Laser charged glowing display

Here’s one of the best takes on a glowing display that we’ve ever seen. Currently [H] is using his creation as a fuzzy clock, but it is certainly capable of displaying just about any messages.

The project uses a wheel of luminous paper as the display surface. This has a glow-in-the-dark quality to it which can be charged up using a bright light source. In this case a UV laser diode was used. This is perhaps the best possible source as its intensity will allow for very quick charging. The innovation here is the use of a second disk as a stencil. Look closely in the image above and you will see that the laser diode is mounted perpendicular to the display surface itself. A mirror reflects — and we believe slightly spreads — the laser dot. It then passes through a cut-out on the black wheel which is shaped as the desired character. As you can see in the video after the break, this results in a crisp and clear glowing letter.

Compare this project to the one that moves the diode itself like a plotter and we think you’ll agree this is a simpler implementation which still looks great!

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Ikea provides a great UV exposure box

Making your own boards at home is among the heights of achievement for home tinkerers, and one fraught with frustration. The toner transfer process requires carefully peeling away layers of photo paper, and milling your own circuit boards is an exercise in complexity. One of the best options is using photosensitive copper boards, but this requires exposing the masked-off copper to fairly intense UV light. A UV exposure box is a wonderful project, then, and something [Carlo] just about has wrapped up.

The first portion of [Carlo]‘s build involved placing 135 UV LEDs on a piece of protoboard. This UV source eats up a surprising amount of power; [Carlo] is using 12V for the supply, so an old industrial power supply is more than capable of dishing out the 1.5 Amps required for the build.

Next, [Carlo] needed a timer for his exposure box. He settled on a design based on an ATMega8 turning a high voltage transistor on and off with a character LCD for the user interface. A few buttons allow [Carlo] to set the countdown timer, after which the LEDs turn on for a set period of time.

All this was packaged into a small box [Carlo] picked up from Ikea. It’s a very useful build, and judging from the video after the break, extremely easy to use.

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Taking a dump from some old hardware

NYC Resistor shows you how to have some fun with electronics from the junk bin. Their post called The Joy of Dumping encourages you to look around for older memory chips and see what they’ve been hiding away for all these years.

The targets of their hunt are EPROM chips. Note the single ‘E’. These are Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory chips, and predate EEPROM which adds “Electrically” to the beginning of the acronym.  You used to use a UV light source to erase the older types of memory. In fact we’ve seen some EPROM erasers as projects from time to time. These shouldn’t be too hard to find as they were prevalent as cheap storage back in the 1980’s.

If the quartz window on the top of the chips has been shielded from ambient UV light, you should still be able to read them and it’s as easy as hooking up your Arduino. Is it useful? Not really, but it still can be neat to interface with what might otherwise never make its way back out of the junk box.

A flashlight for any occasion

Whether you’re trying to light your path, build your own night vision, or do some tanning at home, this flashlight has you covered. [David Prutchi] designed the high power flashlight with three swappable heads.

He built the base unit out of aluminum pipe. It’s got plenty of room for the four 9V batteries that act as the power source. The driver circuit is just a bit smaller than one of those batteries, and to bring the whole thing together [David] and his helper added a potentiometer, toggle switch, and quick connector which makes head swaps a breeze. The heads themselves are all LED based, with one for visible light, another for infrared, and the final module outputs ultraviolet. We joke about tanning with it, but at 10 Watts you should be more worried about accidental damage to your vision.

The finished product is shown checking the security ink on some Canadian Currency. This would also make a nice secondary light source for your night vision monocle.

Slick music synchronized light show uses UV LEDs and water

music_synchronized_light_show

[mike6789k] wanted to spice up his dorm room, so he built a cool music synchronized light show that struck us as being very well thought out. We have seen similar music-based visualizations before, but they tend to be pretty basic, relying on volume more than actual audio frequencies to trigger the lighting.

[mike6789k] didn’t want to build “just another” synchronized light show, and his all-analog approach gives a true representation of the music being played instead of just flashing lights along with the beat. Using a trio of simple filters, he broke the audio signals down into three distinct frequency bands before being driven through a high gain transistor to power a set of LEDs.

We were pretty impressed at how bright the display was given that he is using UV LEDs, but the 1W diodes seem to have no problem lighting up the place when aimed through the UV-reactive water, as you can see in the video below.

If you’re looking to make something similar for your next party, the folks over at Buildlounge were able to wrangle a schematic out of [mike6789k], which you can find here.

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Spinning UV light writer

uv_light_writer_ring

[David] has always wanted use UV LEDs to write on a phosphorescent surface ever since saw an article about it on Make. He accidentally purchased UV LEDs when he meant to buy purple ones, so he figured that his mistake was all the reason he needed to give UV light writing a try.

He built a PIC16F628 UV POV board using the LEDs, and while manually swiping the writer across various glow in the dark surfaces was cool, he wanted to keep the POV board stationary, moving the writing medium instead. He bought some phosphorescent vinyl, but found that it wasn’t too flexible, meaning he could not use a conveyor belt approach for his display. One day it dawned on him that a vinyl ring might work pretty well, and using a motor from an old cassette player, he constructed the UV writer you see above.

It seems to work pretty well despite a small flaw in the UV ring, and while [David] is happy with the results, he already has plenty of ideas in mind for the second revision.

Check out the video of his UV light ring in action after the jump.

[Thanks, Riley]

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Home tanning lamps become organ donors for a PCB exposure bed

Some projects benefit greatly from the parts a builder is able to find. Take this UV exposure bed for photo-resist copper clad boards (translated). It looks like a commercial product, but was actually built by [TabascoEye] and his fellow hackers.

The main sources for parts were a flatbed scanner (which acts as the case) and two self-tanning lamps that use UVA flourescent bulbs. By sheer luck the bulbs and their reflectors are exactly the right size to fit into the top and bottom cavities of the scanner. The control hardware centers around an ATtiny2313 micorocontroller, which takes input from a clickable rotary encoder, and displays exposure information on a character LCD. The finished product deserves a place right next to other professional-looking exposure boxes that we’ve looked at.

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