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Thread: ScannerMAX Saturn Series

  1. #1
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    Default ScannerMAX Saturn Series

    Hi All of the PL Community!
    I wanted to start a new thread regarding the Saturn series of scanners after noticing there is no dedicated thread, and most of the information regarding these scanners is mixed in here- and there- which makes finding the latest and most accurate information difficult. Lately we have been receiving a lot of inquiries regarding the status of theses scanners, as well as seeing information (and misinformation) dispersed throughout the forum, so it would be smart to answer all of this in one place and not ‘hijack’ other peoples threads regarding their builds, etc.
    _________________
    BACKGROUND
    As everyone knows, Bill did the design and development of these scanners a few years ago, and they were known as the Saturn 1, Saturn 3, and Saturn 5, along with the Mach DSP amp. These scanners are the Saturns that were shown at various LEMs and delivered to a handful of people on this board. Although performance was excellent, they proved to be very time consuming, difficult, and expensive to build. When the President and CTO of a company spends all of his time manufacturing scanners, not much development work gets done, and this is bad for the industry as a whole. However, we still did deliver around 100 sets to laser light show, industrial, research and medical clients.

    When I started working at Pangolin almost two years ago, Bill and I intended on starting a redesign of the Saturn series right away. However, around this time the Compact 506 really started to take off, and most of our focus switched over to supporting this scanner and integrating it into clients’ projectors. We increased the size of our team to keep up with the increasing demand and currently deliver 500+ pieces per month.
    ___________________

    Over the last year or so, Bill, Ante and I have spent a lot of time rethinking the Saturn scanners, using what we learned from the original scanners, as well as lots of things we learned from the continued development of the 506 series. Over this time, we have come up with new ways to make these scanners cheaper and easier to make, while taking less time and improving performance.

    One of the new highlights is an all-new Position Detector system, which through testing we are confident is quite possibly THE most accurate in the industry. This new patent-pending design is not only more accurate than our closest competitors, but improves performance by allowing the rotor to be significantly stiffer.

    The new offerings will be known as the Saturn 1B, Saturn 5B and Saturn 9B. The Saturn 1B will be optimized for 3mm aperture mirrors. The Saturn 5B will be optimized for 5mm and 6mm aperture mirrors. The Saturn 9B will be optimized for 8mm and 10mm mirrors. The ‘B’ designation refers to this being the re-thought, redesigned version of the Saturn scanners.

    The Saturn 3 as it was once known is being discontinued. The new Saturn 5B is a happy medium between the old Saturn 3 and the old Saturn 5. The Saturn 9B is a rethought version of the old Saturn 5, optimized for these very large mirrors.

    Currently, we have parts for all of these scanners are in stock, and are delivering immediately in certain cases (as has been discussed on here by Bill), and will start delivering in the coming months for other clients, as we step up manufacturing. At this point we are confirming parts suppliers... for almost every part in the scanner, we bid manufacturing out to several companies, and decide who can do it the best, the fastest, and most economically after receiving the parts, but this process takes time... and the Saturn 9B is comprised of over 125 parts! As with the 506 scanners… these are all made here in our office in Orlando, FL and not in an overseas factory somewhere.

    Anyways, we invite any and all questions and look forward to answering them the the best of my abilities, and hearing other peoples thoughts!
    Last edited by rns0504; 01-07-2016 at 10:26.
    Sincerely,
    Ryan Smith
    ScannerMAX Mechanical Engineer
    ryan {at} scannermax.com

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hello Guys,

    As some of you might know from Bills post: I recieved the Scannermax Saturn 1 sometime ago now.
    Having worked with CTHP's, eyemagics. DT's (both 30 and 40pro) , LW50k's, Pt40, PT30, AL30k, RayTrack 35+ and more I compared my experience with these scanners and these.

    Lets first talk about the MachDSP:
    The MachDSP's tuning can easily be changed and swapping between profiles is a breeze, it allows for extremely large scanning in laser software. to illustrate this: during ballistic jumps even at 60% max angle on both axis there is no visible deformation.. however don't mind scanning 80% max angle at the 30kpps preset.

    This 30kpps large angle scanning is both practical in small venues where you do not have the distance to project big with other scanners out there.. or making graphics in small area where you want size to see well what you are doing. These scanners despite it being high speed oriented scanners (which usually comes with a small max angle) also have an HUGE max scan angle.. way bigger then 60degrees for sure! I'm not exactly sure what the max angle is but I think it's about 80~90 degrees (perhaps bill can tell)

    This brings me to the 2 other points:
    1. These scanners are extremely sturdy! they can endure a lot abuse and they stay extremely cool even with all the abuse I have given them! Which likely will result in a very long live of the scanners. Sometimes I even cranked the dail up to 115kpps in LD2000 to see how the scanners would respond to that torture. I have these in a rather extreme condition where even when its running for hours despite not being bolted to the baseplate, it's just sitting there on a bunch of stacked proto boards!
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    2. they are really quiet.
    This scanner scans things fine when the CTHP was struggeling to scan the same image (as confirmed in the field when I was working with Arctos laser)

    What I also noticed is the color shift needs to be increased a lot for these extreme scanspeeds.. Instead of the usuall color shift of 4 I found myself setting it to 7.

