Scrap yard hacker

Okay, so I have a problem….

Every time I drop off some scrap metal and wait for it to be offloaded I stumble upon some bits and bobs and think to myself “man I could build something pretty neat out that”. Load it, then eventually get told that it needs to be dumped because of spring cleaning or something (something being procrastination off course).

So I stumbled on this


Two Disco lasers! It has potential!

In my mind, I’m thinking, remote controlled laser canon…sound activated creepy crawley.

An this is the reason for starting this blog.

1st to document this project and hopefully help motivate myself to finish it.

2nd maybe someone out there has a better imagination than I do for a direction to go in.

And 3rd I need help.

This is my first such project and I’ve been really keen on learning electrical. I recently started to research python and had no idea that this language and others like it were the drivers behind some really fun stuff. I’ve always been watching other tinkerers and hacksters building some amazing stuff. So when I literally tripped over these lasers, I thought, let’s do it. I mean, it’s lasers right!?

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…

I’m using methylated spirits and cotton swabs to clean. Not sure if there is a better way but I’ll just continue with this method.


Wiring record


Layout and identification

So now for the hard part.

With what’s available, what can I build? Am I going to try and rebuild and repair this laser(I think this would be the easiest)? I have almost two of everything except mirrors. Do I try to use the stepper motors and the sound activation with some gearing system to draw something out, maybe a daily sound image? Is this sound activation even all that elaborate, is it simply on/off? I have a raspberry pi 2 to add to this, maybe a rpi3 later. Maybe some sort of remote control thingy Mac Do’wee or a wall mounted laser clock. Is it even possible to reprogram the stepper motors movements?

So far in researching this topic, I landed on these sites :

That last one is ‘out of the box thinking’ fun.

I’ve managed to assemble my laser. As I have no idea about its history I quickly realized that my wiring was completely wrong. After looking at both assemblies and was pretty confident that I got all the cables going to the right connectors, I plugged it in. It works! Well sorta. My x-y galvanometers / stepper motors perform a start routine, where they turn until the little screw hits the stopper arm. It then proceeds to jiggle about performing patterns. It then quickly begins to stray where it can’t be logically deflecting the beams out of the enclosure.

….and this is where I am currently stuck, the “easy” assembly, getting it to work part.

My current logic is to place extra stoppers but if it never had these then it should be working. I’ve also swapped out the two boards thinking that one of them could be damaged but there was no difference. Could they both be damaged? I did find then in a scrap yard.

In an accidental discovery, I found that in unplugging the green laser, the galvo’s began to operate correctly. Hmmm….

This could be a power issue, tried Googling for the original power supply and specs but found none.