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Old 10-27-2008, 04:04 AM #1
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Default Creating a Spirograph

I am interested in building my own basic spirograph that will have three motors (with mirrors attached) and each motors voltage controlled by a potentiometer, a fan to blow air over my laser module, and the laser module itself, all powered by a AC/DC power adapter. This project will not use a microcontroller as I do not know the required programming languages nor enjoy creating my own complex circuitry.

I need help knowing which parts to purchase. I have already bought my 5mW Green Laser module which is powered with 3 volts @ 250mA. For the power supply, I am unsure of the voltage (Either 3 or 5 volts) to choose. It should be regulated so as to keep the laser in good condition. I am leaning towards 5v as I could run a CPU fan over my laser module to cool it as the module will be left on 24/7.

I need suggestions on which motors to purchase to glue mirrors onto, and what potentiometers to control the speed of the fans. If I opt for a 5 volt supply, will I need a resistor to keep the laser from getting overloaded past 3 volts? For potentiometers, what would be the proper Ohmage to raise the power of the fans from 1 volt to 5? There are so many different Ohmage ratings for potentiometers that I don't know what to select for a 1.5v, 3v, or 5v motor.

Any advice, corrections, or help is greatly appreciated.


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Old 10-27-2008, 04:53 AM #2
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

QMD,

most of the motors you'll find are 3v. So if you want to use a 5v fan, you may want to add an LM317 circuit to give 3v to the laser module and motors.

Really though, I doubt you need a fan for a 5mW green. A good passive heatsink should do fine. Anyway, a normal 5vdc fan will likely provide enough cooling even running at 3v. So I'd just stick with 3v...

As for potentiometers, I usually do ~100 ohms per volt of power. This (usually) gives enough resistance at full-off to stop the motor. But they need to be at least 1/4 watt pots to handle the motor's current. (bigger if you use bigger motors.)

For motors, most any DC motor will work. I used the vibrator motors from cell phones (until I ran out of phones) then switched to the ones available at radio shack- http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2914700

hope this helps,
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:19 AM #3
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Thank you very much, you very quickly answered all of my concerns.

I have a two final questions.

1) From my understanding the LM317 is a variable voltage resistor that can take a large range of voltages (from 3-40v) and always outputs 3v so as not to over/underload the laser. It goes in between the power supply source and the output to the laser correct?

2) Is it necessary to have a regulated DC power supply for this project? Or will any old 5v DC supply be acceptable?

It looks like I am nearing making this project a reality, and can't wait to put it all together.
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:20 AM #4
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

i tried making my sprio realy mad and compact. after many hours of 're-soldering' becuase - this wire pushes this one out of the way and vibrations will make it fall of etc. and, i also figured there was NOO-WAY i'd be able to replace teh batteries without wripping it apart. so it took me about 5 minutes to make it onto a piece of balsa wood
and now im bored of it...
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:29 AM #5
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuackMasterDan
Thank you very much, you very quickly answered all of my concerns.

I have a two final questions.

1) From my understanding the LM317 is a variable voltage resistor that can take a large range of voltages (from 3-40v) and always outputs 3v so as not to over/underload the laser. It goes in between the power supply source and the output to the laser correct?
correct.
Quote:
2) Is it necessary to have a regulated DC power supply for this project? Or is any old 5v DC supply be acceptable?

Depends on your green module. But if you use the LM317 to regulate, then almost any DC supply would work...

cheers,
kernelpanic

p.s.- Caleb- Got mine pretty small, photos are here-
http://www.laserpointerforums.com/fo...num=1224785501

By the time I'm bored with it I'll have built a multi-colored one.

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Old 10-28-2008, 04:29 AM #6
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Thank you very much for all of the advice and information on constructing a laser project. Now I can't wait for my new laser modules to arrive and build my own spirograph!

