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Thread: Planetarium Star Projectors

  1. #31
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    These machines are difficult (but not impossible!) to transport but I will hardly call them portable. What I envy is all of the knowledge and experience you guys have with laser equipment, optics, control systems and programming for them, artistic expression through them, and know-how far deeper than I can even imagine at this point. It is one thing to get the equipment and mess with star machines, an entirely different thing to know how to use them. This house is big, and I live here alone. I'm married, but she has her own house with slightly different decor (gee wonder why ? haha) Plenty of room to have a bit of a burning man event in this place once everything is online and synchronized. Music is an important component of what I envision. Last few hours have been spent installing an MP3 server in the Minolta rack and it sure is great to share it with you guys. This stuff is addictive. If it is a slippery slope, I most certainly slid.
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    Last edited by SpitzSTP; 08-12-2011 at 23:38.

  2. #32
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    Hi Spitz,
    I just read this thread and also had to say VERY NICE collection and I always wondered what happened to all these projectors!I really hope you can make it to Selem this year.
    If you ever need to make some more room PLEASE keep me in mind.I probably couldn't afford one but I'll try!I had no idea they were that heavy though.I thought my Quantronix YAG lasers were heavy and they are!
    Looking forward to meeting you!

    Kevin

  3. #33
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    Hi Kevin, thanks for the post. I will most certainly grab a star machine for you if you want one. If I hear about a star machine coming offline I almost cannot resist getting it before it gets brutalized by someone that doesn't know how to properly disassemble it. I recently got word of a Spitz 512 (fantastic machine) that was removed from a high school planetarium in Wyoming. By the time I got it, some gorilla had destroyed the starball and that pretty much relegates the entire machine to the parts bin. That's a shame because I was going to donate it to a cash-strapped high school that really needs one. The only real cost of these star machines is often just the expense of travel to the facility and back to fetch it. There are a few machines coming offline each year, sometimes a whole bunch of them at once and there are pockets of them hiding out in dark dusty places that almost everyone has forgotten about. What I would really like to see is them go to people who will use them and care for them, as the longer they sit around the greater liklihood they will be ultimately scrapped when somebody wants to reclaim the storage space. Nobody will miss these units until most of them have disappeared, to me half of the magic of a planetarium is the fantastic odd-looking projection device in the center of the dome, now being methodically replaced by a ubiquitous black box or a LCD projector on the spring line. I look forward to meeting you all, not sure if I will make it to NC as I checked and the airline tickets are quite expensive with such short notice. If I don't make this one, I will make the next one as just the opportunity to meet some of you will be well worth the price.

  4. #34
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    In any case, with laser show gear, if you have a choice between grabbing the content and the playback devices over the projector, some of us would rather see you grab the content. Much of it, thousands of hours of effort placed in hand animating artwork and composing, has just been flat out tossed into the trash. Including the works by two of the more major companies, some of which was generated by animators trained by Disney.

    I've spent hours trying to recover shows on 1/2" 8 track tape, and its not easy, but few have put any effort in preserving it. If the show content is there, we'd love to see it placed in safe keeping. More modern laserists are pretty much interested in beam shows, and graphics-abstracts need to make a comeback.

    I can make up whitelight tubes, some of us have found ways to recover FM encoded tape, we have no problem storing recovered materials to modern digital formats, but the material itself is rare, and often encumbered with rights issues.

    There are a few pockets of the resistance left, viva la sine-cosine! A few of us just saved the first four scan head laser projector from the dumpster. Then we found getting it into a good museum just to preserve it is a real witch. There is a huge line to get things into the Smithsonian, and like many things government, their reply was "Show us the Money" and "We'll call you, you don't call us". You could find a crated Wright Flyer, serial number 3, flight tested by Wilbur, in a big old brick warehouse, call a string of major museums, and no one would take it.

    You might wish to take a few minutes with a lawyer (foul and evil creatures, I know!) to make sure your machines are preserved. I'd hate to see a Zeiss or something end up at Apache Reclamation. Welcome to the forum!

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 08-13-2011 at 02:10.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixedgas View Post
    In any case, with laser show gear, if you have a choice between grabbing the content and the playback devices over the projector, some of us would rather see you grab the content. Much of it, thousands of hours of effort placed in hand animating artwork and composing, has just been flat out tossed into the trash. Including the works by two of the more major companies, some of which was generated by animators trained by Disney.

    I've spent hours trying to recover shows on 1/2" 8 track tape, and its not easy, but few have put any effort in preserving it. If the show content is there, we'd love to see it placed in safe keeping. More modern laserists are pretty much interested in beam shows, and graphics-abstracts need to make a comeback.

    I can make up whitelight tubes, some of us have found ways to recover FM encoded tape, we have no problem storing recovered materials to modern digital formats, but the material itself is rare, and often encumbered with rights issues.

    There are a few pockets of the resistance left, viva la sine-cosine! A few of us just saved the first four scan head laser projector from the dumpster. Then we found getting it into a good museum just to preserve it is a real witch. There is a huge line to get things into the Smithsonian, and like many things government, their reply was "Show us the Money" and "We'll call you, you don't call us". You could find a crated Wright Flyer, serial number 3, flight tested by Wilbur, in a big old brick warehouse, call a string of major museums, and no one would take it.

    You might wish to take a few minutes with a lawyer (foul and evil creatures, I know!) to make sure your machines are preserved. I'd hate to see a Zeiss or something end up at Apache Reclamation. Welcome to the forum!

