Laser cutter – Etched brooks seats and more!

SputnikĀ is my new laser cutter! He arrived at my doorstep and I couldn’t but take it in. I’m pretty excited and have been experimenting with it fairly non stop. Sputnik is a 40 Watt laser cutter from Full Spectrum Engineering, I won it in a recent competition of theirs. I must say, for the price, it’s an amazing bit of equipment.

Sputnik is a beauty enhancing product. Things that look beautiful are often greatly enhanced with some laser etching. So I took a Brooks Saddle and etched it. I think it came out beautifully. What do you think?

Brooks seat looking good with some etching

Actively Articulating Awesome in Ann Arbor

My Biometric Data
My Biometric Data

There is a lot going on. Let me show you it. These are a few of the projects I’m working on RIGHT NOW!

WreckLab / MakeLab is a class I’m proposing around town in which people take apart the things that mystify them, learn how the component parts work, then put them back together in novel ways. The idea is to empower people with the knowledge of everyday objects they mistake for magic. Cell phone: magic. Refrigerators… majick. Printers: sorcery!! Having the knowledge of the inner workings of their thingsgives people more ownership over the stuff they buy. If your watch breaks, you’re not out all the parts, you can use that stuff! Also there’s the potential for fixing it yourself.

There is the hope that more happens, that through this destructive and constructive play people find themselves inspired to experiment, to realize that science is done by people solving their own problems. That a playful experimenting mind is a fun thing to cultivate, and who knows what fun hacks we’ll develop along the way!

Radioactive Boardgame Free will and chance, these are things I’ve been thinking about ever since I was introduced to the concept of reductionism. I’d really like to see more large scale things controlled by quantum and subatomic weirdness. It is disappointing to know that something mysterious exists that has the potential to give life true randomness and in my opinion adds a fair serving of intrigue then realize that as it aggregates all the fun random effects blend out to your last choice at Wendy’s (you got something from the dollar menu). So I’ve built a scintillator using Zinc Sulfide and Americium and in absolute darkness I can see subatomic particles exploding off and shooting out individual photons. It looks like static (coooooool). What I would like to do with this is develop a way to amplify it singularly to make decisions for a board game. No idea what the game will be, maybe I’ll make it a SMS based application where you ask it a question and it replies with an answer selected by ATOMS.

Biometric data link with my online and audio inputs. I’d like to see if there’s a correlation between my blood pressure and the websites I visit regularly.

It’s now late and I have a letter to write. So I’ll just name a few others: UV graffiti, RGB UV plastic based inks, refillable spray paint cans (found some), laser projector, The Two Hands Project, and starting a hackerspace in Ann Arbor called All Hands Active.

Also, I’m working at a preschool.
-Bilal Ghalib

Laser Projector Construction

Construction is moving along. Here are a few updated pictures:

From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector

So now I’m in the process of making the electronics for this project, the laser strength adjustment so the white light is white, and lastly the alignment. Hopefully not too much longer now. If only I wasn’t in school…

iPod/TV Video Laser Projector – Proof of Concept

Dichroic Laser Beam Combining
Dichroic Laser Beam Combining

The idea came to me when I saw that microvision was coming out with some pico laser projectors that had some neat properties. First it was tiny and portable, second there were no lenses needed since it was a laser display and laser light doesn’t diffuse out as much as… well… diffuse light. Lastly and most importantly the aspect ratio could be changed indefinitely with the wall to be projected on. This means you could place the projector basically at 90o to the wall you want to project on! COOL! So I decieded I’d have to make one, the simplest way I could think of was to use RGB combined lasers and shine them through an LCD screen. Here are my first attempts:

That video shows the dismantling of the LCD screen and the first test of unfocused laser light as a transmitting light source. It seems to work.

I’m also using some Dichroic Mirrors / Beamsplitters from Thor labs to mix my red, green, and blue lasers to make white laser light. This will enable me to output full color laser video. The way the dichroic filter works is by selective reflection, this will allow laser mixing in the following manner:

Dichroic Laser Beam Combining
Dichroic Laser Beam Combining

I bought multiple mirrors, each one selectively reflects a narrow band of light. So when I want to combine red and blue I would use a cyan subtractive filter aim the red through it, but have the blue bounce off at the same angle the red went through. This will have the effect of spectral laser combining and the resulting laser light will not be coherent. For more methods of laser combination and an explanation check out The Encyclopedia of Laser Physics.

Here’s the album of photos that i have of this project… So far: