Picture of Laser show for poor man
Here's another useless but cool looking "must build" gadget for every romantic geek.
Let me introduce PIC microcontroller based three axis laser spirograph.

Check link below if you want to see more patterns
Laser patterns gallery
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Step 1: Gathering stuff

Picture of Gathering stuff
Design is quite simple and employs regular parts and components but you are free to change/modify it in way you like.

At first prototype I used blank DVD as reflective material but later I discovered more practical way. Technology of making FS mirror is described in my article
DIY Front Surface Mirror

Originally I'm very lazy man so I've chosen programmed microcontroller PIC18F1220 (can be replaced with PIC18F1320) to handle routine job.

PIC implements 3 channels PWM generator.
Actually it's the same engine as one I used in my IKEA light project just code is adopted for PIC18.

PWM signal toggles MOSFET transistor 2N7000 (Id 200mA). Mirror actuator is connected as load to MOSFET.
As mirror actuator I used 5V 200mA CPU cooling fan. It's easy to mount mirror on its flat side.
Device accepts 5V and 12V fan with maximum current 200mA . Voltage is selected by jumper.

Green laser pointer is rated at 3V so I've made LM317-based voltage regulator with adjustable output.

Cheap 5mW green laser module:

What else will you need?
Dozen of resistors and capacitors, potentiometers, toggle switch, power jack, prototyping board, box of proper size and power supply unit.
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Amuraxis2 months ago

Very nice build.

My commendations on your build quality and your great documentation.

*double thumbs up*

arandolph14 months ago

Yea, kit price? Great design, how do you power it, and how would i build it without the auto?

jpietrzak6 months ago

How much for the kit? I am interested in it. :)

Good stuff. Great PCB design!

Just curious...have you played around at all with a sound-reactive version of this? Like maybe a VU controlled PWM or something along that line of thought?
sdkr882 years ago
Hi am very much interested on this KIT, can you send me the price list of the same. and do you send a predefined KIT / in spare....
davidheld2 years ago
Do you sell a kit?
AP Digital light (author)  davidheld2 years ago
I sent you PM.
ananda12 years ago
How would one integrate a spirograph into a party SAFELY? Would you aim it at the air, a wall, the ground? Lawyers are expensive.
mondeluz2 years ago
hey i too want to build this but i too need to know the full price of parts can u PM mee please?
owen19692 years ago
Hi can you PM me the price for parts, Printed board, and fully assembled unit.


AP Digital light (author)  owen19692 years ago
I've sent you PM.
Hi can you also please pm me the price? thanks a lot!
SavoJr2 years ago
303 comments! Sweet! =) Anyhow, have to ruin that beautiful number with my comment.

If you ppl. build DIY laser show equipments consider to add glass art in front of beam.

It should be already weakened by other means though, because directions of the reflections would be more uncontrolled, and it has potential danger to cause eye damage.

It would look good, that's for sure.

Another nice one is to get holographic lenses and put those in front of the device. I found those from EBAY.. were meant to be for lasers, and had good looking effects.

They cause beams to spread out effectively. Seller guy demonstrated that in some of his videos and showed demo where was more than one lens in use at the same time. Impressive stuff!
bbsbb3 years ago
Nice Job.
Could you also send me the BOM for the parts? How much will it be if I buy them from you?
AP Digital light (author)  bbsbb3 years ago
PM has been sent.
I know that it has been a long time since you posted this, but could you also send me a list of prices for the parts and the preprogrammed PIC or an unassembled kit?
AP Digital light (author)  cmcgann3 years ago
I sent you PM.
mirogajdzik3 years ago
That is great !
Djandco3 years ago
Self cooling too!
Kitty20113 years ago
great picturer, have you got other colour graphic, such as blue or red?
tautius3 years ago
Does anyone have made one of these on an Atmel microcontroller?
onezhou3 years ago
i seriously want do one as same as yours ,but my patterns are very simple and ugly, i don't know how to solve my problems,would you like give me the nuclear advice,thank you very very much.
AP Digital light (author)  onezhou3 years ago
In this project I've implemented some rules that should provide random pattern generation and smooth transition.

1. All three fan should never run at the same speed or change speed at the same rate. Usually one or two fans are set for low/moderate speed and one is set for high speed. Human eyes cannot distinguish fast changing patterns so best results can be achieved only with regular low speed fans. On a lowest setting controller can maintain fan speed as low as 60 RPM.

2. If one fan or two are accelerating third one should decelerate.

3. Gradual speed increasing/decreasing. It may take 10 -15 sec for fan to accelerate from 0 to 100% speed.

4. One or two fans may stop spinning and take short brake for 5 -10 seconds.
thank you !
rhans3 years ago
Hello, you would pass me the schematic image of what you did when you made this PCI:
If you are willing to pass me, this is my email:
AP Digital light (author)  rhans3 years ago
PCB in PDF format is in archive pmls(MAR10).zip
Just download, unzip and print in 1:1 scale.

mjaffe3 years ago
Mine was a speaker, wrapped with a balloon with a front surface mirror siliconed on... amazing.
NE patsrock3 years ago
it isnt really for a poor man and i cant even make it
williamyjk5 years ago
Can you please send me separate pricing for:

1) a programmed PIC
2) circuit board only
3) full, un-assembled kit

Thank you.
AP Digital light (author)  williamyjk5 years ago
PM has been sent.
Hi could you also send me separate pricing for:

1) programmed PIC
2) PCB Board
3) full un-assembled kit

Thank you.
AP Digital light (author)  l19bal3 years ago
PM has been sent.
hi,  could i have a price for the pre-programmed pic please

many thanks
AP Digital light (author)  johnston19914 years ago
PM has been sent.
macnomad843 years ago
How easy are these enclosures to drill?

AP Digital light (author)  macnomad843 years ago
Hammond box is made from PVC plastic. It's a soft material and it's very easy to work with.
effste4 years ago
i want to make a laser show that analizes 3 frequency and depending on the frequency there will be a different colour of laser.. for example if the frequency of the sound right now is from 0Hz to 300Hz than the laser which is producing the light will be red. If it is from 300Hz to 5KHz the laser which is producing the light will be green and if the frequency is higher than the light will be blue. I will use matlab to generate different frequencies and dump them into the microcontroller. Any ideas on how to do this?
analogue vu meter basically...

microphone -->LM386--> 3x Hi-Q BPFs

Each output would swing between 0-5 V depending on the signal strength in each frequency "bin" made by the BPFs.

Could run each signal into a threshold detector/comparator circuit to turn the lasers on/off.
You will need an RGB laser set, with each one analog controllable. The 3 lasers are combined onto one beam with dichroic mirrors. You could have a computer looking at the music frequency output, and using a look-up table to drive the lasers.
The reply is very simple, "color organs" are used at discos and clubs. You just need one shrunk down to power your lasers without burning them out. If you want to be really smart, direct the three lasers through a prism so that they combine to form white light and then throw that on the mirrors, as your music changes the density of each primary color, the output of your display will change accordingly. (If been thinking of this for a raster-scan laster projector.)
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