Spinning top designed for Benham's discs

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Project by Scott posted 12-11-2012 04:29 PM 2790 views 14 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


6968 posts in 1661 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 (online now)


112882 posts in 2325 days

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

Very cool idea Scott great idea

-- Custom furniture

View Doe's profile


1076 posts in 1578 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


160 posts in 747 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


170 posts in 1015 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


7597 posts in 2180 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


11343 posts in 923 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


170 posts in 1015 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


170 posts in 1015 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


181 posts in 1335 days

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

Great idea

-- Quicksilver

View nonickswood's profile


426 posts in 1135 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


1755 posts in 1175 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 bigogre's profile


368 posts in 896 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 (online now)


71 posts in 933 days

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


View Surfside's profile


3361 posts in 921 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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