RGB laser projector is a jaw-dropping build

We can think of no better way to describe this laser projector project than Epic. [C4r0] is a student at Gdansk University of Technology and he’s been working on this projector for at least a couple of years. It uses several different laser diodes pulled out of DVD burners, Blu-Ray drives, and entertainment equipment (the green diode is from a disco laser).

In order to direct the beams he built a series of brackets that hold dichroic filters which reflect some wavelengths of light while allowing others to pass straight through. Each diode also needs a driver, most of which he built from scratch. And once the hardware has been designed and tested, what does one do with it? If you’re [C4r0] you build it into a money case with professional-looking results.

Don’t miss the video demo after the break. And make sure you have a rag ready to wipe up the drool before you look at his forum post linked above.

[Thanks Kodex]

44 thoughts on “RGB laser projector is a jaw-dropping build

  1. Wow. The analog control loops and stuff this guy has put together for driving the scanners and like are incredible. I did a project for senior design working with LiDAR underwater and had to tackle a lot of the same problems but I wimped out and threw an xmega and a specialized timing chip. Awesome build.

  2. What would it take to turn something like this into a regular display for a PC? Sort of a minimalist projector. I guess you would need a video driver to translate the images on screen to an all wire frame format. Puts me in mind of all the “futuristic” displays from the 80’s.

    1. By the looks of it the lasers aren’t modulated, they only turn on and off. Which is why you only see red, green, blue, magenta, yellow, cyan and white. It’ll probably be too slow for PWM, and I’m not sure if the lasers he used are compatible with direct analog modulation.
      That is, if you wanted a raster display. If you were thinking of a vector display you could use some kind of real-time vectorisation algorithm. Or you might be able to hook directly into OpenGL or DirectX and display beautiful wireframe Crysis ;)

      1. Just out of curiosity. Is there a way to set the sample rate on a camera to sync up with the screen or projection being recorded? You do get used to simply writing off a flickering image to sync rate issues but its still annoying.

    1. It uses an 8 bit controller for the galvos so it would have 256 vertical positions and 256 horizontal positions. As Savannah said, it’s sorta analog.

  3. EIKI LC-X986 video projectors (and other models) use a dichroic cube prism to mix red, blue and green images (from single-colored LCDs). I did a test with laser pointers and was able to combine all three into a white(ish) beam. I would love to make a laser projector with this, but i feel like it is out of my range of ability/fabrication. Someone tell me its not as hard as it looks?

  4. I made one of thees several years ago, however all I had were gas lasers: a 100mw multi-line argon-ion from which I obtained blue and green, using dichroic filters, and a 50mw Helium Neon. I had to use AOM’s to modulate the beams.I used a modified (dc coupled) 8 channel sound card to drive the galvos (20k) and aom’s through a home made amp board. With thees large power hungry lasers it was definitely not portable.
    However, all the hardware aside, my biggest frustration and stumbling block was to find good (free) software to draw the ILDA vector files. All I could find was laserboy which, in my opinion, is a joke (as in no GUI – no mouse support – in a drawing program? Really? :) ), but it does convert ILDA to .wav format for my sound card.
    Anyone have any software in mind, linux preferably, that would be cool.

  5. yes, but can it blow up planets?

    no, seriously- this is an amazing build! seems to me something only an optics student with some academic resources could accomplish, so i’m not going to begin to wonder ‘gee, wonder if i could make one myself…’

    i am wondering- how far away can the surface be and still produce a visible message? could i spew my political agenda in virtual graffiti onto highway overpasses with one of these hiding in the bushes?

  6. for anybody that doesn’t recognize that bit at the end, youtube search:

    Gigi D’Agostino – The Riddle

    also, “Bla Bla Bla” is a fun video too.

    very nice work, I’ve been wanting to get into DIY laser projectors beyond the simple spirograph displays.

  7. I’m not sure why we’re allowed to leave a single word comment of ‘epic’ but aren’t allowed to leave a single word comment of ‘crap’ but anyway, I digress.

    Epic.

  8. wow just when im about to stop checking this site (because it’s 95% shit) they post gold like this.

    i’ve got like a million questions for this guy! great post hackaday!

  9. Hi All, it’s me, c4r0

    I’m glad you like my project. You might be interested in checking my website: http://c4r0.skrzynka.org This particular project presented here is not published there due to lack of time, but there’s some interesting stuff though. For example the predecessors of this laser projector, as well as some high voltage toys and home-made x-ray :D

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