08/21/2014 at 00:53 •
I have the basic frame of the insect rig partially done. It is made with aluminum square tubing. This makes it nice and sturdy while still being light. I've drilled some extra holes in it to let me play around with mounting positions to see which works best. I need to make up some better right angle brackets though--the ones I have are slightly raised around where the screw goes in, which causes it to not be square.
I decided I wanted to mount the laser above the camera's image sensor. By doing this the laser will be pointed at a downward angle to be in the center of the image. I believe this is a good idea so the laser won't be shined up in the air towards people's faces. The laser is low power and will not cause any harm, but I could easily see people getting upset (and rightfully so) if that happened.
08/21/2014 at 00:44 •
I've begun working on a speedlight flash unit that will be attached to the frame. My main reasons for wanting to make a couple flashes for it is convenience and cost. It will save me from having to readjust them every time I wish to use the insect rig and save me some money. I removed a bunch of capacitors from disposable cameras to make a capacitor bank for the flash. The tube I am using is from Electronics Goldmine and is about 10". I am also using a trigger coil from them. The flash works well manually triggering it. My next step is to add an IGBT to control the flash duration. This will also short the trigger coil to a capacitor to initiate the flash. This allows me to control the flash duration with 1 pin on a micro controller.
08/06/2014 at 21:02 •
The sensor module is complete. I found a CPVC fitting that was close in size to the diameter of the lens. I had to slightly enlarge the inner diameter so the lens press fits inside. I glued the photo diode to a piece of plastic that fits inside the fitting. I also slotted the edge of the fitting and put a hose clamp around it. This allows me to focus the lens by moving the fitting in and out from the photodiode. I also found a piece of plastic that fits around the outside of the fitting to act as a shade to prevent sunlight from triggering it.
08/05/2014 at 19:54 •
I've obtained most of the materials I'll need. I started making the frame. I still need to come up with a good way of mounting the laser and sensor that allows me to adjust it accurately.
I originally was going to make the flash units out of disposable cameras. I can get plenty of used ones for free. The only issue I was running into was the time it takes for it to charge. It uses a very small transformer so it has a pretty low limit. My solution to this is to use the circuit out of a handheld bug zapper. I can get them for free from Harbor Freight so the price is right. I burnt up the transistor on one of the boards powering it with a lithium-ion battery. Using the C batteries it came with did work quite well though.
The strobe that will handle lighting up the background will be based on a 10" Xenon tube from Electronics Goldmine powered by capacitors from disposable cameras and the bug zapper charge circuit.
Both of the strobes will be controlled with a IGBT to allow me to have a very short flash duration.