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Monday, March 14, 2011

Pete's Blog: Cigar Box Laser Light Show

Cigar Box Laser Light Show

It was spring break last week so I had some spare time to kill.  I wanted to do a project that would be done fairly quickly and still have some time to study for classes resuming.  I do have several other projects going that I could have worked on but, I figured a laser light show would be appropriate for the occasion, being spring break and all.  Actually, I have no idea if spring break party goers are the least bit interested in seeing laser light shows but, I am interested in getting some motors spinning programmatically.  And to seal the deal there is a new cat in the mix over here so I have buckets full of laser pointers.  

A cigar box made a really nice case for this project due to the nature of mounting the motors.   Initially I was going to use a Fossil watch tin but it proved too small for everything to fit nicely.  Cigar shops sell empty boxes for a few dollars each.

Here is an overview of the theory of operation.  When a mirror is mounted on a motor shaft so that the mirrors' face is less than perpendicular and less than parallel to the motors axis of rotation and a laser is reflected off of this rotating mirror, the reflected laser light will trace a circle on a projection surface and dependent on the speed of the motor being high enough, the laser path traced will appear to be a solid circle on the projection surface (a wall in my case) due to the persistence of vision.  You can think about it like a laser cone being reflected off of the mirror.  If you stopped there, with one motor and mirror, you would have a laser light show that can draw circles.  If instead, you aim this reflected "laser cone" onto another one or more motor/mirror pairs, very interesting shapes begin to appear and change too, depending on the relative speed of all the motors. 

Read More and See Pics...

Laser Light Show 06

Viedo Link...

Cigar Box Laser Light Show
DIY laser light show is sure to please - Hack a Day
Pete's Blog: Cigar Box Laser Light Show
YouTube - Laser Light Show 06
Pretty cool little box:)


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