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Home made laser turret fun


After all these months making gears, lathing parts, futzing with CNC code, and generally learning metalworking... After all this time, I've finally put together a working Altitude-Azimuth turret.

Tonight, I milled the brackets and parts needed to mount the laser head we have to it. I got everything assembled, hooked up the motors to the controller, ran a serial line from the controller to my laptop, and fired it all up.

Laser Turret, Mr. Powers.

But all that isn't what has me squealing like a schoolgirl who just got backstage tickets to a boy band. I tested the accuracy of the turret, by aiming it at a nail on the opposite wall, 15 feet away. Then I aimed the turret in a half dozen other directions, then told it to return to it's original position. It hit the nail, right on the head.

As best as I can figure, I have a repeatable accuracy of something around 3 arc-minutes of angle! And I can point to any position in the sky within 9 seconds!


This is way better than CLIVE 1.0 was, and will be really excellent for pointing out stars and satellites. I should even be able to live track moving satellites.

*does the happy dance*

tugrik has posted pictures of the turret, sans Laser, in his journal. We'll have to get pictures with the laser, also.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
That is profoundly cool. Congratulations!
Jun. 29th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Well done! When it's done with at Burning Man, see if the Exploratorium would like it. =};-3
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
So, can you use a plotter driver to make images?
Jun. 29th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Sadly, our laser is far too wimpy for such fun. Well, maybe if it were aimed at black plastic, and allowed to go really slowly.
Jun. 30th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
Further testing shows I can tag individual letters on a license plate at about 150 feet.
Jun. 30th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
Yay for tagging tags.
Jul. 1st, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
Awesome, sounds like a great project.

Now for the Babbage engine?
Jul. 3rd, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
See, you didn't need stainless steel after all. :-)
What alloy did you end up using?

. png
Jul. 4th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: See, you didn't need stainless steel after all. :-)
Brass gears and shims. Aluminum boxes to hold the gears, bearings, and such.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )