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Thread: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

  1. #1

    Default I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Ok, first post here, so please bear with me. I am on another forum for camaros and a vendor on there posted this picture of his item for sale (see picture). It's basically an image that projects to the ground when your car door is open. I thought well cool, but I would like it to be a little different. Well the vendor is a nice guy, but he said for it to be cost effective for him to make it the way I want to, he would charge me 900-1100 dollars. THAT is not something I am willing to pay.


    So, I've decided I would rather build it on my own. But here's the kicker, I have no idea how to make one of these things or what is even required. I will be the first guy to tell you... I am a complete noob and I have no idea what I'm doing! I was referred to this forum, from a member on a laser forum. Can anyone explain to me, how a product like this is made? And how I could make one that just said CAMARO with no circle around it?


    Sorry: Not exactly sure how to post, but I have this picture elsewhere as well so here is a link.
    http://laserpointerforums.com/attach...hing-laser.jpg

    Thank you for any help

  2. #2
    Flashaholic SimulatedZero's Avatar
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    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Hmm... Well, you will need a fair amount of auto working skill to pull this off. The cleanest possible look would be to cut out the projection whole, mount the projector, and then glass it all together matching the color of the door. That is also one of the harder ways to do it and it requires you to know how to glass properly. Other wise you could just cut the whole and have the projector fill the space without any covering. It would work just as well, but if someone checked under the door it wouldn't look nearly as good. With the projector fiberglassed into place it would look like it came from the factory that way, if you do it well.

    Either way, you will need to know the following things.
    Basic wiring including switches, splices, and fuses. Add to that basic electronics skills. You will need to weather proof and properly mount the LED and driver.
    Metal working and cutting.
    Basic Soldering
    Basic glass/plexiglass working skills
    And you will need some artistic skill to draw the lettering.


    If you are not immediately comfortable with all of the above then I don't suggest you try and tackle this project. It is a fairly involved job and will cost a decent amount. If you still decide you want to tackle this and you don't have any of the above skills then I suggest you go to youtube and start learning. Also go to an audio install shop and ask for tips from the installers. They will be able to throw some good advice your way and guide you. There is only so much I can tell you over the internet without being there myself to look at the job. Remember, the more features you want (auto-start with the door opening, dimming control) the more complex and more difficult it gets.
    "Maybe you should just stick to fire on a stick... it's received excellent reviews here - plus it's a time tested design..."

  3. #3

    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Quote Originally Posted by SimulatedZero View Post
    Hmm... Well, you will need a fair amount of auto working skill to pull this off. The cleanest possible look would be to cut out the projection whole, mount the projector, and then glass it all together matching the color of the door. That is also one of the harder ways to do it and it requires you to know how to glass properly. Other wise you could just cut the whole and have the projector fill the space without any covering. It would work just as well, but if someone checked under the door it wouldn't look nearly as good. With the projector fiberglassed into place it would look like it came from the factory that way, if you do it well.
    Well there is the area of the door that is just a black plastic covering that I could mount it into. Also, the door is pretty low so that shouldn't be a huge issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimulatedZero
    Either way, you will need to know the following things.
    Basic wiring including switches, splices, and fuses. Add to that basic electronics skills. You will need to weather proof and properly mount the LED and driver.
    Metal working and cutting.
    Basic Soldering
    Basic glass/plexiglass working skills
    And you will need some artistic skill to draw the lettering.


    If you are not immediately comfortable with all of the above then I don't suggest you try and tackle this project. It is a fairly involved job and will cost a decent amount. If you still decide you want to tackle this and you don't have any of the above skills then I suggest you go to youtube and start learning. Also go to an audio install shop and ask for tips from the installers. They will be able to throw some good advice your way and guide you. There is only so much I can tell you over the internet without being there myself to look at the job. Remember, the more features you want (auto-start with the door opening, dimming control) the more complex and more difficult it gets.
    I have the skills you mentioned except glass/plexiglass and metal working skills. As for the artistic part, couldn't I just use a template? I think going to an audio install shop is an excellent idea and I might just have to do that.


    What I'm really looking for, however, is what components would I need? For example, to make the apparatus, would I need something in this order: White LED, overhead projector sheet, diverging mirror. Would that allow for the magnification and image to show up?

