Cheap Trigger for High-Speed Photography

A simple trigger for high-speed photography is the ‘tripwire’ trigger.  Unfortunately few (if any) commercially available flashes are configured for this trigger.  Thankfully, an Arduino-based trigger controller is very easy to make.  I will also shamelessly plug Edgerton, an open-source LED flash specifically designed for high-speed photography, that can be tripwire-triggered without any major hardware!

How It Works:

A small bracket must be built for the muzzle of your rifle (or whatever you are using).  Two pins protrude from the end of the bracket and a fine wire is wrapped between the pins.  The pins are connected to a port (I use a 3.5mm audio port) which can be connected to Edgerton or the trigger controller by an extension cable.

When the projectile exits the muzzle, it passes through the wire and breaks it.  The two pins, which were once connected by the wire, are now ‘open’.  Edgerton or the flash controller detects that the pins are separated and a timer is started.  After the timer finishes, the flash is triggered.

Read moreCheap Trigger for High-Speed Photography

Automating GIMP

Let me be clear about something.  GIMP is probably my favourite piece of open-source software.  Truth told, I could have a license for Photoshop or PaintShopPro, and I would still use GIMP.  That’s because it is so focused on functionality over style – which means that, despite its limited development (it’s open-source after all), it is a program that has the horsepower to compete with the big players.  All you have to do is learn its quirky UI!

Read moreAutomating GIMP

CNC Pancake Printer #DIY

Printing Pancakes With A Camera Dolly?

My kids are enthused by 3D printing, casually remarking about things they could ‘just print’.  Recently they asked to build a pancake printer – what a cool idea!

20181215_100232.jpg

I thought about how to build a simple batter extruder and gantry.  It didn’t take long to realize that IREnE, my new DIY camera dolly, is the perfect platform to use as a ‘theta-style‘ gantry!  So I set about adding pancake printing functionality to the camera dolly.

Read moreCNC Pancake Printer #DIY

MIKRO-CHRONOGRAPH (ATTiny85 Camera Intervalometer) #DIY

PREAMBLE:

A friend and I set out to build a camera intervalometer for DSLR cameras.  Instead of following one of the many build guides available online, we decided to design our own – The Mikro-Chronograph.  Check out the feature list:

  • 2x AA batteries with a ridiculously long battery life
  • LED display functions in any temperature (eg. Canadian winter) and has fancy features such as scrolling text and swirling icon
  • Tiny!
  • Encoder/button combo input is very simple and intuitive
  • Very fast to setup: Initial Delay, Shutter On Time, Shot-Shot Delay, and Number of Shots
  • Automatically load the last settings each time the intervalometer is turned on (with EEPROM wear levelling algorithm, it will easily outlast a professional camera)
  • Can be extensively customized without reprogramming, including screen orientation & brightness, input styles, clock speed calibration, and memory behaviour
  • Safe to use with any DSLR, thanks to the optoisolator
  • Price Tag: less than $20 CAD

 

If you want to build one, just get the components listed, wire them up on a PCB board (look at the photos below for a layout guide), program the ATTiny85 with the available code, and build a case.  All of the details can be found on Google Drive.  The 3D printed case designs are on Thingiverse.

Read moreMIKRO-CHRONOGRAPH (ATTiny85 Camera Intervalometer) #DIY

3D Printed Solar Film Holder

Preamble:

At the last minute, I purchased a sheet of Baader Planetarium solar film for the eclipse on Monday.  With little time to spare, the film was taped to a cardboard box and slid over my telescope.  Prayers were made that the wind wouldn’t blow the film off of the scope, and the next day I decided to build a proper holder for the expensive film – $100 CAD for an 8″ x 11″ sheet!

Read more3D Printed Solar Film Holder

Pyrography Power Supply #DIY

IMG_6097-Edit

Wood burning is a popular hobby which can become quite expensive.  A quality wood burning system consists of: 1. A pen or selection of pens and 2. A power supply (station).  I decided to invest in a series of Razertip wood burning pens simply because they were available at a local Lee Valley Tools store (they also have a 1-year unconditional warranty – if I end up destroying a pen with a home-built supply then we will find out just how unconditional the warranty is).  The pens are available for ~$30 each, which can become a significant investment if you want more than one or two.  The stations run for $165 and up, which is the same price as six pens!  So lets ditch the station.

Read morePyrography Power Supply #DIY

High-Speed Photography of Bullets & Glass

Preamble:

What does a  wine glass look like when it’s shot? (TL;DR have a look at my flickr album)

This obvious question was asked when my wife provided me with three wine glasses which were used to keep her Siamese Fighting Fish.  She couldn’t bring herself to drink from them after their use as aquariums.  So I decided to destroy them and make a few attempts at high-speed photography!

Read moreHigh-Speed Photography of Bullets & Glass