A Volumetric Display With A Star Wars Look And Feel

It may not exactly be what [Princess Leia] used to beg [Obi-Wan] for help, but this Star Wars-inspired volumetric display is still a pretty cool hack, and with plenty of extra points for style.

In some ways, [Maker Mac]’s design is a bit like a 3D printer for images, in that it displays slices of a solid model onto closely spaced planar surfaces. Sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of clever details in this build. The main component is a lightly modified LCD projector, a DLP-based machine with an RGB color wheel. By removing the color wheel from the projector’s optical path and hooking its sync sensor up to the control electronics, [Mac] is able to increase the framerate of the display, at the cost of color, of course. Other optical elements include a mirror to direct the projected images upwards, and a shutter harvested from an old pair of 3D TV glasses.

For the screen, here’s where [Mac]’s design got really clever. Using a pair of 3D-printed compliant mechanisms, the motion from a pair of voice coils harvested from old speakers drives a translucent screen across a vertical distance of about 25 mm. Driven with a sine wave of about 30 Hz, the images from the projector can be synced up to display twelve separate layers across the swept volume. It might seem like a very shallow display, but it looks deeper in the videos below.

[Mac] also put a ton of work into the toolchain to get STL models sliced into images and mapped onto the various layers of the display. As for the Star Wars part, that’s pretty much all about the enclosure, and we think [Mac] pretty much nailed it. As he admits himself, a lot of it is just greebling, but the details really sell it. Disguising the USB connection as a mechanical data port was a nice touch, and the weathering and wearing effects work well, too.

We’ve seen similar displays before, but the whole combination of clever mechanism, extensive toolchain, and stylish enclosure makes for a nice presentation on this one.


18 thoughts on “A Volumetric Display With A Star Wars Look And Feel

  1. I stared at the summary until I gave up. This is the quote in the original article that pulled it together for me.

    > With 360fps and 30Hz volume refresh, we will get 12 vertical planes for our volume : 360fps/30Hz=12

    It can refresh the 12 vertical slices at 30Hz. You could get 15 slices deep @ 24Hz

  2. replace the hacked projector with…
    $1800 1440 Hz Binary Pattern Rate 1920×1080 res 385nm/405nm dlp https://www.ekbtechnologies.com/e-store/e4750lc-uv-405nm-full-hd-1?c=5da9c0d9edbb2

    and put the “bouncing screen” in the focal plane of a dual parabolic “hologram” projector https://www.amazon.com/Illusion-Creator-Hologram-Parabolic-Reflector/dp/B001TFV4BE

    and then stick a clear bottom vat of full of VAM material in the “projection field”

    and open source your results because im not going to bother trying and im curious the result LOL

  3. It seems this website finally tackled the click-baity titles problem. That´s good. Once month ago this article would have been titled something “holographic start-wars display”.

    It remains the typos problem, and the general accuracy of the articles… Once that will be solved, it will be all good.

  4. Awful mixing on that video, the music is way too loud compared to the voice, and it takes an effort to try to watch the video.
    I also don’t like the music much, and feel it doesn’t fit, but that’s a matter of taste I suppose.

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