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Thread: A Poor Man's Beam Bar . . Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Red

  1. #1
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    Default A Poor Man's Beam Bar . . Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Red

    So a year or two ago, Johnathon (aka DRM916) was showing off his new beam bars from GoldenstarLasers and said "you can never have enough red". Well, challenge accepted, Sir!

    Seriously, I wanted to add some beam bar / beam table type effects to my environment. As I recently finished making several Stupid Laser Routers utilizing simple DMX relay boards, I thought I'd take some more of the boards and mate them with these cheap single mode pointer modules that China sells. Yeah, yeah, this is a TTL approach and not lightning-fast switching by any means, but I'm talking about $11 250mw 650nm lasers combined with a $44 DMX Relay Controller, some mounts and miscellaneous other stuff to make a 12 beam, 3W total single-mode beam bar for under US$250 including shipping. I figured it was worth a go.

    So here's what I came up with:

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    Is it pretty? Not really, but at least its shoved in the back of my environment concealed by a bar.

    The controller box is very "clicky" with its loud relays, so I made a long cable between the beam bar and the controller unit and jammed the controller unit in a cabinet where a bunch of LED controllers live:
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    The output is what you would expect from 250mw of 650nm red single mode diodes. You can adjust the colimation lens to defocus them if you'd like, but I have them focused fairly tightly at the moment:
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    The end result isn't terrible in my opinion. Its cheap, you can change the direction of the beams like a beam table and its relatively compact compared to a beam bar. Down sides include the noisy clicks, lack of analog control, relative ease to screw up your alignment, and aesthetic . . short-comings. I was encouraged enough by this cheap approach to single beams to buy another dozen lasers (half of which are 'fat beam' modules and mount them around the room.

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    These guys are controlled by 3 channel controllers which I hid wherever I could find a spot:

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    So far, so good, I think. Here's a show I reworked to show them in action:

    YouTube:


    Or on Vimeo if you can't access YouTube:


    Next up, adding some green!

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

  2. #2
    Bradfo69's Avatar
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    Having seen it in person, it's a pretty cool setup and, for under $250, a steal. There are a lot of really ingenious things about David's set up including even bounce mirrors glued to the moving head lights that can be targeted at just the precise time they're in the right position. Pretty slick!
    PM Sent...

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    I had to close my mouth with my hand after watching that vid. Amazing setup, David. Amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hitekvoop View Post
    I had to close my mouth with my hand after watching that vid. Amazing setup, David. Amazing.
    Thanks Rick, that comment makes my day!
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

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    apart from the amazing setup, me just wants to pitch in to give extra credit for the choice of thread title.

    Excellent choice Sir! One of my favourite movies
    "its called character briggs..."

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    I love everything about this thread <3

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    Thanks again, guys for the kind words. Suggestions on future improvements are most welcome as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaNeK779 View Post
    apart from the amazing setup, me just wants to pitch in to give extra credit for the choice of thread title.

    Excellent choice Sir! One of my favourite movies
    Awesome! I hoped that at least one person would appreciate the reference.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkumpula View Post
    I hoped that at least one person would appreciate the reference.
    "Gentlemen! You can't fight in here! This is the war room!"

    And I agree with Brad - the 3rd floor disco room at DK's house is definitely impressive. For anyone who hasn't seen it in person, if you ever get the chance to do so - TAKE IT! You won't be disappointed.

    Adam

  9. #9
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    The disco is missing the best, most affordable non-laser effect I've ever seen in a planetarium... Well. the second best. The best was the laser thunderstorm with 568 nm scanned lightning bolts, diffused strobes for the initial flash, and a few staff members wearing all black masks and track suits running around with iced, water mist bottles, making it "rain" in the cold, air conditioned, dark but I digress.
    ~
    Also seen in Bradenton, long ago, and used for RELAX! if I remember right, was the C Scanner...
    ~
    You go and get a bunch of colanders, the ones with spiral, and star, and diamond shaped patterns of small holes, ie the decorative patterns. You rig them with a small reversible DC motor driving a sweeper belt. You mount them upside down on plywood with one of those hardware store "lazy susan" bearings. At the geometric center you put a halogen lamp with a tiny filament, you only need a few watts... A bit of gel or dichro or mirror inside if needed... Results, beautiful patterns of almost collimated, colandered dry dots all over the place, and if you vary the motor speed and direction, it rocks... Gets more interesting if you put em in a cove...
    ~

    Dude, seriously, I need to see that live. FGH's Relax is one of my favorite laser tunes, because the guy who taught me the basics long ago was a FGH fan and had a awesome real time show for it.

    Maximum Kudos,...

    Steve
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ColanderScan.jpg  

    Qui habet Christos, habet Vitam!
    I should have rented the space under my name for advertising.
    When I still could have...

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