Hurray! It's taken a while because I'm easily distracted, but I've finally finished building my infinity mirror. (See also Part 1 and Part 2 of this miniseries.)
Before we plunge into the fray, please note that that there's a video at the end of this blog showing this little beauty in all its glory. Even if you are short of time, you should take a moment to take a look. Now, back to the plot...
As you may recall, an infinity mirror involves a relatively thin enclosure (frame) with a full mirror at the back and a partial mirror (or a half-mirror or one-way mirror) at the front. Following my previous experiments, I decided that the optimal distance between the back mirror and the front mirror for my purposes was 1 inch. With regard to the width and height of my mirror, this was easily determined by the fact that I happened to already have a one-way mirror in my possession -- and this mirror was 12" x 12" -- so everything else was derived from these measurements.
My first step was to wander down to my local Lowe's store to purchase a 12x12 piece of full mirror. I also purchased a bunch of 12x12 pieces of regular 1/8-inch-thick glass for some additional experiments as discussed a little later in this column. Next, I commenced construction of the frame as illustrated below:
I built this out of strips of 3/4" wide wood. I decided to give myself 1/4" lips upon which to rest my mirrors (thereby leaving me with an 11.5" x 11.5" open area in the middle), and then added an extra 1/32" to this dimension to give myself a bit of wriggle room. The following image shows these pieces of wood just after they had been cut. The next step was to glue and nail them together and paint them black.
Of course, the thing that really makes an infinity mirror so cool is the little light sources you place on the inside of the frame between the front and back mirrors. For this project, I'd already decided to use NeoPixel Strips from Adafruit; in this case, I'm using the type with 60 tri-colored LEDs per meter:
Now, I could simply have wrapped the NeoPixel strip around the inside of the frame and left it at that. However, I intend to experiment with different lighting effects, like having individual LEDs light up in each of the corners and move around the frame in synchronization. This meant that I would need to have the same number of LEDs on each side of the frame. It turned out that I could fit 17 LEDs on each side, with a tiny extra gap in the corners, so I cut four 17-LED pieces off my NeoPixel strip.
Any project like this is a learning experience. If I decide to create another infinity mirror in the future (and I do have some rather cool ideas in this direction) I will do some things differently. For example, I decided to attach my NeoPixel strips to the frame using superglue. When I attached the first strip, I simply stuck it on and weighed it down, as discussed below. Unfortunately, the strip slid around a little on the glue, so it ended up being a tad out of true. This wasn't really significant, but it's the look of the thing and my professional pride that's at stake. If anyone ever opens this up in the future, I want them to say, "Look how perfect this is," not "Well, that strip is a little skew-whiff, isn’t it?"
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