  4. #4

    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Since the original creator probably doesn't want to tell you how he did it since you're not going to pay him to do it....there's really no way of knowing for sure if what you have will even come close. I kinda suspect that maybe he used a pico projector and designed a custom image for it to project (explaining the cost), then simply mounted the whole thing inside the door...heck maybe the owner designed it and simply had the body work guy install it so it looked good.

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    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Quote Originally Posted by lightfooted View Post
    Since the original creator probably doesn't want to tell you how he did it since you're not going to pay him to do it....there's really no way of knowing for sure if what you have will even come close. I kinda suspect that maybe he used a pico projector and designed a custom image for it to project (explaining the cost), then simply mounted the whole thing inside the door...heck maybe the owner designed it and simply had the body work guy install it so it looked good.
    A projector is prob the easyest, and most expensive way to shoot a image on the ground. Hook it up on a dvd and you can shoot a movie on the ground

    You can prob make a overhead in a tube. You dont need mirrors since you are not shooting the picture in a angle. Works kind of like a asperic flashlight. But instead of focusing the lense on the led, you focus it on the "transparent artwork" you put in between the lense and the lightsource. The hardest part would be to find a lense with the right focus for good results. And finding out the right scale on everything for it to give the right size pattern, right brightness, and right focus.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Walterk's Avatar
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    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Thats do-able.
    I would imitate the inner workings of a slide projector or gobo-projector? Do you really also want colors? You will need a transparant coloured slide then.
    You would probably need one or two small lenses and a led.
    The good thing is it only needs to be focussed on a single distance as the distance ground-to-car is as good as equal any occasion.
    The hardest part is to make it so small that you can mount it in an un-obtrusive way inside the car or lining of the door.

    If you find a way to make your own gobo (as in old fashioned disco lights) or slide, you can also fix abberations in projection by compensating for them at beforehand in the gobo. Maybe have them lasercut from thin metal film.

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    Flashaholic SimulatedZero's Avatar
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    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Ok, sorry for taking so long to respond. What you will need to project the image is a Biconvex lens. Basically a magnifying lens minus the handle. Usually they aren't too hard to find, depending on the size you need. You will use that lens to build what's called an opaque projector. This is a projector that blocks outside light so the image you are projecting is cleanly back lit by your light source.

    Basically want you want to do is put a light behind a transparency of the image you want projected and a lens in front of the image. You will need the focal length to determine how far away the lens should be from the image and how far away the front of the lens should be from the ground. It is that simple of a concept, the complicated parts are getting the parts. Once you have the, assembly shouldn't be difficult, installation on the other hand could get tricky. That's where the audio install shop would come in handy, they will have the experience to fit the whole thing in the door and wire it up.

    You will need:

    -An LED for a back light (This includes heatsinking and a driver. You will probably want an XML for it's efficiency.)

    -A very small transparency of the image you want to project (Look around town, you should be able to find someone who can make one for you. Check places like local print shops.)

    -A small biconvex lens (I would look online for the size you need)

    -And a small container to house the whole thing. ( A PVC pipe should do the trick.)

    The hardest part of this will figuring out what size transparency and what size lens to get. If I understand it correctly the equation in this case would be:

    Distance you want the image to be projected X Size of your transparency
    __________________________________________________ __________= Focal Length

    How big you want the image to be


    This is a detailed explanation of how it's done properly http://www.projector.com/resources/projectionlenses.php. I don't know the turn around time but you can email them under the contact section to get more detailed help. Or maybe someone here knows a lot more about lenses than I do. You could head over to physicsforums.com and ask for some help, just tell them what you are trying to do and ask for help on the lens size and focal length. I know from playing around with some magnifying glasses that you will want a smaller lens because it makes the image larger and in a shorter distance. They should also be able to tell you a good size transparency to get. Calculating the focal length and lens size is something I don't really know about and I don't have the time to learn right now because I am heading out of town and will not have access to the internet. If you don't figure it out by the time I get back next week I will sit down, learn all this, and help you out with calculating the focal length.


