Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics

Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics
YouTube player

Sound can have some amazing effects on liquids and some downright bizarre effects on non-Newtonian fluids such as the conveniently simple mixture of cornstarch and water. I’d experimented a bit with cornstarch cymatics in the past, but never quite matched the writhing results I’d seen from others. Now, after bringing my own small puddle of goop to “life,” I feel pretty much satisfied.

Here are some additional pics from the session:

12 thoughts on “Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics

  1. cyenobite2 says:

    nice experiment. I wonder what you happen if you used a cookie tray of corn starch and water mixture, then used one of those directional speakers on it. Could you move the “cymatic monster” around on the tray by moving the speaker? Just a thought.
    PS> Nice lighting on the video also.

    1. Collin Cunningham says:

      Thanks – that’s an interesting question. I don’t have any directional speakers handy but might be able to try something similar with piezos …

      My guess is it would have to be an unusually powerful speaker if it was to sufficiently excite the fluid without making physical contact – tho sliding piezo sounders around below may have interesting results

  2. Laura Cochrane says:

    That’s really cool. I’ve never heard the term cymatics, but I’ve always liked Chladni plates. At one point that corn starch + water looked very Fantasia-like, with little guys jumping out of an amorphous lump! I also like seeing the patterns on the water. Makes me think about music and its physical effect on water-based humans.

  3. cyenobite2 says:

    I was thinking more on this idea of the directional speakers… It probably wouldn’t work. It would be no different than just holding a regular speaker over the “fluid”. Then I thought of those old football games – the ones that would move when the field vibrated (is my age showing?). Pointing a speaker at the little football guys probably wouldn’t make them move. Its been fun thinking abt it though.

  4. Miguel says:

    I was wondering which camera did you use to make this video.. i have a videocast project in the works and the look of this is fantastic! :)

    1. Collin Cunningham says:

      that’d be a sanyo hd1010

  5. Miguel says:

    That was really fun to watch, i wonder how this would react to other kind of saw waves, esp a Sawtooth or a Pulse one :)

  6. MtM says:

    I tried it without removing the center of the speaker first. What does that do? I couldn’t get any motion until about 230-240Hz, and that was minimal. I don’t think the speaker was powerful enough, but the amp I used was 25 watts.

  7. Collin Cunningham says:

    Removing the center + some paper from the cone allows you to connect a dish/plate directly to the speakers driver/coil – in other words, STRONG SHAKES! =]

  8. Ralph says:

    Where can I get the music to the video?

  9. mac says:

    Great video! What kind of amp did you use? Is there a specific wattage that works best? Thanks.

  10. The Gorgeous Kinetic Table Art of Bruce Shapiro | Make: says:

    […] is a series of kinetic art sand tables. Many people, on first glance, mistake them for cymatics (using soundwaves to generate patterns in a medium), but these tables are powered by a […]

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).