. Be sure to keep your fingers off the mirrors to prevent
smudge marks. Keep the mirrors perfectly clean of any debris, however slight, as this causes
spots along the inside of the mirror system when viewing later on. Ninety one percent
isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) works well when used with a lint free as possible lens paper.
The absolute best cleaning solvent is methanol, but it must be used with caution as it is
extremely flammable, and is toxic to breath, ingest or to get on your skin.

The best lint free pads are for cleaning the mirrors are the same ones used for camera lenses.

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Set the two first surface mirrors in the jig with the mirror surface to the inside facing each
other. Ensure the ends are flush with each other.

Take two short pieces of tape and bind the juncture of the mirrors near each end.

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Take the blackened side of the third glass piece and place it on top of the mirrors and facing
toward the inside of the mirror system. Ensure all the ends are flush with each other. Tape one
side of the blackened glass to one of the mirrors using three short tapes. This leaves the second
mirror unattached to the blackened glass, and free to move so the mirror angle can be set for
the desired number of star points.

The partially completed mirror system.

Reinforce the joint of the two mirrors with a long piece of tape, and trim the tape flush with the
mirror ends. You now have one of the two mirrors secured to the blackened glass with three
small strips of tape, and the second mirror secured to the first mirror with a long strip of tape.

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This allows you to move the second mirror to the desired angle before securing it with hot glue
to the blackened glass.

I use a small triangular file to provide the line to set the mirror angle. The height of the file
ensures enough light can get under and into the mirror system. I use a small LED flash light laid
on its side and pointing at the file to get good illumination. Place one end of the mirror system
lightly on top of and perfectly perpendicular to the file. By slightly rotating the entire mirror
assembly to form a star, and by moving the unsecured mirror in and out while viewing the file,
the mandala created will form one of several pointed stars. Given the dimensions of the mirror
system glass in this project, these will typically be 5, 6, or 7 point stars depending on the angle
you chose.

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The angle is correct for any of the star points chosen when the star is perfectly formed with NO
misaligned sides or points. Below is a 5 sided star. Note that all sides and the points are
perfectly aligned.

When the star points you desire is obtained, firmly hold the mirrors to the blackened glass with
your thumb, and using a glue gun, tack glue about inch of each end of the adjusted mirror
while firmly holding system together until the glue hardens.
Confirm the star is still set correctly by placing the mirror system over the file again. If not,
break the tack welds and set the angle again. If OK, place a continuous glue bead between the
two tack welds. Allow the glue to cool and harden. Be VERY careful not to forcefully push the
glue between the mirror and the blackened glass. This will cause a blob of glue to be on a
mirror which will detract from the view.

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Take the two remaining long strips of tape and cover the remaining two long edges of the
mirror system. This strengthens the joint, AND seals out any light coming in through the joints!

Trim any excess tape flush with the ends. If any of the sticky tape is not cut flush with the glass
edge, the tape can interfere with the object chamber view, and it can cause the glue from the
sticky tape to get on the 52mm glass lens filter. This sticky glue can be removed using 91
percent rubbing alcohol which works a little better than the standard 70 percent alcohol. Both
alcohols can be found at any drug store.

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Insert the completed mirror system into the tube ensuring that the mirror system end goes all
the way to the glass surface of the far end lens filter. Make an estimate of the thickness of any
foam needed to secure the mirror system snugly in the tube.

I used inch poly foam caulking to hold the mirror system in place. This can be found at Home
Depot.

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Place along each of the mirror sides at both ends of the scope.

Completion of the foam inserts at both ends of the tube.

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Once the mirror system is in place, each end of the tube is secured with a 52mm clear or UV
camera lens filter to seal the tube from contamination, and to provide an attachment point for
the eye piece at one end, and the object chamber at the other end.

Because the threads on these camera lens filters are so fine, they sometimes stick if tightened
too much, and they will not unscrew by hand because they fit so tightly. If this happens, you
will need to use two specially made plastic lens wrenches to grab the two separate
components that are stuck, and gently unscrew them. I got mine from B&H Photo. They are
sized in millimeter (mm) ranges to cover several filter sizes. I would not try any other way to
unscrew these stuck parts as you will likely damage them trying to do so.

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Carefully line up the wrenches with the two parts.

With firm pressure on the wrenches, gently unscrew the pieces.