    Steve
    Steve, thanks for explaining this. Now that I think about it, sure, this type of thing would not have been exempt from loss over the years. The corporate industry that produces and sells these products would not be motivated to save it, as the primary effort will be to replace it with something newer with more whiz-bang that can be sold for fresh profit. I see the same thing happening to programming for the planetarium, such as recorded material that drives the aux projection devices for a show along with audio tracks and narrated material. Just think of the countless hours put in by the creators suddenly chucked in the trash by someone who thinks "nobody is going to use this old format anymore, therefore worthless" when they are cleaning up the place. The only saving grace in this scenario is that these places are often really slow in tossing out the old stuff choosing instead to stack it in a dark corner (out of sight, out of mind). I have seen numerous examples of a planetarium receiving a grant to upgrade to digital, and by then, the only motivation is to get the old stuff out of there by whatever means necessary often timed to coincide with the retirement of the staff that has served for many years there. At that time, in a single day, years of material get chucked in the dumpster because the only thing that matters to many administrators is the ability to state that they have presided over the $x million dollar upgrade to the facility. There is often nobody around to preside over what gets tossed out other than a vulture or two that wants to snag some old laserdisc players or dated audio equipment that they think they can parlay into some quick cash on eBay. The recorded material is not seen as having ANY value and therefore thrown away. The other common scenario is when I show up to get the projector, then happen to see other stuff laying around and all I have to do is ask for it (stuff I see that I don't know is there, until I get there and I didn't even come there fort it!) I know what you mean about museums. I have tried to get them to take a few extremely rare machines but like you said, the queue is LONG and they really don't have any interest in it at all they are just sometimes too polite to tell you the truth (that they just don't want it). My last encounter with this is a one-of-a-kind projector on the east coast that is soon being replaced with a new one. It has a ton of history (2.75 tons, to be exact! It is MASSIVE). When I happened on the scene they were discussing disposal options such as (1) putting it outside in the garden as decoration, (2) hacking it into fist-size pieces to hand out as souveniers, (3) dropping it to the floor with a torch to be sold as scrap metal, (4) hacking off part of it so it would fit in the lobby as a display, and so forth. Fortunately for me, they really don't want to spend any money on getting rid of it.. they just want it out of there so they can bring in the new projector. I totally understand the situation from their perspective, there just isn't much motivation or incentive to hang on to the past. But isn't that exactly what happened to many great works over time, and are now sorely missed, though perhaps not until later generations? A picture of this machine is attached and I have a plan underway to fetch it in a few weeks although it is stretching my capabilities to the limit. This one will require a crane, forklift, and United/Mayflower van to get it out of there. Now that you guys have educated me on what to look for, I will really be on the lookout for dated laser projection equipment and especially the tapes you mention.. and you guys will be the recipient of what I find (free of charge other than what it may cost me to ship it to you). Perhaps the same methods that I have used in the past to locate old planetarium equipment will work for this endeavor, if anyone is interested please send me a PM and I will explain.
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    Last edited by SpitzSTP; 08-13-2011 at 12:47.

  6. #36
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    if ever in the NY/Tri-State area, I'll offer my assistance in general disassembly, moving, and whatever else, in exchange for one of the old-school gas-lasers or other fun stuff...

    AND a good pal with a Bobcat.
    Last edited by GoolGaul; 08-13-2011 at 10:35. Reason: aditional thought

  7. #37
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    I can't resist... asking, what ever happened to all the equipment that Laserium used back in the late 70's for their travelling shows? I recall going to one circa 1978-79 in Oklahoma City, perhaps at the Kirkpatrick Planetarium and I purposely sat right next to the operator just so I could gawk at the equipment. I recall there were three or four 19" racks chock full of analog controls and a 8 or 16 track reel-to-reel tape deck. The laser(s) were mounted vertically in one of the racks and a bunch of cables and water lines running to a door in the back. Where is all of that stuff now ???????

  8. #38
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    Dsli_Jon has been absent but i'm sure he will fill in the history lesson soon, perhaps Spec can as well. I believe it is all warehoused right now, some being restored and it is in very good hands.

    john

    Quote Originally Posted by SpitzSTP View Post
    I can't resist... asking, what ever happened to all the equipment that Laserium used back in the late 70's for their travelling shows? I recall going to one circa 1978-79 in Oklahoma City, perhaps at the Kirkpatrick Planetarium and I purposely sat right next to the operator just so I could gawk at the equipment. I recall there were three or four 19" racks chock full of analog controls and a 8 or 16 track reel-to-reel tape deck. The laser(s) were mounted vertically in one of the racks and a bunch of cables and water lines running to a door in the back. Where is all of that stuff now ???????
    leading in trailing technology

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoolGaul View Post
    if ever in the NY/Tri-State area, I'll offer my assistance in general disassembly, moving, and whatever else, in exchange for one of the old-school gas-lasers or other fun stuff...

    AND a good pal with a Bobcat.
    OK cool now you're talking l was originally scheduled to be in NY last week to remove a large projector but the facility had to push out the dates. I am currently waiting for them to confirm the new date(s), and I expect it to be in September. I originally had three volunteers to help me but they ALL backed out. As it sits now I am the only one trying to get this machine out and logistics are a nightmare, especially when it comes to someone knowing how to get around the area, where the equipment rental places are, and a second set of eyes and second pair of hands of things. I have a boatload of old gas lasers including a very special ALC60 that I imported from Germany with high-power optics. Plus another pile of ALC60's that are RFE, some power supplies, etc. all in working condition perhaps we can work something out ? This project will require heavy equipment, I found a place nearby that rents the mini-crawler cranes (and they will deliver the equipment and pick it up), but I do not know how to operate the crane. I may also have to rent a forklift, but I do not know how to operate a forklift. Send me a PM ?

  10. #40
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    Got the other side loaded today with items scavenged from Indiana, mixer and signal processors. Plenty of space available in this old school Minolta rack and I am happy to see surplus get put to use, rather than out to pasture.
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