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Old 09-05-2014, 04:33 PM #1
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Default Need info for build

First off, I am new to building my own laser projectors. I have only ever owned a ADJ Galaxian sky for about a week and thats the extent of my knowledge. I understand how DMX and ILDA work. I have also read a bunch of pages where people built their own and what all they used and then some of the basics of making your own.

I am looking to build either a 7 color RGB laser or a full color laser projector that will be used for aerial effects. I like the wide scan angle on the galaxian sky and want to achieve something similar for my build. I have a budget of max $1000 but would prefer to stay around $500. I was thinking a 500mW total output would be great. It will be used indoors and occasionally outdoors but it does not have to cover too large of an area and the galaxian sky had enough output to be visible in both of the conditions I need it in. I would love to control the laser via ILDA so I can do some custom aerial effects.

Below is a list of items that I know I will need for building the laser but I'm pretty sure I have left out some parts. Also what would you guys recommend part wise to complete this build?


I will need:
Case
Red Laser Diode
Green Laser Diode
Blue Laser Diode
Mounts for each of the laser diodes
Drivers for each of the laser diodes
Dichric Filters to combine the laser diodes
Scanner/galvo (was thinking about something like this but I am not sure if that will give me a wide enough scan angle)
Some type of analog control for the lasers to make it full color (optional if i only want 7 color)
Something to turn the lasers on and off rapidly

Is there anything else I am missing to be able to control it via ILDA and make it 7 colors? Otherwise what else would it take to make it full color?

Thank you very much for your time. I know this project is a lot for someone to do that does not know much about lasers, but I want to do this so I can learn more and I realize that it will take a while to complete.


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Old 09-06-2014, 12:10 AM #2
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Default Re: Need info for build

I'll tell you right away it'll be closer to that $1000 figure.

The analog control you're referring to is called a DAC and there are many to choose from. You could spend hours researching those. I've heard good things about riya DACs though.

You'll also need a power supply (and any hardware needed to mount/connect that), mounts for the dicroic mirrors, a db25 connector, and wire.

Full color requires the use of analog modulation. For this, you need a laser driver that incorporates it. The flexmod p3 is probably the most popular, but there are a few others.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:36 AM #3
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Default Re: Need info for build

Since I've been in a similar (the same) boat as you no less than 2 months ago, and have received a tremendous amount of help from this forum, I feel I should add some info as well. Let me start with: Post in the welcome thread and add the location to your profile. Members will appreciate that a lot

Now to the projector. I've been building a ~300-400mW one myself and while it's not finished, I have all components and have spent somewhere between 500 and 600 dollars. Then again, it's probably not the best build out here, but I'm very satisfied so far. Sure, you can buy a cheaper projector via ebay in China, but I must say that just the experience of a)building it yourself and b) learning about stuff is worth a lot as well! I'll just some items from your list and add to it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Red Laser Diode
Green Laser Diode
Blue Laser Diode
Go here A really nice set of diodes for a nice price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Mounts for each of the laser diodes
These seem to work pretty well for me and are not that expensive.

Since we're talking about mounts, I used
these to mount the mirrors on. I've bought them, they seem decent, but haven't had the chance to try them out yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Drivers for each of the laser diodes
I bought Flexmod's (3rd version). They seem to be very good at what they do. Have had no problems so far with them. (Buy 3, one for each laser)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Dichroic Filters to combine the laser diodes
I bought these but haven't had the chance to test them yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Scanner/galvo (was thinking about something like this but I am not sure if that will give me a wide enough scan angle)
I have bought this set. It's (ridiculously?) cheap, but seems to be okay - but I have no previous experience to compare it too. It's not THAT wide angled either. Did I mention it's cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Some type of analog control for the lasers to make it full color (optional if i only want 7 color)
As said above, a DAC. I too have heard about Riya DACS, but only after I made my own one using a USB sound card and soldering. See this thread for more info. Soundcard DAC is the cheaper option, but is DIY and will be less compact and good than a dedicated DAC. Also a soundcard DAC is not supported by some software, although I got HE Laserscan working (at least partially, still trying to find out whether some problem is HE Laserscans fault or mine ^^)


Quote:
Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
Something to turn the lasers on and off rapidly
Can be done with the Flexmods, controlled by the DAC.

