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Thread: New 500mw RGB Laser Projector Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Default New 500mw RGB Laser Projector Build

    Hey Guys

    Thought I'd post my new build here. Long time laser fan, attendee of the last Laser FX conference back in the day, and recent new father. After noticing that my daughter was absolutely mesmerized by videos of laser shows, I decided to build my own projector finally (after messing with 7mW HeNes, old, big clunky GS galvos, and Amiga 500s with Lasershow Designer years ago).

    This is my build (pics to come once I get my aluminum baseplate. Its a bit of a dog's breakfast now, not worthy of photos )

    "25K" Scanners and DMX show card - Meierlight eBay Special (notice the quotation marks.. hehe)
    500mw Combined RGB laser module with integrated driver and TTL modulation (80mw green, 200mw Red, 250mw Blue, beam is a bit purple-biased but I'll overlook it owing to how compact the module is). Draws less than 1A at 12V to boot.

    SO FAR - everything worked out of the box, but I wasn't happy with the Meierlight show card. It was only a single-color model so it didn't have RGB blanking. Again, back to eBay and found a PT-iTrust card for not a lot of money. It works much better and is way more versatile than the meierlight one (nicer patterns as well as the capability to project 2 patterns simultaneously, plus the wave generator mode).

    THINGS STILL TO DO:

    -Make up some proper differential wiring harnesses for the scan amps for when I eventually move to some real software. The single-ended cables work for now with DMX.
    -Consider putting an IR Dichro in the beam path to filter some of the IR spillage out of the 532nm module.
    -Obtain the T6 aluminum baseplate, and poke holes in it.
    -Ditch the 300W 12V PSU for something a LOT more compact (Hey, it was the only 12V supply I had lying around.. )

    When all is said and done, I plan to have a fully self-contained RGB projector with a footprint smaller than a standard sheet of paper. So far, its a roomy 8"x11" with lots of space left for a small 2A 12V PSU to power the diodes. My calipers, AutoCAD, and the 1:1 scale drilling template so far say it can be done

    Watch this space for updates

  2. #2
    Bradfo69's Avatar
    Bradfo69 is offline Pending BST Forum Purchases: $47,127,283.53
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    Build threads have become a rarity around here so, this will be a welcome addition. Bring on the pics! And welcome to PL. If you want to get back into lasers.... kiss her college fund goodbye and tell her she's on her own! It's as sick a hobby as it's ever been.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2015
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    Thanks Oh pix will be comin' a-plenty. And I'm already planning the next projector build. Not necessarily more powerful just.. nicer. EyeMagic galvos, some lower-divergence red and blue modules, actuator driven effect stages, etc... so many options.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2015
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    So, a couple of pix from the build. The projector is actually about 75% done, just need to take some more photos. Got the enclosure in as well, this is going to turn out to be a very compact unit

    The original CAD layout (minus a couple of construction lines for drill bit centering). Printed at 1:1 scale, and double-side taped to the baseplate as a sacrificial guide. Perfect alignment!

    The large open real estate behind the laser was left blank until I found a suitable 12V PSU for the laser that was smaller than my 300W test jig unit.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 6061 1/4" baseplate, after drilling, but before deburring/degreasing

    Click image for larger version. 

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    More to come this week, pix of the guts, the inside of the laser module, and the slick aluminum case from Par-Metal Fabrication

  5. #5
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    Apr 2015
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    More pix, here's the roughed-in projector (no cable management as of yet)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And inside the little RGB module

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    And actually scanning something (the scanner mount needs to be shimmed up a touch.. its just a biiiit low.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stay tuned!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2013
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    Augusta, Georgia
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    Hello. You have a nice build going there. I had to comment because I am using the exact same components as you, in almost the same configuration as you. It was my first build and I wanted it to be as simple as possible. The biggest problem I have is with the RGB module. Compact, yes. Easy to adjust, HELL NO! The red LD beam is not round either. Beams are not perfectly aligned but for the price what can you say. Have fun.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2015
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    Thanks! Yeah that module wont be easy to adjust. The other problem is the red and blue diverge like crazy. The green is actually pretty nice. VERY small beam size. But yeah, im just building for fun im curious to see what this scan set will do with an ILDA signal. The dmx board looks ok when doing beams but if you look at the actual projected graphic... yeeeeeech

  8. #8
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    Sep 2014
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    Colorado, USA
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    Great work, I'm using something similar to you but with single mode diodes from DTR they have very fine beams and beautiful colors! I can't wait to see what you'll be making man keep up the good work! And smart idea with the 1:1 CAD drawing ratio. I'm going to be doing that again soon once I get my new box to put it all in.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2015
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    Adelaide, South Australia
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    Nice work Mtyndorf.

    Your RGB module looks cosmetically almost identical to the one I purchased a month or so ago. Like you, I will be using it to build my first projector and will post up a thread on that too.

    One thing I have noticed with my module is that the green beam, if run at full power for more than a couple of minutes, reduces in maximum brightness. I'm not sure yet if it is a driver issue or an issue with the green module but it probably won't be an issue when running from an ILDA signal because the beams won't be running constantly at full power.
    I'll have to fire up my scope and probe around the driver board to see where the issue is arising.

    Have you noticed anything similar with your module?

  10. #10
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    veenwouden
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    Cool to see someone is actually made the effort to build something these days instead of buying of the shelf. Good work, you can be proud!!!

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