Spell Out The Time With Frickin’ Laser Beams

Clocks are a never-ending source of fascination to hackers. We get all kinds around here, from Steampunk Nixie clocks to retro cool flip clocks to clocks that don’t even look like clocks. But this is something new — a glow-in-the-dark laser tracing clock.

What [tuckershannon]’s clock lacks in practicality it makes up for in the gee-whiz department. The idea is simple: trace the characters out on a phosphorescent screen using a laser. To accomplish this, [tuckershannon] adapted the design of this whiteboard marker robot clock, replacing the drawing surface with glow-in-the-dark stickers. A 405 nm laser diode module is traced over the surface by the two-servo pantograph plotter, charging up the phosphors. He offers no clue as to how long the ghostly image lingers, but from the look of it, we’d bet that it lasts for a good fraction of a minute, especially in a dark room. Then again, you’d want the image totally faded before the next write cycle comes up, to prevent overwriting the previous time.

All in all, it’s a nice design and a clever new clock display modality. And who knows — maybe this whole glowing phosphor display thing could really catch on.

[via r/DIY]

17 thoughts on “Spell Out The Time With Frickin’ Laser Beams

  1. Ok, I’ll let my safety freak run free.
    Writing from the back would cut down on the incidental reflection of the laser beam and might be better for safety (bah, who needs eyes).
    Or a simple LED of a similar frequency would do the same if in contact with the phosphor front the front using the same design. Granted it’s not as cool.

    1. Agree, writing from the back of a clear plastic plate painted with luminous paint, the results would look even more mysterious especially if the arm was concealed in an enclosure. I’ve tried a UV LED on luminous tape and the glow results were impressive, I think it would be as good and less dangerous than the laser.

  2. “Clocks are a never-ending source of fascination to hackers.”

    We share something with animals. Our fascination with moving things. Shine a laser pointer on walls and watch us go.

  3. I think this is a very creative approach and it looks amazing to me. Well done. One of those extreme glow in the dark tiles and a super bright LED might work very well…unless they end up glowing too long.(Curtisium is one name brand I recall)

  4. Take one laser, one phosphor screen, and two mirrors that vibrate (one at 60hz and another at ~19Khz), throw in some magic circuits and you’ve got an old school style NTSC monitor. :-) Now I’d like to see that. :-)

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