You forgot:

Laser goggles!
I bought these and these. While they're very cheap, they provide adequate protection from ~500mW of laser. Threw them in the spectrometer in the lab and got OD2, 3 and 4 for the RGB (don't know remember specifically what OD belonged to what color, but all was <5mW)

Software
You could probably write your own, but why reinvent the wheel? (Unless you want a very specific wheel).
I know about HE Laserscan as a free option as compared to the other paid ones. There's Openlase too, for Linux, but I don't really understand how it's supposed to work. AFAIK, other options are paid (and expensive). There is one more free, can't remember the name, but I think development halted years ago.

Hope this helps you as much as the people here helped me!

(I don't have any affiliation with the ebay sellers / companies mentioned above, it's just what I bought and am happy with )

Last edited by Svenvbins; 09-06-2014 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:03 AM #4
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Default Re: Need info for build

First thank you both for your time and replying. I will definitely go make a post in the welcome section and add my location.

I completely left out the safety aspects of things since I plan to try and meet some type of safety standards so I can actually use my projector in a public setting hopefully at some point. So for starters I know I need a master key for on and off which is very easy to add.

I like the scanners you posted but what is the scan angle for them? All I see is "Mirror Reflectivity:
>95%(25-65)"
and I am not sure if that tells the scan angle. (Sorry I am new to this)
If it is low then what other scanners can you recommend? I am fine with spending a bit more money if they can have a wide scan angle. Im looking for something similar to the Galaxian sky because it worked perfect in my setting.

Ill start gathering a supply list of items and links to buy them when I can get some more free time from work so you guys can look them over and see if you think they are worth it.

Also Svenvbins, what package should I get for the laser diodes? I do not know the differences in the lenses with how it will affect the final output.

Thanks again for all your help!
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:20 AM #5
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Default Re: Need info for build

You're welcome.

Even for a "safe public projector" I'd still buy glasses. They're not directly for using the projector itself but for when you're testing the setup, aligning beams etc etc.

The values you found for mirror reflectivity only tells you that as long as a light beam hits the mirrors between 25 and 65 degrees , 95% of the light will be reflected. It indeed doesn't tell you anything about the possible range. I could check with my setup tomorrow, but at max range the amount of points/second will decrease drastically. Unfortunately I can't recommend anything else, as I have no other experience with these things.

As for the diodes, I'd buy the package with the copper module & leads, saves you some diode pressing & stuff. As for what lenses, I think that acrylic absorbs the most light, glass less, and the G-2 ones the least, but there might be other aspects as well that I don't know about.
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:33 AM #6
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Default Re: Need info for build

I just purchased both of the glasses that you linked. I definitely will get some use for them. I understand the safety reasons for them, I was just refering to the final project being safe for public use. I understand that while working with the mirrors and such that you have protection from the full power of the laser beam in case something happens.

If you could check the scan angle on your setup when you get a chance that would be great. I am not completely set on a value yet, but anything that will be good for some decent aerials in a small area would be perfect.
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:23 AM #7
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Default Re: Need info for build

IMO what you really need we cant just 'give' you- a better understanding about this project--

You may have not read all that is here-- at Plex-- on-line -at Sam's etc
Dan has a nice site with info to READ Carefully- its at the bottom of my sig.

dont waste $$ on parts you may later not want-

also get with a pro in your area(in person)-- go to a LEM-- read more before asking too much-=
good to see you added your location- and TY to Sven for asking you.

Oh yeah-- about

"Something to turn the lasers on and off rapidly


thats modulation- the cheaper is TTL Blanking which can do that VERY fast and with very little risk of damage- IF you were to do that 'by hand' it may be a bad thing.. just a FYI

(((((((((((((( edit-update

just ran a search: 'build laser projector'
there are 207 'hits'
just here at LPF
honestly you would have done better by joining one of those thats on-going & active like Svens - as we cant handle hundreds of new threads that are covered already and we hope 'problems solved' -


Or at the very least read a bunch of them and take notes-

If you were really ready to build - especailly ful color -- you wouldf NOT be asking these questions--


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