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Thread: Planetarium Star Projectors

  1. #1
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    Default Planetarium Star Projectors

    Hi, I am new in here. I have collected a and restored a number of commercial opto-mechanical star projectors that I have pulled out of planetariums, museums and schools across the USA with the desire to add laser displays to the starfields in my home. I started with just one, now I have slid down the splippery slope with four of them. They are all large and weigh 1000+ pounds each. Just wondering.. if there is anyone else like me in here? Back in the 80's I spent nearly every weekend hanging out in the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, watching the Laser shows, and from that point on forever hooked. Rather than begin with laser systems, I started with star projectors and am now finally adding laser displays to them after acquiring a Chroma 5 AVI from a planetarium.
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  2. #2
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    @ SpitzSTP,
    to answer your Q, yes I belive thair is . I don't know his name but last year at the SELEM 2010 he did a demo of his star stuff at the selem event. I love planitariums I would also like to learn more about them and how they work in the optical and programming! I as a kid built (in my early twentys that is) a 10' Newton and a Shmit cold camera so I could take some awesome astrophtoghraphy pics NEBS, clusters ,sprials and such, When my best friend ran off with my wife and two kids,Well lets say he needed that stuff to" like every thing I had". When I was releast from jail I owen a pair of shoes,socks, pants, shirt and a need to find a new place to live.Yea it sucked! but now I have lasers!!!

    Welcome to the PL forum we like you allready!!!! your are in the right place to get involved with lasers and all that gose with them. Alot of members here are welth of knowledge and help as well.
    My friend buffo (Adam) knows the person that did the star demo at Selem I belive, Send him a PM and intro your self to him, and ask him your self. He is one of the good guys and very likable, you won't go wrong having him as a friend here and he is just one of many, many!

    1000lbs each WoW I had no Idea they are that heavy, and from the pics you posted they look rather complicated in there structure and for lack of a better word "gearing" I have only been to two panituriums in My life. Sandiago ,Cail and here in Phoenix, Az sience museaum and it was at least 15 -20 years apart but gave the same awe inspiring feeling I like and remember from the first visit to a Planetariume.

    Are buy any chance going to SELEM 2011 in N.C. conover? If thier is any way I could talk you into going, I would! Great, 3 days of laser shows, music, demos on Pangolins Software and hard, people working and tuning very large argons, and hi wattage laser projectors and a Garage sale selling just about anything on lasers and thair support equipment and componets.
    See the "Official selem V sighn up thred on the laser meet and great" on the home page! If you are intrested that is. Ware in the world are you?
    BEAMANN (GODSLIGHT SHOWS)

  3. #3
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    Hi, and welcome to Photonlexicon.

    Wow!, Wow!, Wow!

    You've gotta be one of the luckiest persons alive. OMG *Four* starfield projectors. Do ya fancy shipping one of those over to the UK?... Probably not, don't think there's a chance I could afford one though

    I guess DSLI Jon (Daystar Lasers) will be here shortly. He's the guy you need to speak to about this stuff and Lumia etc. I'm sure he could build you a 'proper' old skool lumia projector to sit alongside your starfield

    http://www.daystarlasers.com/

    http://www.laserium.com/index.html

    Cheers

    Jem
    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

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpitzSTP View Post
    Hi, I am new in here. I have collected a and restored a number of commercial opto-mechanical star projectors that I have pulled out of planetariums, museums and schools across the USA with the desire to add laser displays to the starfields in my home. I started with just one, now I have slid down the splippery slope with four of them. They are all large and weigh 1000+ pounds each. Just wondering.. if there is anyone else like me in here? Back in the 80's I spent nearly every weekend hanging out in the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, watching the Laser shows, and from that point on forever hooked. Rather than begin with laser systems, I started with star projectors and am now finally adding laser displays to them after acquiring a Chroma 5 AVI from a planetarium.
    Are you saying you have a planetarium and a dome setup at home?!?! Wow, if only I could convince the wife! I've worked on a few planetariums in my time, in the theater I worked at and on the road with JHE. Even came close to buying a surplus one, but it didn't work out. They are an incredible piece of machinery. I'm intrigued by your reference to a Chroma 5 AVI, can you elaborate? Is this an old Omniscan or the 4 scan head projector?

