Morse Code Shutterlight Suitcase - Makers wanted.


  • Design Lab

    Id like to collaborate with interested Makers to create a suitcase-sized Semaphore Iris spotlight that includes the gack for noobs to type in their text message and have it translated to semaphore light-language and broadcast through the iris.

    It has to be sturdy - think “drag it to the top of a mountain and broadcast” sturdy.

    This is an art project that integrates with my Perimeter project, in which I take 60 photos of an object from a perimeter around it.

    Here’s an example, the shipwreck of the Pesuta near Tlell in Haida Gwaii:

    @krankin whats up with doing a 24" iris in 6ml baltic and integrating cnc actuation?

    Any other peeps interested? Maybe we could test it for 100th Hack?


  • Member

    @Vaughn for sure. I’ll be in at the space most of the afternoon today, Do you can fill me in on the details more then, but i should be able to scale up to 24" easily enough



  • This is some cool stuff. How far do you need to see the light? Shutters were traditionally used for Morse code because any light bright enough to be seen at distance took too long to heat up and cool down for short flashes.

    A Venetian Blind type shutter will actuate much faster than a big iris though.

    Semaphore was a code involving the use of two light sticks or flags. Related but slightly different stuff… I think you could do a pretty good Semaphore setup with 8 lights that don’t move…

    If you are using LEDs for the light, there is no real need for a shutter, since they can turn on and off in milliseconds. If you are using say … a thermal lance though… :)


  • Design Lab

    @pierre hhhmmmm good points, Pierre! Need to digest this…

    This is what I had in my minds eye:



  • Yep, that is exactly the sort of shutter I was talking about. Used for Morse code signalling When I was in Germany, they let me play with one from the first world war with a carbon arc lamp and a focusing lens that projected an intense beam of light for many miles. Arc lamps are “blisters on your eyeballs, go directly to emergency” bright.



  • @pierre, I used to operate carbon arc spot lights in production work. They get pretty warm. How hard would it be to also make a Light sensitive “reader” at the other end?



  • @Roland A teletype? A low speed modem? That would the big-kid version of the speaker tubes you can find at playgrounds!



  • @Torren … but with light. Low tech at one end, high tech at the other.



  • I’ve always wanted to make a few Yablochkov candles… World’s most terrifying flashlight type applications.


  • Member

    @Vaughn Pierra has some good points about the Iris maybe not being the fastest for this sort of thing, and the bigger the iris, the slower it’s open/closing time will be. I am currently working on another shutter system that might work a little better and still be a unique and cool shutter mechanism. Although if you are wanting a purely efficient mechanism, It will be hard to beat the Venetian blind style.


  • Design Lab

    OK, awesome sauce already. I agree the iris wont work for this (I just love that thing, though - great work, @Krankin ).

    Again, I want a simple interface that allows a non-tech person to type in a message, press enter, and that message begins to broadcast morse code through the actuated shutter.

    I very much like the physical shutter, the sound it makes and the mechanical nature of it - I realize we could just make a huge flashlight and turn it on and off, but I don’t want that - I want to make a weird, almost steam-punkish suitcase that has the gack inside and the shutter attached to one wall. And it has to be durable.

    Im going to draw something for it…

    THANK YOU for your great input so far.


  • Classroom

    @Vaughn, my Mamiya RB67 (medium format film camera circa 1986), has a fully mechanical 7 blade iris and shutter speed of up to 1/400th of a second. For the scale you are talking about I think we would want it to go slower (1/16th second should be plenty fast), and be made of metal…

    …wait, now we are basically talking about a guillotine, maybe horizontal blind is the way to go.


  • Member

    @kile I’m sure i can come up with something for this. The Iris can close pretty fast, especially if we are using stronger materials.



  • @kile said:

    medium format film camera circa 1986

    To take a guess, you probably have leaves in the iris about 0.020" or 0.010" (half or quarter millimeter ish…) thick made of brass or steel? And an outer diameter of about an inch?

    We can get 0.020" steel or brass shim stock in 100 foot rolls pretty cheaply. You’d only be able to make leaves 6" across at the widest point… but if they were all identical and had 3 or more holes, you could bolt them all to a jig plate as a stack, and gang mill them to ensure they are uniform. Pretty much the only way to make precision parts out of something this thin and grabby… You deform the material too much punching them out, and when a rotating cutter hits a super thin piece of sheet… the results are never pretty.


  • Member

    Came up with an idea for the shutters. It will be using the same principle of the venetian blind shutters, but with the axis for each panel radiating from the centre. Currently working on a CAD model of it, Will post pictures when done.
    Edit:
    1_1490574593698_Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 5.29.10 PM.png 0_1490574593698_Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 5.28.56 PM.png


  • Classroom

    @pierre, I like it. The biggest difference between the leaf blade shutter and Krankin’s iris is that the blades in the my camera ride on each other to keep squared as they operate. I think that it would be more simple and reliable than trying to rotate the blades as in @Krankin’s latest pitch. I like the idea but it seems more complex than the camera shutter, and harder to pull off. Also overlapping shutters guarantees that no light leaks through in the off position. Also reduces the number of blades by a lot, again simplifying the design.


  • Member

    @kile I’m still a little concerned with building a reliable iris at 24" that will close fast enough. I guess it will require building one to know fore sure. I have a 1/4" overlap with the radial shutter design above, although i think they would need to be mounted a little different on their axis than modelled to get better fit. One benefit I see to my latest design is it would require very little space outside of the aperture diameter. I’m not sure if this would be an issue but with the iris, the less blades you have in it, the wider the iris frame needs to be to store the blades when open, so we would have to find a good balance on frame width vs number of blades.
    I was thinking that 12 blades was probably a little higher than needed with the above model, 8 might work better, but there isn’t really any constraints on how few blades you can go. I’d like to take a look at your camera shutter though, see how easy it would be to replicate and scale up to 24" Diameter.


  • Member

    What will be used as the light behind the iris? Will heat be an issue for either flame or warping?


  • Classroom

    @Krankin, I can definitely bring in a lens sometime (each lens has its own built in shutter in the RB67. Have a look at this 4 blade leaf shutter diagram:
    0_1490599550818_zdci6.jpg

    Actually the whole page I poached it from is worth a skim:
    http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/79043/what-is-a-leaf-shutter

    I think @pierre’s idea of cutting it out of sheet stock is a win (I’m assuming that there is a good way to flatten the material, curling could make binding a win. I like the idea of a 4-7 blade shutter for this project. Its not as stylized or artsexy as your iris, but I think the simplified design will really make the triggering mechanism much easier to build.



  • There was a camera iris in the hack room on one of the shelves… Someone brought in a smashed up film camera and it was one of the parts that got pulled out as potentially useful, if only so we could figure out how it works.




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