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Thread: Laser Show Mapping Programs

  1. #1
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    Default Laser Show Mapping Programs

    Im looking for a simple program that can map laser lines around features. Any low costs options avalible?

  2. #2
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    I'm not aware of anything that will automatically trace a building for you in laser - at any price.

    However, most laser show software packages support some form of automatic tracing of pictures or scanned images. So if you took a photo of a building from the exact same position where you will position the laser projector, then you may be able to enhance the edges of of the building (using standard image-manipulation software) so that the resulting image could be auto-traced by the laser show software.

    I don't know if this method would be accurate enough or not, but it might be worth a try. Admittedly my only experience with laser mapping was watching someone do it by hand by literally drawing line segments on the screen and moving them around while a laser projector displayed them on the building. The operator had to tweak everything by hand to make it look right, and then they had to be *VERY* careful to ensure the projector wasn't moved!

    Adam

  3. #3
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    I don't need it to be automated manual is fine, I do need a way for it to save its location alignment or alignments if multiple locations are needed. I just need it to mark construction lines after they are disturbed from the construction site. It should be simple to do. I would like something out of the box that can do this or maybe you can point me to a place that has programmers that can build this for me. See photo.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails house laser construction.jpg  


  4. #4
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    Hmmm. Interesting!

    If I understand this correctly, you're looking for something that would draw these lines on the ground (much like an underground facilities locator service would do with a can of spray paint), but you want to be able to remove the projector from the site and then bring it back at some later time, set it up, and have the projector draw the lines on the ground again in exactly the same position as before...

    More clearly - you want to capture these lines (whether they are underground services, construction boundaries, property lines, or whatever) from *multiple* sites and then be able to call them back up at any time in the future using the projector to enable you to re-mark the ground at a given site if the original painted lines are no longer visible... Is that about right?

    If that's the goal, then you are in luck, as this sort of thing is fairly easy to accomplish, with most any laser show software. Accuracy of plus or minus a few inches should be very easy to accomplish, and with some extra work (and time) you can narrow that down to well below 1 inch if needed. I don't know if you can automate it, but even doing it by hand shouldn't be very difficult.

    The first step would be to select the location where the projector will be placed at a given site. This location needs to be repeatable, so you'd want a rigid mounting system with some way to ensure the projector is level and at the exact same height and position each time. (This could be a tripod on concrete with marks on the ground for the legs and marks for height and pointing direction, for example.)

    Then you'd adjust the projection zone of the projector so it is wide enough to cover the entire area where you want to draw the lines. Once the zone is set, you can draw the lines using the software and adjust them until they match where you want them to be on the ground. (If you already have painted lines visible on the ground you could take a picture from the projector's position and try to use auto-trace, as mentioned above, but I don't know how well this would work.) It would also be a good idea to have some "reference dots" in the frame that terminate on immovable structures in the field of view at specific points to aid future alignments.

    Once you have the lines displayed where you want them, you would need to save the zone settings *and* the frame file (the frame is the "picture" of lines that you are displaying on the projector). Now at any time in the future you can re-create this scene by positioning the projector in the exact same position, loading the original zone settings, and finally displaying the original frame with all the lines and alignment/reference dots. (Once you have the frame displayed you can tweak the alignment slightly to ensure all the reference dots are in the correct position before you start re-marking the lines.)

    *HOWEVER* (there's always a "however"), You will probably need to use a fairly powerful laser projector (several watts of output) in order to be able to see the lines on the ground in broad daylight. And this creates a safety issue, as a multi-watt laser projector is capable of causing instant, permanent eye damage. And *THAT* opens up a big can of worms from a regulatory point of view. My guess is that you don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but if you're curious I'm happy to lead the way.

    There are a few alternatives: First, you can use a much lower power projector (less than 5 mw) if you are willing to do this at night when it will be easier to see the lines drawn by a low power (Class 3A) laser projector. This effectively sidesteps the regulatory issues. Another option is to eliminate the laser projector entirely and use a VIDEO projector instead. Video projectors are not subject to the same regulations that laser projectors are, and video projectors are often more affordable as well. (Although you might still need to do the marking at night or early morning to ensure good visibility.)

