Spinning top designed for Benham's discs

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Project by Scott posted 12-11-2012 04:29 PM 4679 views 15 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Benham discovered in 1895 that spinning black and white discs show subtle colors, and everyone sees different colors. The effect is amazing, and if you watch the disc on the spinning top, as the rpm’s slow, the colors and patterns change.

You can see this effect in action here:

I made this for a child for Christmas, from cherry, maple and sapele. For the discs, I found some patterns on the internet and printed them on standard paper.

-- Scott in North Carolina

16 comments so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7501 posts in 2606 days

#1 posted 12-11-2012 04:37 PM

Wow! What a neat and FUN project toy! Very cool!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View a1Jim's profile


115860 posts in 3269 days

#2 posted 12-11-2012 04:48 PM

Very cool idea Scott great idea

-- Custom furniture

View Doe's profile


1363 posts in 2522 days

#3 posted 12-11-2012 10:07 PM

Looks great and I think it’ll look greater when playing with it; I think I want one.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View Ted78's profile


308 posts in 1692 days

#4 posted 12-11-2012 10:10 PM

That’s cool, I think I’m stealing that idea for my nephews’ Christmas present

-- Ted

View Scott 's profile


227 posts in 1959 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 10:14 PM

Thanks for the comments! Feel free to take that idea, I think it will be a fine Christmas present.

-- Scott in North Carolina

View Gary's profile


9019 posts in 3125 days

#6 posted 12-11-2012 10:21 PM

I must be a dud….no colors

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1867 days

#7 posted 12-11-2012 10:21 PM

I see the different colors! Very fun!
You have a happy kid this Christmas :)

View Scott 's profile


227 posts in 1959 days

#8 posted 12-11-2012 10:44 PM

The colors are very subtle, so you have to look close.

-- Scott in North Carolina

View Scott 's profile


227 posts in 1959 days

#9 posted 12-11-2012 10:47 PM

At that link the default speed is 0.9 rps, but I don’t see the colors clearly until you speed it up to at least 3.5 rps, and then they are shades of brown.

-- Scott in North Carolina

View quicksilver's profile


194 posts in 2280 days

#10 posted 12-11-2012 11:54 PM

Great idea

-- Quicksilver

View nonickswood's profile


547 posts in 2079 days

#11 posted 12-12-2012 12:15 AM

Very Cool,
I agree with Doe, “I think I want one”

-- Nick, Virginia,

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2119 days

#12 posted 12-12-2012 05:04 AM

Thank you for showing me this interesting effect. Wow! Your tops are going to be a hit at Christmas – good for you.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Bill's profile


404 posts in 1841 days

#13 posted 12-12-2012 05:20 AM

Cool. I finished some tops for gifts yesterday, thanks for the link on the printouts.

-- Putting the "mental" in experimental since 1973

View JuanGatico's profile


71 posts in 1878 days

#14 posted 12-12-2012 03:54 PM


View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 1865 days

#15 posted 12-12-2012 10:20 PM

Very unique!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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