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!


17 thoughts on “Laser Charged Glowing Display

  1. This is fact amazing,you (in general) can also “print” horizontially in a square piece and instead of a roller with letters use something like an LCD behind the glow element and reduce the size of the whole thing… Hmmm,this is giving me ideas!!!

    1. A laser printer is already designed to shine high resolution patterns the width of a sheet of paper at high speeds. You’d just have to modify it to shine the light on the paper instead of the toner drum.

      The other problem is the laser is probably the wrong wavelength for the application.

  2. Incredibly cool :) And I have a daisy wheel from a printer mounted on a stepper, waiting for some hammer action.

    The mirror doesn’t spread anything, it just makes the travel path longer. Laser diodes don’t have narrow beams like gas lasers, they spread naturally.

  3. Nice, using a stencil might work
    for photoresist PCB etchers as well.
    I tried to make one a while back
    but was stuck by the slowness of
    the plotting- using stencils could
    get around the problem entirely.

  4. Its a laser daisy wheel, you could call it a Lazywheel Printer. Also if you changed the wavelength of the laser (visible light) you could write messages on 8mm film, sure pointless but neat.

  5. Now this is a hack i actually appreciate. I love these semi-persistent GitD displays.

    Also the “report comment” button needs some kind of verification, i accidentally hit that all the time when i select windows…

  6. Nice project! Looks pretty sharp. Where can I find out more about ‘luminous paper’?

    Google is not helping me here. Mostly I just find what I think is a marketing name for paper that is supposed to allow printing more vibrant colors.

    The most promissing looking thing I found was this but that doesn’t quite seem right.

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