Laser Spirograph exhibit repair and upgrade

[Bill Porter] continues finding ways to help out at the local museum. This time he’s plying his skills to fix a twenty-year-old exhibit that has been broken for some time. It’s a laser spirograph which had some parts way past their life expectancy.

He started by removing all of the electronics from the cabinet for further study in his lair. He examined the signal generator which when scoped seemed to be putting out some very nice sine waves as it should. From there he moved on to the galvos which tested way off of spec and turned out to be the offending elements.

A bit of searching around the interwebs and [Bill] figured out an upgrade plan for the older parts. But since he was at it, why not add some features at the same time? He rolled in a port so that just a bit of additional circuitry added later will allow shapes and logos to be drawn on the screen. One of his inspirations for this functionality came from another DIY laser projector project.

Take a look at the results of the repair process in the clip after the break.

Comments

  1. Hirudinea says:

    “We control the horizontal, we control the vertical…”, mabye when this thing needs to be fixed in another 20 years the hacker to do it will have been inspired to have gotten into hacking by playing with this thing in the first place. Nice job!

  2. Ken says:

    Nice job on the repair.

    Forgive me for pointing out that, despite it’s name, the exhibit is not a spirograph. The images are Bowditch curves (a.k.a. Lissajous figures), not hypo- or epi-trochoids.

  3. Randomfarter says:

    I know where this is! This is in the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. I knew the exhibit looked different…

  4. I am the exhibit guy at the Bluedorn Science Imaginarium/Grout Museum District in Waterloo Iowa. We have a Laser Spirograph circa 1989. Until now, except for a replaced galvo motor, power source and laser tub,it has run very well. I have several issues with it to get it up and running again and would like to get in touch with Bill Porter to see if he would upgrade our machine. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93,990 other followers