Acrylic Kaleido-Toy

I saw an awesome “toy” online that I though about getting, and also thought would be great for our nephews for Christmas. It’s called Kaleidograph ( http://kaleidographtoy.com/ ) which is a modern take on ages old kaleidoscopic art devices. They are multiple sheets of colored or patterned paper with symmetric shapes cut out, allowing you to stack them in a paper holder to create billions of kaleidoscopic designs. I particularly love their OpArt version ( http://kaleidographtoy.com/opart )

Anyway, I showed my wife and she said “Paper? No. You know George and James will destroy those.” She’s absolutely correct, so it looks like I’ll only be buying myself a set :wink:

But I said to myself “I bet I could make a version for them out of acrylic, and use all sorts of fancy acrylics at that!”

So I did!

These are way sturdier than paper sheets in the hands of 3-4 year olds, and have the added bonus of being able to use them as tracing toys (thanks to a friend pointing out her son would do that with them).

I designed the holder and the plates in Fusion 360, with the sides of the holder being made up of layers of thin edge slices. The plates are 5 inches across with a 5.5 inch wide holder. I made all corners rounded at least 2mm to have no sharp edges, and hand-sanded the wood edges to be smooth as well. I made the holder out of :proofgrade: draftboard painted black as a test instead of black acrylic; I prefer the mix of textures between the wood and acrylic.

While this one is just a prototype, I’ll be making the final plates (with some different designs) out of a rainbow assortment of frosted, iridescent, and mirror acrylics from Inventables, along with :proofgrade: clear frosted. I’ll probably keep the holder draftboard, but might go with an unfinished hardwood for the front and back layers.

I’m also working on a version with JUST clear acrylic plates, with each one having different engraved or scored patterns, and perhaps LEDs in the holder to edge light them… I’ll keep you posted :wink:

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What a fantastic idea! Given the complexity that you could achieve with a laser cutter, I could see doing a set of these for big kids too. (Bottom lit, it could be adjusted for your mood and seasonal decor.) :star_struck:

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Spectacular project! Really, really cool and yep, you have to make an adult version :slight_smile:

This is one of my favorite LED acrylic pieces and it came to mind when you mentioned making your edge lit. (It’s not my piece btw, wish it was though :slight_smile: )


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Ooooooo - that’s lovely! I hope I can get something that cool working!

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I redid most of the plates and decided on a soft rainbow assortment of frosted acrylics from Inventables (e.g.: https://www.inventables.com/technologies/poppy-acrylic-sheet )*

I still have to remake the holders and paint them, but I figured I’d update here with pics in case anyone wondered what the Inventables acrylics looked like in use (they’re awesome! :grinning: )

Reflecting some light on a piece of mirrored acrylic:

Countertop shots:

And a couple artsy shots:

* there is a vendor in Utah who only has a shop on eBay where you can buy large 2’x4’ sheets of the same color frosted acrylics for a lot less, but then you have giant sheets of acrylic that need to be cut down… The same Poppy: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-8-Frosted-Poppy-Cell-Cast-Acrylic-Sheet-24-x-48/371692559145?hash=item568a9a5b29:g:ftcAAOSwd4tUEONd

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