I'm creating a robot, but am finding that it's better if I break the build down into smaller projects. This is one of those projects, and it seems to have a look that could be used for other things as well.
Step 1: Destroy a lady's compact mirror.
I took the mirrors out of their plastic housing and used a dremel buffing attachment to buff the silver off the magnifying mirror. This was a horribly tedious task, and was really difficult to keep from chipping the glass. It took about an hour or so to remove the enamel paint and silver coating from the back of the mirror.
In the future if I ever decide to do this type of thing again, I may invest in a dental lathe with proper buffing attachments.
After the silver coating was off and the glass was perfectly smooth, I added some automotive mirror finish window tint, effectively making a 2 way mirror.
Step 2: Cast a separator ring
In this step I created the plastic ring that separates the two mirrors and houses the peripheral lights that will illuminate the interior of the Infinity Mirror. First I sculpted the ring out of mineral oil based modeling clay. Make sure you don't use plasticine or sulfer clay as the sulfer interferes with the epoxy's reaction and will prevent it from setting up properly.
Then I screwed up and made a plaster mold of the clay ring. This was a screw up because plaster is very porous and the epoxy will stick to it like nobody's business. I also used old epoxy I had laying around since the summer and the reaction went badly, turning into a kind of foamy plastic as it cured.
After kicking myself for not thinking the process through properly, and cleaning the gummy crappy foam rubber cast from the plaster, I recast a silicone ring to take the place of the clay one I destroyed when I made the plaster cast.
Using a lot of mold release on the silicone ring I then made a mold of the ring using flexible silicone body-double from SmoothOn. I then used some fresh epoxy and cast a translucent plastic separator ring. It was a thing of beauty.
Where do I get epoxy, silicone and sculptural supplies?
Step 3: Introduction to ShiftBrites
Now, I want the infinity mirror to be able to change colour according to mood, so, I needed some multicoloured LEDs to do the job. I suppose I could have used just the LEDs, the Arduino and some custom code, but the ShiftBrites are really cool looking, and offer a level of control that would have been difficult to achieve just using the Arduino. Using a custom Arduino library written by Ashley Hughes, I managed to get the ShiftBrites working.
Each ShiftBrite assembly contains a little microprocessor that allows you to address any of the lights in a serial string containing as many lights as you want, using only a few input pins on the Arduino. Not only will this allow different colors, but also different lighting patterns, different flashing and strobing effects and all sorts of cool stuff.
Ashley Hughes ShiftBrite arduino library:
Where do I buy ShiftBrites?
You want Arduinos?
How do you program for Arduino?
Step 4: ShiftBrite code & really rough prototype
This one is fairly in-depth, but it's all covered in the video. Enjoy!