    Regarding your pics, the first pic looks like a Goto. I'm not sure what the second pic is, it is a basic star ball, undoubtedly with an arc lamp inside. Who made that one? I do see an Omniscan in from of the star ball, guessing this is the AVI projector you picked up. Man, if you have a dome and one of these you are all set!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the warm welcome, I can tell I am in the right place. I am in Phoenix, AZ off Chandler Blvd in a rather innocent looking house that has been transformed into a workshop for star machines. There have been as many as nine machines in here now I am down to four. When I started refurbishing them I went for Spitz A3P and 512 (most common machines onnce typically found in high school planetariums and small museums) then my taste was refined, now I only go for the most powerful and rare models. The four I currently have are: (1) Spitz Hybrid STP once installed in the old Fillmore East theater in NYC in a nightclub called "The Saint" that had a 70 foot dome circa 1981-1988, this machine sat upon a hydraulic lift in the center of the venue and uses two 300 watt xenon lamps for starfield generation (2) Spitz Starscape / Electric Sky, a massive four foot starball standing 10 feet tall, (3) Minolta/Viewlex IIB I recently pulled out of an elementary school planetarium in Indiana, and (4) GOTO MkIIA which is still being used by the school until they find a suitable upgrade. I am working on getting a fifth machine in here, the largest one I have ever found that weighs in at 2.75 tons. I do not have a dome but the house has a tall vaulted ceiling and is the next best thing I suppose. The living room furniture has been replaced with a 2 ton gantry crane so I can assemble the machines. I would really like to find out what is this SELEM 2011 ? I am looking forward to adding the laser display element to what I hope will be a completely immersive experience. I've grabbed alot of stuff over the years, Lexel 95, ALC60X, Chroma 5 AVI, optical table, scanners, galvos and a 40kw Onan generator I pulled out of a grocery store with 176 hours on it but I don't know what the h*ll I am doing and haven't much clue how to set it up. The exact placement of stars above is not so much of a concern especially since I do not have a dome. Rather, having all 5 star machines up at once should yield approximately 35,000 stars, plenty to fill the "sky" , all that is needed now are laser displays and music. It's a work in progress, and I have a feeling I am on the right forum board.
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  6. #6
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    swamidog is online now Jr. Woodchuckington Janitor III, Esq.
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    do you give tours? i'm in goodyear.

    let me know if you need some lumia to go with your star projectors.




    Quote Originally Posted by SpitzSTP View Post
    Thanks for the warm welcome, I can tell I am in the right place. I am in Phoenix, AZ off Chandler Blvd in a rather innocent looking house that has been transformed into a workshop for star machines. There have been as many as nine machines in here now I am down to four. When I started refurbishing them I went for Spitz A3P and 512 (most common machines onnce typically found in high school planetariums and small museums) then my taste was refined, now I only go for the most powerful and rare models. The four I currently have are: (1) Spitz Hybrid STP once installed in the old Fillmore East theater in NYC in a nightclub called "The Saint" that had a 70 foot dome circa 1981-1988, this machine sat upon a hydraulic lift in the center of the venue and uses two 300 watt xenon lamps for starfield generation (2) Spitz Starscape / Electric Sky, a massive four foot starball standing 10 feet tall, (3) Minolta/Viewlex IIB I recently pulled out of an elementary school planetarium in Indiana, and (4) GOTO MkIIA which is still being used by the school until they find a suitable upgrade. I am working on getting a fifth machine in here, the largest one I have ever found that weighs in at 2.75 tons. I do not have a dome but the house has a tall vaulted ceiling and is the next best thing I suppose. The living room furniture has been replaced with a 2 ton gantry crane so I can assemble the machines. I would really like to find out what is this SELEM 2011 ? I am looking forward to adding the laser display element to what I hope will be a completely immersive experience. I've grabbed alot of stuff over the years, Lexel 95, ALC60X, Chroma 5 AVI, optical table, scanners, galvos and a 40kw Onan generator I pulled out of a grocery store with 176 hours on it but I don't know what the h*ll I am doing and haven't much clue how to set it up. The exact placement of stars above is not so much of a concern especially since I do not have a dome. Rather, having all 5 star machines up at once should yield approximately 35,000 stars, plenty to fill the "sky" , all that is needed now are laser displays and music. It's a work in progress, and I have a feeling I am on the right forum board.
    suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

  7. #7
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    Wow you used to work with JHE ? small world ! The Minolta I just pulled out of Indiana was maintained by JHE for many years, as was a similar star machine I pulled out of San Antonio a few years ago. I don't know anything about the AVI yet, or what it does. It came with a bunch of water cooling equipment and I was told that it works, but may "need new optics".

