Kaleidoscope Wheel of Smooth Dichroic Glass in Brass
Here's a a very colorful wheel that would make a terrific add-on to several styles of Chesnik Scopes. The majority of the image that you see as you look through one of these kaleidoscopes is created by the primary wheel, or the one closest to your eye, and the secondary wheel that comes with it provides background or accent image. When you unscrew the knob holding the wheels and trade out the wheels front-to-back, you are rewarded with an entirely different kaleidoscopic view. When you add a third distinctly different wheel to choose from and interchange, imagine all the permutations. It's truly a visual extravaganza.
Jon creates this particular wheel by slicing small shapes of smooth dichroic glass, which is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metal oxides which give the glass optical properties. The main characteristic of dichroic glass is that it has very different transparent vs. reflective colors. The colors shift depending on the angle of view, and when looked through the triangle of mirrors of the kaleidoscope, it's truly compelling.
Jon wraps each small piece of dichroic glass in very narrow copper foil tape, carefully smoothing each side. Once he's accumulated deep trays of several colors, he then builds each wheel like a unique puzzle. Using forms he created himself, he painstakingly places the pieces so that there's an equal amount of narrow space between each one. This will enable light to shine through the wheel and for the second wheel to show as well, once they're both attached to the mirrored tube or body of the kaleidoscope. Once he's satisfied with this spacing, he solders the pieces together using lead solder, and then checks that the wheel is evenly weighted so that it will spin freely and not stop in any one spot. His last step involves wrapping a piece of lead came as a brim for the wheel. Once a large of batch of wheels is complete, he sends them to an metal plating company for either brass- or chrome-plating, an industrial process, and the final result is that each wheel's metal parts are equal in beauty to its glass parts. Beautiful!