If you've seen the latest rebuilding entries, you'll have seen the canopy and new table I've put together. Since then, I've replaced the canopy with thicker black plastic (the idea I had that clear plastic would be less unattractive to my mate was rubbish. The black isn't any worse and has the benefit that I can open my office door without ruining film).
With the new canopy in place, I've been running as many tests as time would allow. I'm off to build an exposure robot (more details later) but here are a couple of shots of recent successes.
Here are a few pictures of the in-progress hologram control R2D2 robot. I've been doing some research with the goal of automating the settling and exposures (so that I can reduce the chances that me moving about will ruin a hologram) and I realized I already had what I needed. A Lego Mindstorms kit.
With that in mind, I started coding up an exposure control program. I finished it this morning and so far, it works well with the test shutter and light meter.
I've got two touch sensors that I use for incrementing and decrementing the settling and exposure times and one more that is used as an "accept" button to tell the software that a given entry is complete. The software automatically goes into "settling" mode after the times are set. Once settling is complete, it automatically opens the shutter for the required amount of time, closes the shutter and plays an alert sound (all appropriately R2D2 sounding).
There's also a light sensor that will eventually be used to verify that the shutter is open and closed at the right times.
I've been doing a fair number of tests with the laser diode recently and was getting good results when I managed to crack the housing lens. Apparently they should never be cleaned with alcohol. As I was cleaning it, it just cracked right across the middle. I've since ordered another three ($8 each) and expect to start some more experiments with the laser diode next week.
In the meantime I've been working with my old trusty 5mW HeNe and cranking out some good Snoopygrams. I'm going to make several as giveaways and then make some single-beams of other subjects.
Sunday, March 16, 2003
The trilobite-shaped thing in the fourth image is a Millennium Falcon that will end up on film sometime soon.
One note about the spatial filter. Until I'd put that sucker back into my setup I'd forgotten just how much it cleans up and brightens the holograms made with it. It actually does make a huge difference in the quality of my holograms, not just because it removes the odd swirl from the beam but because it evens out the entire beam. Get one, you won't regret it.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
I've been on an absolute tear making copies of the Snoopygram as giveaways. This morning I made my first hologram of the day such that it wasn't pre-soaked in the sugar solution and plays back red. I had intended to try using that for making contact copies but I have to rotate the master about five degrees in order for it to play back brightly. I think things will go better if I set things up to create a transmission master and make copies from that.
I followed up by making two more green versions of Snoopy. Tomorrow I'm going to make a double-sided version and see what happens.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
This morning I did several shots.
I did a double-exposure of Snoopy. For the first exposure I had him in the orientation you see above and for the second shot I rotated him 180 degrees and flipped the film. I ended up with a somewhat dim hologram that when you turn it you can see either side of Snoopy.
I also tried to do some test shots of the Millennium Falcon and a Celtic stone. Unfortunately they didn't come out well at all. The details follow from the post I made on the Holography Forum.
"Holograms certainly can be a forgiving (or masochistic) species" (posted the Holography Forum).
I was going through a frustrating phase last night.
Later in the afternoon I quickly made a housewarming present for a friend who really likes R2D2.
This morning I ran a print-out test. I'd asked about it on the Holography Forum because I was planning on sending a hologram to a friend in Jamaica and his most convenient light source is likely to be the Sun. Unfortunately I had noticed undesirable darkening of some (but not all ?) of my holograms and wanted to find out how I could prevent that. Most of the replies went along the lines of "don't look at them in the Sun" and I couldn't prevent that (plus, holograms look so good in sunlight).
For the test I used my color board (a white board covered with little dots of paint of various colors that I used to see how they would look in a hologram) and after development I cut the film strip so that I could vary the post-treatment step on some of them keep some of the film protected from bright light while exposing others to sunlight and bright indoor lights.
I found that a post-development bath in 10% acetic acid combined with longer rinse times is preventing print-out with my current developing regime.
I did two TEA test shots this morning. I was wondering how long I could go
between TEA treatment and development. One with a piece of film that was treated
with TEA on the morning of 2/25 and one with a piece of film that was treated at 10pm on
[note added 11/26/03] - Since this test we've frequently soaked, squeegeed and dried film several days, as long as a week, before using it and never noticed any fogging that could be blamed on the TEA. The only time we've had any fogging of that sort is when we've left the film in the TEA bath for 15-20 minutes. Five minutes seems to be the magic number for us.
Today I tried a few latensification tests as recommended by Slavich. They say that it's optional for CW (continuous wave) exposures such as the ones that I am doing but I wanted to see what the differences might be. Following their recommendations, it seems that the time I should use is about 3 seconds.
After the tests I did an exposure of the Celtic cross and while it came out nice and bright, I couldn't swear that the latensification had any affect on the final image.
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