    The rest of it is the easy part and puts me back into familiar territory. After you figure out how far the image has to be from the lens you need to build the housing. The easiest thing to do would be to cut a peace of PVC pipe to the right length and plug the various parts in. I think it will work for projecting the image with out distorting it to badly. If it does not work, then the next easiest thing to do would be to build a small box out of ABS plastic sheets. Shouldn't be that difficult for you to do and you can find tutorials on youtube for visual help. I assuming that you have the knowledge and skill to build the box so I won't explain it to save time, I am in a bit of a hurry.

    The back light is usually an incandescent projector bulb, but those draw a lot of power and run hot. So you will want to use an LED to save power, heat, and size. A neutral tinted XML plus a single mode driver mounted on a round aluminum heat sink will work beautifully. You will need to know how to solder the wires to the LED's base and to the driver. That's the only skill involved there. The people here will be able to give you the links to suppliers for everyone of these items. You have definitely come to the right place for figuring out the lighting end of things. The only constraint that I see here is the diameter of the PVC pipe will limit the size of the heat sink. Also, a single LED may not provide enough light to compete with daylight. You may need to have a few of them mounted to get enough light to make the image visible during the day. It will make the lighting a little more complicated, but we can help you with that easily enough. Oh, I forgot to mention that you want the light to be very floody. I would put a piece of frosted glass (or plexiglass so it doesn't shatter) in front of the LED's so the light is smooth and even. Also, that should prevent the lens from projecting the image of the LED itself instead projecting the image in front of the LED.

    With the transparency you just want to look around for someone who can print them and bring them a copy of the image you want turned into a transparency. You may need the copy to be digital or physical so be prepared for both possibilities.

    The lens you will probably have to buy from online. But before you can buy one you need to know the specifics first.

    Focus on the lens specifics before you go any further. With out knowing the various distances to mount things and sizes to make them you can't really make anything. After figuring out the lens I/We can give you the specifics on everything else. I can walk you through the steps of the installation but you will need to figure out what wires to splice and where to run wires because you have the car in front of you and I don't. After it's installed and working, I have it in my mind to have the projector turn on when the door opens. There are a few simple ways to do that and we can discuss them when we get there. (If you would rather use a switch, or have the ability to use a switch, let me know. It won't be that difficult to add.)

    This is a general plan of what you want to do and not a specific plan because there will be snags along ever step of the way that will need to be figured out before the next step. I cannot predict the specifics of those snags so I am not going to try. Step one is finding out what size/ focal point lens you need. After that we can get to the lighting and mounting, then the install. I will be out of town as I have mentioned so I won't be responding for a short while. Sorry to leave you hanging like this, but the good/bad news is that this is going to take sometime to figure out before you get building. If you are still interested in my/our help still, you'll get it. Hopefully this helps you get a little better of an idea of what you need and what you will be doing.

    P.S. Please excuse spelling and general grammar as this was typed in a hurry and not really proof read.
    Last edited by SimulatedZero; 06-08-2012 at 11:13 AM.
    "Maybe you should just stick to fire on a stick... it's received excellent reviews here - plus it's a time tested design..."

  8. #8

    Default Re: I would like to make this... but I don't know the first thing about anything!

    Quote Originally Posted by SimulatedZero View Post
    Ok, sorry for taking so long to respond....
    Wow SimulatedZero, thank you for having such a detailed and informative post. This is definitely going to be my summer project. I don't care if this takes me 3 months, I AM going to get it done.

    Reading your post made me realize just how much more I have to learn, however there is an upside. I know EXACTLY where to splice to get into the dome lights (I've already done it for my 4 LED footwell lights) and it works perfectly because the light will turn on when the car door is open, or when I manually turn on the dome light (negating the need for a switch because the dome light switch is already there).

    So in my eyes, finding the right parts with the right focal lengths and getting the apparatus made will be the hard part. But if I can do that, I think I will be solid.

    In the meantime, I believe I have a LOT of reading up to do and googling and watching many youtube videos to start as a foundation for knowledge on this project.

    Also, weirdly enough, I just finished physics 2 (I hated how it was taught at my University) and so now all the things I swore I would never need to know... well here it is in action! Pretty cool to know the terminology from a physics standpoint

    Anyways, I hope we keep in contact, because I am sure that I will need help going on and this forum and you sound very helpful and knowledgeable. Thanks for the warm welcome

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