The table has a 30" diameter disc that contains about 2 gallons of water mixed with Pearl Swirl fluid. This fluid is essentially very fine glitter that becomes suspended in the water, and will show flow currents as the water moves within the disk. I positioned the disc on a 24" diameter lazy susan bearing for low-friction rotation. When the disc suddenly changes rotational speed, there will be turbulence in the water, which causes the rheoscopic fluid to show fluid vortices and eddies that are part of the turbulence.
The outer metal ring was custom-built by a shop that specializes in metal rings (see sources below). All of the other parts were bought from McMaster, eBay, and Steve Spangler Science for the Pearl Swirl fluid.
I got the idea for this table after see a tornado visualization exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. The Exloratorium has an orb filled with a similar fluid to show flow patterns similar to those on a rotating planet with an atmosphere.
The main pieces are: 3/8" thick glass top, aluminum ring with L cross-section, a 3/4" thick O-ring with square cross-section and a 1/2" thick PVC plastic bottom. There are a bunch of screws that pull the aluminum ring down onto the glass, which pushes onto the O-ring, which pushes on the PVC bottom. There is no glue used anywhere in the disk. The overall diameter is about 32".
The disk holds about 2 gallons of liquid, and weighs a total of 80 lbs (just a good estimate -- I never measured it). There are two threaded fill-holes with plugs on the bottom, and the whole thing sits on a 24" lazy susan bearing.
These are my sources:
3/8" thick tempered $85 shipped
Outer metal ring
Custom 2" x 2" x 3/16" thick, angle-in, "L" cross section, 32" outer dia
about $150 shipped
3/4", square cross-section, O-ring cord stock -- I made a scarf joint
to make this into a ring, about $40
1/2" thick gray PVC plastic $100
Get some food coloring too
Screws, cushioning rubber, stuff to wire-brush the aluminum ring:
lazy susan bearing
eBay -- search for "aluminum lazy susan"
12" will not work, you need to find a 24" dia bearing on eBay