    I'm uploading some footage *which isn't there yet because of slow connection*
    but here are images scanned at 75kpps and even 80kpps at fairly large angles on the saturn 1

    The images below all do not flicker thanks to the really high scanspeeds the saturn 1 can reach without trading off visual quality.

    85kpps laserium
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    75kpps monster girl
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    80kpps splatoongirl
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    45kpps RoboSquirrel
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    In all this time of use I could only find 2 cons to the saturn 1 with machDSP
    1. At the moment a grounding issue in your house can cause the USB communication dongle pangolin gives you with the MachDSP to not being able to talk with the MachDSP.. however using a laptop resolves this and this problem is being looked into.
    2. Do not change presets whilst scanning.. settings are loaded 1 by 1 and this can cause problems if you are really pushing these scanners.. however I haven't had any issues with this.

    Conclusion: These scanners are literally the best you can get so far and there is no competitor as of right now that will match the performance of this scanner.
    I have no idea of the pricing of these scanners but what I do know is that the investement will last for a long time because of them being sturdy and cool even when in heavy daily use.
    The performance brings a new level of laser graphics detail and animation quality to the creators out there but also offers more forgivingness for those that make "not so point efficient" graphics.

    This is most certainly a polished product as I had a lot of trouble finding flaws.

    A video will follow showing some animations played back soon.
    if I forgot anything or any questions: Please me know.
    Last edited by masterpj; 01-07-2016 at 10:16.

  3. #3
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    Hi Pieterjan,

    Thanks for the review and certainly sounds like you are enjoying the scanners!

    A few comments... we *guarantee* that with our 3mm mirrorset, the Scanners will scan a 3.0mm beam through a full 60 degrees optical when properly aligned. As the beam size increases, of course this angle will reduce a bit and vice-versa.

    However, the mirror set you received (3mm) will physically scan greater than 80 degrees optical, before hitting the brass 'bumpers' on the scanner. Of course the full beam may not be captured at these angles as it was designed for 60 degrees, but the scanner can physically move the mirrors somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees optical before mechanical limitations set in...

    Looking at your scanners, these are certainly the "Saturn 1B" you received. In fact, this is one of the very first sets produced with the all new position detector, as well as several other small changes throughout. Glad they are working well for you and can't wait to see what you can create with them!
    Sincerely,
    Ryan Smith
    ScannerMAX Mechanical Engineer
    ryan {at} scannermax.com

  4. #4
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    people asked privately at what percentage I was scanning the things in my pictures.
    I'm pretty close to my wall about 2 and half meters.
    I'm scanning at about 30% of scan angle although extreme ballistic jumps require you to dail back a little bit... This rule does not apply for the 30k mode.. in this as mentioned before you can scan very wide even with ballistic jumps present. The galvos and its block do not get warm whatever abuse I give it.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the clear information, Ryan (and Pieterjan).

    I rarely drool when seeing new laser products, but the Saturn series sure does it for me. I'll look forward to seeing Bill and/or yourself at FLEM and discussing what I need to do to facilitate the upgrade of a set or two for my graphics projectors.

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

  6. #6
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    Hi all,

    Thanks to Ryan for his excellent synopsis of the development path. As he discussed, we've re-done the model number designations along with all of the internals of these scanners. The "B" designates the new position detector. We had to actually get some new equipment into Pangolin to test these new scanners, but linearity was the best of any scanner we've tested so far (nearly 100% linear all the way out past +/-20 mechanical degrees). Nevertheless, since we like to be conservative with our specs, we are calling it 99.9% for 40 degrees optical, and 99.5% for 80 degrees optical.

    After engaging in private conversations with Planters and one other client, and then doing computer modeling, it became obvious that the rotor in our original Saturn 5 was too long for optimal scanning at 5mm. Because of that, we designed a scanner with a shorter rotor. The new scanner is called the Saturn 5B, which is of course shorter than the original Saturn 5. (In fact all of the "B" scanners are a bit shorter than they were.)

    So the new lineup is:

    * Saturn 1B delivered with 3mm aperture mirrors and delivered with the presets set for 30K, 60K and 75K (or 90K -- let us know at the time of order)

    * Saturn 5B delivered with 5mm aperture mirrors and delivered with the presets set for 30K, 48K and 60K

    * Saturn 9B delivered with 10mm aperture mirrors, and delivered with the preset set for 30K (perhaps others too depending on customer demands)

    The "presets" mentioned above are tunings built into memory which are instantly accessible from the software. And as always, the numbers quoted above (in terms of both beam diameter and speed) are the real numbers, not exaggerations, not what we are hoping will happen, and not what our customers told us they think is happening...

    By the way, you might remember that a few months ago, someone was complaining on PL that we didn't have anything to deliver. THAT VERY SAME DAY, Pieterjan wrote us a very polite email, reminding us that we promised to deliver a Saturn 1 system to him. We happened to have a few pre-production units in stock and delivered to Pieter immediately. (It shows how we respond to the difference between complaining and politeness...) At the present time, we have limited stock for individual orders, because we are ramping production for large orders to projector manufacturers.


