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Thread: want to build my first homemade laser projector, advice needed

  1. #1
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    Default want to build my first homemade laser projector, advice needed

    I'm at a point where I know where and what scanners/amps, power supplies, laser modules and mirrors to get.
    I jut don't know how to make them all work together. I've learned what each pin on the DB 25 connector is meant for. But I feel like something is missing in my list of parts. I understand for DMX to do something and have sound active animations or SD card reader I'll need a board, but if I don't need these, is there anything else needed?
    Last edited by ghosttrain; 04-24-2016 at 04:59.

  2. #2
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    Hi Ghosttrain.
    Welcome to the forum.
    I know the feeling. What am i missing?
    The hookup inside the projector will probably be a bit less complicated if you find a decent ILDA brakeoutboard. Stanwax have a couple i have used, and they work like a charm. It might take up some extra space inside the projector, but it will make the hookup and wiring a lot easier.

    http://shop.stanwaxlaser.co.uk/gener...oard-365-p.asp

    If you fill out your profile with your location, there might be a member close by willing to help.

    Keep reading PL, and you soon will have all information needed to build a box outperforming most chinaprojectors.

    Been there - done that.
    __________________________________________________ __________

    More projects than time available.
    More projects started than finished.
    More money spent than earned.
    More failure than success.
    Just got to love lasers!

  3. #3
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    First, welcome! This is a fun place with fun and intelligent people to interact with.

    OK, regarding DMX: In most situations you should skip DMX and continue to drive your laser(s) with software and a DAC as you have been.

    I've built more than a few projectors, so basic parts from memory:

    Case: Build or buy. If you build, you need optical plate (alum 5-10mm+ thick, longer or wider needs to be thicker for stability. You'll likely want risers to raise the optical plate above the bottom of the case. Power switch, ILDA connectors (male and female), power cord connector, power wire (e.g. 18 gauge), serial cable female and male connections if you want to wire a kill switch, key switch (optional for personal use), case alum (quality sheet alum 1.5-3mm thick), aperture window (optional), aperture cover (optional), fans with covers/filters, rubber feet, L alum to connect outer case components, screws, power and modulation wiring (22-28 gauge), solder, heat-shrink insulation, mounting bracket (optional).

    Power supplies: one +24/-24V switching PSU 1-4 amps per channel or alternatively two +24V PSUs, PSUs for any diodes modules that you are building yourself and fan PSU (or share with diode PSUs).

    Lasers: Complete laser modules for R,G & B and/or Diodes, diode mounts, thermal compound, colimation lenses, (correction (cylindrical and/or prism) lenses, lens mounts if multimode), pbs cube(s) if combining, diode drivers, connectors, spacial filtering equip if necessary (razors, spare alum, magnets, etc.)

    Laser combining materials: Dichros (varies depending on order or RGB layout), dichro mounts.

    Bounce Mirror and steering mirrors (varies based on design)

    Scanners: Galvos and amps, associated cables

    Misc: Facial tissue (for tears), paper towels, 3-in-1 oil, drill bits, taps (including spares), mounting screws, electrical connectors / interconnects, power cord, ILDA cable

    Tools: (minimally) drill press, hand drill, jigsaw with metal blades, hand saw with metal blade, metal files (variety), ruler, marking pens, wire brush, rotary tool / dremmel can be used as an alternative for some of the above, electrical meter, laser power meter (optional), hex tool, screwdrivers.

    That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm suspect I missed a thing or two.

    -David

    P.S. As Datsurb said, adding your location (specifically your country) to your profile will allow others to adjust language accordingly.
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  4. #4
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    Most chinese DMX boards will allow you to choose from a whole bunch of junk you would never ever use.

    They don't seem to have cottoned on to what beginners need ...simple stuff with controllable parameters like position, height to width ratio,side to side or up/down sweep size/speed etc. etc.etc.

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ID:	48396 Best spend next few weeks reading threads till U get an idea of what questions to ask, and maybe buy a second hand home built projector from a member here and take it apart to see how it works !

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ID:	48397 ..... and .... NO I personally, do not have one for sale ....sorry !

