Norm's Homemade Laser Show
My email: 
legato@videotron.ca


Last update:
May 04, 2010
 


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Latest news

Updated May 04, 2010


- NLS 1.7 Beta 1 is available.  It has a new super-cool feature called the "Harmonograph Pattern Generator" (HPG for short).  It has been written by my great collaborator Chris Favreau.  It creates really mind-boggling abstract patterns.  Peter Stoneham has sponsored the development of this feature, and used it in New Zealand to project a gigantic Christmas tree on concrete silos during the 2009 holiday season.  See this demo video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUD0ibwQp24

- Added a new link:  Rick Poulin's website.  http://www.sniffinfo.com  I strongly recommend you go see what he has there, and buy his book too.  Cheers Rick :)

 


See my RGB Laser in action:
 

To see more of my videos on Youtube, search for legato7798


MambaBlack
HE-Laserscan
Spaghetti Laser Show
support
for FrameStreamer Express.

See download page.

 


A bit of chronology...

Jan 30, 2009:  Added a new product:  SMD to DIP/SIP adapters.  It's a PCB with 10 adapters of 3 different SMD footprints, that allows hobbyists to work with SMD on breadboards.

Jan 26, 2009:  Added a new product:  RGB triple laser diode driver.

Jan 24, 2009:  Added a message to those who are willing to sell or buy the legacy LPT DAC.

Jan 18, 2009:  Added a new section to my website called Projects.

Jan 14, 2009:  Built a second, but smaller RGB unit, without galvos, just for fun and to see how small I could make it.  To my great surprise, the output is much stronger than I expected, thanks to a trick I found (more on the Mini-RGB page).  I can actually burn my skin after one second or blow up balloons, even without a focusing lens - just collimated!  Not sure what power it is, but must be at least 250mW.

Jan 1, 2009:  Finished building my powerful RGB projector.  It has 550mW output power (maybe a bit less, due to dichroic mirror losses), and 30KPPS galvos.  It is controlled by my FrameStreamer Express 1.1 USB DAC and NLS 1.6.7.  The Youtube videos are from a 2009 new year's eve party in the Gatineau region near where I live (Quebec, Canada).  I was totally impressed at the beauty of the projections, and received tons of cool comments.  Curiously enough, not a single person asked me to see up close how the system was built :(

Nov 16, 2008:  Complete makeover of my website.  I'm not very good at this, but I still hope it's better now - was not hard to beat actually!  About NLS, the "FTD2XX.DLL not found" error is finally fixed.  Download the latest version 1.6.7.  You may get the error once more, but once you are in the program,  just change the settings to use the DAC0832 instead of FSX and restart the application.  You won't be bothered anymore after that.  Thanks to all those who were very patient and willing to help me debug.  Special thanks to Christopher Favreau once again, since it's him actually who found and fixed the bug.

Sept 9, 2008:  Found out that the MLD driver written by my friend and collaborator Christopher Favreau (a big THANKS to him by the way) can  actually be used with the great HE-Laserscan software.  Just download the FSX4Mamba.zip file below, and follow the instructions in the readme.txt file under the ML_Driver folder where you installed HE-Laserscan.

August 24, 2008:
 Did a few bug-fixes in NLS 1.6.6 and added the Debounce Time value to Audio Event window.  This allows specifying the minimum time required between two beats.  Prevents overreacting and helps following the music more smoothly, depending on the style.

August 22, 2008:  Just completed the new version of NLS 1.6.5 and MambaBlack drivers for FSX.  Go see the download section further down.  NLS has a new feature called "Audio Events".  It is a mode of operation that controls the ILD files playback.  It allows the creation of a list of ILD files and pre-loading them in memory, ready to be played within a few milliseconds.  Why this?  To follow the beat of music.  To do this quickly, you can't afford waiting until the file is loaded to start playing.  In the same dialog, an audio interface listens to the default recording device (typically a microphone), and upon a peak, will play each file in sequence, or randomly.  Another way you can use this feature is to leave out the ILD list and simply use the currently loaded ILD file and upon each event, jump around randomly within that file.  Gives very nice effects!  The algorithm is far from being perfect, but does a pretty good job in most cases.  There are a few parameters you can fine tune to get optimal results.  In the settings, I added the invert blanking and color remapping features to support RGY systems that otherwise couldn't see blue portions of images.

