Make a hologram from acrylic

The days when hologram projections were only seen in Star Trek and James Bond are long gone. With the help of your smartphone/tablet/ flat screen TV and acrylic sheet, you can make a hologram projector yourself. All you need is an acrylic sheet, acrylic glue, masking tape, sandpaper, a cutting mat and a ruler and a sharp hobby knife or saw. Fifteen minutes of tinkering, and you can make your own hologram projector!


Make a hologram step 1

In principle, the hologram project is very simple: it is a truncated pyramid that you turn upside down on a screen. To create a moving hologram you need a suitable video file, which you can find on YouTube. In addition, the pyramid must have exactly the right ratio or otherwise, the image will be distorted. But if you follow the instructions below, success is guaranteed! Let’s get started on the 3d hologram projector!

The right basic material: cast acrylic

The best base material is thin acrylic, this is fragile due to its thinness, but if you follow the instructions properly you can saw and process this material without any problems. We start by making the template with which you mark the four sides of the pyramid on the acrylic. Each side is 6 centimetres wide at the top, 3.5 centimetres high and 1 centimetre wide at the bottom.

Make a hologram step 2

Mark out the template and cut the sides using a ruler. You can of course also make the template larger, as long as you ensure that the dimensions remain in the same proportion. This way you can also customise the projector for a tablet or a flat screen.

We recommend that you use a special cutting mat for cutting the acrylic sheet. Wipe the cutting mat thoroughly so that your acrylic is not scratched, leave the protective film on the acrylic in place! We start by marking a strip on the acrylic. This strip has the height of the sides (3.5 centimetres or more).

Make a hologram step 3

Now we will start cutting the acrylic. Use a fine-toothed metal saw for this. You can lightly rub the saw blade with household soap to make it a little easier. Now cut the strip, keep the cutting line as close as possible to your work surface, to prevent vibrations and breakage.

Make a hologram step 4

After the strip has been sawn off, we will mark the sides four times on the strip using the template. Place the acrylic on the cutting mat and place the template on the acrylic. Now mark the template four times on the acrylic, as in the image below:

Make a hologram step 5

Building the hologram projector

With the help of a ruler and a sharp hobby knife, make a number of notches on each sawing line that you have just marked. This helps with cutting and prevents the acrylic from breaking. A ruler has a high and a low side, use the high side to guide the knife. Note: take it easy and make several cuts. Then you are assured of a straight side without fractures. And of course, pay attention to your fingers! Then saw the four sides with the metal saw:

Not glueing but bonding

We will finish the sides with a piece of sandpaper. Use 400 grit sandpaper and sand all the burrs from the sides.

Then we can glue the projector, it is important that the acrylic is clean and free of grease. Take a soft cloth, for example, a microfibre cloth, and put a little cleaning alcohol or spirits on it.
Take four small pieces of tape and stick the four sides together. Stick the tape on the inside of the pyramid and make sure the sides are taped over the entire length:

Now place the pyramid with the broad side on a flat surface, for example, the cutting mat. If you put your projector on this, then you know for sure that the shape is exactly right. Now we are going to glue the projector, it is important that you wear vinyl gloves, because the glue is not skin-friendly. Unscrew the cap of the Acrifix glue and let it flow gently between the seams on the corners of the pyramid. Acrifix is very thin, so be careful when dosing! After 20 minutes the acrylic has bonded and the hologram projector is ready.

Make a hologram step 9

You can then create your own acrylic hologram by downloading a suitable image or video. You will find plenty of examples on YouTube. Place the projector on the screen, some videos have an alignment grid so that you can position the projector very precisely. You can place a piece of white cardboard on the top, which helps to get the projection sharp.