Laser Arduino Instrument
So this project has been lying around for a while and I finally found some time to write it up. I was inspired with several of the other popular microcontroller based laser instruments that have been floating around on the web over the last year. Ultimately I wanted to put together a project that was more compact and portable and this is the end result of my first attempt. While I had a lot of fun building this project I honestly learned more about how I would make it different in the future. There are many different ways to design the interface a musician would use and by far its more interesting to design new and experimental ways to expand this concept.
For this project we picked up some precut .250 poplar. We used all precut stock that is the same length to make it simple to construct and reduce the number of cuts we needed for this project.
2 – 24 X 5.5 X .25
3 – 24 X 1.5 X .25
1 – 24 X 1.5 X .75
To allow access to the internals to change batteries we will be using a simple hinge kit from our local home improvement store. These are chrome and I ended swapping them out with brass for constancy of the metal parts in this build.
Wood glue will be all that holds the project shell together. Its strong, cheap and easy to work with.
So a while back I did an art project for a local studio that used a bunch of cheap red lasers. These are about 1.20 each and are the typical laser found in cheap laser pointers. They have a brass housing for the laser diode and a focusing lens.
Push on off button for powering the system on and off. No frills here, just don’t buy them at the highly overpriced national chain if you can avoid it.
For this project we will be using 9 light sensing CdS. These simple and easy to use sensors are tremendously useful in a good deal of projects. I recommend buying these from digikey as they are a fraction of the national chains pricing.
For our pinout for the interface on our arduino we used a simple protoboard so we could use a wave shield for future experimentation. The case has enough height to support a shield on the arduino so we may as well use the space wisely.
We picked up some brass hardware to hold the top wood bars to the base box. 4 screws at 1.25” will cost you about 5.00 but cosmetically its worth it.
The speaker we used in this project was the Altec Lansing Orbit. We used it for a couple reasons. First off is the sound quality, it absolutely will surprise you with how good it sounds and the bass that it can put out. Secondly the onboard amp that is 5V native. Lastly is the simple interface of a mono phono cable. This allows us to use simple beep output, or complex sounds with a waveshield simply.
Finally and most importantly the world famous Arduino. This little MCU has been the most fun I have spent 30.00 on that I can remember. Absolutely a must for the tinkerers out there.