Monday, June 18, 2012

Light painting tool - First results

In previous articles I showed the brains of a little light wand device and then subsequently the control unit. I finally got it all assembled and took it out for a field test the other night with the Friday Night Fotogs.

Here it is all assembled.

And here are some detail shots.

It's comprised of an RGB LED with a ping-pong ball on the end for a diffuser, a micro-controller board to control the color of the LED and three sliding adjustment potentiometers to control the hue, saturation and value of the LED.

There is still work to be done on it. As it stands, I haven't put much time into making it sturdy. The wires are all exposed and the computer board is only held on by the wires which in turn are only held on by a couple zip ties. I had an instance where the wind blew the ping-pong ball diffuser off and I had to go dashing across the salt and sand in the dark to retrieve it.

Additionally, I want to put a mechanism on it to be able to easily spin it. I have some skateboard bearings sitting on the workbench and some ideas about how to go about it. I just need to finalize the design and machine a mounting bracket.

Here are some of the first images I made with it.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the way it worked out. I was initially concerned that the single LED wouldn't have enough light output to work too well, but as can be seen, that was unfounded for night conditions. In twilight, it might still be a problem.

I'm going to play with this for awhile and see how it works out. If I make a second version, a couple improvements I've thought about include a power switch, multiple LEDs, a push button switch or two, better construction and possibly running off AA batteries instead of a single 9V. After working with it, I may add some others to the list.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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