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Thread: Greetings and Into

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default Greetings and Into

    Hello, new forum member here; I just wanted to introduce myself so that I'd have that done when I wanted to jump in on one of the more detailed topics.

    My name is Mike, and I currently live in the northern VA area, USA... been interested in lasers since a young age. My first was a HeathKit 1mw HeNe assembled with my dad; it still works almost 30 years later. I've done the dc-motor spirograph thing, the mirrors-glued-to-speakers thing, the stepper-exuse-for-a-galvo thing, and assorted other bits of photonic hackery, but nothing high-end. By day I'm a software and networks type, so I'll probably never be a professional laserist, but I like to build things and enjoy them with friends and family.

    Reading here, I've been astonished by what is currently available in terms of performance/price ratio that was unthinkable just five years ago. Seeing the possibilities has rekindled my interest in building a halfway decent projector, so I'm reading and taking notes on the characteristics of the available hardware. Lots to catch up on, and I'm sure I'm not halfway there!

    At my current level of information absorption, I have it in my head that a single-color system with reasonable hardware and software behind it is the way to start. Probably I will download the QuickShow demo and see how I am with the creative process side of things vs. building kit and ogling the results. The demo video looks amazing! Meanwhile I'm mentally juggling budget distribution for the likes of DT40s vs. scanpros vs the laser to put behind them...

    I'm trying to figure out how much power is really needed for these fast-scanning systems compared to the old spinning-mirrors boxes I have and then figure out what the best value is right now for that power... a few years ago it might have been dpss 532, but maybe today it's 445 direct or something else. And I think I read that many dpss modules don't modulate well, so there's a complication... A 5mw source looks OK to me in a dark room run through a spirograph, but by the time you add blanking and larger images I'm sure more is needed. Time to keep reading!

    Thanks for an information-rich forum! Hope to chat more with you soon.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    972

    Default

    Hey Mike....

    welcome to the Forum... If you're interested in
    projectors and laser show stuff... you've come to the
    right place..

    Enjoy your stay...


    Jerry
    See the LaserBee II and all other LaserBee LPM products here....
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    New 3.2Watt RS232/USB LaserBee II LPM REVIEW


    Always in stock and ready to ship....
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  3. #3
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    Jul 2010
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    Default

    Welcome to Photonlexicon


    Cheers,

    PJ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Southport, UK
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    Default

    Hi Mike

    Welcome to PL, is the Tribble thing from Star Trek?

    You didn't say if it was graphics or beams that interested you; this will affect any advice given about laser types and power levels.

    Cheers, Ian
    http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/3985/laser.gif

    Doc's website

    The Health and Safety Act 1971

    Recklessly interfering with Darwinís natural selection process, thereby extending the life cycle of dim-witted ignorami; thus perpetuating and magnifying the danger to us all, by enabling them to breed and walk amongst us, our children and loved ones.





  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default

    Thanks, everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Welcome to PL, is the Tribble thing from Star Trek?

    You didn't say if it was graphics or beams that interested you; this will affect any advice given about laser types and power levels.
    Cheers, Ian
    Doc, I'm more interested in graphics... I think in my situation, applications for beams will be limited. I expect to enjoy the occasional fan or liquid sky, but I don't want to compromise graphics performance or spend $$$ solely in pursuit of better beams... I suspect that is a rabbit hole with no bottom. There's always a brighter laser to be had, right?

    The tribble thing is from ST... long ago... it's just a name I started using a while ago that isn't often taken.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2010
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    Australia
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    Default

    Hi Mike and welcome. Enjoy you stay.

    ah, The Trouble with Tribbles, one of the best episodes!

    Back in Win 3.11 days, I had a Tribble Screen Saver lol.
    This space for rent.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    7,067

    Lightbulb

    Welcome to the obsession; kiss the cash in your wallet good bye...
    Love, peace, and grease,

    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
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    Smile Another new member!

    Welcome to PhotonLexicon, Mike!

    Many folks here share your enthusiasm for lasers and laser projectors, and most of us started out pretty much the same way you did. So relax - you're among friends.

    Sounds like you've already got a pretty good idea what you want. If you're thinking about a single-color projector, one way you can get started very cheaply is to use one of the 445 nm diodes that everyone's been talking about lately.

    They can be had for around $40, and even when you add in the cost of the rest of the components you need (a module to set it in, a lens to correct the output, a mount to hold the module, and a driver to power and modulate it) to make it work, you're still only talking about a total cost of $140 or less. That's pretty cheap for a first laser! (You can run it at a lower power level for safey's sake, and ramp it up later when you're more comfortable working with higher power lasers.)

    A good starting point for power is probably something in the neighborhood of 100 mw or so. Later on, you may want to run it hotter, but even so, 100 mw in a dark basement with a little fog looks absolutely amazing. (And a single 445 nm blue diode can be cranked up as high as a full watt of power, so it's not something you're likley to outgrow anytime soon...)

    Your selection of the quickshow/FB3 package from Pangolin is a good one that will serve you well. It will also scale well should you decide to upgrade to a full-color RGB rig in the future. In fact, I'm so certain that you'll want to move to full color at some point that I'll warn you now to be sure to leave room on your optical plate for the other two lasers and the dichros you'll need.

    Regarding the Scan-pro verses DT-40 debate, there have been some recent issues with Scan-pro units that have somewhat tarnished their image. I'm still running the Scanpro's myself (the Scanpro-50's), but I'm starting to lean towards the DT line for future purchases. Also, I've heard *great* things about the DT-40 wides, so if that fits your budget, you might want to take a hard look at those scanners.

    If you've got more questions, fire away! And be sure to check the meet-and-greet sub-forum for information about upcoming laser enthusiast's meetings (LEM's) near you. I know there will be one near Lexington, NC in April that would probably be convenient for you. Check it out and see if it works with your schedule. (You'll meet some awesome people at a LEM, and have a ton of fun as well. You'll also learn a lot about lasers, controllers, and just about anything else related to this hobby.)

    Adam

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    DC/VA metro area, USA
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    Default

    Adam, thanks for the great recommendations! I'm working on assembling parts for a 445 setup that I can run "low" power and ramp up later if needed. It's slow going, but I'll get there with the great advice I've seen here!

    I will check in to the NC LEM and see if it fits in to my schedule.

    Hope you had a lovely holiday and are keeping warm in the glow of coherent light.

    Best,
    Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    769

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dnar View Post
    Hi Mike and welcome. Enjoy you stay.

    ah, The Trouble with Tribbles, one of the best episodes!

    Back in Win 3.11 days, I had a Tribble Screen Saver lol.
    You beat me to it! That's the first thing that popped into my head
    Welcome Mike! It sounds like your background fits right in with most of the laserholics here.


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