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Mirascope, Parabolic Mirror, Parabola, Paraboloid, Hologram

3D model description

Mirascope, Parabolic Mirror, Parabola, Paraboloid, Hologram

Warning: Mirascope will not work unless the interior surfaces are processed to function like a mirror.


I have sent my PLA models to a professor of chemistry to see how they can be polished and coated, for the sole purpose of STEM exploration.

About Mirascopes

The mirascope is a mathematical toy made of two parabolic mirrors that fascinates children and adults alike. The two mirrors work together and project a small object placed at the bottom to the top, creating a hologram-like illusion (see reference by author). Mathematically, the focus of one mirror coincides with the vertex of the other, thus creating an illusion.

Mathematically, the included designs should work. However, it is extremely difficult to polish PLA surfaces to make a mirror. Special surface processing and coating are necessary to make a mirascope that actually works. Of course, one can make one using metal such as aluminum and then polish the surfaces. Alternatively, as a STEM project, you can work with a professional in another field (such as chemistry) to seek a solution. To save money and time (and frustration), you can just buy one from Amazon. Otherwise, have fun tinkering with multiple STEM ideas and processes.

Among the files

  1. Version A is a mirascope in one piece, in need of extensive support to print well.
  2. Version B is specially manipulated for printing with two pieces.
  3. Version C also has two pieces in vertical position. The two pieces are .4mm apart.


Bu, L. (2012).

  • 3D file format: STL



STEAM educator, learning from and working with K-12 STEAM teachers to explore new ideas of teaching and engagement. I firmly believe ART is at the core of STEM learning or all human learning! I owe my ideas and designs to the hundreds of K-12 children and teachers and university professors I have had the pleasure of working with, in multiple disciplines-- math, science,engineering language arts, social studies, early childhood education and more! All mistakes, of course, are mine! There is no warranty or liability whatsoever implied or explicit behind the designs or ideas. They are all posted for their potential educational values.

When working with children, please strictly observe all safety and health procedures! Please refer to the NSTA safety guides:




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