2007.02.05_Moving on to metal

I reconfigured the project gallery to send you to the most recent photos first so it is easier to see where I'm at with this project now, and to follow in reverse the steps that got me here.

I've begun cutting out the panels that will make up the exoskeleton of the projector. I say 'exoskeleton' because these pieces will be shell and support structure all in one. I am using a heavy gauge aluminun, and will rivet the panels together with anodized aluminum 'angle iron' for support where two panel meet. This sucka is gonna be strong and light at the same time.

2007.01.16_Prototyping Complete

I ran into a problem laying out the plan for the light engine. The lamp and its base are just enormous together. I'll be able to shine movies off the damn moon! And therein lies the challenge. But I got it figured out, and I'm really pleased with the look of the result. I'm feeling really confident about the process. There are still several important points to figure out, but I tried to leave myself enough room and adjustability to tweek those issues as they arise.

More explanation and _New_Images_ in the Gallery.

It almost seems cruel, after the effort expended on this model, to have to now rip it to pieces. But that is the point of the model in the first place. Now I can use the individual pieces of the model on my aluminum sheet stock, trace the pattern, and cut.

My plan is to rivet the unit's panels together, with brass angle or plate stock overlapping and reinforcing the joint. I'll probably do a brushed finish on the aluminum prior to assembly. The lamp reflector and housing will be interesting, because I didn't realize how tough this stainless steel stuff really is. I'll have to have it cut with a plasma torch, so I think I'll be giving Stretch a call. I also plan on adding cooling fins to the reflector, and I might mooch some time on his CNC fancy cuttin' table to make those happen. I've already modeled the cooling fins in KPovModeler, and so it is just a matter of dumping the data to a CD, pick a material (more stainless, anyone), and we're off the races.

2007.01.13_Prototyping Update

I can't emphasize enough how important the protyping process has been in this project. It is the difference between an also-ran project and a success. Components and modules can be placed and arranged in 3D without significant time or materials cost. It is physical and direct and appraisable. I am nearly done with this stage and I am dazzled by the mis-steps I've made along the way, and more so with the ease of their correction without significant materials expense. Most importantly, I can now clearly visualize the final product in all it's detail. It represents a hand-off from engineering to craftsmanship.

2007.01.04+ prototyping is underway

As parts ordered online began arriving, I realized that I had to totally plan where this stuff was gonna go. I had my meager sum invested in these parts so I couldn't just go throwing this thing together willy-nilly. I needed to make a 3d model. I tried several CAD programs, and I discovered that I'm just dumb when it comes to that shit. Gimme some cardboard, duck tape and a glue gun, and I'll make ya a model of whatever you can conceive. And that's what I've done. I also decided to record a photo-log (PHlog, anyone?) in The Kaektech Gallery, with annotations, so you know what you are looking at.

Parts in stock, to date:

  • LCD monitor, stripped, ripped and ready
  • Ballast, base and 400w MH bulb
  • Projection lens
  • Front fresnel lens
  • 2 8in. dia. stainless steel bowls, to be hacked, polished, welded, re-polished and reformed into a reflector. With heat integral heat sink. Oh yeah.
  • 12 lf. 1/4 in. square mild steel bar
  • 3 lf. 1/4in. dia. round mild steel bar
  • Enough aluminum (for case sides), or pretty close to it
  • Wire, solid core 18 ga. 24 lf. each of black, white and green
  • 1 big-ass junction block
  • Onward and upward!


    So many of the designs I see on the interwebs (why, its a network of tubes, you see) look silly to me, at least from a thermal management view. Here's this rediculously hot light source slapped in a wooden box with a mish-mash of heat sensitive electronics. To me that is like taking a fine PC, overclocking the processor voltage, and wrapping it in the afghan Granny knitted for last Christmas. Wood is an INSULATOR. I'm making my box with as much heat shedding metal as possible. With fins like a CPU heatsink. And mad crazy ventilation, but baffled to keep noise down. And I'm not gonna hide the guts, I'm gonna mount as much of it outside the "light engine" as possbile.

    Visually, I want the thing to look light some sort of steampunk contraption from a by-gone future.

    And its gonna have a damned lens cap. Every DIY projector I've ever seen never has a friggin' lens cap. You just spent $xxx and xxxhrs building this cool-ass contraption and you're gonna let dust cloud your finely crafted optics? I don't get it.


    I've kicked the idea around now for a few months, and I've had a chance to lurk often on the Lumenlab forums. I even scored a nice 17" LCD monitor from work that was dumpster bound due to a bad backlight, but I'm cheap and parts costs kept me from taking the next step, especially in the face of rapidly declining projector prices.

    Then I found Surplus Shed and lens prices suddenly made sense to me. So I ordered up a fresnel (collector) and a projection lens/a>for way less than the offerings in the Lumenlab store.

    Next Step? Light! I want to keep the heat down as much as possible so as not to fry my sensitive electronics, and I initially thought up an LED light grid using high intensity white Luxeon K2 LEDS from Phillips, but the LEDS alone were gonna cost nearly $600, and that's b'fore I bought resistors, PCBs and other associated BS, so I bagged that idea. My salvation? Stoners. You see, some folks engage in "indoor gardening" and needs lots of full-spectrum light to ensure a quality "crop." And a cottage industry has sprung up on the interwebs hawking supplies to these "horticulturists" and they have MH ballasts and lamps and other associated kit at prices far below other retailers. Yay! Tommorrow I'm going to browse on over to HID Hut and get me some 400 watt lovin'.

    Some Links

    i need to fill this empty space. email me a suggestion.

    hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic hiddenpic