June 24, 2008:  Happy national holiday to all Quebecers!!!   Not a very happy weekend for me though :(  Had a scary motorcycle accident Saturday night on my GSXR-750.  I was very lucky to be riding at low speed (50KM/h) when a car in front of me used compression to brake and turned to the right.  I had no chance, unable to see his brake lights go on.  I jammed the brakes too hard in a reflex, and my front wheel slipped.  I was brutally thrown down on the pavement, breaking my right clavicle (aka collar bone).  After a few hours in the hospital, I was sent back home.

May 24, 2008:  I have released a new version of the USB DAC:  the FrameStreamer Express 1.1, aka FSX 1.1.  The only changes I made was removing the useless pots for TTL output level, and dropped the support for my legacy LPT DAC.  Not surprisingly, almost no one seemed interested in a two-board approach.  I am still working on the installer and a few small fixes on the firmware upgrade process.  It works pretty well now.  BTW, I wish to take a moment to sincerely thank my trusty collaborator in the U.S.: Christopher Favreau for his invaluable contribution regarding the microcontroller firmware and NLS integration.  Thumbs up dude!   On other news, I had fun updating my personal page, showing off pics of my cool toy from last year:  GSX-R 750.

April 25, 2008:  The USB DAC testing is finally completed and works nicely.  I offer two flavors of the kit:  Basic and Custom.  Basic have single-ended outputs, and Custom will be shipped with the number of balanced channels according to your needs.  You can count an extra $10USD for each balanced channel.   See eKits4All seller on eBay for details and pricing.

April 10, 2008:  The USB DAC's PCBs are in and they look nice.  I didn't have the chance to test them yet, but I will start next week.  Not much more to say other than it's progressing.  I will have to push back the release date to end of April.

March 22, 2008:  My parallel port DAC kit is sold-out and discontinued.  But the good news is that the USB version design is completed, and the PCB is being reviewed by another designer.  If all goes well, I should send out the boards for manufacturing next week, and should get them in early April, ready to sell.  An unexpected change of design caused a slight delay in my predicted schedule, but rarely any design is done perfect the first time anyways.  On the galvos side, I have made a few progresses, but not much on improving the speed.  It's the quality of the graphics that have improved dramatically.  See image below:

It's true that this is only at 12KPPS, 13 degrees, but even then I never had such a nice ILDA test pattern before.  I can do faster but the amps become quite hot and the quality is not as good.   Small steps and perseverance will get me to 24KPPS @ 40 deg one day!   Now I sold all my kits but one left on eBay as of today.  After that, I will take a break to develop a new version, but it may take easily two months.  I intend to boost the functionalities of NLS a lot too.

Feb 16, 2008:  NLS has been modified a lot recently.  Many bug fixes, some new features too.  Most interesting is the support of colors.  Since it can become very complicated to support all possible systems, I concentrate on simple configurations for the moment.  TTL modulation or red, green and blue (RGB).  I can now load ILD files and display the colors that they may have, but still can't modify or create anything involving palettes.  Note that NLS has not been released yet, so you cannot download an update.  USB DAC is slowly becoming a reality at same time.  I hope it will be ready to ship sometimes in March.  All those who already bought my LPT DAC will still be able to use it by simply plugging it into this converter.  On other news, I am working on improving the performance of the galvo kit.  I already made some progress and have good hope to reach 24KPPS in a near future.  I ordered new custom magnets for the rotor, and will try a different control system, which is a design from my "little genius" and dear cousin Simon :)

Nov 6, 2007:  Long time no see (or update)!  Quite busy indeed.  As some may know, I decided to quit my full time job and start my own business at home.  I will design, sell and support electronic kits on a full-time basis and see how it goes.  So far so good I can say, thanks to all of you who bought my kits already and even sometimes coming back for more.

Here's what's on the timeline for the next few months:
1) develop USB DAC.  Development platform already bought, need to study that and do some tests, write drivers, integrate to NLS, etc.
2) Continue development of NLS, mainly implement Red color and add more Adobe Illustrator import support (like batch import).  Badly need to fix that optimize function.  Improve autotrace result.

Don't forget to go look the new section I added:  Successful Galvo Kit Builders

May 16, 2007:  Finished assembling the complete kit.  Worked very well the first time, believe it or not!  I was almost surprised.   Currently selling on eBay.  Go see that!  Seller:  eKits4All

Unfortunately, I had to disable the Discussion Group.  Too much spammers.  I will have to think about another option, with login and user validation.

April 20, 2007: the PCBs have just came in today!  Here's what they look like:

The two small boards are for the OPD. directly on the galvos.  They look awesome and the quality is simply the best.   They are manufactured by SpeedyPCB.