Eye Piece Construction


I have used two different eye pieces. One was from a lamp part called a check ring that was 2
inches and 1.5 inches in diameter with a 7/16 inch hole in its center. Sometimes I left them
unpainted, or I would spray paint them black. I would then sign my name Lee and the year
the scope was made and then spray coat them with satin clear enamel.

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When I used this method, the eye piece end of the scope has no step up ring or clear glass
filter. I simply glued a 50mm diameter clear acrylic circle on the tube end with epoxy. Once dry,
I then glued on the check ring with epoxy placed near the outer edge of the acrylic circle. The
mirror system must not protrude beyond the edge of the eye piece end of the tube, or the clear
acrylic circle cannot be securely glued to the tube! Over time, I got away from using acrylic or
even Lexan circles because they scratch too easily.

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I migrated to using the screw on clear camera glass lens filters they are tough, resist
scratching, and can later be removed to gain access to the mirror system. The eyepiece is a
52mm clear or UV lens filter for a camera lens. Glued over the lens filter glass is a 1/16 inch
thick black acrylic circle with a 3/8 inch hole at its center. These disks were laser cut at a local
machine shop. The cuts were accurate and super fine.

Using epoxy glue, place at least four small dabs of glue equidistant from each other on the
retaining ring. Gently place the black acrylic disk onto the retaining ring. Let dry.

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The completed eye piece.

The completed eye piece on the scope.

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Object Chamber (or Cell) Construction


A circular polarizing lens (CPL) filter for a camera has the unique ability to smoothly rotate
continuously for 360 degrees. This feature makes it possible to construct an object chamber
that can be rotated without having to rotate the scope itself. In addition, the object chamber
can be removed and other chambers placed on the scope to provide extended viewing options.
I like the Bower brand 52 mm circular polarizing lens (CPL) filter because the polarizing glass
filter can be easily removed by unscrewing the plastic retaining ring. Most other brands
retaining rings cannot be unscrewed they appear to have a press fit retaining ring. Also, this
Bower brand is inexpensive at about $5.00, and I got mine from B&H Photo.
Note that the knurled ring portion of the metal lens filter has the outside threads that will be
screwed onto the inside threads of the step up ring on the object chamber end of the scope.
The other end of this metal shell, with the inside threads, will have the completed acrylic object
chamber glued into it.
Using a suitably sturdy device that will fit into one of the two retaining ring notches, carefully
unscrew the ring and remove the polarizing glass.

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Once apart, you can discard the glass and retaining ring and only keep the metal shell. This
shell will have the acrylic object chamber glued into where the glass filter used to be.

I use an acrylic object chamber from Boston Craft Works that measures 50 mm at the outside
diameter. This size allows the completed cell to be glued and fit snugly into the 52mm CPL shell.
The chamber is sold as a 48 mm x 35 mm empty chamber for about $3.00.

I find that the inside chamber depth should be about 20 mm. If too small, one cannot get
enough pieces into the cell, and/or the pieces in the cell will not have room to move around
when the liquid silicone is added. If too large, it takes too many pieces to fill it up, and uses
more silicone. Experiment to find what works best for you.

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I cut the chamber to depth size on a band saw using a 20 mm deep wooden jig held up against a
cutting rail on the band saw. I then sand the band saw blade marks away with 150 to 200 grit
sand paper that is glued to a flat surface until the chamber ring is perfectly smooth. This
ensures that the acrylic circle to be glued to the chamber opening will be tight with no gaps
which could cause the leaking of liquid silicone.

Boston Craft Works supplies a rubber like tapered plug for each chamber they ship to you. I
used a 3/32 inch drill bit on a drill press to drill a hole close to the edge of the open chamber.
This hole size ensured a tight fit of the plug. I made 49 mm clear acrylic circles using a circle
cutter on a drill press. These circles were used to cover and seal the object chamber after the
pieces were inserted but before the silicone was injected into the cell.

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I like to lay out the chamber pieces so I can see the size of the various colors and shapes. Small
irregular shapes of medium to light shades of color work best for me. If the colors are too dark,
or are of a very deep shade, they tend to look very dark to black when viewed in the scope.
Also, very long straight pieces can give annoying straight lines that are constantly present in the
views. Experience in putting the collection of pieces together will guide you for the look you
want. The possibilities are endless.

