How To Build A DIY device similar to the Light Blaster™

Aug 14, 2015

Gvido Mūrnieks

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How To Build A DIY device similar to the Light Blaster™

Aug 14, 2015

Gvido Mūrnieks

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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diy-lb-03

Having seen the Light Blaster image projector, I wanted to know if I could build myself. Kinda out of pure curiosity. I wanted to know, is building a Light Blaster would be a task I can handle.

The main idea was to mimic the Light Blaster functionality and create a slide projector that could project 35mm slides with strobe and an old lens.

I started this project by making a 3d model with the necessary dimensions to use as a guide for the actual woodwork

YouTube video

Here are the necessary supplies

  • A lens, preferably with manual aperture (I used an old helios 58mm)
  • A Macro extender ring, or some kind of lens adapter, for the lens.
  • A strobe (I used my trusty YN-560 III)
  • 35mm Slide Mounts
  • A few pieces of plywood (I used some scraps from old fruit box)
  • 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter tripod screw (I suggest buying these in bulk, because they are really useful in DIY projects)
  • Transparency paper (preferably for laser printer or inkjet printer, depending on what you own)

diy-lb-01Build Process

The most important thing to make the projector work, is getting the precise flange distance. This is the distance between the lens and the film plane. In my case, I used m42 lens, that have 45.46 mm flange distance. Precise flange distance is necessary to make the projection focusable, this very similar to how cameras work, only in reverse.

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When it comes to the distance between the film and the flash, I made it roughly same length as flange distance. It worked well for me when testing. The projections had a slight vignetting, which I was able to fix by pulling out the built-in wide angle diffuser.

Other than that, the design and dimensions of the device are open to interpretations. In my case, I built the back of the projector, so I have a tight fit for my flash.

In the future, I may add a Velcro strap, just for some added safety.

Now it was just a matter of gluing all the pieces together.

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Now, once the projector is finished, I have to make some slides. Sure, projecting some old slide film is always an option, but it is cheaper and faster to print your own.

For this you will need transparency paper, don’t just get any paper, get the type used for transparency projectors.

Next, you will need to create some patterns for your transparencies. The folks at Good Light Mag made some sample patterns which I used. You can download them here.

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After printing the transparency, I cut them to the size of 35mm slides. …And voilà!

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So, now that we have the projector and the slides how well does it work?

Here are some quick test shots I did in my basement:

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For conclusion, here are my thoughts and recommendations

  • It really works! I was surprised, that it was that easy to make. It will surely become a useful tool in my proverbial camera bag.
  • It is a good idea to use wide angle lens, like 28mm, if you intend to use the projector indoors.
  • When it comes to transparencies, I suggest to use transparencies, made for laser printers, because they are made for higher temperatures.

That is pretty much it, for now. If you have any questions and/or suggestions – comment in the section bellow.

About The Author

Gvido Mūrnieks is a photogrpaher and tinkerer from Valmiera, Latvia. You can see more of his photos on his Flickr stream and follow his site here. This post is based upon this article and shared with permission.

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26 responses to “How To Build A DIY device similar to the Light Blaster™”

  1. Rostislav Alexandrovich Avatar
    Rostislav Alexandrovich

    great!

  2. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
    TheInconvenientRuth

    Wouldn’t it be easier (and nearly as cheap) to get an old broken/junked fully mechanical film camera? Then you already have the bayonet and correct flange distance, plus you can use the viewfinder to ‘preview’ which area it’ll cover. And it’ll have a tripod mount. The shutter doesn’t even have to work, but still having the mirror would help to preview. You can keep it up with some gaffer tape.. All you need to add then is some kind of attachment for the flash and some kind of clips to hold the film in place

    1. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
      TheInconvenientRuth

      …I’m actually going to the camera repair shop to buy a junked film SLR with Nikon F mount (as I have most leses for that) and build one. Let me know if diyphotogrpahy.net wants to see the results.

      1. udi tirosh Avatar
        udi tirosh

        we most certainly would!!

          1. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
            TheInconvenientRuth

            Muhahhahaaaa, thanks for the LOLz, Kriztoper.

          2. udi tirosh Avatar
            udi tirosh

            :)

      2. ul Avatar
        ul

        i tried it with my film slr and small led flaslight a long time ago…. just held a piece of developed film in correct place and backcover open – worked quite well

        1. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
          TheInconvenientRuth

          LOL yeah, pretty much like that.

    2. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
      Gvido Mūrnieks

      That is awesome idea! :D

      1. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
        TheInconvenientRuth

        Hey, if it wasn’t for your post, I wouldn’t have thought of it… :D

  3. Sean Mahaley Avatar
    Sean Mahaley

    why not just used an old slide projector?

    1. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
      Kay O. Sweaver

      Indeed. I tried this many years ago and it worked pretty well. I never built anything, I just yanked the lens out of an old projector and held everything by hand in front of a light.

    2. Rick Avatar
      Rick

      While a project is workable, a flash can put out considerably more light. It is also far more portable.

      1. Rick Avatar
        Rick

        ….projector…

  4. Wesley Chen Avatar
    Wesley Chen

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotowesley/13293987935/in/dateposted-public/
    It’s my own version with DIY Light blaster.
    It cost me maybe $30-35.

  5. Snuffles Avatar
    Snuffles

    anyone has a 3d printer file?

  6. Kostas Bobolakis Avatar
    Kostas Bobolakis

    great project !! can anyone send the link for the paper? amazon.co.uk or ebay even better? thanks guys

  7. Pierre Avatar
    Pierre

    I can not find the sample patterns. May you add a PDF file about that?

  8. Marcel B. Avatar
    Marcel B.

    Seems the sample patterns @Good Light Mag

    aren’t available anymore. Could you provide them?

  9. Pierre DUSART Avatar
    Pierre DUSART

    The sample patterns page is not available. Can you put them somewhere else?

  10. Paul Avatar
    Paul

    Von Bismark vulgarator

  11. Michael DF Avatar
    Michael DF

    In Covid lockdown so I am making one out of what I can find. The main body is a 170g coffee Kenco coffee tin, The lens mount is a lens cover with a hole chopped out using a Stanley knife (take care – hold the knife and rotate the cap). I drilled out a similar hole in the base of the tin. In retrospect I should have used the hole punch I bought years ago to make a hole for a car aerial; that would be cleaner. Superglue the cap to the tin. Added heat melt glue for added strength. Cut away the open end to take the flash, it fits tight and will scratch the flash case. I have just cut a slot in the can for the slides to go in. I have to take it all to work to blow out any metal dust with compressed air before putting any lenses on.

  12. John Avatar
    John

    Hi. Great work. Can you share patern of parts to asemble that box?