    Pieter mentioned a few things above, and I wanted to provide some additional information:

    Quote Originally Posted by masterpj View Post
    1. At the moment a grounding issue in your house can cause the USB communication dongle pangolin gives you with the MachDSP to not being able to talk with the MachDSP.. however using a laptop resolves this and this problem is being looked into.
    Yes, along with the amplifier we deliver a cable, which is a USB to serial converter. (The Mach DSP can be communicated through serial.) We originally envisioned that a little external control board with a display, would be used on the projector to control the amp, and that there wouldn't be a need for a long serial cable. However the USB cable really comes in handy, but it essentially requires that the projector ground be at the same potential as the computer ground (something we'd recommend anyway...) We're thinking about what to do to improve this portion of the deliverable. In the mean time, using a laptop solves the problem because the laptop is essentially un-grounded.


    Quote Originally Posted by masterpj View Post
    2. Do not change presets whilst scanning.. settings are loaded 1 by 1 and this can cause problems if you are really pushing these scanners.. however I haven't had any issues with this.
    I guess Pieter means "change the presets" by way of a file, rather than using the four built-in tunings. There are two ways to quickly access tunings. One is "activating" one of the four built-in tunings. When you do this, a tuning takes probably 3/4 of a second to activate. During that time, the servo shuts down, loads the new tuning, and then ramps up at the new tuning.

    However, in Pieter's version, when you load a new file (load a file from disk, not activating internal memory) all parameters were changed instantly (whether the servo is ready or not). If you are scanning while the parameters are changing in this way, strange things can happen (but not too strange, because if the servo goes over-position or over-current, it automatically shuts down and then re-starts anyway).

    This has been solved in the new version of software and firmware that runs on the Mach DSP. Now when you load a new tuning from a file, the system goes through the same shut-down/ramp up that it does when loading a new tuning from a file, and so the problem Pieter mentioned above is solved.

    Pieter is a real power user so it's nice to count him among the users which now include Disney and medical companies.

    -------------------------------------

    Anyway, it's great to finally have this product line on the road. I know it has been a long time, and there have been doubters along the way. But if you read the Elon Musk Biography "Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex and the quest for a fantastic future" you see all of these same things. Elon made what seemed like outlandish promises, and for years was constantly prodded in the media. But he eventually delivered on these promises (eventually because it takes a long time to develop revolutionary products and technologies). Now there are no less than TEN Tesla cars in our neighborhood, and of course it is the Spacex Falcon 9 rocket that is making deliveries to the international space station, not NASA...

    We don't do the simple things at Pangolin, and most of our products are revolutionary, not evolutionary. Coming up with scanners that are better and faster than the company who invented them -- a company with unlimited resources located down the street from Massachusetts Institute of Technology is not easy! Likewise coming up with an electric car that is better and faster than cars delivered from Detroit is not easy. We see how these revolutionary products could be made, and then plot a course for them. We envision -- and talk about -- what life will be like once they exist. Both for Elon Musk and for Pangolin, sometimes it takes longer to deliver things than we originally estimate!


    Best regards,

    William Benner
    Last edited by Pangolin; 01-08-2016 at 06:22.

  7. #7
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    These mirror sizes and speeds are very impressive Nice one guys.
    KVANT Australian projector sales
    https://www.facebook.com/kvantaus/

    Lasershowparts- Laser Parts at great prices
    https://www.facebook.com/lasershowparts/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pangolin View Post

    By the way, you might remember that a few months ago, someone was complaining on PL that we didn't have anything to deliver. THAT VERY SAME DAY, Pieterjan wrote us a very polite email, reminding us that we promised to deliver a Saturn 1 system to him. We happened to have stock and delivered immediately.
    Indeed this happened
    And thank you so much for this Bill.
    I was hyped to be able to review these scanners and you let me do that without any conditions.

    With the presets I ment the tunings yes, just had my head too much into like a music kind of naming.

    They really are incredible and the fact you can just change a tuning makes it suitable for pretty much any application. You don't have to waste time on tuning (especially with potentiometers drifting every now and then). I'm sure video does more talking for some here, so I will work on that.

  9. #9
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    Will you have the Mach DSP for the Compact 506? Or is it just with the Saturn scanners?

  10. #10
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    I forgot to bring up another point.
    When optimizing graphics heavily using DT40pro's that were inside an ABLE laser system while I was doing some laser stuff in israel I noticed there was a lot of resonance when doing ballistic jumps.
    No matter what I tried I could not induce resonance with the Saturn 1B's (which is good!). The ceramic mirrors are really sturdy and light is my assumption here along with the stiffer rotor.

    One word of warning: I heard on facebook which was present with the 506 as well is to not use First contact to clean the scanner mirrors. If you'd do this you'd risk stripping off the reflective coating of the ceramic mirror. However this is easy to avoid, just use isopropyl alcohol and a fine cotton ear swab and clean with a rolling motion.

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