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July 2, 2003

Disaster strikes again. I arrived home tonight and turned on my laser only to find that I couldn't see the beam on my object. At first I was quite confused as none of the mounts had been bumped and I'd recently ensured that none would drift on their own.
After some shuffling of components I found that the laser was putting out less light than your average laser pointer. Upon removing the collimating lens, I discovered this:

I posted the picture on the holography forum and had a few members tell me that the front facet had been blown off. Apparently this can happen if there's a transient spike when the laser is turned on.

Damnit. I've put my HeNe back on the table and I'm going to work with it while I look for my next diode. I'm tempted to try removing the window from my first diode and see if I can use it as an open-cavity laser. Before I can do that I'll have to find a way to remove it from the housing.

July 3, 2003

I shot two holograms this morning just to test the layout and the new plexiglass holder I made last night. Earlier in the week I'd tried using a single sheet of plexiglass as a holder but was getting banded images.

The general consensus was that the film was moving during exposure. While I know that a laser diode going through mode hops will generate similar bands, it was also possible (and my hope) that the film was moving.

This morning I set up this holder:

and placed it in the plate holder:

let the table settle for 10 minutes and shot.  Both holograms came out fairly bright (a little overexposed at 2s though).


This evening I decided to shoot a hologram of a rose.  I was pretty sure that I could keep the exposure short enough and we had a really pretty rose blooming in the garden.

I put it in a glass of ice water to slow it down and attached it to a clamp holder that I made for the occasion.  I made two quick holograms but apparently they were too quick.  They show some movement of the film (I was using the new film holder) but are nice and bright.  I'll probably try again with the glass film holder when we have another rose available.

July 4, 2003

I was doing some cleaning today and I thought I'd post some pictures of my lab area.

Developing station and table.

The station has four quart size containers for rinse water.  Since I don't have running water in my office, I use those for all but the last rinse step and I change out the water for every hologram.  In front of the rinse buckets are the containers for developer, stop bath and bleach.  I tend to leave the stop and bleach on the table (in covered containers of course) in between holograms since those solutions can be re-used and last quite a long time.

The latest version of the table with an ogham piece ready for shooting.

The new plate holder.  It's made of two pieces of plexiglass with a hole cut in the center and painted black.  I've also put silicone along one edge to act as a hinge and to absorb vibrations.

Putting the film in.

and clamping it shut.

A close-up of the ogham with the new plate holder in place.  I've got it tilted away from the plate holder so that I can get a good sense of the depth attainable with the new holder.

Monday, July 7th, 2003

I posted the following to the Holography Forum today:

"For everyone in the U.S. I hope you had a good Independence Day weekend and for everyone else, I hope you just plain had a good weekend.

Myself, I had a holographic weekend.

Friday I spent puttering around the house with Wifey and preparing my lab for some serious shooting.

On Saturday a co-worker of hers, who once made holograms in Columbia, came by to spend the afternoon talking holography with us. He made a few holograms in college many years ago and is thinking about setting up a lab in his house. He's thinking about it even harder now.

Saturday morning I made a couple of test holograms with the new holder that some of you have heard about and in the later afternoon sent our friend away with an R2D2 hologram made while he was there. That night I made a simple single-beam hologram of a shell since I needed to use the last of four sheets I'd TEA'd that morning.

On Sunday I started setting up my table to attempt an H2 of the castle H1 I'd made 13 years ago

(that's an H2 I made 13 years ago)

by using that master I'd be limiting the variables involved since I knew I could get bright images out of it.

I burned a couple of pieces of test film as time permitted and by the evening had made a copy that was easily twice as bright as the ones I'd made more than a decade ago.

This morning I shot one using film that had been reverse-curled for a few days and then index matched to a single glass plate with mineral oil .

The final hologram is almost too bright to look at in sunlight (it even leaves an afterimage on my vision when illuminated by the halogen light in my office). In fact, I can't get a picture of it with my new digital camera and I'll have to try again tonight with my older one (it seems to like holograms better than the new one).

If I didn't have a milestone due at work this Friday I would have taken a personal day off today, played with the copy layout and made some more copies. As it is, I'll have to be content with being blinded by this piece of plastic shining at me from the edge of my desk.

My thanks to everyone here who has helped me out over the last six months. It's largely because of your input that I've reached this point, this fast."

