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Thread: Preserving Laser Show History: Video/Laser III

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Lake Geneva, WI.

    Default Preserving Laser Show History: Video/Laser III

    This thread is the beginning of a LARGE project to acquire, protect, restore and showcase the "Video/Laser III" laser projector designed and built, for the most part, by professor Lowell Cross. Please visit this website, Loaded with great info on Mr. Cross and his projectors... This laser show projector has historical notoriety for being one of the few, first laser show projectors ever made.

    First off, I cannot begin to cover everything I have learned today and through research over the last couple of days to fill in all the details on this laser but I eventually plan to get to it. So, for the time being, (This space is intentionally left blank until more information can be assembled. Please check back for more information as it's assembled.)

    Today, my brother and I drove to beautiful Iowa City, Iowa to pickup this laser form professor Cross himself. As seen in this thread,,, The laser system Was in the position of possibly being tossed and needed to be moved to a safe location until an new home could be found. Hopefully a museum.

    Professor Cross and his wife were a pleasure to meet with. Very accommodating, kind, professional and informative. It was truly amazing meeting with a great innovator of our hobby, business and/or obsession.

    Here are some pictures of the of the "Video/Laser III" system we picked up today.

    Professor Cross with the projector beam table. I title this one "The Brain"

    The equipment was located at two separate places . The controlling hardware was located in Mr. Cross's basement while the white-light ion laser with power supply, beam table and controller power supplies were located in Mrs. Cross's art studio in an old converted school house.

    Thankfully my brother was there to help me load. The beam table weighs approximately 150LBS, by my estimate, and is over 3X3X1 feet in dimension. (Which is an absolute work of art, more pictures soon to come. It's still in the car.)

    The whole projector system "BARELY" fit the vehicle I brought but I was able to carefully and strategically fit every piece of the system in the vehicle. In hindsight, I probably should have brought the 12' box truck but everything arrived safely after the 230 mile trek back to Lake Geneva, WI.

    Mr. Cross and I discussed the cable arrangement and he and I both thought it best to leave them intact during transportation so that re-routing can be cataloged and diagrammed. This is only 1/3rd of the wiring.... Yeah.

    Here are some schematics and wiring diagrams that Mr. Cross provided to piece the system back together again. Yes, this is not as simple as loading a file and pressing play in Pangolin. Not by a LONG shot. This is back when laser shows required a mathematician with a PHD with an artists hands to adjust the 200+ (waiting on exact number) potentiometers and switches.

    And.... Here are the controllers.... GASP!

    Here is the Coherent Model 52 Mixedgas Argon/Krypton white-light laser. This laser is an antique and... surprisingly.... still gas intact!!!

    Although, it has a fairly bright orange line, which indicates hydrogen contamination, I think it will strike an arc again.... We'll see!

    And finally,,, Here is the prisim which is used to separate the wavelengths of the white-light in to usable colors. At the time, PCAOM's were not exactly affordable.
    This is a very unique prism as it not only separates the colors but re-aligns them into straight beams, like the fingers of a fork, versus a fan. (More pictures to come...)

    Not a very good pic but... you get the idea....

    LOTS more to come. It's 3AM, I'm tired and my arms hurt from moving this behemoth.
    Until then, let the questions and comments fly.

    Here are the pictures of the beam table.

    Covered to seal in freshness, and comply with the CDRH...

    TA DAA!

    This projector works a little different than what we are used to. The beam from the white-light is split into five lasing lines, red, yellow, green, blue and violet. The 6th channel is white that is picked off before the prism.

    Once the beams are split, they are individually directed to their own XYB galvo set. After the galvos and blanking, the output is directed upwards to a positioning mirror above each galvo set. This allows the images produced from each set to be overlapped in the projection screen.

    To top it all off, in front of the mirrors are scan through lumia effects. There are three separate shower glass disks that can be individually chosen in front of each output.

    Here is a picture from Mr. Cross's website showing the output of this projector.

    Some shots of how the lumia works...

