Bending Laser Beams


Not exactly laser cutting related… But laser related and flipping cool.

View post on


Do the same at home pretty easy.

Take a 2 liter bottle, fill it with water. Poke a hole in the bottom so you have a strong stream of water flowing out.

Shine a red laser pointer through the bottle at the hole. Observe the light in the arc of water.

Works best if you can manage a laminar flow in the stream.

If you want to see geometric shapes, use too much gelatin (plain old Knox or other. No color or flavor) and make a pretty thick cake or pie pan. Let it set, remove from pan, and shine laser in to observe it bouncing around.


Hmm! I’ll have to try that! Thanks!! So neat.


Today, I learned the word laminar.


I did too. :grin:


Very cool.


Awesome! Total internal reflection! The same principle is used in fiber optics. Crazy cool stuff.


I got to hang out at WET Design for an afternoon, where they are pretty much masters of laminar flow. They can launch perfect cylinders of water hundreds of feet in the air with pinpoint precision, so it was pretty ironic that an errant gust of wind managed to accidentally land it directly on my head during their demo.

I did get a free hoodie, though, since everything I was wearing was soaked.


HAHA! Wow. It’s truly amazing what technology can do these days.

Glad to hear the high tech water gun story ended with a free hoodie. :wink:


Disney World had these great fountains that launched a column of water about 3" in diameter and 3 feet long 15 feet or so at an angle into a pit where another nozzle threw another in a different direction into another pit and from there to yet another.
It gave the impression of the water leaping around. What struck me was the structure of the water column - perfect in an arc from pit to pit.
Kids would run around chasing them, and brave ones would position themselves in the path of the water… essentially a small bucket worth in a tube shape.
Wonderful fountain to play with!


It is remarkable how very well behaved water is once you get a laminar column. I have yet to sit down and build myself a display with the principles, but intend to some time in the next 2 years.


Or did they do it on purpose!?!?! :smiling_imp:


You couldn’t fake the look of horror on the VP product’s face. She said it had only happened once before - bankers, visiting from Japan, in suits.



:joy::joy: Of course they would be the other victims.