I sometimes use inexpensive plastic petri dishes to store the combinations of items that I will
use in an object chamber. I can then make several completed object chambers at the same time
at a later date which saves time and effort.

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I place the pieces in the chamber.

They should only fill or just a little more of the chamber for a liquid filled chamber. Otherwise
the pieces will not move around easily in the liquid silicone because they are too crowded.

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Using a previously made scope, remove the object chamber. Take a working chamber (not yet
sealed) with all the pieces in it, and place it to the object chamber end of the scope. Now
holding the scope and chamber together, rotate the chamber to see if it has the colors and
shapes you want. Add or remove items until you are satisfied.

Cement the cover on the chamber using Weld On number 3 cement. Be sure to use the
special applicator which has a super fine needle. Watch You Tube for a demonstration.

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Carefully, but quickly, place the cover on top of the chamber and center it. Hold down tightly
for about 30 seconds.

I use another empty working chamber to hold the new chamber in place while filling with liquid
silicone. Note the hole on the chamber for the liquid silicone on the top right. The syringe was
obtained at the same time I ordered the silicone from Boston Craft Works.

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The chamber will take about 24 units of fluid or a little over twice the capacity of the syringe.

Clean the chamber top and plug hole of all silicone with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol and
let dry. Insert the rubber plug flush with the top of the chamber. Carefully seal the plug with
epoxy or Weld On number 16 cement. Be sure to leave a small bubble to allow for the
expansion and contraction of the fluid with temperature changes. The air will easily compress
and expand. If the fluid air bubble is not present, the fluid could expand and force its way out
of the chamber causing a leak.

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After the epoxy or cement has hardened on the plug, completely clean the entire chamber with
rubbing alcohol, and wipe dry with a paper towel. With a tooth pick, apply a thin bead of epoxy
around the entire inner circumference of the CPL shell just below the threads. I place little dabs
at intervals with the tooth pick, and then move the point of the tooth pick around the inside
circumference several times to evenly spread the epoxy.

Carefully insert the sealed chamber side with the glued top into the shell. Slightly rotate it left
and right to ensure a snug fit and to ensure the epoxy is evenly distributed over the chamber
edge. If you did not use too much epoxy, there will be small even bead between the shell and
the chamber backside indicating a secure fit. If there is too much epoxy, it will ooze out causing
a mess. It can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol if done very quickly.

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The completed chamber.

The front side.

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The object chamber end of the scope has the 40.5mm to 52 mm step up ring glued to it with
epoxy. Next a clear 52 mm lens filter is screwed onto the step up ring to seal the mirror system
from contamination, and to provide for a mating surface for the object chamber.

The completed object chamber assembly on the tube.

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Alternately, you can cement a 1/16 inch thick black acrylic circle (41.5mm OD) to
the end of the object chamber. The disks purpose is to only allow side lighting to
illuminate the items in the chamber, and to provide a jet black background for the
mandala. This is a personal choice and I tend to like it.

Using a special plastic dispensing bottle with a super fine needle, place a narrow circular ring of
Weld-On number 3 cement on the top of the chamber about half way from the center.
Centering the black disk, gently place the it onto the chamber and give a light pressure for
about 30 seconds.

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The completed chamber with a black acrylic disk.

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Some Final Thoughts


The Basic Parts of this Scope and Costs

The PVC tube. About $8.00 for a 10 foot tube or about $1.00 per tube.
The covering for the tube. About $2.00.
The two 40.5 mm to 52 mm step up rings at each end of the tube. About $10.00.
The mirror system (two first surface mirrors and a third blackened glass strip). About $15.00.
Left Side Eye Piece End - The clear glass lens filter that screws into the step up ring (about
$6.00), and the black acrylic circle with hole (actual eye piece) glued to lens (about $1.00).
Right side Object Chamber End - The clear glass lens filter that screws into the step up ring
(about $6.00) , and the object chamber plus CPL ring (about $15.00) that screws into a clear
glass lens filter.
Miscellaneous supplies such as glues, tapes, solvents, dowels, paints, etc. About $5.00 prorated
over many scopes.
Labor about 4 hours.