I researched the LM317T regulator for about 3 hours over the past two days and with a trip to Radioshack built myself a functioning voltage regulator to power my laser, fans, or whatever I need. It even uses diodes and capacitors to ensure a stable electricity supply and prevent surges on poweroff.

I had to look for many hours and struggle through complex diagrams to figure this out, and made one of my own for a relatively compact size and ease of construction. For any future visitors looking for how to build a voltage regulator, hopefully my schematic can help.

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Old 10-28-2008, 05:25 AM #7
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

I have purchased some 3VDC Radioshack motors to power the three mirrors in my spirograph (http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2102822). I have been reading about gluing mirrors to motors and that any imbalances on the motor can generate a great deal of noise and be unstable (structurally). What is the best way to attach mirrors to these motors, or should I look into using another kind of motor (PC fan?).

Instead of going for a two mirror spirograph, I have heard that adding a third mirror spinning in the opposite direction of the normal two can create a great deal more projection shapes. is this true?

Finally, when I look at DIY spirograph guides, some have very clean patterns while others appear sloppy. What accounts for these differences?

Sloppy



Clean
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:37 PM #8
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Another clean one for you

The patterns are very dependant on angle of mirror and speed of the motor. I would guess that on the first picture one mirror is nearly flat and the motors are going slowly....I cannot get that sort of pattern.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:40 PM #9
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

well actually the pattern you see is just an oval kind of sped up. i can adjust the speed the oval spins by adjusting my two pots.


i think using two pots really made it so much better!

but i think picking the right pot is VERY important. for mine i used 100 ohm pots
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:48 PM #10
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Quote:
think using two pots really made it so much better!
That would do it I didn't think of that possibility I have never had room for 2 pots.........

Regards rog8811
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:55 PM #11
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuackMasterDan
I have purchased some 3VDC Radioshack motors to power the three mirrors in my spirograph (http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2102822). I have been reading about gluing mirrors to motors and that any imbalances on the motor can generate a great deal of noise and be unstable (structurally). What is the best way to attach mirrors to these motors, or should I look into using another kind of motor (PC fan?).

Instead of going for a two mirror spirograph, I have heard that adding a third mirror spinning in the opposite direction of the normal two can create a great deal more projection shapes. is this true?

Finally, when I look at DIY spirograph guides, some have very clean patterns while others appear sloppy. What accounts for these differences?

Sloppy



Clean
just saw this again and wanted to say that the sloppy one is actually not very sloppy. it would look much better in person and the reason it may look sloppy is because cameras snap a moment shot. your eyes dont see it that way.

and the clean shot is a simple oval moving slowly and i did it this way to get a good shot from the camera the pattern is moving quite slow and it kind of captures more of what you eyes will see.

also you need the mirrors to be slightly off balance otherwise you wouldnt get any shapes at all.

but the absolute slightest off balance is enough so go ahead and ty and get the most precise balance you can and you will be set.

i used hot glue for my mirror and it works great since they are small and not much weight is on them..

also make sure to get the mirrors as centered as possible.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:56 PM #12
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Quote:
Originally Posted by rog8811
Quote:
think using two pots really made it so much better!
That would do it I didn't think of that possibility I have never had room for 2 pots.........

Regards rog8811

MAKE ROOM! i think you will be very happy you did!

it really made a world of difference!
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:12 PM #13
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Just to confirm: two pots makes more patterns than one.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:26 PM #14
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

Which is better, a two-mirror or three-mirror spirograph? Does the three-mirror set have more possible shapes to project onto a surface?

Do the mirrors inside of a spirograph have to be running in opposite directions of the one next to it? As in:


Two Mirror
Clockwise -> Counter-Clockwise

Three Mirror
Clockwise -> Counter-Clockwise -> Clockwise


Or do the directions the mirror spin in not matter?
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:30 PM #15
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Default Re: Creating a Spirograph

3 mirrors will give you far more shapes and designs... it causes all the shapes to sort of spin in a 3d type of way
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