    Blanking galvos...

    The X and Y galvos are Genneral Scanning G060's Anyone got some of these? We're missing one.

    Now to the other side of the table...

    These will show the beam dividing and routing. The prism is actually on the outside of the beam table.

    Here you can see where the individual beams are picked off by the mirrors on the adjustable stage.

    Last edited by 300EVIL; 01-30-2011 at 21:59.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    All I can say is ............................! I am speechless! Must feel good having a piece of history like that in your possession.

    I am looking forward to reading and seeing more of this as you proceed.

    BTW, you look like a kid in a candy store.

    Good effort!
    This space for rent.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Wow.... amazing!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    With the exception of the TAPEMACHINE , this looks like a typical LEM to me
    Especially the guy scratching his head !

    Adam awesome job , any update on where its going etc ?

    In the beginning there was none. Then came the light - #1 UKLEM - 2007
    BUY UK LEGAL LASER POINTER :: NEW - Blue 460nm Laser Pointers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    SoCal / San Salvador / NY

    Default Adam, you Rock, Man... :)

    ...AND, you just wrote yourself into the 'history-books'... Get ready for the tidal-wave of flash bulbs and screaming blondes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lasermad View Post
    Adam awesome job , any update on where its going etc?
    Funny you should ask, Sir Paul... Looks like the Strasenburgh Planetarium / Rochester Museum & Science Center, in Rochester, NY, may-be interested...
    The laserist that runs their current planetarium show (also, familiar with ions and 'legacy-systems' - ie: knows old-school 'Lasermedia' tables / electronics / Zap-software, etc, and even stuff 'more-legacy' than that...) sounded quite enthusiastic, and am-waiting on his discussion with the higher-ups...

    So, we'll see...But, meantime, clearly it has an excellent-home with Señor Bourassa and Co.

    Thanks, Dude... Laser history owes ya one...
    Last edited by dsli_jon; 02-11-2011 at 01:09.
    ....and armed only with his trusty 21 Zorgawatt KTiOPO4...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005


    Superb. I love how everything is "crammed" into the car.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lancashire UK


    woW.. wOW.. WOW...

    that is amazing ..... looking forward to watching your progress with this Adam ....

    as Jon and Paul said ( ringo and george didnt say anything ) .... you are making history .... Just like Proffesor Cross did many years ago ... lets hope that a museum or organisation can exhibit this one in its full glory,

    Thank you Adam for making my day ...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Southport, UK


    It's great to read a good news story, well done that man for donating some kidneys to history.

    Doc's website

    The Health and Safety Act 1971

    Recklessly interfering with Darwin’s natural selection process, thereby extending the life cycle of dim-witted ignorami; thus perpetuating and magnifying the danger to us all, by enabling them to breed and walk amongst us, our children and loved ones.

  9. #9
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is online now Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
    Infinitus Excellentia Ion Laser Dominatus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    A lab with some dripping water on the floor.


    I've seen docs yellowed like that before, somehow need to do something to stop the acid in the paper, and soon.

    That color in the pic is a normal AR/KR mix, the excess orange is probably just the KR neutral orange line. I don't see the orange band spectra of H2 issues.

    Please watch the flex to glass seals on the tube ballast, the Kovar is thinned down to about .004" right next to the glass.
    It gets brittle for some reason when the laser sets.

    I have the external gauge modules to "read" the tube.

    If the tapes are there, the reels will have a brand name and a number. Having recovered a fair amount of show tapes lately let me know what it is, so I can see if they need a "bake" before further handling or shipping.

    Thanks for going to get it. Plan B worked well. I can now refund the funding for Plan "A", (Thanks Eidetic!)

    Last edited by mixedgas; 01-30-2011 at 07:20.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Yorkshire, UK


    Wow Adam, that is simply beautiful. Well done you for saving a piece of history from being potentially lost forever.

    Please keep posting pictures as you progress. Let's hope it will emit photons once more :-)

    Take care

    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.”... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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