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Laser Show 1.0

djtomt

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Here goes: My first thread..

I started a journey nearly 4 months ago that began with this forum. I never imagined the possibilities that were presented here and it amazes me it took so long for me to find this hobby/obsession/path. Most importantly, I have come across many kindred souls and have done more learning, thanks to them, than I have in what seems a lifetime.

So first, then, I must thank them: DTR (thanks for the diodes!), JayRob (endless inspiration), MrCrouse (my first host: MXDL), Hakzaw (inspiration/advice), FlamingPyro (friendly advice) Clif (cajunlasers: diodes and drivers!) and all the usual suspects: Mohrenberg, Blord, C0ldshadow - I would go on...but you get the drift. Also, thanks to the new guys to the forum for having the balls to post.

I don't know, but I suspect that everyone here remembers very distinctly the first time they ever saw a laser. I was at a concert. It must have been 1976. I would have been 6 years old and my parents took me along to a Diana Ross concert. The laser was a green thick beam that shot from the floor to the ceiling of the sports arena (The Capital Center). It seemed to appear and re-appear in different places at different times, but following the same route. I was completely enthralled and amazed. It didn't seem to follow the normal rules of physics - or what I would now call photonics - and it seemed like something completely out of reach, but that I would love to possess.

I took the path of a show-biz person, on stage, but getting older now, I find myself more content with prospects behind the scene, at the same time realizing my desire to make and fix things and becoming more confident in my 'right' brain intelligence.

The greatest thing about this forum and lasers is that it involves so many of the sciences: electricity and electronics, photonics, geometry, mathematics, physics. And when you consider how lasers are involved in nearly every aspect of science and modern life, I find it to be a noble pursuit. Most of my friends and family look at my new hobby as complete insanity, utter obsession, total fad - I do not.

I have moved on rather rapidly from a laser pointer enthusiast to a laser show devotee. Pointing lasers around is only interesting for so long and the prospects for making money or doing something useful with them seems slim. Laser shows, however, are more complex, more interesting, have potential for making you cash and offer you an opportunity to share something of an artistic nature with your fellow man.

(Please don't be offended if you are only into laser pointers. I can be very easily amused by them for hours and hours, much like our humble and sweet companions; dogs and cats. I am just getting more old, poor and philosophical as we speak...or I write....or you read....anyway....

Enough of my blathering, let's get to the show! :drool:

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Here we have the components of my show; old computer parts (including heatsinks, fans and power supplies), parts from old stereo gear, mirrors from Michaels crafts - my blue labby, which is an M140 in copper module and 3 element glass lens from DTR and a 1.5mW X-Drive from Clif at Cajunlasers. I drilled a hole into this old CPU heat sink starting with of course smaller, but winding up using a 31/64 drill bit, which is 12.3 mm - a nice tight fit for a module. I added some thermal grease. I would have used a 1.8 Mohgasm driver for this diode, but I managed to fry it while using a test load to test it the day I got it. Just one of the many small disasters this journey have been fraught with.

I also managed to LED my brand new 500mW 635 Mitsubishi I just got as well. Money has been quite the challenge lately in addition to my impatience, so I decided to man-handle my old module with my dead 300mW Mitsu (first build) in order to get my new 500 bare diode going. In the process, I warped the module, but I didn't realize this until I had already used the tool to push in the brand-new OPEN CAN diode. Realizing you cannot get an open can diode out of a module, I tried to get the lens into the module, all while little bits of copper are shredding into my open can diode. BIG lesson: no matter what, wait and get a new module for your open can diode and protect it with a lens immediately. Even a spec of dust might mess it up. That was a $75 diode that I could have saved with a $5 module. GRRRRRRRRRR!

We would be seeing some red and purple here, but we'll have to settle for blue (and the red and green from a cute little Spencer gift show a friend got me for Xmas - Thanks Mike S!)

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I just hot glued mirrors to old computer fans and played and played and played with aiming everything for hours until I got something that worked.

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The Spencer show never looked so good!

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Alien?
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The beams looked amazing.
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Finally got it all aimed at the huge mirrors doors in my room. Hello!

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Love this one:
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Thanks for looking, everyone! I am so glad I finally got something going after months of tinkering and small disasters and other life crap. It's a very rewarding hobby and I got so high from just being in there with those lights. I look forward to new versions of this until it's a full-on RGB, X-Y galvo show. Happy Lasering!

_Tom

I stayed up all night because I knew it was going to snow. It started early this morning - I got some beam shots, then I did shots with one of the spinning mirrors, so a laser tunnel, if you will - and then I did some spyrograph video...



 
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Speedy78

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Need to build all this into something you can pick up and move! Nice pics!
 

DJZ

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Tom, you should seriously consider a trip to Newton, NC in August for the 7th annual South East Laser Enthusiast Meeting (SELEM). Sounds like you'd fit right in and learn a ton about this money pit hobby! There will be over a dozen solid state RGB projectors as well as a 6Watt white light gas projector. As well as 50 or more folks in attendance (had around 90 2 years ago).
 
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boldar

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Dude! I feel the same way! I've been interested in lasers for most of my life and only recently found this forum and realized that this tinkering passion was completely attainable thanks to the seasoned members here.

Thanks to them in in the process of inquiring parts for a pretty complex Spirograph setup.

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!
 

blasterman

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Laser shows, however, are more complex, more interesting, have potential for making you cash and offer you an opportunity to share something of an artistic nature with your fellow man.

In my instance it's mostly about $$$ :) I don't put on dedicated laser shows, but have started using them to augment existing venues, and the result is $$$. Multi thousand lumen LED packages that have become practical don't hurt either.

The cool thing is the price drop in lasers as a spin-off of the TV projection industry. Let's be honest, we owe the arms race in home entertainment a huge a favor for making lasers in this power range practical for individual use.

Pretty sure the concerts lasers in the 70's by Electric Light Orchestra amongst others were Krypton / Ion. They were bright, but the beams were fat and they were static.
 

djtomt

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Nov 27, 2012
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Agreed....time to HIT THE ROAD! SELEM - HERE I COME!

@Speedy78 - I like the WAVELENGTH converter! I was trying to figure out the html code that would bring out the 635 color of my signature before. You've made it easy. :;P:
Thanks for looking.

@DJZ - SELEM? YES! Hakzaw and FlamingPyro have been telling me about it and I will be there come hell or high water!

@boldar - I've only got two months on you, buddy! Wow - that's cool. Welcome to the club!

@blasterman - SO true. Now because of the diodes, the gas beauties are coming down in price. They are big and not so dynamic, but there is something about the color they make that is just gorgeous. I could see investing in one in the future, but for now - cheap diodes are the trick. I like the idea of enhancing existing venues - a good business/selling point. Thanks for checking out my pics!
 

djtomt

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Haha. My RGB ratio doesn't exist until I get my red and green going. That's why it's "1.0" - red will be 1.2 and RGB will be 1.3! If keep burning up diodes and drivers, it may be a while. Until then, my little green and red Spencer Gifts light will have to suffice.
 




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