The school I work at is hosting a haunted house. As a part of the tech department we're trying to work in as many cool gadgets and effects to our section of the maze. I was hoping to add in a laser tunnel effect to go along with fog machines we'll have set up. My searches for laser light show equipment have shown me $300-5,000 laser show devices of varying quality. I've also seen Chinese $50-100 devices which are likely illegal and way overpowered (30-100mW).
Given we don't have a lot of money budgeted I'm thinking of trying to make a DIY effect using an AC powered 5mW laser and either speaker cones or a computer fan w/ attached mirror to create motion. Anybody have advice on how to go about this? Recommended providers of AC powered diode lasers that will actually ship to me before halloween? Other solutions?
If you mount a mirror at an off angle to a motor axle (some hotglue goes a long way), point a laser pointer at that, you should have your conical tunnel right there.. add smoke to make it visible. A computer fan should do if you have one laying around collecting dust and don't want to buy a motor separately.
Slightly more advanced (has a mirror stuck to a speaker so it reacts to the sound being played), but still very DIY-y, is the LLS1 kit from Ramsey Electronics.
You can also stick a gobo on the end of the laserpointer to get some further effects, of course.
Outside of those slightly hacky solutions, those $50-$100 devices need not be illegal and overpowerred. Velleman's EFL5LL / LC5/2, for example, uses a <= 5mW laser and has a series of pre-programmed patterns you could use, comes in a ready-to-mount package and is powered by a mere 9V DC.. meaning you could battery-operate it if you wanted to.. but an AC/DC wallwart is included.
But.. being in the tech department.. I think building something yourself would be a lot more fun and perhaps even - dare I say it - educational.
Last edited by Noctilucent; 10-13-2010 at 04:41 PM.
Reason: batter->battery.. can't power lasers with batter! (with lemons, however...)
Thx for the suggestions guys. I found an old 5mW red pointer that I think I can incorporate, as well as multiple computer fans, DVD drive motors that I can play with. I'll just need to work out a good power source and we should have something kinda nifty. I'll make sure to post some pics if it all works out.