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    Avoid DMX for the time being. Seriously. I use VDMX and Resolume and they really don't play nice until you get to a pro level.

    All cables between power supplies and lasers/scanners should come with your purchase unless you go full DIY with the modules which I recommend against when starting.
    That leaves signal (check out stanwax boards, and use a crimp pin system that the boards cater for) with a nice thin PVC multistrand wire. and AC power (daisy chain AC for quick and dirty, try to use soldered screw terminal ends and observe proper safety regs). Or better use a proper power board like I think Stanwax sells.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghosttrain View Post
    I'm kind of fan of DMX because I could control some parts of my laser animations from my VJ tools. But I completely understand why it's not popular around here.
    There are few chinese DMX boards for lasers I found, but no wiring info.
    I tried DMX control on and off for years when I started adding lasers to my DMX environment. It was a failure with cheap Chinese boards (e.g. the PT-iTrust board). Its nothing personal against DMX. DMX is great for lighting, it just stinks for lasers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghosttrain View Post
    Is there a general rule on wall and base thickness compared to size of the projector?
    Also I noticed that diode based projectors have the bottom part (optical plate) as one big heatsink. Is that machined from a very thick aluminum block?
    There is no general rule regarding strength / thickness of the projector walls based on the projector size that I am aware of, but better to error on the side of being too sturdy than not sturdy enough.

    Those optical plates with the built in huge heat sink are cool, but I don't think its necessary for most builds as long as you have active cooling (fans) or TEC cooling if you want a sealed optical deck.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghosttrain View Post
    Are they 24V or 12V? Maybe it's time I'd know what Voltage each component of a typical projector uses.

    Which ones are recommended?
    Yeah, you need to know what diode drivers you are planning to use first. Many of the ones people use on this forum are 12V.

    -David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghosttrain View Post
    I don't know much about the Chinese boards but Moncha DMX control seemed nice. But maybe we should discuss this separately.
    Don`t know Moncha in detail, but seem to recall that this is a DAC, and that you upload content to a SDcard. You can then use DMX to play the content from the card. You also need to use the specific software for this DAC. Pangolin FB4 will do this and more.

    Flexmods seem to go up to 4A and for more I've found these https://sites.google.com/site/dtrlpf...drives/x-drive
    For more power I guess I could just use few of them for each color diodes.
    If there are better options I'd love to know.


    The flexmods are very small and good drivers. Using two or more in the same module should not be a problem. The X-drive from DTR on the other hand is a nogo, unless you only want a beam on or off with a switch. These are made for laserpens.

    Are there any case designs I could build on?

    Ask Mimi from Goldenstarlaser to send you her pricelists. They are making theyr own cases, and you also have the possibility to have them producing your own custom design. Prices are reasonable.
    She is a member here at PL and are always looking looking for business. PM her.
    __________________________________________________ __________

    More projects than time available.
    More projects started than finished.
    More money spent than earned.
    More failure than success.
    Just got to love lasers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Fort Mill, SC USA
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    As Datsurb said, the Flexmod P3s are a good choice. They come in two flavors though - with and without beam suppression. I've got about a dozen of each type and I have had good results with the non-beam suppression model over the years, but very poor results (>50% problems of various types) with the beam suppression model. I would avoid the later for now. The non-beam suppression model is sold by PL member Csshih here (although he is currently out of stock): http://www.illumn.com/laser-componen...er-driver.html

    Other driver alternatives include PL member BBE's: http://www.ebay.com/itm/151775401277...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT I've got a few of these and am quite pleased with them so far. These drivers have beam suppression and a thermal shutdown option.

    PL member Dave at LaserShowParts: http://www.ebay.com/itm/171380107291...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT This (dual) driver also has beam suppression. I only have a couple of these so far, but they have a very good reputation on this forum.

    I'm also in the process of trying a variety of Chinese analog drivers just to satisfy my curiosity, and so far I am not finding anything that I could / would use on the diodes I generally use (mostly single mode diodes). Caveat Emptor!

    -David
    Last edited by dkumpula; 09-17-2015 at 14:35. Reason: typo
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

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