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Glues and Cement Solvents

The bonding of acrylics and polycarbonates works well using Weld-On number 3 acrylic solvent
cement (consistency of water), and Weld-On number 16 solvent cement (consistency of syrup).
I used the number 3 cement to seal the clear acrylic circle on the object chamber before filling
with silicone. It requires a special small plastic bottle with an extremely fine metal tube to
accurately place the cement.
I used the number 16 cement, or epoxy, to seal the plug on the object chamber after filling with
silicone. Go to You Tube to see demonstrations for the Weld-On products.
Elmers white glue was used to glue papers to the PVC tube. The epoxy glues used were 5
minute and 60 minute set times were used for all other bonding requirements. I like the 60
minute set time because the 5 minute gets really sticky too fast and does not give you much
time to work. Do NOT use super glues around these plastics as they can and most likely will
create a frost like haze on them! You cannot easily remove this haze.
I want to explore using UV glues which are hardened by the use of UV light. A promising source
is from Bondic at www.bondicusa.com.

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Materials for Covering the Tube.


Hobby Lobby and Michaels have some specialty papers that are great for covering the tube.
They are 12 x 12 inches and cost $2.00 each. There come in a variety of colors and textures that
work well. I have found papers that have textures or patterns which do not leave an
objectionable joint line on itself work best.
Here are some papers I have used.

The sticker on the back side of the papers.

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Im sure many other coverings will work also. I would be interested to see how polymer clay
might work. Here are some samples of various coverings.

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Making and Storing Items for Object Chambers.


I started collecting beads and small colorful items of all sorts obtained from Michaels, Lobby
Hobby, or other such places, and stored them in plastic containers by color type, shape, etc. I
have about 20 such containers.

Later I started looking for stain glass and dichroic glass to get a different feel in the object
chambers. Rather than buy expensive sheets of stained glass (which would really be too much),
I found a stained glass store that had lots of scrap glass stored in wooden bins for sale that
came from their stain glass projects. It sold for about $3.00 a pound.
I spent about an hour sorting through the scrap bins and for any glass on sale. Scrap sizes
ranged from several square inches to 12 x 12 inches but they cheap! I was primarily looking
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for light to medium clear colors in a full range of reds, blues, ambers, yellows, greens, purples
and whites, to include clear to frosted architectural glass.
I then took a 12 x 8 x 5 inch clear plastic container with a removable top, and drilled a inch
hole in the top toward one corner. I then placed a 1 x 3 x 4 inch steel block in the container in
the same corner as the top with the hole. I placed several scraps of glass in the container and
took one of them and placed it on top of the metal block. I then placed the cover with the hole
over the metal block with the glass on it, inserted a metal brass rod through the hole and on
top of the scrap glass, and hit the brass rod with a hammer to smash the glass. I removed the
cover and repeated this process until all the glass was broken into the sizes I wanted.
The glass pieces were then stored in a large flat plastic container that allowed me to sort
through the glass looking for the size and colors I wanted to place in my object chamber. The
quantity below could easily fill 50 object chambers.

Spare Object Chambers.


Because the object chambers in this project are removable, one can make many different
chambers to emphasize different colors, shapes, etc. to suit your whimsy. Thus, one scope can
view many different object chambers.

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Velvet Wine Bags and Presentation Boxes


Velvet Wine Bags can be used as presentation bags for the scopes. Cost was $4.00 each. U.S.
Box Corp, 14 Madison Road, Fairfield, NJ 07004, 800-221-0999. www.usbox.com.

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A wooden box from Hobby Lobby for about $7.00.

The box painted with an insert made from the soft green foam used fo flower arranging.

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The foam was sculpted to fit the scope, and a felt or velvet covering will be added over the
foam.

Sources of Information
Kaleidoscope Mirror Systems

Source: Kaleidoscope Mirror Arrangements


by Charles Karadimos
In: Kaleidorama by Cozy Baker

There are 2 basic systems of mirrors in kaleidoscopes, the 2-mirror which produces one
central image and the 3-mirror which produces images reflected throughout the entire field
of view. Both are set up in a triangular configuration-in a tube similar to a prism.
Considering the 2-mirror system first, the 2 mirrors are arranged in a "V" with the third
side of the triangle a blackened, non-reflective surface. The angle of the "V" determines the
number of reflections contributing to the overall intricacy of the pattern. In an attempt to
show what happens in a kaleidoscope consider the following example.

