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Thread: Need some help planning/building RGB scanner

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Smile Need some help planning/building RGB scanner

    Hello everyone,

    First of all I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Max from Milwaukee (are there any other milwaukeans out there?) and I will soon be graduating from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) with a BA in Production Operations Management (POM) and a secondary concentration in Marketing.

    I am also a freelance Lighting Designer, I work closely with a few schools in the Milwaukee area and I continue to find interesting work when my schedule allows. I also work for Clearwing Productions Inc., which is based out of West Allis, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee). With that said, I think it is clear why I would develop a fascination for laser light show. I can still remember the very first time I saw one in person. I've been hooked ever since.

    Well now I am trying to build my own RGB unit. This will be (unofficially) my First Laser projection system. My actual first one was a set of motors bought off of ebay for about $20 using a stereo amplifier and a wave generator on my computer. Well I was un-impressed and I feel the need to move to something bigger/better. I am new to this website, but I am not entirely new to the whole deal. But there are still a few things I am shaky/hesitant on, and thats where I need your help.

    So I am basically starting from scratch with this projector. The only suitable piece of equipment I own is a 150mw 532nm Lasever U-series, that I bought from David Wu about 1.5-2 years ago. I actually intend on phasing this particular laser out with my new design.

    So the design I have in mind will be built around the specs of a 1/4 x 1/3 pack case (outside dimensions of 22.5 x 30 x 30 DxWxH). I haven't really worked up the entire design yet, but I want something that can travel easily and most important - safely! I have actually considered adding a sand ballast in the bottom of the case to increase the weight of the case in order to also increase inertia and thus decreasing mis-alignment due to transportation. I'll work more on the design and probably work up a drawing or two and post them in the future. The biggest thing that I will have to keep into consideration when working on this system is that I will want it to be CDRH compliant.

    The dream specs- ~1.5w Balanced RGB - 2.5w total output (taking into account for the loss of output from internal optics/scanners)
    -1.5w 532nm
    -~1w 660nm
    -300mw 473nm
    (all analog mod.)

    The 532 would clearly need to be toned down for white balance, however, I also want this system to be as versatile as possible.

    I have already had a small chat with Marconi about his 660nm modules, I am looking at the 2x set up for now, with the intent to increase to his under-development 4x set up in the future.

    As far as scanner sets go. I am looking at two sets, the DT-40pro's and the Scanpro40's sold by Aijii on eBay. As of today I am teetering on the edge here and I am unsure of which direction to go, if you could chime in here and lead me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyway, I look to build the system with the 532 lasever that I have add in the Marconi model and run it as an RGY system for a while until the price of blue lasers drop a little more. Then when I feel I am finally ready for the leap I will make the final few investments (1.5w 532nm and the 473nm). As far as optical mounts, is there anyone who has a source for cheap ones? I have contemplated making my own to cut costs.

    Finally my optical table dimensions are still unknown because I would need to know the internal dimensions of the quarter by third pack case. But I think I will probably make my own table. Of those people who have done this before I would like to know if there is any particular route you recommend, also what type of materials to buy and where.

    Sorry for the novel everyone, I am sure it wont be my last one. I am almost positive that as soon as I submit this thread I will think of something else.

    Well thanks in advance, I really appreciate your input.
    -Max

  2. #2
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    I thought of something I left out in that post - Software.

    I've been playing around with any freeware/demo versions of programs I can get Popelscan being one of them. I was wondering what everyone would recommend for someone just entering they hobby.

    I would love to spend 7 grand on pangolin's LD2000 pro, or even Pangolin's intro package, however, I would like to try it out for a while to get a better understanding of it before I make such a dive. And as far as I know there are not any demo versions of Pangolin out there (with the output disabled or something). Maybe William Benner could chime in here.

    Thanks again,
    Max

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
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    Hi Max;

    You might want to consider the new hobbyist product that Pangolin is about to release. It's called "LA FREAK", and it's based on the old LA Studio laser show software. It uses the Flashback 3 controller as a frame buffer. Have a look at this thread here on the board to get all the info about it.

    Bear in mind that this hardware/software combination is not "officially" available yet, since Pangolin is still tweaking the user interface. However, if you want to buy it now for $500, you can call Bill Benner at Pangolin and he'll sell you a set. Then, when the final version of the software is finished, you can download it from the Pangolin website for free. But in the mean time you'll be up and running right now.

    Another thing to remember is that the software will *also* work with the Pangolin QM-2000 board, so if you decide to upgrade to a full-blown Pangolin setup later on, you can still play all the shows you've created with the LA Freak software on the QM-2000 board.

    In the thread above there are links to the Pangolin site that explain the features of the LA Studio software. Check it out - I think you'll find it's pretty awesome software. Plus the price is *very* competitive.

    Adam

  4. #4
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    Thanks Adam, I've been doing a lot of reading into the FB3 controller, in fact I have even contacted Bill about it. Just to be sure, does the FB3 support Analog control of RGB? I assume it would but I just want to make sure. I will be buying a dual Maxyz module probably within the next week or so, and then the scanners and control software shortly after that.

    That step will take me into the RGY phase that I wanted to leap into first. I will still of course need to make an optical table. Does any type of aluminum work? Or is there a specific grade that I am looking for (ex. 3003 or 6061)?

    I think I am leaning towards the DT-40pro's, however, I've been reading a lot of what Bill said about the DT-40pro's performing better if they are tuned correctly to 30k, however, I have no idea where to begin with this or what route to take. Would anyone who is experienced in this be willing to make those adjustments for me?

    Thanks,
    Max

  5. #5
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    Hi Max;

    Ok - first things first: The FB3 supports analog blanking, so you're all set there.

    Now, re: an optical table... E-bay is your best bet here. Have a look at this auction (too bad it's already closed) for an idea as to prices and features. The guy often has pieces like this available for sale on E-bay. You might want to send him a message via E-bay and ask him if he's going to have any more of those aluminum plates. (I bought a few, and several other memebers here purchased some as well; they were a great deal!)

    Re: tuning galvos... They come tuned from the factory such that they'll work, but you can dial them in to get better performance. There are several tutorials on the web that can walk you through the process, or you can start a thread here on the forum once you get your projector up and running and I'm sure you'll get all the help you need.

    As a last resort, if you get everything assembled before July 28th, and don't mind traveling to North Carolina, you could bring it to the South Eastern Laser Enthusiasts Meeting (SELEM) and ask one of the more experienced members there if they would mind helping you tune your galvos.

    Either way though, once you dial them in you normally don't have to mess with them again.

    Adam

  6. #6
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    Dec 2006
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    The breadboards are back. Links at the end of this post, or just search ebay for "optical breadboard" and scroll to the bottom

  7. #7
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    As I mentioned in the thread about the cheap optical breadboards I purchased one of the ones sold by Tom on eBay.

    Adam- as far as tuning the galvos go, I think I will go with the DT-40pros, but I will probably order the DT-40s, FB3 controller and the Maxyz Module sometime next week. Yikes!.... Hopefully Pangolin will accept Credit!

  8. #8
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    In regards to Thermal Transfer from components to the Optical Breadboard does anyone here use Silver Thermal Transfer Compound? The stuff used to increase heat transfer from your computers processor to the heat sink.

    http://www.keenzo.com/showproduct.asp?ID=13187&ref=FRG1

    I figure between vital/expensive equipment such as our lasers and scanners it would be wise to spend a few dollars for a little more protection.

    Also as far as cooling goes, I have been planning on a positive air pressure inside the enclosure, possibly utilizing a small squirrel cage fan or something similar. But what do you guys use in the order of air filters? I was contemplating buying replacement a HEPA filter and finding a way to install it into my enclosure. As far as fans go, do I need to worry about any feedback into the scanners due to a fan using the same power supply as my scanners?

    Thanks again for your help all responses are greatly appreciated!
    -Max

    EDIT:
    Another question about the FB3 controller, are there any TTL outputs for the control of Actuators? Such as these http://www.lasershs.com/laser_optical_actuator.htm.

    I was thinking about adding some sort of diffraction grating in line and for that I would need some Actuators.
    Last edited by mliptack; 05-15-2007 at 15:02. Reason: Additions...

  9. #9
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    Talking

    I always use arctic silver and use another supply for fan and TEC duties. I try to keep power supplies for their intended job.....IE...532nm unit and it's own supply. Carefull wiring up to avoid ground loops ! May want to install a MOV thyristor accross the mains input to help transients.......my .02

    My optic area is partitioned off from the rest of the cabinet. The incoming air does not get into the optics area.

    Marconi has also offered up a great piece of info to help protect Lasever units......installing a 1N5232B zener diode accross the input of the driver power input. Shunts anything over 5.6 vdc.......hopefully saving the laser.......
    Last edited by MechEng3; 05-15-2007 at 16:03.
    You are the only one that can make your dreams come true....and the only one that can stop them...A.M. Dietrich

  10. #10
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    I was thinking more along the lines of a separate 120v circuit coming into the projector to isolate the fans from the laser and scanning from any interference the fan might cause. I guess I am taking an 'Audio approach' to the situation, sometimes just having a fan on the same circuit that the Amps are on causes the dreaded 60Hz humm. So I was unsure if that would be enough to cause interference with the scanners output. Possibly causing some noise distortion or something...

    Where would the driver power input be? There are 7 leads running to the Laser module itself, if you have any pictures they would be really helpful. Also where would I find a 1N5232B Zener Diode. The only thing I recall about Zener diodes is they have their breakdown Zener Voltage from my freshman year Electronics Engineering 101 course.

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