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

I made three more holograms this morning and I've been able to tweak the H2 plate so that the castle is closer to the film plane.

I've had some problems with the film moving during exposure and I'll either need to change my plate holder for these 40-60 second exposures or I'll need to start index matching. The first hologram showed movement rings, although with a 40 minute settle, the second was just fine (and nice and bright). I tried index matching with mineral oil on the third but the film separated from the glass near the bottom of the hologram. I still ended up with a bright clear hologram though.

One oddity is that the image looks enlarged on the H2. I believe I used a small collimating mirror in the creation of the master but at the moment I'm not using one to illuminate it. I'll add the 4" mirror to the setup tonight and see how that changes the image.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

This morning I made four test shots of the castle master. With the first, I removed the cylinder lens and moved the copy holder to 7.5" from the master and used some film that had been TEA'd yesterday morning. The resulting hologram is a nice bright reddish-gold image that is reasonably sharp. This is easily the best hologram of the bunch and the morning.
For the remaining three shots I just moved the copy holder away from the master, 8", 8.75" and 9". The first shows slight movement of the image in front of the film and the last clearly has an image floating above the film.
My next test should be to increase the reference light intensity to see if that removes some of the remaining blur. I also need to test my meter to see if I can get any kind of reading on the master image. At the moment I can't and I'm just guessing when it comes to the ratio of ref to obj light. Visually, the image of the castle appears slightly brighter than the ref light on a white card placed in the copy holder.

Tests to do include:
o Decrease the H1 light intensity.
o Use the 4" collimating mirror to illuminate H1.
o Use the JD2 developer to see if the contrast changes. D-19 is considered by Benton to be a "low contrast" developer.

Friday, July 11, 2003

This is the castle I've been working on.  This is also the first picture I've been able to get that does it any kind of justice (and not much). Unfortunately the film pulled away from the index-matching fluid and glass before exposure and I ended up with the bottom you see here.

After working with the castle all week I decided to try changing the setup to a pot and coin master I'd made 13 years ago.  I had to change the layout a bit so the master was lit from below.

Here's a shot of the H1 image being projected onto a white card in the H2 holder.  Some of you may realize that the H1 image is incorrect in that it's upside down relative to the reference beam.  I ended up with an H2 image plane that had to be lit from below rather than above.

Monday, July 14, 2003

I didn't have a lot of time over the weekend, although I did mess with the pot and coins master a bit more.  I wasn't able to get a satisfactory copy due to the gyrations I had to put the laser beam through so I decided to switch back to the castle and make a final H2 that I'm willing to show.

Work gave the team I'm on the afternoon off, so I went home and started making holograms.  After getting the table set up for the castle master and carefully checking beam paths, the first hologram I made came out like:

The second picture is there just to give you a sense of the brightness of this hologram.  It's extremely bright although not that clean just because I didn't put the spatial filter into the setup.  Actually, it was in there but I forgot to put the pinhole in.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

This morning I shot a full size (3x4") reflection copy of the castle

as well as a white-light version.  I was going to change the table setup to do a new master of the ogham piece but decided since I had everything I needed, I'd make a white-light transmission copy (I hadn't made that kind for more than 13 years).

The setup for the white-light copy.

And the final white-light transmission hologram.

July 21, 2003

Since the 15th I've been working on a model of an ogham standing stone.  I thought this might be a good starting place to work on my model making skills, scene layout skills and possibly end up with a hologram master that I could use to make salable copies.

Left and right sides of my table, setup to shoot the first ogham master. 

Overall view of the table. I've got my new 10mW HeNe on the right, beamsplitter directing the object beam toward the bottom, mirror shooting that off to the left, another mirror directing the beam through a microscope objective and onto the ogham.  A transfer mirror in the upper right shoots the beam through a lens (it helps expand the beam more than my spatial filter will do alone), through my SF, through a cylinder lens to help shape the beam so I don't lose a ton of light in order to cover the plate evenly, off a collimating mirror and onto the plate.

Here's a view of the ogham model through the finished master.

and here's a shot of the master, flipped and illuminated by laser.  What you see is a projection of the ogham that is in between the plate and the camera.

July 23, 2003

Because I wanted to test the process and this model I reset the table to copy the master I'd created yesterday.

