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Thread: Lasershark, a completely open-source low cost dual-laser 12bit USB laser DAC

  1. #1
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    Default Lasershark, a completely open-source low cost dual-laser 12bit USB laser DAC

    I wasn't happy with having to tweak a soundcard every time I wanted to play with my laser display so I built my own USB dac. I call it the Lasershark.

    My objectives were:
    - Fill the void for a lower cost dedicated USB DAC aimed at folks who may only want to use one laser (Setup actually supports two lasers)
    - Have 12bit resolution for all channels (differently x,y.. single-sides laser a, b)
    - Make connecting it to commonly found chinese galvos easy (has 3-pin polarized header on the board.. no need for an ILDA connector breakout.)
    - User programmable (You don't need a programmer to program this!)

    The specs, code, etc can be found here:
    http://macpod.net/electronics/lasershark/lasershark.php

    As-is it works with OpenLase. There's no reason it couldn't work with other software (e.g. laserboy)





    I still have some documentation to do. Afterwards I intend to make a low cost USB dac for a RG[B/V] setup .. perhaps not immediately, a few other fun projects have sprung into my mind


    I don't really know anything about lasershows. Let me know what you think, what you would have done differently with this board, and what features you think are needed for an RGB DAC. Can't say everything will get included, but if I don't know about something (i.e. I just saw a video today where the person could focus/unfocus the beam.. that's a feature I never would have thought about) I can't think it over.




    Edit: Oh yea, I forgot that I'm thinking of doing a group order of these if folks are interested (hope I'm not violating any forum rules by saying that here..).

    Also, I don't normally hop on here so if you are interested in one, head to my website and shoot me an email.
    Last edited by macpod; 11-15-2012 at 17:41.

  2. #2
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    Looks interesting. Any ideas as to what this would cost? Would be great for stuffing into single color projectors with a power cable and usb to run the whole thing.
    Going to check out your site.

  3. #3
    swamidog's Avatar
    swamidog is online now Jr. Woodchuckington Janitor III, Esq.
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    cool! looks like a nice little DAC.

    my recommendation is to contact drlava and work with him to get it supported under LSX. LSX (laser show express) is a *very* nice laser show creation software he sells. it's very powerful, flexible and already supports a large number of DACs.



    Quote Originally Posted by macpod View Post
    I wasn't happy with having to tweak a soundcard every time I wanted to play with my laser display so I built my own USB dac. I call it the Lasershark.

    My objectives were:
    - Fill the void for a lower cost dedicated USB DAC aimed at folks who may only want to use one laser (Setup actually supports two lasers)
    - Have 12bit resolution for all channels (differently x,y.. single-sides laser a, b)
    - Make connecting it to commonly found chinese galvos easy (has 3-pin polarized header on the board.. no need for an ILDA connector breakout.)
    - User programmable (You don't need a programmer to program this!)

    The specs, code, etc can be found here:
    http://macpod.net/electronics/lasershark/lasershark.php

    As-is it works with OpenLase. There's no reason it couldn't work with other software (e.g. laserboy)





    I still have some documentation to do. Afterwards I intend to make a low cost USB dac for a RG[B/V] setup .. perhaps not immediately, a few other fun projects have sprung into my mind


    I don't really know anything about lasershows. Let me know what you think, what you would have done differently with this board, and what features you think are needed for an RGB DAC. Can't say everything will get included, but if I don't know about something (i.e. I just saw a video today where the person could focus/unfocus the beam.. that's a feature I never would have thought about) I can't think it over.




    Edit: Oh yea, I forgot that I'm thinking of doing a group order of these if folks are interested (hope I'm not violating any forum rules by saying that here..).

    Also, I don't normally hop on here so if you are interested in one, head to my website and shoot me an email.
    suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcDevilz View Post
    Looks interesting. Any ideas as to what this would cost? Would be great for stuffing into single color projectors with a power cable and usb to run the whole thing.
    Going to check out your site.
    This is difficult to answer because it depends on how many would be made (and why I'm asking here as well as other places if folks have an interest). I went to digikey and put exactly the number of components I need to make one board (aside from the pcb/solder/etc) and the total came out to be 33.50. Just breaking the 10 barrier for many of the parts significantly reduces their cost. I.e. you can buy 1 1K resistor for 7 cents, but for 14 cents you can get 10.

    I wouldn't want to assemble these boards by hand so I would outsource them. I've done this before and once again quantity is a large factor. Perhaps Kickstarter would be a good avenue for this since it requires people to commit money upfront, but doesn't actually charge them until a "goal" number has been reached. Then again, I don't like how much of a % they take for their service.. it's unecessary if only 10 people are interested in this.

    So a gut feeling...
    I would say somewhere around 50$-75$ for quantities in the double digits but don't hold me to it. It could be slightly cheaper.. I highly doubt it would be more expensive than that range.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamidog View Post
    cool! looks like a nice little DAC.

    my recommendation is to contact drlava and work with him to get it supported under LSX. LSX (laser show express) is a *very* nice laser show creation software he sells. it's very powerful, flexible and already supports a large number of DACs.
    Yep, that's a possibility. I know some folks will want a commercially supported software solution so it's good to know what the community favors in terms of those.

  6. #6
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    check out this pcb prototyping service.

    some forum members have tried them and they provide a descent service at an unbeatable price
    Haven' t tried them myself, but i do trust the opinions of the ones that have.

    http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pc...ototyping.html

    Have a look around the site aswell, there are many interesting projects there, most of which are open source
    "its called character briggs..."

  7. #7
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    That's who I used to make many of my proto boards, including this one. The price is excellent for simple boards, but their stock shipping is terribly slow. I'm involved in a group who likes to make electronics so what I like to do is see who else needs other designs made and combine them into one order, then split the cost of super-fast shipping. I got these last boards back in less than 2 weeks time and paid 40$ for 10 boards

    Unfortunately they don't send out the completed boards as panelized so I can't use them if I want to make a group order.

    That reminds me, I do know they have a pcb population service as well as a few other places in China, but I'm a bit wary of having boards populated overseas. I want to try this to see how much $$$s I can save, but I'm wary of:
    -loss of components in mail
    -potential shenenigans such as inferior component swapping
    -unexpected export fees
    -unexpected import fees
    -import/export seizure (you have to make sure you can send all the components out without breaking any laws)

    All of these add risk
    Last edited by macpod; 11-16-2012 at 03:20.

  8. #8
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    Any reason why you only have two channels apart from x and y?
    If you had three, you could use it for rgb projectors.

  9. #9
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    Looking at the photos on your site the blanking seems to be off slightly. Almost as if the laser isn't completely shutting off. Check your PM. Would definitely like to see this project get off the ground. Many years ago we had an 8 bit DAC we called ghettolaze. We had this silly notion that laser DAC's can be had for 20-30 bucks. Your Lasershark DAC can become just that especially since it's an open source project. I'm going to email Josh J he was in charge of PCB design. I want to see if he wants to incorporate some of his software to this project.

    Ivan

  10. #10
    mixedgas's Avatar
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    Can this be made to work with the Open API?

    http://www.fab-favreau.com/index.php...ShowController

    If so, it opens it to use with LSX and LFI player.

    Steve

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