    Adam

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Hmmm. Interesting!

    If I understand this correctly, you're looking for something that would draw these lines on the ground (much like an underground facilities locator service would do with a can of spray paint), but you want to be able to remove the projector from the site and then bring it back at some later time, set it up, and have the projector draw the lines on the ground again in exactly the same position as before...

    More clearly - you want to capture these lines (whether they are underground services, construction boundaries, property lines, or whatever) from *multiple* sites and then be able to call them back up at any time in the future using the projector to enable you to re-mark the ground at a given site if the original painted lines are no longer visible... Is that about right?

    If that's the goal, then you are in luck, as this sort of thing is fairly easy to accomplish, with most any laser show software. Accuracy of plus or minus a few inches should be very easy to accomplish, and with some extra work (and time) you can narrow that down to well below 1 inch if needed. I don't know if you can automate it, but even doing it by hand shouldn't be very difficult.

    The first step would be to select the location where the projector will be placed at a given site. This location needs to be repeatable, so you'd want a rigid mounting system with some way to ensure the projector is level and at the exact same height and position each time. (This could be a tripod on concrete with marks on the ground for the legs and marks for height and pointing direction, for example.)

    Then you'd adjust the projection zone of the projector so it is wide enough to cover the entire area where you want to draw the lines. Once the zone is set, you can draw the lines using the software and adjust them until they match where you want them to be on the ground. (If you already have painted lines visible on the ground you could take a picture from the projector's position and try to use auto-trace, as mentioned above, but I don't know how well this would work.) It would also be a good idea to have some "reference dots" in the frame that terminate on immovable structures in the field of view at specific points to aid future alignments.

    Once you have the lines displayed where you want them, you would need to save the zone settings *and* the frame file (the frame is the "picture" of lines that you are displaying on the projector). Now at any time in the future you can re-create this scene by positioning the projector in the exact same position, loading the original zone settings, and finally displaying the original frame with all the lines and alignment/reference dots. (Once you have the frame displayed you can tweak the alignment slightly to ensure all the reference dots are in the correct position before you start re-marking the lines.)

    *HOWEVER* (there's always a "however"), You will probably need to use a fairly powerful laser projector (several watts of output) in order to be able to see the lines on the ground in broad daylight. And this creates a safety issue, as a multi-watt laser projector is capable of causing instant, permanent eye damage. And *THAT* opens up a big can of worms from a regulatory point of view. My guess is that you don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but if you're curious I'm happy to lead the way.

    There are a few alternatives: First, you can use a much lower power projector (less than 5 mw) if you are willing to do this at night when it will be easier to see the lines drawn by a low power (Class 3A) laser projector. This effectively sidesteps the regulatory issues. Another option is to eliminate the laser projector entirely and use a VIDEO projector instead. Video projectors are not subject to the same regulations that laser projectors are, and video projectors are often more affordable as well. (Although you might still need to do the marking at night or early morning to ensure good visibility.)

    Adam
    This will be done at night.
    Can you sugest some low cost equipment and software for testing? Maybe even something open source?
    Thanks again for all the information.

  6. #6
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    Smile

    I'll defer to someone else with more experience using some of the free laser show software that is available. I can't really recommend anything off the top of my head. For sure you would want something with a free-hand frame editor that supported "live" output to the projector (via whatever controller that software supported) while you were drawing the lines.

    Pangolin's Quickshow can do this, and I'm pretty sure LSX can do it as well, but those are both commercial solutions. (LSX + a controller will run you around $300, and I think Pangolin's Quickshow package with software and controller is around $450 or so, although I've heard that the Christmas special they have running right now brings the cost down to $350, but only if you call and ask about it.)