Here's the master in its plate holder and toward the camera is another plate holder that will receive the unexposed film

right-side view of the table.  Note that I have the spatial filter in the setup, but it's being used as part of the H1 beam.

Three quick tests of the setup and processing.  The variation in color is due to the fact that I didn't have the spatial filter in the H2 beam and there were fairly wild variations in beam density across the plate.  Still looks neat in real life, given the subject matter.


While shooting what would have been two bright copies (I put the spatial filter in the ref beam) my shutter failed to open. On the first exposure I thought that the developer was exhausted since it had been left over from this morning but after I made up a new batch and the second shot failed I realized that the shutter must not have opened. Upon checking I found that it wasn't working anymore.

I then set about making a new shutter and modifying the R2 program so that it checks that the shutter opened during the exposure. The new program also chirps every second for the last ten seconds of settling so that I know an exposure is imminent.

July 25, 2003

I did a quick test this morning using the new double-sided mounting film from Kapco. I cleaned a 4x5" piece of glass, removed one protective layer and applied the mounting film to one side of the glass. I then removed the second protective layer from the mounting film and rolled out a sheet of holographic film onto the mounting film.
With the holographic film in place I put the glass into my plateholder and told R2 to do a 10s exposure. Ten minutes later I had the plate soaking in the pre-dev bath and 15 minutes after that I had a fairly bright green hologram of my ogham stone. It's a bit overdeveloped because I had trouble removing the plate from the developer (I'm not set up for handling plates) and it ended up in the dev too long but it looks good and I can't tell that there's anything between the film and glass plate. This looks very promising. If my master test works out, this means that I'll be able to create masters on glass which in turn means that I won't have to go through the hassle of index matching and aligning my master film and I won't have to pay for plates (big savings). I'll be able to just drop the masters into the holder and go.

It didn't turn out very bright (and the camera focused on the tree behind the film), but here's the ogham done on film that's been adhered to glass.

July 26, 2003

I've been working on a test of the latest ogham model.  The ogham is now sitting on a hill.

Left side of the table...

right side of the table

Closer view of the model with its white background (I haven't settled on a decent background but didn't want it floating in space).  Also in view in the center of the picture is the light sensor I use to make sure the shutter opened.  I just place it someplace on the table where stray light will hit it.

Close of view of my hideously expensive diffusion screen.  The white part just to the right of the lens and to the left of the model is a piece of plastic from a milk container.  It actually makes an excellent diffuser.

The spatial filter with a cylinder lens in front of it.  I use the cylinder lens to shape the bean so that I don't lose as much light as I otherwise would.

The ogham, seen from the plate holder.

July 27, 2003

Today Susan and I worked on the ogham model and briefly worked on a face from Disert O Dea.  We both need practice with faces so we dropped that for now and concentrated on the ogham piece.

It has some grass and twigs at the base to give it more of an Irish feel.

I later added a bit of cotton around the base for fog and will likely add a layer behind the model, once I can get hold of some metal screen so the cotton will stay in place.

Later in the evening I reset the layout because I'd been getting dim transmission images during my tests yesterday.  I realized (while watching Pirates of the Caribbean, which is where I got the idea for using fog as a background for the model) that I hadn't double-checked the beams lengths.  It turns out that the object beam was nearly 20" longer than the reference beam.  Bad mojo.

July 31, 2003

Since the last update I've been preparing the way to make a final master of the ogham piece.  On Tuesday night I cleaned a glass sheet and applied the Kapco material.  This involved removing one of the protective plastic sheets and using a roller to roll out the laminate onto the glass. On Wednesday morning I applied the holographic film to the previously prepared glass using the same roller method.

On Wednesday night I checked the setup one last time and exposed the plate for 34 seconds.  After processing I ended up with a nice bright transmission hologram of the latest ogham model.

Not content to wait until the morning, I reset the table for a transfer and shot a quick test.  Unfortunately I'm not yet used to putting the new light sensor in my setups and R2 thought that the shutter had not opened and didn't close it at the end of the exposure.

On getting up this morning I prepped some film and shot a quick test.  It came out a bit dim but the overall image and composition look good.  I'm going to do a full copy tomorrow and see how things come out.


2003: Feb | Mar | Apr | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
2004: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
2005: Blog
2006: Blog
2007: Blog

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