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Circle with center 0-Mirrors OA and OB. An object placed in Triangle OAB (actual image) is
reflected off OA into its relative position in Triangle OHA (virtual image) and off OB into its
relative position in Triangle OBC. The virtual image in Triangle OHA is reflected off the
imaginary OH into its relative position in Triangle OGH - which is reflected off OG into its
relative position in Triangle OFG. This continues the same way around the circle from
Triangle OBC to Triangle OCD to Triangle ODE. The virtual image in Triangle OEF is a
reflection from the combination of OF and OE. In order for the symmetry to be adhered to,
it is critical that the angle AOB be such that it evenly divides the 360o of the circle. If it does
not, then the reflections from OF and OE in Triangle OEF would not correspond. An
inaccurate overlap would inherently destroy the closure of the symmetric pattern. Therefore
a basic rule of thumb in a 2-mirror scope is that the angle of the mirrors must evenly divide
the 360o of a circle.
So, starting with a 90o angle, the image produced would have 4 fold symmetry (FIG 2).
45o - 8 fold symmetry

- 4 point star

36o - 10 fold symmetry - 5 point star


30o - 12 fold symmetry - 6 point star
22.5o - 16 fold symmetry - 8 point star
15o - 24 fold symmetry - 12 point star
10o - 36 fold symmetry - 18 point star
1o - 360 fold symmetry - 180 point star
The 3-mirror system reacts similarly to the 2-mirror with one major exception. A third
mirror replaces the blackened side of the triangle in the 2-mirror and produces a
continuation of reflections throughout the entire field of view. Symmetrical images are much
harder to achieve in 3-mirror systems because now there are 3 angles which must be
accurate instead of only the one angle in the 2-mirror design.
Again it is important that the mirrors be set at an angle which can be evenly divided into the
360o of the circle; such as 90o, which divides into 360o 4 times, or:

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60o - which divides 6 times


45o - which divides 8 times
36o - which divides 10 times
30o - which divides 12 times

The other important rule which governs symmetry throughout is that the sum of the 3
angles must total 180o (the total number of degrees in a triangle). Using both these rules,
only 3 combinations produce the desired effect. The most common and simplest
arrangement is the 60o - 60o - 60o equilateral triangle. Here each angle produces 6 fold
patterns which results in a design (FIG3) of continuous triangles.
The second combination is the 45o - 45o - 90o isosceles right triangle. This relationship
produces 8 fold patterns at the 45o angles and a 4 fold pattern at the 90o angle, effectively
producing continuous square patterns (FIG 4).
The third and most interesting is the 3Oo - 60o - 90o right triangle. In this case all 3 angles
are different, thus enabling 3 different symmetries (30 o - 12 fold; 60o - 6 fold; 90o - 4 fold)
to combine and form patterns as in FIG 5.
One added note for 3-mirror configurations: the systems discussed above consider pure
symmetrical patterns where each image - actual & virtual - link together. Interesting
patterns are achieved however, even if only one or two of the angles follow the rule of even
divisibility into 360o. The resulting pattern remains visibly symmetric. However, the
continuing design generated by the odd angle or angles only show fractional parts of the
actual image.
Other systems, such as square 4-mirror configurations produce repeated square patterns
while 4-mirror rectangular configurations produce repeated rectangular patterns. The
images created are striped patterns since the reflections move directionally up, down, right
and left.
Cylindrical tubes lined with a reflective material will produce a spiraling effect. Since there
are no angles involved in this style, the reflection seems to climb through the tube
asymmetrically.

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Tapered systems provide interesting results. For instance, by tapering the 3-mirror triangle
(similar to a pyramid) and viewing through the large opening, a spherical 3-D appearance
results. Viewing through the small opening, the actual and virtual images are enlarged to
more visibly examine the objects in the object chamber. This also allows more light to enter
the system, increasing the overall brightness.
The polyangular arrangement is a variation of the 2-mirror design, whereby one or both of
the mirrors can be adjusted, changing the angle of the "V" and thus the number of
reflections. Within the same tube it is therefore possible to produce a wide range of
symmetrical patterns!
Even though other systems and configurations are quite possible, these basic formulas
should help in the understanding of the various principles underlying kaleidoscope design
and the great variations possible in the images which can be created.