    Then there's the projector itself to consider. If you buy off-the-shelf commercial class 3B hardware you're in the $1000 range, and then there's the whole legal aspect I alluded to. (At a minimum you'd need a variance from the CDRH.) Class 4 hardware (which would be usable in daylight) will be several thousand, minimum.

    Alternatively, if you're handy with a soldering iron you could probably construct your own low-power class 3A projector for about $300 in parts as a proof of concept and conveniently sidestep most of the legal issues.

    Some links you may find useful:
    https://innolasers.com/shop/index.ph...roller=product
    https://pangolin.com/products/fb3qs-with-quickshow
    https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...ce-appreciated
    https://www.photonlexicon.com/forums...69-Laser-Build
    https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...-advice-needed
    https://www.photonlexicon.com/forums...aser-projector
    https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitti...nd-instruments
    https://www.fda.gov/media/74026/download

    Finally, there *are* commercial products that were designed to do something similar to what you're proposing, although not specifically for the construction industry. Nonetheless, those products could easily function for the use case described above.

    But since these products are essentially classified as "audience-scanning projectors" (since they need to be eye-safe at all times when operating in case someone wanders into the projection area and looks up at the laser), they come with a *hefty* price tag to account for all the legal hoops one must jump through in order to get such a device certified - especially for a class 4 laser projector that has an output power of several watts.

    Bottom line: if your budget is $1500 or less and/or your time window is short (a few months), or if you are not interested in doing a deep dive into the tech and the legal side of things, then forget the idea of doing this with a laser right now. You will only end up frustrated. In the end it will almost certainly be easier and cheaper to accomplish this with an LCD Video Projector. (Albeit nowhere nearly as cool.)

    Adam

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    I'll defer to someone else with more experience using some of the free laser show software that is available. I can't really recommend anything off the top of my head. For sure you would want something with a free-hand frame editor that supported "live" output to the projector (via whatever controller that software supported) while you were drawing the lines.

    Pangolin's Quickshow can do this, and I'm pretty sure LSX can do it as well, but those are both commercial solutions. (LSX + a controller will run you around $300, and I think Pangolin's Quickshow package with software and controller is around $450 or so, although I've heard that the Christmas special they have running right now brings the cost down to $350, but only if you call and ask about it.)

    Then there's the projector itself to consider. If you buy off-the-shelf commercial class 3B hardware you're in the $1000 range, and then there's the whole legal aspect I alluded to. (At a minimum you'd need a variance from the CDRH.) Class 4 hardware (which would be usable in daylight) will be several thousand, minimum.

    Alternatively, if you're handy with a soldering iron you could probably construct your own low-power class 3A projector for about $300 in parts as a proof of concept and conveniently sidestep most of the legal issues.

    Some links you may find useful:
    https://innolasers.com/shop/index.ph...roller=product
    https://pangolin.com/products/fb3qs-with-quickshow
    https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...ce-appreciated
    https://www.photonlexicon.com/forums...69-Laser-Build
    https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...-advice-needed
    https://www.photonlexicon.com/forums...aser-projector
    https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitti...nd-instruments
    https://www.fda.gov/media/74026/download

    Finally, there *are* commercial products that were designed to do something similar to what you're proposing, although not specifically for the construction industry. Nonetheless, those products could easily function for the use case described above.

    But since these products are essentially classified as "audience-scanning projectors" (since they need to be eye-safe at all times when operating in case someone wanders into the projection area and looks up at the laser), they come with a *hefty* price tag to account for all the legal hoops one must jump through in order to get such a device certified - especially for a class 4 laser projector that has an output power of several watts.

    Bottom line: if your budget is $1500 or less and/or your time window is short (a few months), or if you are not interested in doing a deep dive into the tech and the legal side of things, then forget the idea of doing this with a laser right now. You will only end up frustrated. In the end it will almost certainly be easier and cheaper to accomplish this with an LCD Video Projector. (Albeit nowhere nearly as cool.)

    Adam
    Thanks again Adam.

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