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpitzSTP View Post
    Wow you used to work with JHE ? small world ! The Minolta I just pulled out of Indiana was maintained by JHE for many years, as was a similar star machine I pulled out of San Antonio a few years ago. I don't know anything about the AVI yet, or what it does. It came with a bunch of water cooling equipment and I was told that it works, but may "need new optics".
    Interesting! I helped Joe renovate the theater in Kokomo, IN and San Antonio, TX. I just talked to him a couple weeks ago and he expressed interest in joining us for SELEM, not sure if he's going to make it though. If the AVI projector is pictured in the first post, in front of the star ball, then it's an Omniscan. Basically, a fiber fed scan head with a lens that enables it to scan 360 degrees by 180 degrees. If you're lucky, it'll also have an array of optical effects in front of the scan head. I've been trying to get my hands on one for years without any luck, almost got the one out of Boston last year. The Omniscan (replaced with todays Skylase) is the most amazing laser projector you can get for a planetarium. I hope you got a box full of show tapes with it!!!

    Regarding SELEM, if you want to learn a thing or two about what you have and how to use it, then you should really try to attend. It's rather short notice at this point since it starts next Friday. Located in Newton, NC, it's a 3 day event where you'll get the chance to learn plenty about lasers, projectors and software. Check out this thread for more information: http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...245#post191245

    Also, I sent an invite to AVI to attend and they seemed interested, so there might be an AVI rep at SELEM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swamidog View Post
    do you give tours? i'm in goodyear.

    let me know if you need some lumia to go with your star projectors.
    Arg! You make me jealous, I wish I lived up the street from this guy!

  10. #10
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    Wow how cool is that, you are in Goodyear. Sure C'mon over, I am right off I-10. I do need to get this place straightened up first as it is a real mess right now. I just got back from the midwest with a 26 foot Penske full of star machine stuff and getting ready to fly out again, and bring another truck full of planetarium stuff. Many theaters are converting to digital and no longer need their opto-mechanical projectors. So I save as many of them as I can, as I personally think the quality of star images far exceeds what any digital projector can currently display. There is hardly any place to walk in here at the moment. The floodgates sort of opened up recently in terms of surplus star projection equipment and I have been on the road alot typically flying out to a distant city, renting a truck and hauling it back. Two more trips are planned over the next couple of months then I hope things will quiet down enough to start assembling the AVI and get the generator running. The amount of time I spend on this project is only limited by my day job as a software engineer. I am fortunate to have found this board, as I hope to share this endevor with those who are interested (and perhaps rather shamelessly, seek a pointer or two in the process from those far more experienced than I). Over the past few days I have been getting the Minolta control panel restored, adding a 1U server to form the backbone of my audio system and a place to keep all my MP3's. One advantage of having cables and equipment everywhere in the house is the need to run the vacuam cleaner alot less because I don't worry as much about the dirt I cannot see because it is underneath something. I don't often have vistors here since I generally work all the time and lost track of my friends years ago, through countless corporate transfers. I value friendships especially when there is common ground to be shared. Every so often I have someone like an A/C repairman over here and the usual first comment is something like, OMG or WTF are you doing in here ???? I will definately need to cover a few of the windows on the front of the house when I get the lasers running or else someone around here will freak out and have some new rules passed in the HOA. I did read the HOA rules, it says "release of radiation is not permitted" but they do not specifically state what types of radiation are forbidden, and nobody shall be the wiser as long as I cover up the windows. I'll never forget the first laser show I ever saw in late late 70's, a Laserium show with these giant racks full of analog controls and water lines running on the floor and then later, a large inflatable dome at the Texas State Fair with beanbag chairs circa 1978-79, that was the wildest show I ever saw and from that point on an experience I dream to replicate. I especially like the abstract displays, woefully sick of the modern crappy Laser Floyd junk. I wish there was a place to go, to see truly good laser shows like I used to see in Seattle. In my area the typical form of entertainment for the masses seems to be shopping watching movies and sporting events, that just doesn't do it for me I NEED MORE !!!!
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    Last edited by SpitzSTP; 08-12-2011 at 09:59.

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