Sequence of Reflection Diagrams


Source: Workshop presented by Glenn Straub
1998 Brewster Society Kaleidoscope Convention
Orlando, Florida
2 Mirror Kaleidoscope (30o - 6 point)
3 Mirror Kaleidoscope (45o x 45o x 90o)
3 Mirror Kaleidoscope (90o Parallel)

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From the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society Website at www.BrewsterSociety.com


Its not just a toy anymore By Vincent Cianfichi II

How do you view art? How about this piece of work? What is this? Is this art that can be viewed
by many at once? For sure! Is this art that is personal, as only you experience it individually?
Certainly is! You are already reading this because you love art. As you sit there comfortably in
your chair please know that a special group of people, growing in number, have spectacular
artwork to convey. And we have an invitation for you!

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We want to share with you an experience that is dynamic and user-interactive, and possibly very
different from art you already are familiar with. It is personal, vibrant, and from the heart.
Modern art kaleidoscope exteriors are static, publicly viewed sculptures that come in many
forms, materials, and shapes. Like the smooth texture of slumped glass.

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Or the fine feel of finished wood.

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How about one for your finger, wearable art?

And these modern works of art give interior views that are stunning and unexpected. The slow
graceful motion of lamp worked glass in liquid gives an individual, interior view like a mandala.

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You may have a meditative experience with a view that is dimensional.

Perhaps the view is stimulating when you see an entire field of view. The Kaleidoscope is a
unique form of art that is personal, interactive, meditative, and addicting!

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The kaleidoscope has its roots in applied science and is nearly 200 years old. Like this one . It
hails from the early 1800s in Scotland and found its way to America during Victorian times.

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In the early to mid-1900s this form of art transformed into a toy, and became very popular, like
this group.

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In the 1980s, folks in America started applying their artistic skills to this art medium and
rejuvenated it with an explosion of creativity and ingenuity. Through the early 2000s artists
made myriads of advancements through the exterior form

and interior imagery.

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Artists continue today to create, inspire and impress with this incredible, personal, and public
form of art.
You are cordially invited to join the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, a growing group of
kaleidoscope lovers that has been around for decades, believe it or not! You may read more on
us below. We invite you to become a collector of this fine art form. If you enjoy being creative,
we invite you to become an artist with our group and start from the beginning. Or, use the
medium in which you already work, and apply it to kaleidoscopes. If you are a purveyor of art, we
invite your gallery or museum to stock the artists work, and to educate and sell the public on
what kaleidoscopes are today. Follow the Join BKS Today links in the footer of this page.
And, we invite you to join us for a celebration of light, pattern and color at our annual
convention! Can you imagine viewing over 1,000 kaleidoscopes, static sculptures with forms in
motion? This personal experience is candy for the eyes! Please follow the link on the home page
for more information on our upcoming convention.

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Sources of Supplies
Boston Craft Works, LLC, 557 Sawmill Brook Parkway, Newton, MA 02459, 617-6881668. www.bostoncraftWorks.com. Kaleidoscope parts such as object cells, first
surface mirrors, silicone, glues, etc.
B&H Photo, 420 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10001, 800-221-5743.
www.bhphotovideo.com. Camera parts for the filter lenses and step up rings
Bower filters and Sensei step up rings.
Adorama, 42 West 18th Street, New York, NY, 10011, 800-223-2500.
www.adorama.com. Camera parts for the filter lenses Vivitar filters.
Delphi Creativity, 3380 East Jolly Road, Lansing MI 48910, 800-248-2048.
www.delphiglass.com. First surface mirrors, and stained and dichoric glass.
Delvies Plastics, Inc., 133 West Haven Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84115, 800-533-5843.
www.delviesplastics.com. Acrylic cement solvents, clear acrylic discs, acrylic
polishes.
Grand Brass Lamp Parts and Lighting Parts, www.grandbrass.com. Brass check rings.
My Lamp Parts, www.mylampparts.com. Brass check rings.
The Felt Store, www.thefeltstore.com. 100 percent black wool felt.
U.S. Box Corp, 14 Madison Road, Fairfield, NJ 07004, 800-221-0999.
www.usbox.com. Velvet Wine Bags used as presentation bags for the scopes.

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Inventables, Inc., 600 West Buren St, #602, Chicago, IL 60607,


www.inventables.com. 1/16 inch thick glossy black acrylic sheets, 18 x 24 inches.
Hot Glass Products, www.hotglassproducts, for portable glass strip cutter and table.

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