3A80.40/9C40.60 - Lissajous Figures - Laser and 3 Mirrors

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Lissajous Figures - Laser and 3 Mirrors
Lissajous Figures
Area of Study:
Spirograph unit, Laser.

The Spirograph will give Lissajous figures if you use only two of the motors.  Adjusting the motor speeds will give a variety of figures.  The bean bags are for vibration control.

  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "A Simple Lissajous Figure Device", TPT, Vol. 62, #3, March 2024, p. 194.
  • Shiqi Zhao, Yongping Sun, Wei Zhang, "A Low-Cost Device to Demonstrate Simple Harmonic Motion", TPT, Vol. 61, #5, May 2023, p. 406.
  • Aurelio Agliolo Gallitto, Onofrio Rosario Battaglia, Giuseppe Cavallaro, Giuseppe Lazzara, Lorenzo Lisuzzo, Claudio Fazio, "Exploring Historical Scientific Instruments by Using Mobile Media Devices", TPT, Vol. 60, #3, March 2022, p. 202.
  • John A. Daffron and Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "A Reproduction Lissajous Figure Machine", TPT, Vol. 56, #7, Oct. 2018, p. 428.
  • William Reitz, "Two Sound Ideas", TPT, Vol. 55, #6, Sept. 2017, p. 378.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "The Scientific Legacy of Charles Wheatstone", TPT, Vol. 55, #2, Feb. 2017, p. 80.
  • John A. Daffron and Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "Modern Kaleidophones", TPT, Vol. 53, #7, Oct. 2015, p. 407.
  • Keith Bellof, "Mini-Laser Spirograph", TPT, Vol. 42, #8, Nov. 2004, p. 504.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "Devices to Illustrate Lissajous Figures", TPT, Vol. 41, #6, Sept. 2003, p. 351.
  • George Schuttinger, "Laser Light Show - Wet and Wild" and "Laser Light Show - Quick and Clean", TPT, Vol. 31, #6, Sept. 1993, p. 375, and referenced in Resource Letter TLC-1 Teaching Light and Color, Demonstration Experiments Resource Articles.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, "All About Lissajous Figures", TPT, Vol. 31, #6, Sept. 1993, p. 364.
  • K. David Pinkerton, "Laser Light Fantastic Lissajous Figures", TPT, Vol. 29, #3, Mar. 1991, p. 168.
  • Chris Chiaverina, "A Laser Spirograph for Under $3", TPT, Vol. 28, #9, Dec. 1990, p. 606.
  • John M. D'Mura, "Three-Dimensional Lissajous Figures",  TPT, Vol. 27, #2, Feb. 1989, p. 98.
  • Richard B. Minnix and D. Rae Carpenter, Jr., "A Laser Spirograph", TPT, Vol. 20, #6, Sept. 1982, p. 415.
  • Michael H. Reifer and Robert B. Prigo, "Mirror Mounting for Projecting Laser Lissajous Figures", TPT, Vol. 20, #5, May 1982, p. 334.
  • Y. P. Hwu, "Simplified Simple Harmonic Motion by a Soap Film", TPT, Vol. 17, #9, Dec. 1979, p. 593.
  • Tom Campbell, "Projection of Lissajous Figures Using a Laser", TPT, Vol. 10, #5, May 1972, p. 283.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Lissajous Figure Device", AJP, Vol. 92, #7, July 2024, p. 510.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Tuning Forks for Lissajous Figures", AJP, Vol. 91, #10, Oct. 2023, p. 775.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Lissajous Figures Demonstration (Photo)", AJP, Vol. 72, #10, Oct. 2004, p. 1275.
  • Robert J. Whitaker, "The Wheatstone Kaleidophone", AJP, Vol. 61, #8, Aug. 1993, p. 722.
  • S-le: Wallace A. Hilton, "Lissajous Figures", Physics Demonstration Experiments.
  • C. L. Stong, "Water Droplets That Float on Water, and Lissajous Figures Made with a Pendulum", The Amateur Scientist, August, 1973.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Composition of Vibrations", Experimental Science, p. 136.
  • T. Kallard, "Visual Display of Sound Dynamics", Exploring Laser Light, p. 50.
  • T. Kallard, "Spirograph", Exploring Laser Light, p. 46.
  • Mark Frauenfelder, "Living Room Laser Show", Mad Professor - Concoct Extremely Weird Science Projects, ISBN 0-8118-3554-5, p. 66.
  • Gordon McComb, "The Old-Rubber-Sheet-Over-The-Speaker Trick", Lasers, Ray Guns, & Light Cannons, p. 279.
  • K. D. Fuller, "Laser Lissajous Figures", p. 67.
  • Brian Jones and Matt Fackelman, "Laser Spirograph", Don't Forget the Duct Tape, p. 69 - 72.
  • Brian Jones and Matt Fackelman, "Laser Bongo", Don't Forget the Duct Tape, p. 65 - 68.
  • Borislaw Bilash II, “Dancing Music“, A Demo A Day – A Year of Physical Science Demonstrations, p. 310.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.